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Gear Shift Stuck in Park

Discussion in 'Stock 2006 -2010 Explorers' started by TLEE, September 8, 2009.

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    1. BigNutz

      BigNutz Active Member

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      When I bought my 2006 EB V8 with 86,000 miles, after about a week or so, I realized the gear shifter could be moved whether the key was and turned or not. So I pulled it all apart and found that the previous owner had inserted a sheetmetal screw into the plastic componants to hold the little loose black plastic peice out of the way. So I removed it, and within that day realizeed why he did it. So I ordered one of those selanoid switches. Before it came though, I was at a scrap yard and saw an easily accessable one and grabbed it. Had it installed pretty quick. It worked great for a little while, but the problem has intermittantly come back. One of these days I'll install the new one and see if that fixes it.
       
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    3. PEAR0119

      PEAR0119 Active Member

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      Well after replacing that solenoid about 2 weeks ago the truck got stuck in park today when leaving work, with the same symptoms as before (press on brakepedal but cannot pull trigger on gear shifter). I played around with it for a couple minutes and then finally I heard the solenoid move and was able to pull the trigger.

      I am not sure as to what else it might be, it could be the brake switch but it seems to be working perfectly fine (brake lights come on, cruise control disengages etc...) so I am at a loss right now. I could tape the plastic component forward which would allow me to take the truck out of park at any point, but I am not too keen on that one as its not really a proper fix. Sometimes though it seems that while I am pressing on the brake pedal I can hear the solenoid actuate in and out 2-3 times without taking my foot off the pedal, so this leads me to believe that there is an electrical issue somewhere.

      Are there any other sensors/relays that I should look into other than the brake switch? Or should that be the first thing to be replaced?
       
    4. Ornery

      Ornery Active Member

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      Could be intermittent connection somewhere. I'd first look at connectors in the circuit. Look for corrosion. Spray those connectors with something like "DeoxIT". If that doesn't work, it may be a frayed wire inside the insulation. A tough repair if it's intermittent. I'll drop the wiring diagram in your lap and wish you good luck:

      [​IMG]

      After examining the diagram more closely, I see the brake switch doesn't connect directly to the interlock solenoid. It goes through the "Smart Junction Box". If the relay inside that black box is intermittent, you might as well override the interlock solenoid and forget about it.
       
      Last edited: January 21, 2013
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    5. PEAR0119

      PEAR0119 Active Member

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      I was thinking about that black "smart junction box" that the solenoid plugs into as a possible cause. there were a couple wires pulled into that box and seems relatively easy to replace, depending on price. I will look into this a bit more today as Ford wanted around $600 to replace the entire shifter, so if I can replace it for under $100 I am happy.

      EDIT: I wonder if this is the "Smart Junction Box" http://www.fordparts.com/Commerce/PartDetail.aspx?n=CqkTIgdqGWRd4hg%2f5CDS4A%3d%3d&id=225671150&m=2&search=true&year=2006&make=Ford&model=Explorer As the solenoid connects to this as well as 2 other wire harnesses.
       
    6. Ornery

      Ornery Active Member

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      Oh no, not quite. If my memory serves me correctly, it's under the left side of the dash, costs mega bucks and has to be programmed & yada yada. If that's truly the problem, fahgettaboudit.
       
    7. Functianalyst

      Functianalyst New Member

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      I have read through this thread and there seems to be varied problems occurring. My 2007 Explorer Sport Trac just started having the same problem this week. I am a few hundred miles short of 80k.

      I noticed yesterday morning I had to wait several minutes to get it out of park. I continued to press on the brake but nothing happened. It's quite intermittent since it worked fine the rest of the day, then on one occasion it would not allow me to pull the trigger. I located some inclines steep enough to see if it was the automatic lock mechanism, but it worked fine.

      I contacted the dealership I take it to and they said it could be a solenoid problem, that would require lowering the transmission. They want to charge $900.00. Calling Ford Motor Company was no better. I then called a guy I know that has a transmission shop. He thought it could be the brake switch.
       
