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Corvette Clinic's reverse-lockout rod fix

Oct 30, 2001
Glen Burnie, MD, USA
1986 Bright Red Coupe
So I've been having problems getting into reverse without grinding and shifting also seemed harder than it should have been. As I was reading through Ken's excellent collection of 4+3 articles, I saw the one that talked about the reverse-lockout rod and how you could order a replacement from Corvette Clinic in Florida. I pulled the gearshift stick apart and looked at the rod. VERY worn down one side. So I ordered one.

Apparently he either doesn't get a lot of call for these, or they're mostly for 84-85 MY. Mine arrived without the groove for the OD-enable shaft. Called them, and they expressed a small bit of surprise but were quite willing to fix it. Sent them mine as a template and theirs for repair, got them back by next-day.

Installation is about a 20 minute careful job, and maybe a 1.5 on a scale of 10.

So. $50 for a new rod and 'handle', plus shipping. Is it worth it? I'd say yes. Shifting, especially downshifting, is much smoother, though 1-2 upshift still meets resistance (not as much as before). Reverse engages smoothly and without a sound. That lockout rod must rub against part of the transmission and get 'caught' when it's as worn as mine was.

Anyway, they can be reached at 407.323.7804 during normal east-coast business hours (they're in central Florida). They have a website, www.corvetteclinicinc.com, but they're experiencing ISP problems and it goes up and down.

BTW - I drove the car today without any lockout rod at all. Not recommended... First gear is almost impossible to find; don't even think about 2-1 downshifts unless you're at a stop. There is, though, a noticeable shift improvement in all gears with a rod versus with no rod.

Thanks for letting us know that the Clinic was helpful and friendly Rich, and congratulations on fixing your problem. :upthumbs

HEY I got the same problem (thought it was my Leaky Clutch thing) <--pbly doesnt help but ya I'll buy one to!

I must have missed something. I have had the same problem with my shifting since I had the clutch replaced. I have been going nuts bleeding the system to the point of pulling the system out as one peace and bleeding it that was. The only way it came close to working was by not using the spaces. It required a looooong push on the pedal, but it worked.
Where is the article on the reverse lockout rod? At this point I can bleed the system in my sleet.
Thanks Rich,

What exactly does the rod do? I see no explanation in the shop manual. How does this relate to the other gears?
What exactly does the rod do? I see no explanation in the shop manual. How does this relate to the other gears?

I have no facts I can point to for this, but my theory is that since the rod is part of the shifter mechanism, it helps keep the shifter 'centered' in the slots for the individual gears. If the rod is worn (as mine was; probably more than a mm of metal was gone from one side) then the shifter can move farther from side to side than it should. I can say that without the rod, the shifter is very rubbery and there's no guidance when moving between gears.
Thank you. I will check it this weekend. I think I should make sure the shift rods are in proper alignment. When they replaced the clutch they opened up the side plate to repair a leak at one of the shift rods. They may have screwed up the alignment.

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