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I have a 1991 LX. I just tried to start it and nothing happened at all. This happened the other day and I had to put the car in neutral and it started right up. Now, I can't even get the button on the floor shifter to push in, so now I can't put it in neutral to start. Does that mean the neutral safety switch is bad or is it the shift linkage? I need to know so I can call a good mechanic and get an estimate on repairs. Thanks for your help!!
 

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My 91 LX is a standard, so my situation is a bit different.

Don't even mess with the switch until you deal with the linkage. You definitely have a problem there. Whether you also have a switch problem, I don't know, but I really doubt it.

I refuse to acknowledge that autos exist, so I've never worked on an auto shifter linkage before.

Wait till someone here with an auto replies. Someone will have seen this before.
 

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Sounds like it could be a case of a bad ignition switch to me. There's a how to in the tech and repair section on how to change it.

Good luck :wink:

Matt 8)
 

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I still think you have to start with the linkage.

You can't get it to go into neutral. That's a mechanical problem for sure. If there is something askew with your linkage preventing you from "making" neutral, you may not be able to "make" park either. If the neutral safety switch isn't made (by recognizing park or neutral) then you won't start, no how, no way.

I think this is a sign that your neutral safety switch IS working. It's preventing you from starting the car because it doesn't recognize the position of your shift linkage as either neutral or park.

Go ahead, let me have it. This is just speculation - like I said, I pretend autos don't exist.

The fact that the ignition switch did work when you found neutral properly before, may support this - although it doesn't rule out a problem with the ignition switch.
 

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highanddry said:
You can't get it to go into neutral. That's a mechanical problem for sure.
Not necessarily on an auto.

The brake on off switch (BOO), the same brake switch that activates you brake lights, also activates the shift interlock solenoid. If the switch or this solenoid is defective, you can't shift out of park (ie, push the button). The owners manual shows you how to bypass this if something is wrong and you need to move the car (this qualifies :wink: ).

There's also a switch attached to the auto shifter used to tell the circuit when the car is in park and neutral so it will only start in these positions. Haynes' calls it a Manual Lever Position Switch. This could also be defective, but worn out in the Park position only, thus why you can still start it in Neutral.

I'm willing to say it's either the ignition switch or the Position switch.

Matt 8)
 

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I know what you're doing Matt :idea: . You're trying to make me care about automatics. It won't work - the technology should never have been invented.

If I undertsand what you are saying, wouldn't this mean that he has two switches that are defective?

Is it not possible that it is a linkage thing? Ie - Is there something I missed in coming to the conclusion I did?

Please reply - I'm not saying I quite care yet, but I'm at least interested. Thanks.
 

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It's possible it's the linkage, but pretty unlikely. It's actually a cable. A very well sealed cable at that. If it was the cable it would be getting stiffer and stiffer all the time. Could very well be just the BOO switch as well, but the fact that he's having starting trouble and can't shift into gear lends me to the ignition switch. The shift interlock device is wired to the run/start circuit of the switch. Two problems with two systems, only two devices in common between them. It's either the ignition switch or shift position switch. It only takes one of these devices to cause a problem. Of all the time I've spent on Escort boards I've never once heard of a bad shift position switch, ignition switches are a common problem to the Escort.

An auto will always shift faster than a manual. If I swapped my torque converter for something more useful you'd be eating my dust 8O

But lets not get off topic now :wink:

Matt 8)
 
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