2000 Mazda MPV will only crank in neutral

Tiny
MOMMYME
  • MEMBER
  • 2000 MAZDA MPV
I was told I need to replace neutral safety switch because my van will only crank in neutral runs good other than that. Im wanting to know if this will damage it by not changing it or if its dangerous or will leave me stranded
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Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 AT 4:43 PM

3 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Why didn't you list the details like engine size, mileage, and transmission type? I can't look at a wiring diagram to see what else is in the switch or what other problems it could cause.

For the symptom you described, the neutral safety switch is the logical suspect but you also have to look at the adjustment of the shifter linkage. If this is a "transmission range sensor", it can cause shifting problems. If it's a simple switch, it will only prevent the starter from working. If that fails in the "park" position, there could be arced internal contacts that will eventually affect it in "neutral" too. There are ways to bypass the switch to make the starter crank the engine. How to do that depends on whether your van uses a starter relay or simply the ignition switch to run the starter.
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Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 AT 4:53 PM
Tiny
MOMMYME
  • MEMBER
Its a 2000 mazda mpv 2.5engine automatic transmission has 195000miles. For two days wont crank as usual only in neutral yesterday I pulled in my yard and culdnt put it in park so turned it off in drive I bought the part but when I took out battery and could see the neutral safety switch the cable on top of it was off I put it back on and it started crankin again. In neutral only and I drove it again. I want to know will it harm anything or if its dangerous to drive it without replacing it right now. I would really like to waite a few weeks and take this part back
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Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 AT 5:10 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
To answer the first question that I forgot about, you will not cause damage to anything by driving with a defective neutral safety switch. Mazda calls this the "transmission range switch", but it's the same as a neutral safety switch. Yours has two switches built into one assembly. One switch turns on the backup lights in "reverse", and the other one prevents the starter from engaging when the transmission is in gear.

It sounds though like you have a mechanical issue with the cable. That may just be preventing the switch from reaching the "park" position when you shift to "park". Replacing the switch won't fix that.

If the neutral safety switch were to fail completely, you can bypass it to get the engine started, but be sure the transmission is in "park". You'll look funny chasing after it if it starts in gear, then takes off without you! There is no starter relay which would make the job a little easier. Instead, follow the large positive battery cable down to the starter. Next to the large terminal that cable is attached to will be a much smaller wire and terminal. Touch those two together to make the starter engage. The ignition switch will have to be in the "run" position for the engine to start.
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Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 AT 6:37 PM

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