The shifter linkage wasn’t coming right and I finally decided that the gate bracket I made back in April wasn’t cutting the muster. The flex at the business end was very slight—maybe a quarter inch, probably a little less—but it was enough that, when I adjusted the shifter so reverse was available, that meant reverse was the only gear you could select. The rest were AWOL. Adjust for forward gears, reverse went away.
I needed another triangle.
Into the scrap bucket I dove. Found a bracket from the Subaru I dismantled a few years ago. I liked how the steel was pressed.
A bit of small steel tubing between these plates and you can see how it’ll work.
So I set about cutting and grinding and fitting little bits of metal together. After a few hours of fiddling, I tacked it up with the flux core wire feeder.
Returned to it this morning and adjusted the shifter. This time I got all the gears, with no re-adjusting between selecting reverse and the others. I removed the new diagonal bit and welded around the edges.
You can see here how the tube is ground to conform with the pressed-in strengthening shape of the repurposed bracket. That little ball shaft? I threaded the hole in the new bracket piece to accept that, so it’s positively located.
I welded around the other bit in small sections, starting underneath.
I didn’t want the heat to warp the parts or change their angles. Once the underside was solid I sliced the top and tapped the edges down with a hammer before welding them in.
At that point I screwed the ball in and tried to hang the whole works back on the trans. I was going to weld all the brackets together for strength and to make it one piece. But when I went to bolt it up, I found I couldn’t fit it under the upper frame piece. That part is removable but I saw no reason to do that again.
So I sanded the new part, cleaned it with acetone and hung it up for paint.
Three coats of self etch primer and then six of VHT rollbar/chassis black. When it was done I bolted everything back in for final testing.
It works perfectly now: all forward gears and reverse easily available with the shifter. It feels pretty smooth too. Hopefully it won’t need too much more adjustment after the initial test drive.
It’s not exactly beautiful but all this will be obscured under the spare tire most of the time, so I guess we can live with it.
While I was at it I re-bent the reverse light bracket to raise the light a little bit, and painted that too. And I checked the fit for my tonneau cover and satisfied myself that the cut/hem lines I drew on it last year are correct. I called a friend who makes boat canvas and sails and she’s agreed to do the honors. We’ll drop that off tomorrow.
There are 73 items left on the punch list.