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Old 11-02-2004, 05:04 PM   #1
Marlin Liew
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Default Neutral Safety Switch

I've been having issues with my car not starting when I turn the key. I replaced the battery thinking that it was the problem since my alternator died a few weeks ago and the dealer told me that my battery was charging very slowly and possibly had dead cells.

Now that I have a new battery, I'm thinking the problem is with my neutral safety switch. The car is a automatic. Today when my car wouldn't start, I jiggled the shifter a little while it was in park and it started right up after that. Does that sound like a bad neutral safety switch?

If so, I found this thread that details how to check the NSS. But I'm not sure where it is under the hood. Can anyone describe where to find it? Or better yet, have any pictures?

Thanks.

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Old 11-02-2004, 06:50 PM   #2
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are you losing your radio presets when this happens? also i would check the battery cables for corrosion. its also possible that your starter is going bad. whats the year, model and mileage?

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Old 11-02-2004, 08:12 PM   #3
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I'm not losing my presets. The battery connectors at the battery are nice and shiny, I cleaned them with contact cleaner when I installed the new battery.

If the neutral safety switch isn't the issue I suspect the starter or starter relay. But I'd like to rule out the easy/cheap stuff first.

The car is a 96 SL2 with 120k miles.

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Old 11-02-2004, 11:35 PM   #4
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considering the age and mileage of the vehicle, i would suspect the starter. the automatic transaxle doesnt have a neutral safety switch. instead it uses the transaxle range switch to determine where the shift lever is. this switch is less likely to be at fault than the starter. but, with anything, you cant be sure unless you can do some testing while the fault is occuring. you need to see if the "s" (the small purple wire)terminal of the starter is getting power with the key in the "start" position when the fault occurs. if it is and the car doesnt start, then its the starter. if its not then you have an electrical issue.

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Old 11-03-2004, 04:57 AM   #5
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I wil disagree with Lucas on this one. As these car age I have seen MANY Nuetral Safety switches go out of adjustment especially in PARK. Next time it won't start, try pushing forward on the shift lever or putting the shifter in NUETRAL and starting it. If it starts right up then, it IS the nuetral safety switch. A look at my member gallery will provide a good view of the switch on a removed transaxle. It IS adjustable.

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Old 11-03-2004, 01:29 PM   #6
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Thanks guys.

Wolfman:
I found the picture that you were referring to
here . How exactly do I adjust the switch and when do I know that it is adjusted correctly? Judging from the position of the dipstick it looks like it is located on the back of the tranny if I was standing in front of the car. Is it easiest to access it from above or below the car?

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Old 11-04-2004, 12:01 AM   #7
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Driver's side, firewall side of the engine. Look pretty much nearly straight down from where the air intake snorkle makes the 90 degree turn to fit up to the throttle body and you will see it. Access is from above. The easiest way to adjust the switch is to loosen the two small bolts that go into the "keyhole" slots in the switch. Slide (pivot is perhaps a better word) the switch toward the back (firewall side) of the car SLIGHTLY, and snug the bolts back up. Then check to see that the car WILL start in PARK and NUETRAL, but NOT in reverse or drive, AND that the back up lights work ONLY in reverse. If this is the case, you're done. If it's not, it's just a matter of loosening the bolts up again and making SLIGHT adjustments back or forward and repeating the tests until the desired range and results are achieved.

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Old 11-04-2004, 12:55 AM   #8
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it is defenitly worth checking the transaxle range switch before buying that expensive starter. however, its been my experience that when it is the switch, the problem is more regular and less intermittent as with the starter itsself..

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