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Seeking advice RE: 1930s and 1940s commercial vans. Please help!

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UKVV

Number of posts : 2
Location : uk
Registration date : 2017-07-05

Seeking advice RE: 1930s and 1940s commercial vans. Please help!

Post by UKVV on Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:02 am

Hello everyone,

I am researching a work of fiction set in 1949 and need to call upon your expertise!

In the story, a character (with some mechanical experience) is trapped in the back of a light van without a key and under fire. I have read that vehicles can be put into neutral by accessing the transmission from below and wondered if this might apply to the sort of vans that may have been used at the time.

My hope is that the character can move the vehicle by cutting through the bed of the van (or removing the gear stick?), accessing the transmission, put it into neutral (by disconnecting a cable and pushing a lever?) then take the hand brake off and roll away down a hill.

Forgive my ignorance! I have read everything I could find on the matter - I just need someone experienced now!

Is this all plausible in a vehicle of the time period? Are there any additional difficulties that I have overlooked? What sort of vehicle would be appropriate? (It should have capacity for approximately 1 pallet's worth of stacked boxes and 3 men at a push. It should also be relatively cheap at the time, so perhaps from the 30s, possibly Bedford/Morris?).

Here are my sources:
https://itstillruns.com/put-car-neutral-key-ignition-7583966.html
http://www.autocarrepair.net/Car-Quarterly-Check-UP.html

Thanks very much for your help!
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Vantasia

Number of posts : 1374
Location : New Jersey
Age : 63
Registration date : 2013-08-18

Re: Seeking advice RE: 1930s and 1940s commercial vans. Please help!

Post by Vantasia on Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:54 am

Yes, if the parking brake is off, the trans levers should be easily turned by hand to the neutral position without pushing the clutch? Then foot pressure on the ground should get it rolling. But if it was on a hill and parked in a gear opposite the direction of rolling, it may be locked up and too hard to turn without pushing the clutch. In that case you pull the throw out lever on the side of the trans to disengage the clutch and then twist or pull the shift rods to neutral...should work....1930's? look at a Ford AA truck with box body, there are many others, google images like these... https://www.google.com/search?q=1930+delivery+truck&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjAnqeb6PLUAhXEOD4KHfktD60Q_AUICigB&biw=1280&bih=591
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Russell

Number of posts : 369
Location : Chula Vista, Ca.
Age : 57
Registration date : 2015-12-08

Re: Seeking advice RE: 1930s and 1940s commercial vans. Please help!

Post by Russell on Wed Jul 05, 2017 7:37 pm

Most early style delivery trucks I know of had a top loader type shifter on the trans. with no linkage at all.
The person locked in the back would have a better chance of pushing a wire or coat hanger through a small hole in the divider between the cab and the back area and pulling the shifter into neutral and rolling away. Providing of course it's parked in 1st gear and the brake not applied?
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UKVV

Number of posts : 2
Location : uk
Registration date : 2017-07-05

Re: Seeking advice RE: 1930s and 1940s commercial vans. Please help!

Post by UKVV on Sun Jul 09, 2017 1:19 am

Thanks for your help, Vantasia and Russell.
I have reworked the idea a bit considering your advice and am much happier. It seems more plausible that he break through the bulkhead into the cab so that he has access to the steering for a more believable getaway.
Cheers!

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