Steering Column Shift Lever Difficult to Operate - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 04-10-2012
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Steering Column Shift Lever Difficult to Operate

This is a 2002 Ranger 4x2 3.0L V6 with an Automatic Transmission.

The transmission itself shifts fine while driving. The issue is the steering column mounted shift lever being difficult to operate. Not like you have to put all your body weight into it to get the lever to move, just overly stiff lever movement in general across the whole range the shift lever can travel, forward and backward.

Is this a common thing in an aging ranger? Quick fix? Just have to live with it? Any thoughts/help would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-10-2012
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can you use just your index finger to pull it towards you and put it in gear?

try to not use your arm muscles at all and just your finger. Is that possible to put it in gear?
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Old 04-10-2012
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I suggest dropping the column down and see if its binding. You need to drop the knee board trim and steel plate then another couple bolts and the column will drop to the floor.

Check the interlock is binding and that lever tube isnt damaged. You can unhook the cable and see if its sticking.
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Old 04-10-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rangerrunner11 View Post
can you use just your index finger to pull it towards you and put it in gear?

try to not use your arm muscles at all and just your finger. Is that possible to put it in gear?
Just a little stiffer to shift than with one finger. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being hardest-barely moveable, it would be a 3 at worst. It's not terribly hard, but clearly stiffer than it should be.
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Old 04-10-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blhde View Post
I suggest dropping the column down and see if its binding. You need to drop the knee board trim and steel plate then another couple bolts and the column will drop to the floor.

Check the interlock is binding and that lever tube isnt damaged. You can unhook the cable and see if its sticking.
Are you suggesting to unhook it at the trans? I was thinking about doing that, wondering if the "stiffness" itself was actually in the linkage or if it could be in the trans itself. If I unhooked it at the trans I figured that if the stiffness was gone that it would actually indicate that the stiffness was actually from within the trans--probably not a good thing.(?)
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Old 04-10-2012
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If you just want to see the drag on the cable then yeah unhook it there. I have feeling you just need to lube the shifter in the column.
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Old 04-10-2012
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If its only a 3 on the scale then I would also recommend clearing a line of sight to the column IF popping the shift linage off of trans doesn't loosen it up
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Old 04-11-2012
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Originally Posted by Blhde View Post
If you just want to see the drag on the cable then yeah unhook it there. I have feeling you just need to lube the shifter in the column.
Thanks, I'll try ta\hat and attempt to give you an update later. Hopefully it's that simple.
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Old 04-11-2012
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Originally Posted by rangerrunner11 View Post
If its only a 3 on the scale then I would also recommend clearing a line of sight to the column IF popping the shift linage off of trans doesn't loosen it up
Thanks to you too, I'll give it a shot and hopefully not have to do anything at the tranny end other than unhook the cable. I'll try to get to a post later to let you guys know what I discovered.
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Old 05-19-2012
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Stiff Movement of Shifting Lever

I finally got around to popping the shifting linkage off at the transmission. The lever moved with ease so it isn't the actual linkage. I see that the linkage hooks onto a rather elaborate black plastic box on the transmission which also has several electrical wires running to it. I'm wondering if this could have something to do with the stiff shifting or probably isn't related. Any ideas or thoughts on what I should try next? Just a quick update, the transmission itself shifts fine while driving down the road. It is just the movement of the lever that is difficult and I have now ruled out the linkage itself. Thanks for helping.
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Old 05-19-2012
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That box is nothing more than a switch to tell the computer what gear you selected.

You should be able to shift the transmission by hand with that lever. If you cant then I have a feeling you need to disassemble the transmission to see why.
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