In case someone comes across this and wants to know how to fix it.
Remove the trim from above the steering wheel. It's held in by clips. Just pull it off.
Remove the lower trim from below the steering wheel. This requires taking off the two 7mm bolts holding the hood release, the two 7mm bolts holding the e-brake release, the two 8mm bolts on the metal backing plate (located at the very bottom, with a 7mm bolt between them that does NOT have to come out), the 4 additional 7mm bolts that are arranged around the edges, and, if fitted, the relay for the air suspension has to be unsnapped from the metal backing plate (it's down by those 8mm bolts).
Next to the steering column on the right side is a hooked piece of metal (the prawl) with a thin reddish brown wire attached to it with a loop. When you switch the car on (but don't start the car), hold the brake, and shift the gear selector, you'll see this move up and down. Up is Park. Down is 1.
Following that wire downward, you'll come across a white fitting with a black nut captured in the center of it.
Assuming the white part is intact (both sides around the nut not broken or loose), you merely have to turn the but and observe the indicator going to the correct spot.
If the white part is broken, you have two choices:
1. Buy the replacement part (new, $30, used from a u-pull it off virtually any Ford vehicle with column shift, about $1). And refit it: move gearshift to "2", unhook the loop. Remove the white broken piece. Install the new piece, threading the original cable through it, taking care to get the black nut inside the 2 parts of the white piece. Hook the loop back on the prawl. Move the gearshift back to park and then to N. Center the indicator by moving the black nut. Move back to park, then all the way to 2, 3, D, N, R, and back to Park to see that everything detents close to the right spot.
- or -
2. Move gearshift to "2", unhook the loop. Pull off the broken white top part. Unscrew the black nut all the way. Extract the cable end from the white part. Put on a second matching nut from your parts drawer, or about 3/8" of washers (you may have to take this apart again if 3/8" is too little or too much). Put the cable back in place. Screw on the black nut to finger tight. Hook the loop back on the prawl. Move the gearshift back to park and then to N. Center the indicator by moving the black nut and your adjusting nut (or re-shim with more or fewer washers). Move back to park, then all the way to 2, 3, D, N, R, and back to Park to see that everything detents close to the right spot.
*TEST* the repair by starting the car and moving it in Reverse and Drive before buttoning everyting up.
Installation of the lower column is the reverse of taking it off. Install the upper column last.
See, wasn't that easy?
Thursday, August 6th, 2009 AT 7:13 PM