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Icon4 Transmission Jumping Into Drive

Thanks for any information anyone can provide (first and foremost)
I drive a Ford Ranger for a company delivering parts. My vehicle I have been driving for 4 years and over 80k miles. I have literally done what I did last week thousands of times. I pulled up to a garage bay, put the truck in Park, got out, delivered the part, spoke to the owner a minute, then started writing up my paperwork. As I was doing this (the truck was behind me about 20 feet away) I heard this "crush/crack" sound as a mechanic who was 10 feet in front of me says "WHOA!". I turned around to see MY truck had driven forward into the bay and had stopped when my windshield came into contact with a car which was up on the lift for a brake job. Just the rear lower bumper was all my windshield contacted, but the windshield was smashed. I jumped in the vehicle and gear selector was in L (low gear). Not Park, not Drive, but in LOW! I put it in reverse, backed it out, put it back in park, shut it off, and applied the parking brake. As you can imagine this caused quite a scene. The owner of the garage (and thankfully the owner of the car on the lift) were very sympathetic and not overly upset. And of course EVERYONE asked did I leave the truck in gear. Of course not! The mechanic who SAW this said he thought someone else was in the truck because it was as if someone put it in gear and started driving forward. The police had to come but were not even sure how to write it up because no one was in either vehicle. We exchanged insurance info, got a file number and they left. THEN of course I had to deal with my employer. They think I MUST have left the vehicle in Drive. I said to them, IF I left in drive then how did I exit the vehicle, talk to the owner and mechanics, and then after 5 minutes the truck "decided" to lurch forward into the garage? REALLY? They said they would send a tow truck to pick it up. I suggested sending SafeLite to replace the windshield and I would drive it back. Another driver came and picked me up and took me back to the shop, where of course the inquisition continued. I had to talk to the corporate folks and tell them what happened (NO I did NOT leave the truck in Drive), then had to fill out paperwork to describe the incident, and finally go and pee in a cup (just in case I was secretly drunk or high I suppose). They towed the truck back and started looking at it. The gear selector switch has been broken in this truck for YEARS . I had told them about it when it happened but no one seemed to think it was big enough a deal to fix. The indicator was stuck somewhere between Neutral and Drive. The tow truck driver told my boss "well the indicator "shows" the truck in Drive in so...". To which I responded, well then why was it in LOW when I got in and backed it out? Needless to say I am now beginning to doubt my own "ability" as everyone says I MUST have left it in Drive. NOW_ Has ANYONE ever seen or heard of a situation like this? I mean, had I started to get out and the truck started moving, this wouldn't be an issue (because I would throw it in Park and continue my chore). Or if it hesitated and then started moving forward I could have stopped it. BUT to sit there running for 5-6 minutes and THEN lurch forward? ANY input as to why, how, could this happen would be much appreciated..
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Welcome to the forum

Please break up your sentences, very hard to read as one long paragraph.

Thats too bad about the accident, its good no one was injured
You have a very common problem with Ford Trucks, not just Rangers
The Column shifter would get loose and when you shift it into Park it wouldn't actually shift the transmission fully into Park, so it could roll away
Google: ford column shifter loose

Many, many how to fix videos and articles will show up, look at the Ranger or Explorer videos for specifics

Could be as simple as tightening up 2 bolts, or could be broken shift rod so you have to disassemble steering column to replace it

And no it is not a "factory defect", just wear and tear, and you will be told to ALWAYS set Parking brake when you leave a vehicle, so make sure Parking Brake works and then use it until shifter is repaired

There have been no reported indents of shifter moving into Low from Park, there is a CAM inside the transmission that holds shifter in the selected gear, the loose column shifter didn't pull the trans shifter far enough into the "valley" of the cam so it could slip into Reverse and roll, assuming engine was off.
It wouldn't be possible for transmission to shift from Park to Low without physical assistance from the Driver, it couldn't move past the Reverse cam hump
Electronic shift doesn't mean transmission can change position of mechanical shifter.

But in any case I would set Parking Brake from here on out, that would hold truck in any selected gear if engine was left running
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Transmission Jumping Into Drive

Sorry about my "format". I was just trying to get it all out there.
This vehicle has 202K miles on it. The trans does also slip occasionally and has been serviced (fluid-flush-filter) due to that issue.
And Like I mentioned the shift indicator cam was broken. While I was writing up the incident the boss (who now was in a hurry to fix it) brought the broken piece in for me to see.
He also said there was no need to mention the broken piece in my synopsis (but I did).
Thanks for the reply. Hopefully more will also chime in. I suppose it is also POSSIBLE some one reached in and slammed it down into Low from Park. I wasn't eye balling the truck when it happened. But no one said they saw such an act.
There was only one other person there in the shop at the time and he was the mechanic who saw it come into the garage.
Thanks again RonD
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The Cam is inside the transmission, picture here: https://www.explorerforum.com/forums...s-a-jpg.51865/

This is what holds transmission in selected gear, so the boss has replaced this?
Column shifter doesn't hold it in gear, its just used to pull or push the cable and shift linkage over the humps of the above cam lobes

Here is a little better picture of the cam and the roller that holds it in selected gear: http://kmestc.com/wp-content/uploads...click-here.jpg

I suppose the roller arm could come loose, but if that happened then trans wouldn't "stay" in any selected gear and you would "feel" that when trying to shift it, there would be no detente feeling as you moved the shifter thru its range, thats what you "feel" as you shift gears, the cam moving and the roller tension as it goes over each lobe on the cam

