1989 Cadillac El Dorado Can't start car - Is in "Park&

Tiny
MYLOG
  • MEMBER
  • 1989 CADILLAC EL DORADO
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 140,000 MILES
Hello.I did a very silly thing and stopped the engine before I put the car in "Park." Now, it will not start at all. The key will not even move or turn into the starting position to try and crank it over. It does move a couple of notches but then it is as if it is hitting a brick wall. I had one person say that it might be the Neutral Safety Switch. Can you please advise as to what this might be as I don't want to invest money into having it diagnosed with no results for repairs happening cause they were wrong.

Much thanks for any help you can offer. I will be donating $3.00 in a bit.

Marie
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Saturday, January 24th, 2009 AT 11:25 AM

7 Replies

Tiny
DAVE H
  • EXPERT
Hello. Thanks for the donation. Much appreciated

Is the vehicle now in the PARK position.?. Does the gear select lever move? This could be a neutral safety switch fault. Let me know

Park/Neutral Selector Switch. At rear of engine, on top of transaxle
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Saturday, January 24th, 2009 AT 10:58 PM
Tiny
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Thank you ever so much for your reply and I like the donation part as we all can't afford a set price for an answer.

The car currently is parked on the street as normal. I can shift the gears from one to another (automatic transmission), I can turn the steering wheel when I insert the key in the ignition, I can release the emergency brake or apply it as necessary. Basically, everything works normally, I just can't get the key to turn forward or move forward to start the engine. It feels literally like its hitting a brick wall. No movement what so ever to even try to crank the engine. The key does however move into the first two slots showing the dashboard messages, etc. By the way, no bad or negative messages appear in the control center either. Anything else, please let me know. I'm going to have it towed today to a mechanic that specifically works on Cads. It's called A&A Auto (Cadillac Heaven) in Brentwood, CA (Northern CA, not Southern). If you could please reply back and let me know your thoughts and suggestions on my predicament, I would be very thankful. I would like to be armed with as much information possible when speaking with this place so I'm not taken for a ride. As they say. Lol Marie
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Sunday, January 25th, 2009 AT 10:11 AM
Tiny
DAVE H
  • EXPERT
I think it's a fault on the park/neutral switch on the transmission. A simple swapping or checking the wiring. It's cutting the start position because it is not reading that the trans is in park or neutral where it would usually allow you to turn the key and start the vehicle. The only other explanation could be the ignition barrel is faulty. But they rarely allow you to turn 2 clicks of the key and then jam up they usually jam up before you can turn the key. Although there are 2 types of neutral safety switch on your vehicle . And one actuates a wedge shaped finger added to the rod on the back of the ignition switch. So it could be this. And depends on which you have fitted to the vehicle. I hope this helps in some way.
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Sunday, January 25th, 2009 AT 11:14 AM
Tiny
MYLOG
  • MEMBER
Hi again. Don't mean to be a pest. Thanks for your replies. If you can't answer the below without another donation, I understand.

I'm just wondering is turning off my car engine while in Drive but not moving a really bad thing to do to it all in all? I know it should not be a habit of course but I'm feeling horrible for having done this so could it be worse than a faulty switch problem as well as the other possibilities you mentioned? I guess I'm just concerned or afraid that I ruined the car engine by having it in "Drive" when I shut it down.

Much thanks for any other thoughts or advice you can share, Marie
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Sunday, January 25th, 2009 AT 12:40 PM
Tiny
DAVE H
  • EXPERT
I really do not think it is anything other than a faulty switch. We have all turned our car off from time to time without putting it in park ! I would advise trying not to do it again. But as I have said, I don't think you have done any major damage to the engine or transmission. Just the switch. I cannot guarentee this of course. But from the symptoms you have described I think it is just the switch. A relitively cheap and quick fix. ! Hope this helps and again thanks for the donation and please spread the word of our website. Let me know the results of your test/fix.

Dave H
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Sunday, January 25th, 2009 AT 1:42 PM
Tiny
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  • MEMBER
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I appreciate your words of encouragement very much. My husband is going to have it towed tomorrow to the mechanic and we'll go from there. I will have my husband relay to the mechanic what info we found out as a suggestion on where to start possibly. Not that the mechanic would not know this already I suppose. I just don't want to take any chances as we are financially strapped and have a very small window of opportunity to get the car fixed and on the road again. This car was given to me by my parents after I ruined the engine of my 1999 Volvo V70R which I cried for a week over. So now we are out of cars to pull from and I will be thumbing it if this does not work out. Sorry for all the sharing but you might want to think about a therapy office on the side which I would definitely donate to help keep running.=)
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Sunday, January 25th, 2009 AT 4:53 PM
Tiny
DAVE H
  • EXPERT
Hello .. iv'e had a look at the diagrams .. the switch located on the steering column is a bit of a strip down of the steering column to replace ..so is best left to the tech's .. but here is a diagram of the switch located on the transmission .. and an explanation of the repair process .. you can try this yourself .. or it's just an explanation of what will need to be done .. as you can see it will not take long .. I have a price of $138 for the part .. but this price is a dealer OEM part price and should be able to be sourced cheaper at a general autoparts store .. .. I hope this helps a little more ... let me know how things work out ..

NEUTRAL SAFETY SWITCH
FWD Models
There are 2 different design neutral safety/back-up light switches used on FWD models. See Fig. 6 . To adjust switch, place gear selector lever in the "N" position.
Ensure shift cable is adjusted correctly and transaxle lever is in Neutral. Loosen switch attaching screws. Rotate switch on shifter assembly to align adjustment hole with carrier tang hole.
Insert a 3/32" (2.4 mm) wire gauge about 5/8" in switch holes. Tighten attaching screws. Remove wire gauge. New switches may have plastic pin installed in hole. Plastic pin is designed to shear off during operation of shift lever.
Fig. 6: Neutral Safety Switches (FWD)


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/266999_nsw_1.jpg

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Sunday, January 25th, 2009 AT 6:56 PM

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