A common cause of backfiring is failure to use the paper spacer to set the air gap of the crankshaft position sensor. That sets ignition timing. The 3.3L never used a distributor. When these vehicles were new, they also had a common problem of backfiring under load caused by the original spark plug wires. No diagnosis was necessary; just throw on a new set of wires to solve that problem. A cracked core in the crankshaft position sensor will cause that too but it's rare.
The shifter linkage could be misadjusted causing it to not crank in park, but it's also recommended that the nylon grommet the cable snaps into be replaced each time that cable is disconnected. Few people do that because those inserts don't cause much trouble.
Once the shift cable is properly adjusted, the indicator in the instrument cluster can be adjusted separately. Use a 9/64" allen wrench to turn the adjusting screw. That screw is in a white plastic housing and tube on top of the steering column. You'll need to remove the "knee blocker" panel under the column, then look just to the right of the fuse box for that screw. Shift to neutral, then adjust the screw until the pointer is in the middle of the "N".
Monday, June 27th, 2011 AT 5:58 PM