Column gear shifter/stuck in PARK - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 12-04-2010
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Column gear shifter/stuck in PARK

I have a 1996 ford ranger 4x4 and for the last month my column shifter has felt a bit sloppy and also when I put it in park and then get back in my truck to go some place else it won't shift out of park BUT after a couple tries of turning the key and removing my foot from brake and back again it always would shift out of parking gear and off I would go but today was a different story,as I was getting back in my truck after going to the store I could NOT get it out of park for like 5 minutes FINALLY it shifted out of park and I put it in drive and went home.

I have decided from now on to put it in neutral,turn it off and put on my emergency brake and lock it up when I am not in it, so the obvious question is what in the hell is going on???

Are there any write up's about this exact issue with other people experiencing this problem and what was the fix?

THANKS!!!!
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Old 12-04-2010
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sounds like your brake switch might be bad
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Old 12-05-2010
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Yeah here is a diagram to help you troubleshoot:
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Your shift lock actuator (on the steering column, top of column on end closest to firewall) is just a little dc motor looking thing with a plastic ( i think) rod that should go inside the casing when the brake is pressed to allow the shifter on the column to be moved. If you think that it is the brake switch you can unplug the switch and put a jumper wire in the harness to jump the light green/ red stripe wire with the Grey/yellow wire. If you have no problems after doing this then it is definitely your brake switch (btw brake light switch is at the top of the brake pedal arm were it pivots, just in case you didn't know.)
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Old 12-05-2010
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Shouldn't this brake switch either work or not work?? Is it possible that it is an intermittent issue with the switch? I thought it was kinda like a light bulb,it either works or it's burnt out and doesn't work.
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Old 12-05-2010
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Well you could have problems with the wires being loose at the terminals that are in the harness. My headlights worked intermittently one time, turns out the high current going through the wires caused the harness to melt a little and the wires were loose in the harness connector. Next time you can't move the gear shifter try wiggling the wires going into the harness connector for the brake light switch and see if that works.
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