Ferrari 330GTC Shifter Coupler
I was out test driving a 330GTC I had at my shop when I lost the shifter linkage in 2nd gear. The shifter moved in all directions, but the gearbox would remain in 2nd. Luckily, I wasn’t too far away from the shop and I limped all the way home.
On the drive home, I tried to picture what could have happened, and the most likely issue was the pin that secures the shifter linkage coupler had fallen out during my drive. It’s pictured as #44 in the parts book, and when it comes out, the shifter cannot move the shift linkage anymore. I’ve always been taught to put the gear box in 2nd gear whenever working the gear box to insure the shifter and the gearbox stays indexed. Losing this index can cause the shifter finger inside the transmission to go out of alignment and sometimes requires a gearbox removal to get it connected correctly! It was just dumb luck I was in 2nd gear when the coupler pin fell out!
I put the car up in the air and found precisely the problem I envisioned. There was no pin holding the coupler to the shifter shaft rod, allowing the u-joint to flop around on the transmission side.
I’ve seen a few different versions of this missing pin in various cars. Some were roll pins, some were solid pins with holes for cotter pins on the ends, but the best one I found was a solid pin with a groove for an e-clip. The roll pin version required hammering it out from under the car, and I didn’t like the amount of stress it put on the shaft to get it out. I measured the hole and it came to roughly 5mm in diameter, with a little play between the two holes. I decided to machine a new pin from a grade 5 bolt to the diameter that would offer a nice snug fit. I didn’t want to use something too hard where it could wallow out the hole in the u-joints, but I also didn’t want something too soft that would shear under the stresses of shifting. I hope the hardness of the grade 5 bolt would do the trick. I made the piece with a slight T shape to the head so it would not fall out of the shifter coupler like the last one. I never noticed what was originally installed on this car, but I suspect it was probably just a bolt with a nut securing it in place. The easiest way to install this bolt would have been from the bottom up, but if the nut came off, the bolt would fall out due to gravity. The extra few minutes of fishing the pin I made from above insured even if the e-clip were somehow to get dislodged, the pin would not come out so easily.
With the new pin installed, I checked to see if I had all the gears and nothing was interfering with the shifting, so we were good to go. I thanked my lucky stars on so many levels on this repair. First, it happened while I was driving instead of my customer. Second, it was not far from my shop. Third, the gearbox was in 2nd gear, so it made it easy to reconnect the linkage. Fourth, the failure was exactly what I had predicted, and I knew exactly how to fix the problem, and finally fifth, I had all the parts in my shop to make the pieces I needed to get back on the road!
Here’s the problem happening in real time as I almost broke down, limped back to the shop, diagnosed the problem, and made the repair!