Gearshift lever...snapped right in two!

Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:54 am

So, there I was, yesterday, happily plowing along (4 inches of snow here, on top of the 8 inches from Sunday) when the gearshift lever literally snaps right in two.

After 'turning the air blue', (because I was on a downhill slope of the driveway, in 1st gear..and only half done of course..) I trudged back up the driveway, got my tools, and removed the Gearshift lever.

I was able to put her in Neutral, move the snow, then manually shift her back into 1st, and get back up the hill. Meantime, my kids (who were loving life because dad was pushing snow and they didn't have to shovel it this year) were shoveling a path LOL.

Couple of questions:

1: I doubt I damaged anything by shifting using a screwdriver, but is there anything I should look for prior to replacing the assembly?

2: Has this happened to anyone else? I couldn't believe it. The shear occurred at the point where the little 'cap' sits to hold down the spring.

I was VERY lucky in that I was able to find a new/used one on ebay (farmall57200) at what I thought was a VERY reasonable price! Is there a certain position I should put the gears in when I install this? Neutral is what I'm thinking.


Re: Gearshift lever...snapped right in two!

Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:51 pm

Jason, Shifting with the screwdriver shouldn't have hurt anything. Line the forks up in neutral when you put the new shifter in. Check to make sure the forks are tight on the shafts. While the top is off, make sure the little "lubricating" drain holes in the front and back are not clogged up. There is a little depression that catches oil and it then drips onto the bearing and shaft at each end. If you haven't changed the transmission fluid, now is a good time to see if it milky or low and needs changing.


Re: Gearshift lever...snapped right in two!

Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:04 pm

The lever breaking is more likely when it is cold. Materials have a limited number of times to be flexed before they break. Alloys used in wrenches and drive axle gears, for example. greatly extend the flexure life of those items. The shift lever flexes slightly each time it hits the end of it's travel. Each lever might have a different lifespan under the same stresses. Properly welded, it should last a long time. But not as long as it did from when it was new.

Re: Gearshift lever...snapped right in two!

Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:06 pm

After decades of being tugged this way and that, sounds like the shaft succumbed to a bit of metal fatigue. May have been some rust there as well to accelerate the process. As long as you can still shift the gears with a screwdriver, no damage done.

Re: Gearshift lever...snapped right in two!

Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:50 pm

Where did it break? the lever snap, or did the knob break off? A replacement is not to expensive, and in most instances it may be easy to weld back.

Re: Gearshift lever...snapped right in two!

Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:57 am

The lever itself snapped, right at the little collar that holds the spring. Looks like a hole was drilled through that lever to old a pin of some type (which likely flew out when it sheared). It wasn't rusted and the metal 'break' was shiny. But yeah, I'm guessing metal fatigue plus cold.

The fluid is milky white in the chamber. All the gears look nice and shiny. (I did put the old unit back on).

Thanks for the tips. I'll make sure she is in neutral when I put the new unit on.