    8. shaker1

      shaker1 Active Member

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      Looking at the diagram provided by ornery, Note that the solenoid (upper right quadrant of brake shift interlock circuit) requires three things to operate. It requires 12v from the run start relay in via pin "1". And it requires GRD from the park detect switch in via pin 6. And pin 8 requires a voltage (logic level from smart junction box) through the resistor and to the transistor's base in order to conduct the GRD from the park detect switch. If all three are present the solenoid will operate, unless the solenoid is defective.

      The solenoid can be checked with an OHM meter for proper resistance through its windings. Since, you may still have the one you replaced, check them both and compare resistance. And if you provide GRD and 12V it should operate consistently.

      Applying GRD to the input (pin 6) of the park detect switch should verify it is conducting. Or check the park detect switch with an ohm meter for continuity.

      If you provide GRD directly to the GRD side of the solenoid and it operates, then provide GRD to the output of the park detect switch (input to the transistor's collector) and it does not operate, then the problem is with the signal coming in on pin 8 from the smart junction box.

      Replace any defective parts and check wires and connections as appropriate.

      Also, it seems very unlikely that the transmission needs to be lowered to replace the solenoid or brake shift interlock in its entirety.

      One more thing, when I had a problem with moving the shifter out of park, back in 2007, I discovered that if I held the shifter (either forward or back, I cannot remember) I could press the brake and it would work every time. It was under warranty, so I am not sure what they replaced at that time, but It appeared to have been a mechanical issue, not an electrical issue when that happened to mine. Just something else to consider.
       
    9. dxgmmpa

      dxgmmpa New Member

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      Shifter stuck in Park

      This thread was very useful for diagnosing the shifter stuck in Park problem. My unleashed dog in the passenger seat could not wait for me to get out of the driver's seat and open the door on his side. He jumped over the shifter level and into the drive's seat. In the process he over turned a full cup of coffee sitting in the cup holder. He spilled two inches of coffee (w/ cream and sugar) all over the shifter and cup holder well. I wiped it up and did not give it another thought until reading this thread. This problem started after the spill. Need to disassemble the console and check out what the coffee did to the shifter electronics.

      Can someone tell me the procedure to remove the console for shifter access without breaking the plastic bezels?
       
    10. Ornery

      Ornery Active Member

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      I'm going to bet that sticky coffee is soaked into the solenoid itself, keeping the plunger from moving in its bore. You could easily clean that up without spending a dime.
       
    11. dxgmmpa

      dxgmmpa New Member

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      Gear shift leveler stuck in Park position

      Yep... The solenoid was stuck. There is a small sponge like black washer that keeps the solenoid from slapping against the metal and making too much noise. Its spongy material soaked up the coffee w/ cream and sugar and interfered with the solenoid operation. I took apart the console and removed the solenoid and cleaned the whole bloody mess with Windex. I tested it after before reassembly. It works find.

      Thank you for the link to the console removal procedure. It made the job easier.
       
    12. katjack

      katjack New Member

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      dxgmmpa, I think this may be my problem as well. I spilled a good amount of coffee in shifter and cup holders and now, three days later, I am stuck in park. I was able to take off the top of the console and get to the release in order to get out of park, but it is obviously just a temporary fix.
      How hard was it to take out and clean the solenoid? I do not know much about cars, and know my limitations, but just thought I would check before I took it in and probably spend lots of money. Would love to be able to take care of this one on my own.
      Thanks in advance to anyone that may have advice!!!
       
    13. BigNutz

      BigNutz Active Member

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      KatJack,

      Replacing these are pretty easy. Its just a matter of removing the center console which has been discussed and explained on this site pretty well. I have a new replacement solinoid I could sell to you for $25, just PM me.

      BN
       
    14. dxgmmpa

      dxgmmpa New Member

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      spilled a good amount of coffee in shifter

      There is only one screw that holds the solenoid to the gearshift. Coffee cannot damage the solenoid but it most move freely. It can just make it sticky. There is a black plastic part that actually stops the shifter from going out of park. Remove the single screw. It is a Torx head screw so you will need to have one to remove it. Make sure to use a cleaner that is friendly to plastic and rubber. Spray it through the solenoid shaft and work it until in moves freely. When you install it make sure to engage the white solenoid shaft with the black plastic shifter stop correctly. Note how it connects before dis assembly. You can turn on the key and test the solenoid action before reassembling the console. The link that was sent to me to remove the console was good enough to partially disassemble the console enough to do the job.
       
