Elastic engine mountings sometimes make it difficult
The gearshift should enable the driver to engage, or change gears in every possible engine situation reliably and without any serious resistance. The engaged gear may not jump out again independantly, regardless of how soft the engine is mounted. Furthermore, neither noises nor excessive engine movement may be transferred. Inadvertent engaging of the reverse gear should be prevented by a safety-lock.
Bowden cables win against linkages
Although it functioned well, nowadays, gearshifting through a linkage to the gearbox is normally only found over very short distances. However, as shown in figure 2, a cable can also be used in addition to the linkage. The linkages are probably too expensive, too unsuitable for the various constructions and also are more likely to transfer noises. In spite of initial difficulties, the connection method of using two cables, has asserted itself. The lower cable, beginning on the bottom left (see figure 1) is probably responsible for the choice of the selection gates, the other one enables the decision between even and odd gears.
Additional Bowden cable compensates for elastic engine mountings
Cables have almost no problems with obstacles on the way to the gear box and can be adapted, e.g., by length correction easily to nearly every situation. This is particularly valid in the case of complicated gearbox arrangements, (e.g., behind the mid-mounted engine. To guarantee a free passage between the right and left front seat or to the rear, the gearshift is often integrated into the dash board. The differences in the gearshift itself are probably only in the various positions of the reverse gear safety-lock and the number of gears.With increasing comfort requirements, the suspension of the engine has become softer. The difficulties described above, about too much movement of the gearshift lever, can also be solved by using a cable. It moves the backplate according to the engine movement, thus calming the gearshift.
Steering column gear-shift (see picture 3) was not all that bad
Just a short pointer on the steering-column shift (of course only with linkage). It disappeared from manual gearboxes in Europe around the second third of the last century. Together with the fully automatic gearbox it still survived in the USA for a long time. The combination with a front bench-seat and free movement from one side to the other, is typical here. With manual shifting, the gear lever travel was a little longer, however, the gear shifing itself, was actually very comfortable. It has probably disappeared because of the high manufacturing costs. 09/08