The column shifter has no cam or detente, if you disconnect its cable from transmission linkage you could just move it up and down you wouldn't "feel" any gear positions


If its a 1995 or up Ranger it should also have a Shifter Lock on the steering column, its a spring loaded solenoid that locks the shifter in Park position anytime it is shifted into Park, engine running or not
To release the shifter to put it into a gear you have to press down on the brake pedal, this powers up the solenoid and pulls its rod out of the lock so shifter can be moved out of Park
I would have this checked to make sure it is working, is was added to all automatic vehicles to prevent dogs, kids, or anyone really, from accidentally moving the shifter while engine was running or not, and having vehicle roll away
These are "fail safe" which means they are not powered to lock them only to unlock them, so if the solenoid fails you can't unlock them once they are locked, there is usually an emergency release button on or under steering column that pushes the lock rod out mechanically so you are not stranded.

Video on this lock here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWQSgqpTiaY

Last edited by RonD; 3 Days Ago at 12:31 PM.
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I guess my "cam" reference was incorrect then. That is what they called it. The part I was shown looked like a 1.5" metal dowel pin looking thing with a groove opening in the middle of half of it. Wish I had a picture (worth a hundred words at least).One side of the "groove" of the pin was missing. One day I got in the truck (after someone else had driven it) and the shift indicator (the orange tab that moves from P-R-N-D-D2-D1) was stuck in between N and D. After that the movement between the gears felt sloppy and loose when you would move the lever. Often times I would have to "feel around" to make sure I was in Drive. The truck is a 2010 I think (again with almost 202k miles on it). After this all happened (at least when I left yesterday afternoon) the only movement of the truck was to back it out from under the car, and then back into a parking spot. After that it was loaded on a wrecker and brought back to the shop. I am not sure if there has been or will be any other diagnosis done to it. If past experience is taken into consideration, they will probably replace that dowel, replace the windshield, fire me, and get someone else's butt to put in my old seat. I just find it impossible to believe that I would actually LEAVE the truck in Drive, get out (without noticing this), walk around and interact with folks for 5-6 minutes, and THEN the truck decide to move forward. It all sounds weird, and my assertions that it "jumped gear" probably sounds absurd, but I have no other explanation.
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How to on adjusting Gear Display in the dash here: Adjust/repair instrument cluster gear indicator (auto trans) - The Ranger Station Forums

yes, not sure how it could happen unless it was left in gear.
The sitting part, without moving, would depend on the ground it was sitting on, if in Low(or Drive), then a slight uphill would keep it in the same place, no creeping forward, and then after sitting awhile idling the engine would start to heat up and computer might bump up the idle a bit to cool it back down, and that could get it rolling forward
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonD View Post
....not sure how it could happen unless it was left in gear.
The sitting part, without moving, would depend on the ground it was sitting on, if in Low(or Drive), then a slight uphill would keep it in the same place, no creeping forward, and then after sitting awhile idling the engine would start to heat up and computer might bump up the idle a bit to cool it back down, and that could get it rolling forward
That was my foremost thought too.
It's been a few yrs since I tuned a ranger. But as I recall the rpms won't increase at operating temps except for AC compressor and charging. And as I recall it's something like 50 or 75rpms. 100rpms maybe...

My 2nd thought is that maybe the parking pawl is broken or somehow slipping.

What exactly is the surface it was parked on? Flat? Sloped rearward or forward?

Last edited by wydopnthrtl; 3 Days Ago at 07:29 PM.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wydopnthrtl View Post
My 2nd thought is that maybe the parking pawl is broken or somehow slipping.
That wouldn't explain the shift lever being found in low after the accident.
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The surface was concrete, the "slope" was just a tad above level, with the truck going "uphill" . It wasn't much of a slope at all. The AC was on (if it matters). Even though I have exited the vehicle AFTER putting it in park thousands of times, I am beginning to think maybe I did this. It just seems SO illogical for me to do such a thing. And the fact that it was in LOW? I didn't just drive 10 miles in LOW, so....TRULY incomprehensible.....I WISH someone had security cameras so I could see the whole thing myself. It is possible (just slightly less possible that I was neglectful) that someone reached in and slapped it into low. Its not like anyone inside the bay was looking out there and they COULD have done it and walked away without anyone noticing. I wish that was what happened because I have beaten myself up mercilessly all weekend over this.
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The brain can play tricks on you, because of the safety features involved and your honest description of what happened, I would guess that you moved the shift lever until it stopped, like it does in Park, but your brain played a trick on you and you shifted it to Low where it stopped, truly thinking it was in Park when you got out.

While this would be your "fault" it would be an accident since it was NOT an "on purpose", and I doubt the exact circumstances could ever be repeated, if you left it in Drive then that would be forgetfulness, not paying attention, but you DID shift it into Park, just not the right way

Up to "the boss" and his take on the situation as to your future employment with his company, some people are all about the blame not the cause, that's out of your control.
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I discount the indicator reading. That's easily fallible and a known part to break on rangers.

Who knows... sometimes its those everyday activities we do on autopilot that we just miss and bite us.
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The only time Ive ever had a vehicle roll after me putting it in "park" went in reverse... I mean when you stop and think about it, it would practically take devine intervention to have the transmission Skip from park, PASSED reverse, passed neutral, passed drive and land in low due to some sort of mechanical anomaly. Someone effed with it or you needed another cup of coffee ��
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I actually think someone threw it down into low....Forgetting to put it in Park? Doesn't seem likely, but even IF it was left in Drive, how the heck did it get in Low??
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