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Transmission locks up in Park

(2004 Lincoln Aviator)
in Bullhead City, AZ on October 15, 2010
Transmission would NOT come out of Park and when wiggled, the gear shift lever broke off. The vehicle was locked in park until the AAA Club managed to get it to my mechanic. Parts were extremely expensive and hard to find since they were being 'bought up' as fast as they could get them. I have found out that this happened to my friend's Aviator and also many others. My car had only 53,000 miles. This is a factory problem and should be on a recall!!
Displaying 1 answers & 1 comments
Popular Answer
on October 15, 2010
First, I'm sorry to hear you had the issue. Very frustraing indeed.

Are the brake lights working? Your shift interlock relies on a functioning brake light switch to release the shifter from park. If you have a brake light switch or wiring connector issue, and it has not been addressed -- it may happen again!

A couple of notes:

1) there is a way to remove the shifter from park if the interlock does not work, and you will not break it. With your foot on the brake, turn the key to the first notch - before the dash lights come on. You can shift out of park and into neutral at that time. Turning the key the rest of the way, you can start the car. Be aware that you may have no brake lights if this is what it takes to get you out of park.

2) Having serviced probably hundreds of Explorers, Mountaineers and Aviators from 2004 and beyond, to my recollection, binding shifters are not an epidemic, and are always caused by the brake light switch issue.
on October 16, 2010
I had two AAA Club drivers and my mechanic all working on the situation in my driveway. No-one mentioned the brake lights switch. Somehow they got it to 'release' but the gear shift was already broken as it had broken in my hand, which is why I called AAA. We had it towed to my mechanic's garage. He is extremely knowledgeable and said this problem should be a recall item. Since my co-worker had the same problem (repaired at the same $800 cost) as me (with low mileage also) I firmly believe it is a factory default.

Also, those parts are difficult to find due to the 'run' on them. We were told by a salvage yard in Georgia that they go like 'hotcakes'.

I am a 71 yr old woman who would not know how to deal with this problem as you stated in paragraph 1......until after I paid the $800 and saw your answer #1. This is ridiculous.

Obviously, there is a shift interlock, brake etc. factory fault here.....or this would not be happening.

Thank you for trying to help, however.
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