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Ford E-150 Van Won't Get Out Of Park

Q. Hi Vince, I have a question about my van. It's a 1996 Ford Econoline 150 Van. Here are the other specifics you asked for:

  • 1996 Ford Econoline 150
  • V-8
  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles
  • Fuel Injection
  • ABS brakes
  • P/S, A/C, cruise control

Ford E-150 Van Won't Get Out Of Park

Here's what happened today: I was driving down the road and as I accelerated, it acted like it did not want to go into the next gear. And then when I stopped, I put it in PARK and then tried to put it back into DRIVE again and the gear shift would not shift back to DRIVE.

The speedometer was not working either and I am not sure at what point it stopped working. The engine runs fine, but the hazard lights will not work either. I had the van towed back to my house and it starts fine but I can not get it shifted out of PARK.

I have only done a few things in fixing vehicles like fuel filter and water pumps so am familiar with basic engine repair. I would really like to do this myself so if you have any articles or can give me some "layman's" terms instructions I can follow instructions well.

Also, diagrams and manuals of the vehicle would be great so if you can help me find any resources like that I would appreciate it. My wife, Bobbie Sage, is the Personal Insurance Guide and referred me to you.

Thanks, and I hope to hear from you.

A. I'm not sure I understand what you're trying to say here. When you say "I can not get it shifted out of PARK" do you mean the shifter itself will not move out of PARK or it moves into gear and acts like it still is in PARK?

If it won't shift out of PARK, there is a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) that addresses this problem with a fix. The fix involves a modified shift cable to be installed. The TSB is Article No. 97-23-15 so you can check with your dealer for more information.

Another reason it wouldn't shift out of PARK is a problem with the Shift Interlock System. The shift interlock system prevents the shifting of the gear selector from PARK unless the brake pedal is depressed. The system has an actuator mounted at the base of the steering column that determines when the brake pedal is depressed and releases the gear selector.

Here is the test procedure. I don't know which transmission you have in there so I'll assume the more common E4OD transmission.

Ford E-150 Van Won't Get Out Of Park
Ford E-150 Van Won't Get Out Of Park
Ford E-150 Van Won't Get Out Of Park

As you can see in the wiring diagram, the hazard lights are tied in with the Shift Interlock System through the Shift Lock Actuator. So It would seem the problem is a bad Shift Interlock Actuator.

Is this something you can do yourself? Here's step one. If you can handle that I'll send you the rest.


  1. Remove steering column.

Additional Information provided courtesy of AllDATA

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