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Q: Transmission Shift Linkage on 1995 Ford Explorer

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Automatic transmission, 4x4. Shifter is loose, linkage on side of transmission can be moved by hand. Selector doesn't go all the way to park; sometimes when trying to park it will not set in and will roll while making a "thunk-thunk-thunk" noise from the transmission. Do I need to replace the entire assembly, from column up to and including shift linkage, or is there a way I can tighten the cable?
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This is hard to know without seeing it, you need to figure out why it is loose. Is the cable housing secured properly at both ends?
I can't tell about the gear selector side without pulling the dash off, but the trans-end is secure.
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