How to Turn a Column Shifter Into an Automatic Floor Shifterby Billy McCarley
A column shifter is located on the steering column of your automobile, usually on the right side. If you are modifying your car and want to change from a column shifter to a floor shifter, the job is as simple as changing a few levers. You can replace your column shifter with a floor shifter in less than eight hours, depending on your level of experience with tools and mechanics. But even the do-it-yourselfer with little or no experience can complete this project.
Remove the steering wheel center cap with a flathead screwdriver. Loosen the center nut with a 9/16-inch socket and ratchet. Pull the steering wheel from the column shaft with a steering wheel puller, wihich can be found at most auto parts stores. Follow the directions on the puller container for attaching the puller.
Release the shaft clip with needle nose piers. The clip slides onto a groove in the shaft, preventing removal of the gear sleeve. Replace the gear sleeve with a sleeve cap, which has no gear slot. Snap the shaft clip back over the shaft. Replace the steering wheel by tapping it with a rubber mallet, then tighten the center bolt and replace the center cap.
Locate the shifter linkage under the car where it attaches to the transmission. Remove the carter pins from the linkage with needle nose pliers, then pull the linkage free from the transmission.
Drill a 1/2-inch hole through the hump in your floor just above the linkage location on your transmission. Place the floor shifter template onto the floor, aligning the center of the template with the predrilled hole. Mark the outer perimeter of the template with a sharpie marker.
Insert the new floor shifter in place, and attach the 1/2-inch metal screws into the floor to hold the shifter in place. Slide the rubber boot over the shifter to hide the shifter parts below.
Attach the floor shifter linkage below the car to the linkage shaft on the transmission. Slide the linkage pins through the shaft holes with needle nose pliers. Spray white grease onto the linkage to prevent dirt from penetrating the linkage parts.
Use the new floor shifter as you would your column shifter. "Park" is all the way to the front, "reverse" is second from the top, "neutral" is third, "drive" is fourth, and so on.
- "American hot rod: how to Build a Hot Rod with Boyd Coddington"; Dennis Parks; 2005
- "The street rodder's handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Build a Show-winning Street Rod"; Frank Oddo; 2003
- "Hot Rodder's Bible: The Ultimate Guide to Building Your Dream Machine"; Steve Hendrickson, Gerry Burger; 2001
Things You'll Need
- Flathead screwdriver
- 1/2, 9/16-inch socket
- Needle-nose pliers
- Steering wheel puller
- Replacement column sleeve
- Floor shifter kit
- Jigsaw with metal cutting blade
Billy McCarley has been freelancing online since April 2009. He has published poetry for Dead Mule, an online literary publication, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University Of Alabama where he is also a first-year graduate student in history.