Transmission will not shift out of Park?

Tiny
MILESH
  • MEMBER
  • 2008 CHEVROLET UPLANDER
  • 3.9L
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 128,000 MILES
How can I start my van when in Neutral? Can't shift out of Park, which was an intermittent problem over three days, but as of yesterday (Sat 06/19/21) now van is continuously stuck in Park. We learned how to sort of trick the car so we can shift to Neutral, however, in Neutral the car cannot be started. This would allow us to both drive this car to recharge the battery that drained and requires a jump-start followed by driving this car for 60 minutes or more for completing recharging from the starting point of a very dead/drained condition, and, then, once able to start this car, we can move this car to a mechanics' for shift prob diagnosis, likely shift solenoid replacement.

Note 1: brake lights working fine.
Note 2: probably dead battery needs to be replaced, over 7 years old, has needed jump due to human error 4+ times in a few weeks.
Do you
have the same problem?
Yes
No
Sunday, June 20th, 2021 AT 3:40 PM

3 Replies

Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
Being able to shift it into neutral is simply to allow the vehicle to be towed. It doesn't allow it to start because of the way the system works. If you step on the brake and start the engine then with your foot on the brake shift out of park the system sees that as the proper operational sequence. Now in that sequence if the engine were to stall with the vehicle moving you could restart it by moving the selector to neutral. It should also start in neutral if you follow that same sequence. However when you bypass the shift lock and release the shifter using a different method it sees that as an invalid sequence and inhibits the starter using the starter relay to block it from starting as it activates part of the anti-theft system.

When you step on the brake with the good battery and the engine running can you hear the interlock solenoid clicking? If not it is the likely issue, but it's not a fun repair. The interlock is on the bottom of the steering column and in most cases you need to remove the column to get to it. However you could try to gain access by removing the steering column covers to get to the retainer bolts and the actuator linkage. You remove the bolts in red and loosen the one in yellow. Then the shifter rotates on that bolt until you get the piece down low enough to remove the three screws from the solenoid so you can remove it. Then you reverse the process to install the replacement.

As for starting it in neutral, I don't know of a way because of the way the PCM reads the switches. It acts sort of like step 1, 2, 3 - Start. However if you skip a step or alter it you don't get the start option.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Thursday, June 24th, 2021 AT 11:41 PM
Tiny
MILESH
  • MEMBER
Wow, great answer, Steve W. Much appreciation. You response really replies exactly to the question I was asking with a thorough answer. Now I understand why my car could be put in Neutral with a work-around but still could not start. Thank you.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Friday, June 25th, 2021 AT 11:37 AM
Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
The newer vehicles are even worse with the integration of computers in pretty much everything on the vehicle. Everything has a data feed these days, to the point of some vehicles needing an update if you just change the spark plugs! Things as simple as a power window now have a computer controlling them. Some will set a trouble code that doesn't turn on the light or give any indication but the car won't run.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
+1
Friday, June 25th, 2021 AT 8:53 PM

Please login or register to post a reply.

Sponsored links