Car stuck in Park, shifter won't move. (Home video included for illustration)


Jon_K
07-29-2005, 04:41 PM
Model: 1997 Ford Taurus GL
Video I took with the camera that shows the exact problem (quicktime format) can be found here. (6.9 Mb.) (http://jonk.teamlimit.net/100_0632.MOV)

Hello, I've got this Taurus and it has this really bad problem. Let me spill the whole story. A while back a problem surfaced where after I released the emergency brake, the car wouldn't shift from park to any other gear. It's like the shifter was stuck, and wouldn't budge. I worked on it with so much force that I actually broke the plastic colomn for the shifter. I called a towtruck, and he managed to get the car in neutral to take to pepboys to repair. They repaired the column and shift cable.

Now, once later the problem resurfaced. I came home from 7-11, and then shortly after (30 seconds) got back in the car to go somewhere else. The problem resurfaced. I called my dad to come out and try it, and it worked fine when he tried it (about 5 mins before he got there)

Now, the problem has surfaced a third time, and I can't get it to shift. I released the emergency brake and the column is stuck in Park. The damn thing will NOT shift! I even took a rock and pushed the car up a bit and put it behind the tire then tried shifting, but without stress on the parking break I still can't get it to shift.

This is a real problem because it has front wheel drive, and the only way to access the car in the driveway is from the back, meaning we'd have to tear ruin something to tow it away.

If anyone has the vaguest idea (even if you don't think your qualified to respond) then I would be greatly appriciative.

Video I took with the camera that shows the exact problem (quicktime format) can be found here. (6.9 Mb.) (http://jonk.teamlimit.net/100_0632.MOV)

jmassimilla
07-29-2005, 05:22 PM
Are you stepping on the brake pedal while trying to shift it? I believe that there is an interlock system of some sort that prevents the gearshift from being taken out of park unless the brake pedal is depressed. I'm not sure how it works but that may have something to do with the problem.

Jon_K
07-29-2005, 06:21 PM
Are you stepping on the brake pedal while trying to shift it? I believe that there is an interlock system

Yes, I've tried that. I've pushed the pedal gently, midway, and tried to drive the pedal through the floor. Doesn't work.

Jon_K
07-29-2005, 06:53 PM
They towed it, he popped the hood and the car shifted right to neutral. He said he better go ahead and tow it cause he's not sure if it'd continue to work.

I just wish we knew what to suggest to pepboys so they could diagnose it better.

way2old
07-29-2005, 07:04 PM
Does the brake lights work? A bad brake switch or wiring at the connector will cause this. Will the car come out of park with the engine turned off? I mean with the key just to the first position after lock, before the dash lights come on.

pinang
07-29-2005, 08:02 PM
I've had a similiar problem. It started at teh ingnition where you put the key in. The outside where you grip when you put the key in would turn on its own. this made it so that when the key was out it would rotate on its own. When this happened you couldnt put the key in the ignition and the shift lever wouldnt move. Not sure if this is your situation but its worth a try.

wiswind
07-30-2005, 12:40 PM
I have a '96 windstar.....that had the same problem.
I am not sure if this is the same on your car....but I will tell you how it is on mine.

If you follow the shaft from the brake pedal.....up under the dash......you will see a switch mounted at a pivot point on the brake pedal shaft. This is the Brake On/Off (BOO) switch. I had one of the wires break off of it.

This switch controls the brake lights (so I had no brake lights) and the shift interlock that is mounted inside the steering column.

I WAS able to shift the transmission into Neutral....with the engine OFF.... and start the car.....and could then shift through the gears.....with no problem....until I would shift into PARK....at which time....the interlock held it there.

The switch is pretty cheap at the dealership.....and if your problem is a broken wire.....I would splice in another wire to make it longer when you repair the wire.

Jon_K
07-30-2005, 06:01 PM
If you follow the shaft from the brake pedal.....up under the dash......you will see a switch mounted at a pivot point on the brake pedal shaft. This is the Brake On/Off (BOO) switch. I had one of the wires break off of it.


Yep! That was it. Cheap ford POS wiring. That was the problem.

Oh, btw, this interlock system is stupid in my opinion. Do the Ford engineers think an amputee is going to jump in and switch to neutral and run off in to a busy street unable to press the breaks? NASA style logic. Perhaps Ford hired some ex nasa engineers.

Anyways, thanks for your story and suggestion. Apparently they use cheap wiring for that BOO switch -- because the wiring was broke on ours as well.

ajfunhouse
04-05-2008, 12:28 PM
You all are excellent! I had same problem with my conversion Ford f150. It is my husbands baby. We thought it to be the transmission.
Thanks, it worked starting in Neutral. Anyone know what the exact part is called?

tripletdaddy
04-06-2008, 01:28 AM
It is the Brake On/Off (BOO) switch. It is also know as the Neutral Safety/Start Switch on older vehicles, if you are referring to the switch that turns on and off the brake lights and also releases the shifter from Park.

JFYI-The Ford and ex-Nasa engineers had nothing better to do than to design and install an annoying additional piece of crap to an already crappy piece of crap that their greedy big wig bosses conspired another way to chisel us out of our hard earned money for no apparent reason that the white wigged, tax wasting blow hards in DC mistakenly thought whiny people would mind small children and pets accidently backing over them in vehicles not equipped with shifter-brake safety interlocks.:screwy: :shakehead :)

shorod
04-06-2008, 11:18 PM
It is the Brake On/Off (BOO) switch. It is also know as the Neutral Safety/Start Switch on older vehicles, if you are referring to the switch that turns on and off the brake lights and also releases the shifter from Park.

I'll agree with the Brake On/Off switch and park safety interlock circuit, but the Transmission Range Sensor (TRS) or Digital Transmission Range Sensor (DTRS) serves the purpose of the Park/Neutral Safety Switch.

-Rod

tripletdaddy
04-06-2008, 11:34 PM
Oops, my bad. I don't know what I was thinking, probably tired. Another one of my momentary lapses of reason. I need to stop getting old, it's affecting my youthfulness.

But, I've been told my take on why we have stupid safety parts and engineers was well put. :D

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