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Why won't it go into gear?

My '41 Hudson does not want to go into gear once it warms up. It does fine for about 3 miles and then absolutely refuses to go into gear. It’s a 3 speed on the column. It has a new clutch which was working great for about a year but I’ve put very few miles on it during that time. Maybe 100 miles altogether. Thanks for any suggestions!I took it to a great mechanic who’s familiar with vintage cars and he said it has a free wheeling function that I should avoid. He thought that might be part of the problem.

I may be all wet on this, but I think I recall the Hudsons of the 1940’s using a “wet clutch”. These clutches had a cork facing and were immersed in oil. If this is the case, as the car warms up, could the oil become sticky and cause the clutch not to release?

Another feature offered on the Hudsons of the 1940’s were overdrive, Drive-master, and vacumotive drive. The overdrive was probably the Borg-Warner unit. When the overdrive is used, the car does free wheel until you release the accelerator (above 30 mph) and the overdrive gear engages. There is a manual control that you can pull out to disengage the overdrive and the free-wheeling feature. You didn’t say whether or not your car is equipped with the overdrive, but your mechanic’s comment to avoid the free wheeling function suggests that it is.

The Vacumotive drive option automatically engaged and disengaged the clutch with a vacuum cylinder. If your Hudson has this option, this may be causing the problem. The Drivemaster option included the function of Vacumotive drive and also eliminated the gearshift lever motion. I do know that these features were available in cars manufactured after World War II, and since these postwar cars were carry-over models from 1941, I assume that these were available in the 1941 model.

You didn’t say which options your Hudson has. My guess is that it does have something to do with the clutch not releasing. Once in a while, though, the linkage for the column shift would give trouble. You also might want to check to be sure that there is grease in the transmission. I did have problems of difficult shifting in a 1965 Rambler that I owned that I finally traced to the synchonizers in the transmission. I suppose this is also a possiblility.

Nice post Triadaq.

Might the clutch just be low on Hudsonite clutch fluid?

Freewheeling makes it easy to shift into higher gears without using the clutch at all.