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Old 01-11-2019, 02:44 AM   #1
pierrot
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2000 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
Default Uh-oh! I can't shift out of Park!

Well, after over 18 and a half years I experienced a situation where I couldn't get the transmission to shift out of park. Yikes!! Luckily, it happened at home where I could do something about it. In brief, I discovered that the brake lights weren't working. I checked fuses hoping that one might've blown - no such luck. I pulled the brake light switch (two contacts) and tested it for continuity and found it was bad. This happened in the evening (1/09) so there was no way of getting a replacement part until the next day. I ordered one from AutoZone last night which came in this morning. The installation was completed and the shift selector operates normally again! Yay!!

(Since the shift interlock system didn't receive a signal from the brake light switch it would not release the gear selector to move out of park.)

The post below was helpful in confirming what my problem was. I am thankful that SatunFans.com is still out there to help me!!

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/showthread.php?t=52167

To release the interlock when stuck in PARK I suggest the following:
Lift the shift bezel out of the center console. Remove the "U-shaped" retainer pin from the shift handle. Lift the handle, boot, and bezel out as one piece and disconnect the electrical contact from the selector position light assembly if needed.

With the key on (engine need not be on) depress the brake pedal, lift the white interlock lever in the gear selector assembly, depress shift button and move the selector to the position desired. When turning off the engine in this situation, place the selector in neutral, set the parking brake firmly and the turn the key off. If you have no working brake lights be very, very careful if you decide to drive any distance no matter how short.

...
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The blessings of liberty erode in my country.
Gov't's grown bigger, but a chance exists that it will be reduced. I'm cautiously hopeful.

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Old 01-11-2019, 04:43 AM   #2
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Uh-oh! I can't shift out of Park!

You're no fun at all. No one can make armchair quarterback guesses, formulate unscientific theories about the celestial movements affecting the Aurora Borealis having an effect on car stuff, nuclear emp being practiced in secrecy to test the national electrical grid and targeting electronics at random, conspiracy theories, old school clairvoyance, and other mysteries of life fascinating to many. You simply found a stuck shift lever and broken brake switch followed by specific instructions to bypass the locking lever in the shift linkages so a driver can lure as many rear enders as possible by not having rear brake lights. There are not many like you pointing out simple fixes that may be a headache to many unfamiliar with Audi inspired brake pedal application to release the shift lever.

Although I don't have an L200 auto, I'm almost certain the two models (L200, L300) share the same shift lock electronics. If I'm not mistaken, the ignition switch turned to ACCessory position should allow moving the shift lever from Park to any position without requiring brake pedal application no power to the ecm or bcm (that controls the brake transmission shift interlock). Once ignition is turned On, ecm and bcm are powered up with the shift interlock solenoid powered on to prevent shifting until the brake pedal is pressed. I've done it on mine several times when working on the front end. And of course, Park and Neutral are the only positions allowing engine starting before selecting forward or reverse. Once the shift lever is moved out of Park position, the shift lock mechanism doesn't come into play until shifting back to Park position. Leaving the shift boot off allows easy access to pull the plastic locking lever if necessary until a replacement brake switch is put in. And your warning about not having brake lights turn on from a broken brake switch may not be as hazardous if incorporating emergency flashers manually when braking. If done correctly, turning on four way flashers should at least cycle the rear brake lights to get the attention of those looming up behind you without a clue (when texting, yakking on the phone, reading text messages, fiddling with the radio/cd/mp3 music list, etc). Just a suggestion for the one time failure of brake switches in our electronics laden vehicles. Cycling off flashers won't attract attention until needing to slow down again to warn drivers following behind to be aware of something wrong.

Great snap shots of the shift lock mechanism as I'm the visual kind that needs pictures.

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Old 01-12-2019, 02:00 AM   #3
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Default Re: Uh-oh! I can't shift out of Park!

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
You're no fun at all.
Huh...tell me something I don't already know!

It reminds of a song with these lyrics: "It's getting to the point where I'm no fun any more." So for the rock 'n roll trivia fans, which trio performed the song with the lyrics quoted above? Hint: the trio later added another member and became better known as a quartet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
There are not many like you pointing out simple fixes that may be a headache to many unfamiliar with Audi inspired brake pedal application to release the shift lever.
As with many here at SaturnFans - and you, fdryer, are a leader among us - I'm wanting to be as helpful as I can be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Although I don't have an L200 auto, I'm almost certain the two models (L200, L300) share the same shift lock electronics.
They do, indeed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
If I'm not mistaken, the ignition switch turned to ACCessory position should allow moving the shift lever from Park to any position without requiring brake pedal application no power to the ecm or bcm (that controls the brake transmission shift interlock).
You are, of course, correct. I'd forgotten about that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
your warning about not having brake lights turn on from a broken brake switch may not be as hazardous if incorporating emergency flashers manually when braking. If done correctly, turning on four way flashers should at least cycle the rear brake lights to get the attention of those looming up behind you without a clue (when texting, yakking on the phone, reading text messages, fiddling with the radio/cd/mp3 music list, etc). Just a suggestion for the one time failure of brake switches in our electronics laden vehicles. Cycling off flashers won't attract attention until needing to slow down again to warn drivers following behind to be aware of something wrong.
I think it's a fine idea! Nevertheless, I would be much less inclined to take the car onto a freeway in that condition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Great snap shots of the shift lock mechanism as I'm the visual kind that needs pictures.
I need them, too. My father, on the other hand, is very good at visualizing things from verbal descriptions and can picture almost anything related to automotive repair. That same thing applies to home repairs as well. I've acquired only a small amount of his ability. My dad's good!!

...
307,000 miles - Holy canolli!
The blessings of liberty erode in my country.
Gov't's grown bigger, but a chance exists that it will be reduced. I'm cautiously hopeful.

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Old 02-18-2019, 09:06 AM   #4
Tom Walsh
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2002 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
Default Re: Uh-oh! I can't shift out of Park!

MY wife's 03 LW200 is exhibiting the same symptoms. Nice to have a place to start on fixing it. She's so good at accessing the white cog, She'll probably keep trying to release it after I fix it.

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Old 03-05-2019, 06:17 PM   #5
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2002 L-Series 2.2L Wagon
2003 L-Series 2.2L Wagon
Default Re: Uh-oh! I can't shift out of Park!

The same thing just happened to me this afternoon. Except mine would not start and the dashboard looked like a Christmas tree, every light flashing.
The car would crank and start and then go off immediately and I could not get it out of the park.
I called a mechanic friend of mine and he said to disconnect the battery and maybe everything would reset. He wasn't sure.
I did just that, I disconnected the battery for 30 seconds and now everything is perfect. WOW what a deal.

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