Reverse gear in 1966 XKE - trouble

Hello everyone, i am a total car nube. i know nothing. my father had this xke in his garage for close to 50 years. He has since passed but as a tribute i had the car restored. BCI in briarcliff, ny did the restore. today was my first leisurely drive. it was awesome and totally surreal… but for the life of me i couldn’t find reverse after driving it for a while. i was able to finesse it into reverse first thing today to get the day started. after driving for a while i couldn’t find it. fortunately at the end of the day i could just drive straight into the parking spot but as being a nube i don’t want to break anything and all by forcing to get into reverse. any suggestions would be helpful. today it just didn’t seem to be a easy motion of left and down. i know reverse works as the mechanic and others (including myself) have gotten into it. but i don’t want to break something. thanks for any suggestions.

Try first pulling it back partially into second to engage the synchro and stop the box. Then return to neutral and push firmly against the spring lockout for reverse, and pull straight back. They don’t like sloppy diagonal shifts. Move the lever very straight into the gates.


What year is this Jag?

You need to use some force to the left, give it a mild whack.

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Since this is a '66, the gate that protects from mistaken engagement of reverse is quite strong. You need to give the lever a sharp slap sideways with the open palm of your hand to pass the gate. A slap is more effective that push or pull.

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If shifting into 2nd or the firm slap don’t improve things consider replacing the oil with Redline MT90.

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What exactly is the problem: Is the detent too strong and you can’t slap it too the left no matter how hard you whack it? It must be strong enough that it can’t happen accidentally. It is adjustable, but the console has to be removed.
You can’t break anything by forcing it, the shift mechanism is stronger than you, don’t worry. The trick is not to pull it past the detent but to slap, as said before.

Or can’t you find it because something is binding?

the year of the car is a 1966. pretty funny my father bought it from a guy in 1978 without a bonnet. drove down the NY Thruway without it. it was pre-internet so finding parts wasn’t the easiest. so he would drive it without the bonnet.

i was able to get it into reverse. and when i did it was really a finesse movement. from the replies you have given me have all been so helpful thanks. will try these all out today. (8.20.2023) first time on any of these threads. this community has been great. really appreciate the insight. thanks again.

Heck, in 1978, JC Whitney would have had parts! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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i know. found some of those magazines in the garage. but i think this was just a hobby to do on the weekend. then i believe he thought he had really eff’d the car up on one drive. we got it into the garage and there it stayed. it is just awesome how this car drives. for such an old car it handles amazingly.

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My wife had the idea that it would drive horribly, up until she helped drive it from Austin to Taos, NM. I couldn’t wrestle the car back from her!

the whack worked best…thanks

a whack/slap worked best thanks again everyone.

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And remember: when tightening the knockoffs, you turn them on, until they’re just hand tight, and then use three – – exactly 3! – – thwacks.


UMmmmm - are you sure you have the correct forum?
Penthouse Forum, maybe


Balzer…ya dirty old fart!