My transmission indicator is way off

April 1, 2010 | By Richard Prince


I have read your column for the past four years, and your tips and information have been a great help. I have a 1964 Pontiac Catalina with a 389 cid engine and automatic transmission. It started life as a 4-bbl. but someone changed it to tri-power.

Now, here’s the problem. The shift quadrant on the dash shows PNDSLR but drive is now in the R position, and nothing else lines up. It looks like the transmission is a Turbo 400, which I don’t believe is original.

Can this linkage be adjusted to match the shift quadrant, or will I need to swap transmissions? Thanks for any information you can provide.


Your Pontiac did not come with a Turbo 400 transmission. If it was an automatic from the factory it came with a Roto Hydra-Matic. I could not determine with certainty whether the linkage can be adjusted so the gear indicator reads correctly but I’d be surprised if it can’t be made to work properly.

Disconnect the linkage and then one by one put the transmission control in each position at the same time you put the shifter in the same respective position. For each position, look at the appropriate linkage to see what needs to be done to make it function.

If it needs to be longer or shorter than its range of adjustment allows, you will need to improvise.

You may find it useful to also make some adjustments to the indicator.