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Old 10-04-2009, 11:13 PM   #1
djskitt
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Default shift control solenoid

To use the Saturn dealer's words, my "shift interlock" will not release from park. I would estimate that 50% of the time it is really difficult to get the shift lever (that's the best word I could come up with) to come out of park. There isn't a problem the other 50% of the time. Frequently, if we (husband and me) turn the ignition switch back to off and then turn it back to on, it will get the shift lever to release...but not always. The dealer said that the "tech confirmed interlock will not release - needs shift control solenoid." It costs $325.

O.k.....what is it, where is it, how do I get to it, can I fix it and, if I have to replace it, what would be the best way to procure one (junk yard, dealer, third party product).

The Haynes manual talks about removing/replacing the shift lever and removing/replacing the shift cables. Is the solenoid in there? The index in that book leaves a lot to be desired.

1995 Saturn SL2
85,000 miles

By the way, thanks to this forum and richpin....my husband and I replaced my brake pads and discs last week, front and back. I'm catching the "fix it myself" bug! My biggest difficulty is the fact that I have no experience working on cars, I don't know the terminology, and I really don't know how the whole thing works. My husband knows a lot more....and I'm convincing him to show me! I should probably temper my enthusiasm or risk being in a situation where something that we "fixed" isn't doing what it should be doing and four letter expletives start flying...from me.

I love my Saturn!

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Old 10-05-2009, 12:04 AM   #2
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: shift control solenoid

Not being totally familiar with the S-series, the BTSI solenoid resides in the shift control housing; its nothing more than an electric solenoid operated plastic blocking device to prevent moving the shifter handle unless the brake pedal is pressed with the engine running. Once pressed the shift interlock is energized to move the plastic blocking piece out of the way to allow shifter movement. If the brake lights do not work (check to be sure) when pressing the brake pedal (possibly more than one switch is used in the brake switch assembly) the shift interlock may not work due to a faulty switch. Pulling up the shift console cover should reveal the plastic blocking cam that you can easily move to release the shifter at any time. Checking for power to the solenoid requires pressing the brake pedal to allow the solenoid power with the ignition ON otherwise without the ignition on this should allow shifter movement with the engine off. The solenoid isn't pricey, Saturn mark-up and profit margins are. rockauto.com doesn't have it but you can try saturnparts.net.

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Old 10-05-2009, 09:28 AM   #3
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1996 SW2
Default Re: shift control solenoid

There are two interlocks. A mechanical interlock (cable) goes between the ignition cylider and the shifter. An electrical interlock (solenoid, known as the BTSI) is indeed on the shifter, and is tripped by the brake pedal.

Try turning the key to ACC (NOT to RUN), and see if that makes it easier to shift out of Park. Report the results back here.

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Old 10-05-2009, 03:46 PM   #4
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Default Re: shift control solenoid

The next time it happens (which shouldn't take too long), I will do exactly what you've told me to do and I'll let you know what happens.

Thanks!

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Old 10-07-2009, 06:25 PM   #5
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Default Re: shift control solenoid

Update: It got stuck today and I turned the key to Acc and it didn't help at all. It was still stuck. I did it twice to make sure. I also pressed on the brake twice per try, just to make sure I was pushing on the brake fully since the whole brake/Park system is connected. I also tried pushing the button a few times, but it wouldn't release.

I still had to turn it back to off, take the key out, put it back in, turn it to run and pushed the button a few times and it finally freed itself.

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Old 10-08-2009, 09:45 AM   #6
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1996 SW2
Default Re: shift control solenoid

If turning the key to ACC doesn't help, then it's more likely the mechanical/cable interlock from the key. From there, I'm not sure how to proceed. I suppose you could remove the console, look for that cable, and look to see if it moves when you turn the key back and forth. Look for restrictions in the movement of the cable, and of the interlock that it's connected to.

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