Ask The Mechanic

Locked Gears

READER: I have a Ford 4000 with an 8-speed transmission. It has a high/low range shift. My grandson came to the farm to help, and he got the gears stuck. I can't shift the 4-speed stick because it's locked up. What do I need to do to fix the tractor so we can use it to rake hay?

STEVE: Don't yell at him! This is not that uncommon of a problem on this tractor and other tractors with a similar design. A tractor through the years becomes very comfortable with how it is shifted as the shifting forks and shifting linkage wear. It is really amazing how a change in a driver can make things happen with a machine that we never thought could happen. Tractors, like farmers, are slow to change. In order to fix your problem, all you will need to do is remove the top cover that has both shifters on it. After it is removed, you can align the slots in the shifting forks. This puts the transmission back in neutral. Reinstall the top cover. You may need to change the cover gasket or drop a little silicone in damaged areas of the gasket. Go rake hay while the sun shines, and be glad you have help in the hayfield.

Safety Tip of the Month:

While using jumper cables to start another vehicle, try to avoid connecting both cables directly to the battery if at all possible. It is much safer to install the positive cable on the battery and the negative cable to a good ground on the dead vehicle. Sometimes, sparks can cause a battery explosion if the sparks are directly above the battery. Grounding the negative away from the battery will always avoid an explosion. Battery explosions are extremely dangerous.

> Write Steve Thompson at Ask The Mechanic, 2204 Lakeshore Dr., Suite 415, Birmingham, AL 35209, or email


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