Floor shift or three on the tree? (1 Viewer)

Joined
Apr 10, 2017
Messages
22
Location
Missouri
So...I am about to have a rolling chasis for my 68'. I am starting on the engine and transmission. In acquiring parts over the last few years I have two three speeds, both from 68's. The steering column I have, from a different 68', came with the parts for a three on the tree. End result is I have the parts to build this 68' as either a 3 on the floor or a 3 on the tree. I'd like to get recommendations of which way to go and why. If it matters, this will be a "mostly stock" 68'. F engine, manual steering, drum brakes and all...

All comments appreciated!
 

graham5david

SILVER Star
Joined
May 3, 2016
Messages
1,381
Location
odessa, tx
My old 69 was 3 on a tree. I kept it that way and it was cool. It was difficult to wheel with at times. I sold it to my brother who converted it to 3 on the floor. I bought it back and loved it. It was much easier to drive in town and off road. Depends on your use I suppose. The j30 1st gear is hard to get into without going in 2nd first. But 2nd was low enough that the f engine could get the 40 moving by skipping 1st all together. I like the floor shift. But that's me
 
Joined
Mar 11, 2020
Messages
357
Location
SF Bay Area, Ca-NorCal
So did your 68 originally come stock with a column shifter? If so I would keep it on the column as they are getting harder to find. If it didn't and you just want to drive it, then go floor shifter. I can say, I love our stock 70' 3-on-a tree for a few reasons. As stated, they are becoming harder to find, and acts as a "theft" deterrent too, lol.

BTW, love your 1st gen T4R in your avatar
 
Last edited:
Joined
Apr 21, 2005
Messages
22,085
Yes 68 was a column shift in the US market

I went to a floor shift shortly after buying my 68 in 1974. Today would have kept the column. Going away from stock would go H42 four speed. The is a far superior transmission to the J30. My 68 currently has a H42. Have other 40 that came with a four speed stock. Considering going back to the three in myy 68. Collected parts needed to go back to column if I do. Currently have a 70 FJ40 with column shift. No plans to doi g anything with that one.
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2017
Messages
22
Location
Missouri
My old 69 was 3 on a tree. I kept it that way and it was cool. It was difficult to wheel with at times. I sold it to my brother who converted it to 3 on the floor. I bought it back and loved it. It was much easier to drive in town and off road. Depends on your use I suppose. The j30 1st gear is hard to get into without going in 2nd first. But 2nd was low enough that the f engine could get the 40 moving by skipping 1st all together. I like the floor shift. But that's me
Thanks! I doubt that I four wheel this one at all. When I was a kid I saw an old 40 that was sky blue and stock. I have wanted to recreate it ever since. That is what this one is for me. I'll likely just drive it around town and the country roads where I live.
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2017
Messages
22
Location
Missouri
So did your 68 originally come stock with a column shifter? If so I would keep it on the column as they are getting harder to find. If it didn't and you just want to drive it, then go floor shifter. I can say, I love our stock 70' 3-on-a tree for a few reasons. As stated, they are becoming harder to find, and as a "theft" deterrent, lol.

BTW, love your 1st gen T4R in your avitar
When I got this one it had the 3 on the floor. I do not know if it was stock. It was not well cared for but solid. Very little rust and a solid chasis. It had a chevy conversation (Chevy V6 with an adapter to the original transmission) and a chevy steering with a poorly done, home created, power steering conversation. I took it all off and started locating original parts. When I found an original F engine, with codes matching the same time frame my 68' was in production, I bought it, along with the transmission and the original steering column that had the 3 on the tree. Oddly, one of my first cars (a 70s Era Nova) had a three on the tree. I have good memories of driving that car.

The 1st gen 4runner is one of my favorites. When I was in the USN I had an 82' toy SR5 pickup. I loved that truck. Probably miss it more than any of the other cars I've had. I bought the 4runner years ago because it reminded me of that truck. I still have the 4runner. It is a keeper that I love to drive. I have made some significant lift and wheel upgrades since that picture. Mainly to get it to the 3" lift with 33 mudders like my original 82' toy.

Thanks for responding!
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2017
Messages
22
Location
Missouri
Yes 68 was a column shift in the US market

I went to a floor shift shortly after buying my 68 in 1974. Today would have kept the column. Going away from stock would go H42 four speed. The is a far superior transmission to the J30. My 68 currently has a H42. Have other 40 that came with a four speed stock. Considering going back to the three in myy 68. Collected parts needed to go back to column if I do. Currently have a 70 FJ40 with column shift. No plans to doi g anything with that one.
Thanks! I want this 68' to be as original as possible, so maybe I'll stick to the column. That said, it was originally a soft top. I found a hard top that I plan to use on it. It will have the tailgate though. The main thing I am missing to be original to the 68' is the bench seat. I have buckets that came from a 70's Era but I have not redone them yet. Thinking I will look for the bench if I do go 3 on the column.

How difficult was the H42 conversion?
 
Joined
Mar 11, 2020
Messages
357
Location
SF Bay Area, Ca-NorCal
When I got this one it had the 3 on the floor. I do not know if it was stock. It was not well cared for but solid. Very little rust and a solid chasis. It had a chevy conversation (Chevy V6 with an adapter to the original transmission) and a chevy steering with a poorly done, home created, power steering conversation. I took it all off and started locating original parts. When I found an original F engine, with codes matching the same time frame my 68' was in production, I bought it, along with the transmission and the original steering column that had the 3 on the tree. Oddly, one of my first cars (a 70s Era Nova) had a three on the tree. I have good memories of driving that car.

The 1st gen 4runner is one of my favorites. When I was in the USN I had an 82' toy SR5 pickup. I loved that truck. Probably miss it more than any of the other cars I've had. I bought the 4runner years ago because it reminded me of that truck. I still have the 4runner. It is a keeper that I love to drive. I have made some significant lift and wheel upgrades since that picture. Mainly to get it to the 3" lift with 33 mudders like my original 82' toy.

Thanks for responding!


Thanks for your service! Like I mentioned, love our column shifter-wasn't what I was looking for but I couldn't pass it up (36k original miles). The more I learn about it, the more we enjoy it.
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2017
Messages
22
Location
Missouri
Thanks for your service! Like I mentioned, love our column shifter-wasn't what I was looking for but I couldn't pass it up (36k original miles). The more I learn about it, the more we enjoy it.
Thanks! 36k miles is amazing!
 
Joined
May 2, 2018
Messages
214
Location
Texas
Since you already have it column shift and arnt upgrading to a 4 speed, just stick with the way it is. A 3 speed is a 3 speed whether it's on the floor or column. If you were gonna drop a 4sped in there the floor shift is a must; however there is currently an adapter plate in production on this forum that will soon be making "4 on the tree" conversions. The best of both worlds.
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2017
Messages
22
Location
Missouri
Since you already have it column shift and arnt upgrading to a 4 speed, just stick with the way it is. A 3 speed is a 3 speed whether it's on the floor or column. If you were gonna drop a 4sped in there the floor shift is a must; however there is currently an adapter plate in production on this forum that will soon be making "4 on the tree" conversions. The best of both worlds.
Never heard of a 4 shift on the column. I can't imagine how that would work.
 

middlecalf

SILVER Star
Joined
Jul 20, 2004
Messages
4,541
Location
Sweet, Idaho
If you do go with a front bench, the 3 on the tree has more leg room for a third person in the front, or if someone wants to snuggle up with ya 🥰
 

Pighead

Stop calling it an FJ
Joined
Aug 31, 2004
Messages
9,206
Location
Camino
If you can retain the three on the tree, do so.
It is a joy to drive.
 

Scott68FJ40

SILVER Star
Joined
Mar 16, 2003
Messages
1,035
Location
Olympia, WA
Website
www.myblueheaven.com
My 68 is a factory softtop also, and when I bought it it had 3 on the tree. It worked fine and I drove it that way for 3 or 4 years when I changed it to a floor shift. I really preferred driving her with the floor shift and don't regret it at all. Granted, that is all gone now and she has a 4 speed.
 

Skreddy

SILVER Star
Joined
Feb 3, 2020
Messages
1,594
Location
Stanwood, WA
My 70 is a bench and 3 on the tree. I don’t find it any more difficult to drive than floor shifted manuals. I enjoy driving a utilitarian vehicle from a bygone era complete with exposed door latch mechanisms, manual heater selectors, wing windows, etc. The column shift adds to that experience for me.
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2017
Messages
22
Location
Missouri
My 68 is a factory softtop also, and when I bought it it had 3 on the tree. It worked fine and I drove it that way for 3 or 4 years when I changed it to a floor shift. I really preferred driving her with the floor shift and don't regret it at all. Granted, that is all gone now and she has a 4 speed.
Did you try putting a hardtop on yours? I have a hardtop that came off of another 68' that was being parted out. I have not tried to fit it up yet.

Do you know if there is a difference between the floor shift and column shift on the shifting dash plate?
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2017
Messages
22
Location
Missouri
My 70 is a bench and 3 on the tree. I don’t find it any more difficult to drive than floor shifted manuals. I enjoy driving a utilitarian vehicle from a bygone era complete with exposed door latch mechanisms, manual heater selectors, wing windows, etc. The column shift adds to that experience for me.
The 40 in your avatar is the same color as the FJ I feel in love with as a kid. Nice! That is what I am shooting for.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom