Can't manually select first gear | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Can't manually select first gear


New Member
August 10, 2018
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Year, Model & Trim Level
2004 Explorer Limited AWD
Hi everyone, a few months ago I parked my 2004 4.0L on a pretty steep incline. I'm in a very good habit of using my parking brake, but as I recently learned, one side of the parking brake hasn't had the shoes for a while and the shoes on the other side rumbled off a few weeks ago. The parking brake has been replaced, but the improper operation of it caused me to have great difficulty getting out of park and into gear a few months ago. It was hard enough that I needed to get out of the car and shake push it forward while my fiancee put it in gear. This caused me to misalign my gear shift indicator (which has since also been fixed), but after the incident, I have not been able to manually shift into 1st gear. Drive still shifts normally through all gears, and I can manually select 3rd and 2nd. I'm pretty handy and am comfortable doing a lot of my own work (I replaced the front diff with my father when a bearing in it broke), but I'm not sure what the problem is here. I have a Haynes manual which has been great, and I'm thinking it's either the shift cable (I've seen some posts around with the column shifter being unable to get into P and 1st, but not just first as a result of looseness), or the actual shifter is bent. When I try to reach 1st gear, it appears that shifter bottoms out against the steering column cover, but this is somewhat obscured by the rubber boot. Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated.