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Old 11-05-2012, 02:14 PM   #1
signcrafter
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Default Escort parking "pin" getting stuck

My sister has a 98(ish, maybe 2000) ford escort zx2 automatic trans that is in pretty rough shape but it's her only vehicle and doesn't have money for a new car while going to school. She said her car won't go out of park sometimes. Said it feels like when she pushes the button on the gear shift it is stuck. She said her friend looked at it and said the "pin" that locks the trans in park is getting hung up. Her friend told her to get out and push the car from the front to rock it and it will then shift out of park, she says this has been working. Her friend told her it wasn't worth fixing.

Anyone have any ideas what might be going on? Is the problem something inside the trans or something outside that can be fixed? I would like to help her if I can.
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:39 PM   #2
sometoyotaguy
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Default Re: Escort parking "pin" getting stuck

It's probably worn. It could also be the button in the shifter as well. Tell her to try using the emergency brake before putting it into park. When she wants to use it, put it in gear before releasing the e-brake.

There should be a slot to bypass the button on the side of the shifter, see if that makes it work better. If not, it's in the transmission, and probably not worth the trouble if the e-brake thing works.
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:40 PM   #3
kbs2244
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Default Re: Escort parking "pin" getting stuck

He sounds like he might be on the right track.
And his "fix" is correct.

When you put an automatic in Park it slips a small dowel, a "pin", into a hole in a gear.
If it gets bent or nicked it can be hard to get it into or out of Park.
By rocking the car a bit you are reliving the side forces on the pin and hopefully making it easier to slide.
It is a trans teardown to fix.

If the parking brakes still work, the habit to get into is to set them before putting the trans in Park.
That keeps any force from the car trying to roll off the pin.
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:56 PM   #4
jwillis
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Default Re: Escort parking "pin" getting stuck

Tell het to park it in neutral and put the emergency brake on. That should cure the problem..........
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:59 PM   #5
signcrafter
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Default Re: Escort parking "pin" getting stuck

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Originally Posted by jwillis View Post
Tell het to park it in neutral and put the emergency brake on. That should cure the problem..........
I will ask her if her e brake works but my guess is that it is probably frozen stuck.
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:03 PM   #6
jwillis
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Default Re: Escort parking "pin" getting stuck

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Originally Posted by signcrafter View Post
I will ask her if her e brake works but my guess is that it is probably frozen stuck.
Well, that would be an easier fix than the trans..........
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:15 PM   #7
signcrafter
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Default Re: Escort parking "pin" getting stuck

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Originally Posted by jwillis View Post
Well, that would be an easier fix than the trans..........
I suppose so. I'll have to take a look at it and see what I can come up with. I've been searching and seems like a common problem is the brake switch but I'm guessing since it works when she rocks the car that it's a mechanical issue and not an electric switch?

Anybody know if it is a "pin" inside the trans what it is called and what it would take to replace it? Is it dropping the pan and replacing a solenoid or something or is it a complete tear down?

How does this "pin" work? Is it a solenoid or other linkage?
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:23 PM   #8
stratman977
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Default Re: Escort parking "pin" getting stuck

They key won't come out if you leave it in neutral. I would not rely on the e-brake alone to hold the car anyway without blocking the wheels. Bad idea in my opinion.
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:24 PM   #9
sometoyotaguy
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Default Re: Escort parking "pin" getting stuck

Quote:
Originally Posted by signcrafter View Post
I suppose so. I'll have to take a look at it and see what I can come up with. I've been searching and seems like a common problem is the brake switch but I'm guessing since it works when she rocks the car that it's a mechanical issue and not an electric switch?

Anybody know if it is a "pin" inside the trans what it is called and what it would take to replace it? Is it dropping the pan and replacing a solenoid or something or is it a complete tear down?

How does this "pin" work? Is it a solenoid or other linkage?
If rocking it helps, then it's probably the pin in the transmission. It's called a parking Pawl or pin. I don't know much about escorts, so you'd have to look at a service manual. Usually it's a mechanical linkage from the shifter. It drops into a slot in one of the gears (output shaft?) to prevent the axle from moving.

Fixing the parking break would typically be easier than tearing into the transmission.
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:31 PM   #10
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Default Re: Escort parking "pin" getting stuck

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Originally Posted by stratman977 View Post
They key won't come out if you leave it in neutral. I would not rely on the e-brake alone to hold the car anyway without blocking the wheels. Bad idea in my opinion.
I just thought of the key also, was coming here to post that.

I think this is the one time I wish it was something electrical instead of mechanical! I was reading that there is a motor or solenoid in the center console that works off the brake switch to let the shifter move out of park. Could this be bad and rocking the car make that work? Or is it like I'm thinking and it has to be this pin inside the trans since rocking the car releases this pin?

Does anyone know what this pin is called or what is involved in fixing it? I've dropped pans and replaced valve bodies before and have done trans swaps but never dug further and if it's takes a deeper tear down then I guess she will have to keep rocking the car. All 80 pounds of her, probably a pretty funny site to see.
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:41 PM   #11
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Default Re: Escort parking "pin" getting stuck

Update: I just stopped by and the car was stuck in park when she started it. One thing she said was that it seems to help if she keeps her foot on the brake when she starts the car. When it was stuck I used a screwdriver in the little hole by the shifter and it went right into gear. So I'm hoping it's something to do with the brake release solenoid or something. I will have to see what all is under the console. The brake lights do work so from what I have read it shouldn't be a fuse or the brake switch. So I am guessing it's the solenoid by the shifter in the center console since when I use a screwdriver to bypass it the car will shift. The only thing I don't get is she said rocking the car seemed to help. I don't see how rocking the car would help if it was something in the console? Does my thinking sound reasonable?

Last edited by signcrafter; 11-05-2012 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:40 PM   #12
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Default Re: Escort parking "pin" getting stuck

Is the thing that locks the shifter until the brake is applied an electric solenoid that opens when you press the brake? If I can get it to shift out of park when I use a screwdriver to overide it then it's most likely this solenoid right? The tail lights work and the brake switch controls both the lights and the shifter unlock so the brake switch should be fine. So I'm thinking solenoid but haven't taken the console apart yet to even see what's in there.

Thanks for any advice on this.
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Old 11-06-2012, 09:10 AM   #13
sometoyotaguy
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Default Re: Escort parking "pin" getting stuck

Most cars these days won't shift out of park unless you press the brake. If it's working ok when you bypass it with a screwdriver, then it's probably that solenoid. I think they usually just get gummed up, and can be cleaned. That would be the least expensive fix.

Rocking the car really shouldn't effect how that solenoid works, so you may have two problems.
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Old 11-06-2012, 04:04 PM   #14
signcrafter
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Default Re: Escort parking "pin" getting stuck

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Originally Posted by sometoyotaguy View Post
Most cars these days won't shift out of park unless you press the brake. If it's working ok when you bypass it with a screwdriver, then it's probably that solenoid. I think they usually just get gummed up, and can be cleaned. That would be the least expensive fix.

Rocking the car really shouldn't effect how that solenoid works, so you may have two problems.
That was what I was thinking and why I am a little confused. When I checked it out the shifter was stuck in park. I press the screwdriver in and it shifted fine. But her telling me that rocking the car usually fixes the problem confused me because I couldn't see how rocking would affect the shifter handle lock. I could see how it would affect a pin holding the car in park, but not the shifter handle. But if it was the pin inside the trans then the screwdriver shouldn't have worked. Maybe the rocking or the screwdriver fix was just a fluke. She said it hasn't happened since I looked at it yesterday so hopefully the screwdriver is the trick and I can take the console apart and clean the solenoid or just replace it.
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Old 11-06-2012, 05:44 PM   #15
jjpp
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Default Re: Escort parking "pin" getting stuck

The shift interlock is sticking, most likely from years of pop being dumped on the console. If I remember correctly you can remove the interlock solenoid on that year, just pull the console and you should be able to do it without pulling the shifter. You can try to clean it but it would likely be a temporary fix. By disabling it the only thing you change is that you will be able to pull it out of park without you foot on the brake. Or just keep a pocket screwdriver in the console to bypass it.
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Old 11-06-2012, 05:46 PM   #16
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Default Re: Escort parking "pin" getting stuck

And don't waste your money on a used shifter, you'll be in the same boat.
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Old 11-06-2012, 05:55 PM   #17
Charles (in GA)
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Default Re: Escort parking "pin" getting stuck

Its possible that at times the park pawl in the transmission was loaded and made the shifter difficult to move. On these occasions rocking the car made the shifter move easier, while most of the time she is having problems with the shifter lock solenoid. If you can remove it and disable the feature, I'd do that. Hopefully she don't have kids to pull it out of park unexpectedly. Cars went around for years with shifters that could be moved without the foot brake applied, so its no biggie to me, you just have to understand how it works.

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