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Can't Shifter out of Park

This is a discussion on Can't Shifter out of Park within the Automatic Transmission forums, part of the Drivetrain category; I just bought my daughter a 98 firebird V6, auto. It's in pretty good shape with 58K on the clock. ...

  1. #1
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    primer
    1973 Camaro

    Question Can't Shifter out of Park

    I just bought my daughter a 98 firebird V6, auto. It's in pretty good shape with 58K on the clock. My daugther gets her liscense in Feb so the car isn't driven much. We were going to take it out the other day and couldn't push the button on the shifter to get it out of park. I did a search and reference to a soleniod that had to be replaced on a car with the same symptom. Before I starts taking stuff apart does anyone know where this solenoid is (Console or transmission) and is there something else I should have a look at? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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    Member imflyn's Avatar
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    I'm having almost the same problem. I can push the button in to shift it into gear but the colder the weather, the harder it is to push in. In fact it takes two hands once it gets below freezing. When I push the brake to shift it's real hard, but after the button is pushed in once and the brake is held it is real easy. So it's not the cable. It only becomes stiff again after the brake is left off then pushed down again. I started tearing into things and I think the switch or whatever that is so stiff is on the top side of the steering column. Looks to be a real PITA to get to. If anyone knows if that is in deed what is sitting up there, can it just be lubed or is it sealed? I don't even think I could aim wd-40 up there it's so tight.
    BTW I have a 98 A4 trans am

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    Member imflyn's Avatar
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    I opened up my haynes manual and I guess the dealy on top of the steering column is just for the ignition lock part of the shifter. It looks like the solenoid is under the console just behind the shifter. My wife has my car today as hers was in the shop (wheel bearing went out with only 28k miles ) anyway I'll tear into my console tomorrow and let you know how it goes.

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    I'll be interested to hear what you find. I plan to open this one up on Saturday. I've only got a couple of weeks before my daughter is ready to drive.

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    Member imflyn's Avatar
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    It's pretty easy to remove the upper console. First you need to remove the shifter handle. There's a clip on the front side that looks a lot like a big staple once it's out. Just use a thin screwdriver or awl to pry it out. Then remove the two screws at the rear. They're under the change holder in the little compartment (not the big ones at the bottom, they're for the whole console). Now you can pop the upper console off. I found it easiest to remove with the shift back in first or second but if you can't get it out of park it may require extra TLC to get it off. As you lift it up you'll need to unplug the gear position lamp. It twists about a quarter turn and comes out. You said yours was v6 right? So I guess you won't have a TCS swith to unplug, just the lighter.

    Now you can see all the overly complicated workings of the shifter. There will be a small black cylinder with a short 4 inch cable conecting it to the shifter. That is your brake interlock solenoid. Mine was still working but extremely stiff. I figured why replace it? I always stop the car before putting it in and out of park so I went the cheap route. Uplugged it and popped off both ends of the cable and the car shifts like butter now. If you wanted to replace it I suppse autozone would have a new one. How much, I don't know. I tried searching on GM parts direct but was unable to find PN. Hope this helps. I snapped a couple pictures if you're interested but it's pretty easy to find really. Hope this helps and good luck.

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    Veteran 0rion's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting back up. I'll remember this because I've seen people with the problem before. Hopefully they'll find this thread using the search function. The only experience I've had with this was on the wifes grand prix but it's set up a little differently. The lock mechanism was actually part of the shifter. I just pulled the locking bar out and bent it over with pliers.

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    Thanks for all of the info. I have it apart and have found the following:

    Two wires going to the solenoid: one has 12v with the ignition on, the other must be the ground for the solenoid. With my meter the voltage to the solenoid appear fine, ingition on 12volts, push the brake and no volts.

    I unplug the electrical connection and it shifts out of park fine. What I don't understand is why it won't shift with the electrical connection hooked up but works with it unplugged. I have tested it and there's no voltage with the brake applied.

    Next I removed the solenoid completely plugged in the electrical connection and it works perfectly. Ignition on solenoid is locked, push the brake and it releases every time.

    I suppose I could leave the solenoid off but being my 16 year old daughter is driving it I would rather not. I really would like to figure out what's causing these conditions.

    Any ideas?

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    Veteran 0rion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle C View Post
    Next I removed the solenoid completely plugged in the electrical connection and it works perfectly. Ignition on solenoid is locked, push the brake and it releases every time.
    I was thinking brake switch right up to that point. Have you checked voltage coming off of that switch just to rule it out?

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    Member imflyn's Avatar
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    Kyle, from what you said I would assume the solenoid is going out. Think about starters. When their solenoids are going bad you tap them and they work. Being that the electrical input is working properly, I would be willing to bet that just taking the solenoid out and the jiggling in the process freed it up to work momentarily, much like tapping on a starter solenoid to get it to work. It sounds like the solenoid just needs replaced. Good luck.

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    black
    1998 camaro z28

    Smile shifter

    thanks for the info on the shifter. im haveing the same trouble on my 98 z28.was getting ready to tear into it. this will help a bunch.thanks.

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