Got A question. Please Help. Deals With 3-on-the-tree.

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Feb 12, 2006
Billings, MT
Hi all. I am new to the forums but have been a 55 lover for many years. I previously owned a '75 that I put a 350 in and 1-ton running gear...Was fun but had to sell it. After not having a 55 for a while I found 2 of em sitting at a new friends house and he wants em gone. One is a 73 and not sure of the other. Both are stock and both run(one smokes BAD). the one that smokes bad has the 3-on the tree and the 4wd is activated by pulling a lever. It also is in the best shape(very little rust) but interior is shot. The other one(the 73)runs great interior is beautiful but rusted out bad.

My goal is to make one into a off-raod rig and the other into a Daily driver. My question is about the 3-on-the-tree. Will it hold up to daily driving and and be easy to use. I was not able to drive the LC due to the HUGE amount of smoke and have no experiance with the Tree shifting. I figure I could swap engines and interiors and have a nice running pig for daily driving but just wondering how i will like the on-the-tree shifting.

Any Comments are greatly Apreciated. I know there is a lot of knoweledge here and am really wanting to learn. Am hoping to have the rigs in my posession by next weekend but got to wait for the tax man to deliver my refund.

thanks Again

You have a couple choices on the steering wheel shifter. You can either buy a kit to convert it over to the floor or you can swap in a 4speed with tcase. The tcase you have in that rig works on vacuum. I had one and thought it was cool. But that was a long time ago.
You might want to tell us about both rigs in detail. Years, engines, transmissions, photo's if you have them and then we can give better advice on how to help. I only add this because a PO might have swapped in a 2F or disc brakes, etc...
No matter which route you take I think you have a ton of work looking you in the face. If it were me I'd make the one with less rust and cancer the DD and the other the TR.
We need some pics! I agree turn the least ruested into the dd and the more rusted into a trail rig. Rust = no doubts when chopping large chucks of body off. As for the column shifting I dont think that would make a very good everyday driver, especially if its traffic where you have to shift a lot. Tell us more about each rig though it will help.
My 71 is 3 on the tree. It is not a dd but it does see right much road time in city traffic. The only issues that I have had (until recently) was to get the linkage for the trans and tc adjusted and working smoothly. A lot of penetrating oil and some patience did the trick. ;) If the tranny is in good shape, I would leave it alone. But thats my .02

In case you did not know, the shifting pattern is....
towards you and up is reverse,
straight sown from there is 1st,
up to middle / towards dash and all the way up is 2nd,
straight down from there is 3rd.
1st and reverse is non syncromesh

Compared to a friends 4 speed, the 3 speed is louder.

As for wheeling, I wish that 1st was a little lower. But 4 low the thing really crawls.

On the last trip wheeling, i started getting some noise from the clutch / throw out bearing. When I tear into it, I will probably replace it with a 4sd w/ 3sp tc.

i think 3 on the tree is a fun driver, in fairly stock trim the 3 speed is fine on road. of course you want O.D. but who doesnt?
Wow...thanks for all the relpys.

I would like to keep the tree shifter just to be different...Up here in Montana the traffic isn't I will try to get pics as soon as possible...but have to work next 2 weeks straight so not even sure when I will be able to pick em up. I am still amazed at finding them...

I will post up more when I get em....But thanks So much for the info.

I am sure I will have more questions as time goes by.


Hmmm, 3 on the tree. I have fond memories of learning how to drive stick in an old Ford with a 3 on the tree. What a riot. My old cruiser came stock with a 3 spd and the stock linkage was pretty sloppy when I bought it but I thought it was so cool. I would have to hold the column with my left hand and shift with my right. I don't know how I used to steer. Still dig 'em. Mine imploded one morning while driving through an intersection and completely fell apart. Ended up replacing with a direct shift-througth the floor kit. I love it, except it seems to amplify the 3 spd whine.

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