STS disabled at work: can't shift to park

It's your engine, transmission, driveline
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kevm14
Posts: 13936
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:28 pm

STS disabled at work: can't shift to park

Post by kevm14 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:29 am

Let me start off reminding everyone that today is Friday the 13th. Not that I buy into any of that at all.

I have been noticing lately that my shifter "feel" is sloppy. Like going into reverse doesn't feel like it hits the detent squarely and going into park was starting to feel like one day it might not actually get into park. And in D, the shifter wasn't properly lined up with the D on the console, though the dash readout was fine.

Well my concern was warranted. When I got to work, when I shifted into reverse to back into my spot I was like, man that feels really bad now. So I put it back into D. That worked. Then decided to shift to park to shut it off and go inside. Unfortunately, it only made it into reverse. I went to move it and it was now COMPLETELY disconnected from the transmission. I could shut the engine off. Fortunately, unlike Toyota, just one normal press of the rocker shuts it down even in gear, no need to triple tap, or tap and hold. So much for those people who died. Problem is, and much like a car with a mechanical key, because it's not in park, it goes into accessory mode and stays there with the nav screen on and such. Of course I can get out and take my keys but I'm sure it would kill the battery in a matter of hours. So we have a problem.

I should note that shifter issues are somewhat common on this car. The main issues being either microswitches in the shifter that let the computer know it is in park, or possibly the solenoid that clicks to let you release from park. Neither of those were my problem. Some folks have had to replace the entire shifter assembly. In fact I think this car had a shifter assembly done in its previous life. Fearing the worst, I figure, well, I need to at least get under the car and look at the linkage to assess the situation. But it is way too low for that. So off to Advance Auto. And it's way too early to call AAA given I don't even know what the issue really is.

At Advance I buy a dinky 2 ton jack and jack stand combo for $40, which was at least quite easy on the wallet. I locate a 2x4 piece and jack the car up on the passenger side. Turns out the linkage is on the driver's side which makes sense. So I jack up the driver's side. The way the linkage works is the shifter drops down through the floor and connects to this shift rod/linkage that goes about 18" forward to this short arm that comes off the side of the transmission. Pretty simple. Only, mine apparently completely rusted off at the shifter end!! That explains why the problem escalated so quickly. The rest of the rod is black and painted so something must have disturbed the paint on the shifter end and then it's just a matter of time with mild steel. Maybe the shifter end is the pivot point and it just abraded the paint. That would be kind of dumb. I'll take note of that and maybe slop a big dollop of anti-seize on the pivot or something. Or like wheel bearing grease. Something.

At this point I was easily able to shift it manually into park and shut everything down until I knew what to do next. I decided I wanted to head home and exchange cars. I could shift it into D up on the jack stand but it wouldn't start in D so I'd have to shift from neutral to drive with half of my body under the car, chest pressed against the rocker panel. Not a smart idea. So I thought maybe I could prop the rod up on the shifter, drop the car down, and get one shift into D before it fell off again. This did not work. I got into N. However, I engaged the parking brake, jammed my shoulder and arm under the car and was just able to grab the rod with the tips of my fingers and jam it into gear. It picked 4th instead of D and I tried twice to get it into D. Meh. 4th it is. So I hopped back in, and drove home in 4th. Naturally there was a solid 10+ minute accident on the bridge so I waited a while to leave the island - and had time to call the dealer up in NH and get info (they did not stock it and it was backordered). They gave me a part number and a dealer in Raynham who has one and I decided to look into it at home.

Anyway, after that cleared, I found the engine turns like 3,200 rpm at 75 in 4th which seems high for a V8 but this is a pretty high revving V8 - I didn't feel or hear anything different at least. It turned out I could not manually shift because it is supposed to be in D to engage manual mode. When I tried, it just blanked out the display because that is an invalid mode (and probably set a silent trans code).

At home I was able to pull in, shut it off, engage the parking brake, and again shove it back into P with my shoulder jammed under the car. I then ordered the part which is semi-available. There are two designs - 1st is adjustable, 2nd is non-adjustable. I THINK mine is the 2nd but unfortunately even GM doesn't know (maybe there wasn't a break point switch in production). So I ordered a non-adjustable for $53 shipped from GM Parts Giant, which isn't too bad. No, RockAuto doesn't carry stuff like this.