      Last edited: October 3, 2013
    15. DrJPB

      DrJPB New Member

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      Almost two years old post, that's when i bought my 2006 XLT. Have any of you noticed that during the issue, if the vehicle is tilted it happens more often? or is it just me.
      Am just ignoring it for two years as it happens rarely with me, but mostly when my vehicle is tilted, specially when the front is up.
      Thanks.
       
    16. dxgmmpa

      dxgmmpa New Member

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      I took the console apart cleaned the gunk off the solenoid and moving parts, put it back together and never had another problem. You have a different issue with the mechanism. Coffee is like glue. You may have some other substance that effects it in different positions of the truck or temperatures in the cabin.
       
    17. jacg123

      jacg123 New Member

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      2006 Explorer gear shift stuck in park HELP!!!

      I just joined this group and I have read all the posts on this issue and I am still not figuring out what is going on with my gear shift being stuck in the park mode. I read one post that there was a release button in the console under a tab that I took out and tried the long screw driver to figure out where to find the release button but I can't find that button. All I see is an opening and no release button.

      I also read a post on an F150 forum that said maybe the brake fluid was low and I checked that and it was low, so I added more brake fluid and pumped the brakes and still it is stuck in park. I do from time to time after pumping the brakes and turning the engine off and on and it will sometimes move into gear.

      I also called a parts place that said it might be the gear shifter that has gone bad and they want a minimum of $200 to get it fixed. I can't afford that right now.

      And then there was one more post saying that there was a control module in the center console that might be bad. I have checked the brake lights and they work when I press the brake pedal.. So any help trying to figure out what is wrong with my truck I would appreciate it.. Thanks, Jac
       
    18. willied

      willied Well-Known Member

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      There was a recall for this, I believe. They should be able to see if your Explorer got it done.
       
    19. jacg123

      jacg123 New Member

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      Called them

      I called them yesterday and gave them my vin number and it is not under recall. I'm bummed that it's not...
       
    20. Machine090767

      Machine090767 Active Member

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      1.apply the parking brake. turn ignition key to LOCK. Remove key.
      2.Remove the rubber pad at the bottom of the cupholder to locate the access cap of the floor shifter assembly.
      3. using a screwdriver, remove the access panel and depress the shifter lever on the mechanism.
      4. apply the brake and shift into N (Neutral)
      5. return the cover plug to the console access hole. start the vehicle.
      If you need to do the above procedure, it is possible that a fuse has blown or that the brakelamps are not operating properly. - see fuses and relay's in the "Roadside emergencies" chapter.
       
    21. jacg123

      jacg123 New Member

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      Machine090767

      I took it to a shop today and they the guy said that it was the interlock shift solenoid. I had tried what you said to do but there is no lock release button on this 2006 Explorer even the mechanic said there wasn't one. If I fight it and work the brake pedal eventually I can get it to go into gear. The only thing I haven't checked it the fuze. Is there a fuze for this solenoid? If not how hard is it to replace the solenoid? I am hoping to replace it myself and not have to pay the mechanic $120 bucks to do it..
      Thanks,
      Jac
       
    22. JeepGuy25

      JeepGuy25 Member

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      Jac,

      There is no shift interlock button like some cars have... You have to do as described above. Remove the cup holder liner, remove the little square plug, then using a screw driver, manipulate the lock arm. If you have never done it, or havent seen inside there, you will have to feel around a bit until you get it.

      There might be a fuse. Chances are something else would not be working though because I doubt it has its own fuse. Either way, look in your owners manual, and do a check on all the fuses to be safe.

      As for replacement, its not hard. Remove the shifter trim and top part of the console with the cup holders. Then its just a matter of unscrewing the solenoid and replacing it.

      However...I STRONGLY suggest you take things apart, and clean everything up really well. Solenoids usually last quite a long time. As stated above, coffee or soda or grime could be making the solenoid sticky. They dont have a ton of power behind them. Thats why the black plastic piece is so loose. It NEEDS to be loose and moving freely. So check all of that and make sure nothing else is busted in there while you're at it before spending the bucks to have it fixed.
       
