Help! truck wont go into park (keys stuck) shift linkage? - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 01-28-2010
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Help! truck wont go into park (keys stuck) shift linkage?

i dont know how similar this is to a ranger setup, but you guys are much cooler and more knowledgeable than the explorerforums guys.

i have a 1996 5.0 explorer with an auto tranny,

on the way to work i pulled into a gas station and went to shift into park and it wouldnt go. the gear selector feels all loose and i cant get it to go all the way to the left (park) or all the way to the right (1st) its kind of mushy in the middle and i have to feel to find the gears. drive is around neutral, and it wont go past reverse. this happened all of a sudden. it was working fine all morning.

im hoping it has something to do with the shift linkage and not the tranny itself. i cant get the keys out of the ignition, which makes me uncomfortable leaving it in the parking lot overnight, so i need to get this fixed asap. im going out to start taking stuff apart, but any advice would be greatly appreciated.

thanks guys

please help! is there any way to adjust the link between the selector on the column and the little lever on the side of the transmission or anything else i should check out?
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Old 01-28-2010
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alright, so if i go underneath my truck i can shift it into park by hand. is the link mechanical, or some kind of hydraulic thing?
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Old 01-29-2010
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i wanna say mechanical, but i'm guessing if you tighten it up down there the prob will go away. (no sarcasim).
since you can't get into park, leave it off and put it into reverse or neutral then tighten things down and then see if it'll shift into park.

my old bronk was similar, the indicator was broke and i always had to count the clunks to get to drive and reverse.
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Old 01-29-2010
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I can't get mine to shift into 1st either. Mine does not feel all mushy as you describe but I have played around with both shift linkage adjustments with no success.
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Old 01-29-2010
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the shift linkage bushing inside the trany casing is worn out

no amount of adjustment will cure the problem

that problem is usually with people not flushing and filling with fresh transmission fluid on a regular basis
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Old 01-29-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasRanger View Post
alright, so if i go underneath my truck i can shift it into park by hand. is the link mechanical, or some kind of hydraulic thing?
The shift cable is adjustable at the transmission. It operates the same way as many Ranger automatics.

Before you mess with that adjustment, check for a loose or missing bolt under the dash on the column linkage. I haven't seen this before myself but you can check these threads fo an explanation:

Ford Explorer Ranger Enthusiasts "Serious Explorations" - View Single Post - Shift indicator challange

http://www.********************/57978-post3.html

EDIT: Apparently the second link is blocked for some reason. Here is the text:
Quote:
Originally Posted by jowens2338 View Post
Thanks for the ideas and others having the same problem.
Well here is the fix.
First the problem.
The Ranger wouldn't start, but all of the lights, radio would come on. I took the starter out and had it checked, also checked the battery and also trying to jump with another car, so the starter, and battery were ok. I lucked into starting it when I shifted into neutral.
After reading many posts from all different helpful people, I figured it wasn't a neutral safety switch.
I remembered that I had something hit my leg to night before it quit working, it was a screw about 1-1 1/4 inch long, gold color, torx head. After reading a post that said that their shifter seemed loose, I felt mine and it was loose, and they also found a screw, I took the drivers seat out because I'm too big to get underneath the dash with it in. Make sure the truck has its parking brake, for no reason but that the truck doesn't move. I put the key in the ignition so that I could move the shifter as I was underneath. I saw a plate above the steering column with one screw installed and a hole for another. I was lucky that the holes lined up. I screwed it in, tighten it up and tried it out, works fine.
I guess after 151,000 miles some things loosen up. If I had to do it again, I would put a little blue lock-tite on the threads.
If this you need more info, feel free to contact me.
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Old 01-29-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasRanger View Post
alright, so if i go underneath my truck i can shift it into park by hand. is the link mechanical, or some kind of hydraulic thing?
Yeah...its mechanical. You may have a loose cable somewhere in between the shifter and the tranny. I'd check all that out.
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Old 01-29-2010
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Originally Posted by rwenzing View Post

Before you mess with that adjustment, check for a loose or missing bolt under the dash on the column linkage.
yeah dude that it. i found an inch long gold colored torx screw on my floorboard. this bolt fell out and is what is causing all my problems. i just need to crawl under the dash and put it back into place. no biggie. ill post a writeup when i am finished to help out others who might come across this. apparently it is kind of common with exploreres, so i imagine rangers run into it also
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Old 01-30-2010
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Originally Posted by TexasRanger View Post
yeah dude that it. i found an inch long gold colored torx screw on my floorboard. this bolt fell out and is what is causing all my problems.
Crawl way under the dash and check on the top side of the column casting toward the front of the truck. There is a u-clamp there for the shifter rod held by two bolts. I believe that's the one your looking for. It might be helpful to remove the steel knee bolster and its plastic trim first but I don't think that it's absolutely necessary.
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Old 11-09-2010
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Hey guys i am having this same problem in my 98 explorer. Anyone have a picture of where this torx screw is? I just looked and i am not seeing anything. I just purchased it last week, and it has 264k miles on it so i am sure it has fallen off

Thanks a ton
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Old 11-09-2010
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This is a Crown Vic column but it's the same idea. Each of the blue fingers is pointing to a pair of Torx screws holding a clamp which positions the shift tube.

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Old 06-07-2012
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I was having the same problem and found it before the screw fell out.
If you look under the dash while moving the shifter you should see the bracket your cable hooks to, there should be two screws holding the bracket on, mine were almoste half way out, tightened them up and now I have park and 1st again and I can feel all the gears.
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  #13  
Old 06-07-2012
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My truck had the same problem... The shift linkage needed to be tightened up, but be careful... My entire shift linkage snapped after that was adjusted.
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  #14  
Old 05-15-2013
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[I][/Ibeen to other sites with this problem no help at all
Thank you]
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