Then I go to the Roadmaster. The tape adapter refused to work! It kept spitting the tape out after auto reversing a few times, which is exactly what the Ram started doing as well. I'd guess the belts in each player snapped due to age so the system thought the tape was at the end. So FM radio on the way back to work. That was the worst part.

kevm14
Posts: 13936
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:28 pm

Re: STS disabled at work: can't shift to park

Post by kevm14 » Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:39 pm

I was thinking about the adjustable vs non-adjustable. I mentioned that I think this car has had a replacement shifter assembly in the past. Perhaps that comes with the newer non-adjustable linkage. And that is true, that may explain why GM has no idea what my car has (by VIN/build) because it depends on whether a part was replaced with an updated part.

Fast_Ed
Posts: 541
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 9:45 pm

Re: STS disabled at work: can't shift to park

Post by Fast_Ed » Sun Jul 15, 2018 11:59 am

Wow, tough day, but at least you didn't run yourself over on Friday the 13th. That would have further cemented the superstition for others. And other consequences, probably.

Sounds like it's prob an easy fix. The fix is to just get rid of it and drive the Roadmaster. Second easiest is to replace the easily accessibe part.

kevm14
Posts: 13936
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:28 pm

Re: STS disabled at work: can't shift to park

Post by kevm14 » Tue Jul 17, 2018 7:04 pm

The shifter linkage shipped. Sweet.

kevm14
Posts: 13936
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:28 pm

Re: STS disabled at work: can't shift to park

Post by kevm14 » Fri Jul 20, 2018 5:13 pm

Got the shift rod. It appears to be steel tubing. I am wondering if the end actually fatigued. I will take an extra close look at the shifter and ensure that things that need to pivot are pivoting and not binding. I may also like dip the shifter end in anti-seize or something.
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I will say the style of construction at the shifter end (basically flattened tubing) reminds me of the end of the anti-roll bar in Jamie's Malibu. It rusted and failed in a similar place. That one was not painted at all though.

So yeah, aluminum would be better, solid steel would be better. But really if everything is actually working properly, there is nothing wrong with this design so inspection is key before I just slap this on there.

kevm14
Posts: 13936
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:28 pm

Re: STS disabled at work: can't shift to park

Post by kevm14 » Sat Jul 21, 2018 8:16 am

Replacement/adjustment instructions. Easy. Two things I learned.

1. The "adjustable" link has a thing in the middle of the link to adjust which looks dumb and I don't have that. Despite this, mine is still adjustable at the shifter end so the whole thing is a little confusing but I guessed right.

2. There is a pivot at the base of the shifter that needs to move so it doesn't bind or try to bend the shift rod. I need to ensure this rotates freely because if it does not, it would have fatigued the end of the shift rod. It is possible that it is completely bound up and that was actually the issue but when I get under the car I will hopefully see what is going on.
Attachments
05 STS Shift Control Linkage Adjustment (AWD-RWD with Solid Link).pdf
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05 STS Shift Control Linkage Replacement (AWD with Solid Link).pdf
(394.13 KiB) Downloaded 1 time

kevm14
Posts: 13936
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:28 pm

Re: STS disabled at work: can't shift to park

Post by kevm14 » Sat Jul 21, 2018 9:56 am

All done. Took an hour 20 including tool cleanup. Old shift rod was tagged December 2004 so I'd say it was the original for whatever that's worth.

Old link, transmission end. The nut broke free pretty easily. 13mm cap nut. I had to pry the arm off the trans shifter stud but I got it off.
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Broken off shift rod at the bottom of the shifter. Oh, the pivot moved perfectly free so that was not binding. 10mm nut (with a built-in rotating washer) and I had to hold back the shifter from twisting but a little PB and I got it off. You can barely even touch the driveshaft on this car. It is above the exhaust and heat shield.
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Very heavy application of anti-seize on both the shifter and the rod itself. I guessed on the adjustment based on the old one being about in the middle, so I put this in the middle.
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A little tricky getting the nut started but I got it started. Could barely fit my hand in there.
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I have not driven because I am dirty but I did shift through the gears and it seems to hit every gear properly. It feels WAY tighter than perhaps the entire time I've owned it. I am sure the test drive will be fine and I doubt I will need to tweak the adjustment. If I do, everything is slathered in anti-seize so it will be no problem at all.

kevm14
Posts: 13936
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:28 pm

Re: STS disabled at work: can't shift to park

Post by kevm14 » Sat Jul 21, 2018 6:26 pm

Drove to CT and back today. Shifter feels great, seems to be adjusted properly. Issue closed.

Fast_Ed
Posts: 541
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 9:45 pm

Re: STS disabled at work: can't shift to park

Post by Fast_Ed » Sun Jul 22, 2018 8:58 pm

Sweet. It must have been scary being down to 5 cars for so long!

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