    23. jacg123

      jacg123 New Member

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      Replacing Solenoid

      JeepGuy25,

      I ended up buying the solenoid and tried replacing it myself but it was such a struggle. I found the housing that the solenoid fits in but the wires are so short that you can't pull it up to change it. I only took the console part off that is where the cup holders are and running inside that is a black oblong tube that runs the AC too the back seats.

      After fighting with it for over an hour I finally gave up. It looks too me like you have to take the full console off to get to the part. I am really not sure how else to get to the solenoid to replace it. I am now able to reach in and work the release lever too unlock the shifter until I can afford to take it in to a mechanic to get it fixed. I took it to one guy that said it was around $80 to $100 to change it out because he would have to take the whole console out...

      Not sure what else to do on my own to replace the part. I can do it if only I could get to the solenoid easier. Any suggestions?
      Thanks,
      Jac
       
    24. JeepGuy25

      JeepGuy25 Member

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      Hmmm...I just checked out my shift knob install video to get a good look at that area again. And now I remember the wires going pretty far down. BUT...nothing is hard to take apart in that area. The console shouldnt be too hard to get out as far as you are. Probably some bolts in the storage compartment, and maybe some at the very front. The two side panels pull right off near the front.

      Be adventurous :) Just start pulling stuff apart. If it feels like its going to break, just stop and look for reasons why its not coming apart. I have found that my explorer is one of the easiest cars Ive owned to take apart inside.

      Also...$80-100 isnt TOO terrible of a price. Depending how far they have to dig, that could easily be an hour of labor, and $90/hr is probably the going rate these days.

      Wish I could help you more, but I didnt have to tear down that far yet. The shifter assembly, while somewhat complicated looking, really isnt that bad on these. You can easily disable the system so you can shift freely without the brake, but you still have to pull the trigger on the shifter. Not ideal, but if it gets you out of a pickle until you can fix it right, its not a big deal.
       
    25. jbwilli

      jbwilli New Member

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      I have the same problem on 2009 Eddie Bauer Explorer w/center console shifter. Once in a Blue Moon it will get stuck in Park. I took my cc completely apart and cleaned everything. The shift lock solenoid works perfectly when you press on the brake. I know how to remove the cup holder, remove the plug and press down on the "thingy" on the rare occasion it gets stuck in park, but I can see it is already in the down and unlock position...in other words, no help! It has occurred maybe 5 to 6 times in past year. Usually it occurs on an incline, but once it occurred on flat level surface! I can usually keep playing with it and eventually it will come out of park.

      It appears to me the shift solenoid and that little black plastic "lock thingy" only locks the shifter movement in the console! Once the shifter console lever is unlocked there, it frees the shift lever to move the control cable that goes directly to the shift lever on the left side of the transmission. When my console shifter normally moves from P to R (the first inch of travel), it allows the park pawl in side the tail housing of the transmission (engaged when in park) to spring to the unlocked position. My problem is, the shift in the console unlocks, moves half way to R but meets resistance to go any further! In other words, the shifter is unlocked in the console, but for some reason, the shift cable force cannot move the lever on the left side of the transmission to allow the park pawl to drop out and unlock itself form the slotted park pawl gear?

      The last 2 times it occurred, I had the console cover off and verified the shift solenoid was working and the "black lock thingy" was in unlock position when brake pedal was depressed I then had my son rock the car while I held the "black thingy" open manually (YOU CANNOT PRESS THE BRAKE PEDAL TO DO IT, BECAUSE YOU CANNOT ROCK THE CAR WITH THE BRAKE ON!). With the brake OFF and the console lock manually held OPEN/UNLOCKED, yes he was able to rock the car and with some force, the shifter moved freely out of park and into reverse and on to all other gear positions!

      This does not happen very often AND I have parked on steep hills and 99% of the time it will not happen...BUT once in a while it will. My first thought is the little spring on the park pawl is weak or broken, but then why doesn't it do it more often? Is the park pawl worn? I can see there are about 24 to 28 notches in the park pawl ring gear, making me think there my be only 1 or 2 of these notches that may be worn or damaged to the point the park pawl cannot slide out IF ones of these notches is randomly selected...that would explain the randomness!

      All that said, if anyone out there has experienced this problem or has comments....please reply! THANKS!
       
    26. Ornery

      Ornery Active Member

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      Replace your "Shift Interlock Module"



      Worked for me.
       

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