Monday, January 23, 2012

Automatic transmission shift lever hard to move on cold mornings?

Gear shift problem,shift lever getting blocked,shift lever will not go out of park.Such problems are very common.In this case my customer noticed this problem on his 1998 Ford Windstar.

The shift lever some times not move pout of park mode.But this will only be noticed on cold mornings after car sat over night.

First of all the shift lock out system is NOT controlled by vacuum at all, its controlled by the stop lamp switch and a electric solenoid located on top of the steering column.
The most common problem we see at the dealer with this is one of two things.A bad stop lamp switch or the connector to the stop lamp switch is bad .
I know you stated that it only happens once in the morning but it still can be a bad stop lamp switch , so grab a flash light and take look at the stop lamp switch connector first.
Remove its conector and pull on the wires to it to see if they are broken in any way.If they are then a Ford dealer has just the connector you can just replace it.But if the connector looks ok , then I would suspect the stop lamp switch of being bad , and would replace it,,, or when the problem happens , at that moment do not remove your foot from the brake and see if you have brake light comes ON or not , if its dark out you can tell, or if you have another person with you they can tell, and if not then you know for sure its the stop lamp switch.
In rare cases the shift lock actuator on top of the steering column may stick , so if you do catch the system acting up and you confirm at that moment that the brake lamps are working , then the only other problem it could be is the shift lock actuator sticking.
This are all possibilities for this problem.
Getting this checked will help you to confirm the problem and replace the correct part.

Thanks.

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