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I just connected with a girl I went to high school with. She has the 1970 P1800 her parents bought new. It has been stored. She had fluids changed etc. I just drove it and seems 3rd and 4th were the only gears. I could not get it into reverse either. She said her mother had problems shifting it before it went into storage. If I lift up on the shift I can with difficulty get it to drop into some kind of hole or slot that allows me to enter reverse and first and shift through the gears only once but then it is 3rd and 4th only again. Where can I learn about the linkage system? Sometimes when I lift up on the shifter it will flop around as if not connected to anything on the other end. I am going to help her get this on the road again. It is in other wise great shape. Thanks Tom
 

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It might just be the shifter is loose on it's mount.

Lift the console or boot to expose the base of the gear lever. There is a large, 2" nut that holds the stick down into the mechanism. This sometimes works loose when selecting reverse and then it behaves as you have indicated.

You may need to loosen it off a bit more, work the stick until it behaves like normal, then tighten it down so it's snug.

Hope this is the issue, if not the Swedish Volvo P1800 club has manuals posted here;
Volvo P1800 Manuals, Handbooks,Volvo classic cars
 

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I have a 1968 P1800S that I've owned 52 years. It's just back on the road after 15 years in the barn on blocks. Engine, undercarriage, brakes rebuilt. Problem: it runs through the gears nicely except it won't go into 1st gear unless the engine is switched off. So, for example, I'll stop at a red light but have to quickly turn off them ignition, put it into 1st, and then go. What's the problem? What's the fix? Thanks for any advice. Nick
 
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