My friend's '00 G/A won't shift out of P and shes trying to explain it over the phone [Archive] - Forum


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Washer Nozzle
06-19-2006, 08:50 PM
As stated in title:
My friend is freaking out because her '99 or '00 Grand Damn won't shift out of park. She isn't very knowledgable about cars and shes also 50 miles away. I'm probably the only person who can fix it for her as she can't afford a tow/mechanic.

1.) she says she parked the car by her apt. complex mailbox and shifted into park. When she returned from checking her mail, she couldn't shift back into drive.

2.) she says the ABS light is on, the parking brake light is on (even though she doesn't have the p-brake applied), and the check engine light comes on intermittenly (I sorta disregarded the c/e light because that is normal w/ GM's ).

3.) I have a fair amount of automotive knowledge, but I don't really know much about automatic transmissions. Its sorta hard to diagnose things over the phone as well. So I'd like to know what to expect before I cart myself out there.

4.) I'm hoping to get some input from a GM tech as to what possibile problems this could be. Feel free to PM me, and if I go out to work on her car I may need to correspond w/ someone via telephone.

5.) I'm getting paid for this job with wings and beer, so I'll eat some wings and drink some beers in honor of whoever helps me figure this out.

06-19-2006, 09:35 PM
I could be wrong, but there is a solenoid that is activated when you put your foot on the brake pedal that allows the shifter to move back. Maybe this solenoid has gone bad and won't allow the shifter to move???

06-19-2006, 09:40 PM
I believe that would be a first for grand am's. There's a couple things you could try.
1. The ignition switch has a cable in it that locks and unlocks the the shift lever. So does the shift lever move?

2. When you press the brake pedal does the button on the shift level press in. Because applying the brake would allow the button to be pressed in, and if it's not pressed in it wont let you move the shifter as well.

3. Possible that the shift cable could have broken or come loose from the trans, it's under the air filter assembly, almost right under the exhaust pipe, near a red transmission fill cap.

4. If it's any of those problems, you shouldn't be getting any service lights. Check the trans connector.
It might have been plugged in poorly and popped out. It's towards the front of the trans, it's a fat connector, it's got 20 pins inside. to take it off the trans ytou gotta squeeze boths sides of it (kinda like child proof medicine bottles)

I know that if the hand brake is engaged that it disables tranction control, so something could be triggering the hand brake light and throwing the traction light. A short, or a wire came loose somewhere, this would be hard to pin point.

good luck.

Washer Nozzle
06-19-2006, 09:57 PM
Well the VW Vortex Car Lounge (I'm an oldschool VW fan) think its the brake light switch.

I asked Her if she was depressing the brake pedal when she went to shift it and she said she was.

I'm hoping its the brakelight switch because they told me that'd be easy to replace. Would I have to disarm the airbag or anything? The car is equipped w/ ABS.

Other than that, it might also be the " automatic transmission shift lock control solenoid". I can't seem to find this part anywhere online though. Will the dealer have it cheap/in stock?

Here's the thread in the Car Lounge:

06-20-2006, 07:34 AM
the plastic piece that holds the shift boot, pull it and it will pop out. u should see a white clip that can be pressed and it will unlock it from the park.u will have to hold it when changing from park to drive or whatever but u should be able to get it into other gears

Mike Jung
06-20-2006, 07:41 AM
Or she could just put the key ignition switch to accessories (Brake-Transaxle Shift Interlock is not active, when in ACC.),
& then shift it into N (with the parking brake set & foot on the brake pedal),
& start the car,
& then drive off (release parking brake & shift into gear).

(Until it gets fixed or to drive somewhere to get fixed.)

PS: Did she park on a hill & Torque Lock the parking pin in the transmission ?

06-20-2006, 11:21 AM
Yep what Mike said.. VWvortex is not GAvortex, their info is completely off. This happens quite often in the GA, one of thos little quirks.. most of the time the shifter wasnt completely in park when you turn the key to off, messes everything up.

06-20-2006, 11:22 AM
Or she could just put the key ignition switch to accessories (Brake-Transaxle Shift Interlock is not active, when in ACC.),
& then shift it into N (with the parking brake set & foot on the brake pedal),
& start the car,
& then drive off (release parking brake & shift into gear).

(Until it gets fixed or to drive somewhere to get fixed.)

PS: Did she park on a hill & Torque Lock the parking pin in the transmission ?


06-23-2006, 11:08 AM
[QUOTE=Mike Jung]Or she could just put the key ignition switch to accessories (Brake-Transaxle Shift Interlock is not active, when in ACC.),

Freaked me out when that happen to me a few years ago

Washer Nozzle
06-28-2006, 05:59 PM
Back to the top w/ this one.

I found out the car is a '97 and not a '00 as I had thought. It has the 3.1L V6.

So I went down there and took a look at it. But she recruited me an "assistant", her friend's dad. He got in my way a little bit, he was a nice guy just trying to help, but I'd rather work alone.

Anyhow, I noticed that when you turn the ignition on and press the shifter button, it wouldn't go in, and you could hear a noise in the steering column. I looked and theres some sort of solenoid that opens when you turn the ig on. I messed around with it, opening it and closing it, but it didn't do anything to resolve the problem.

I then took the boot off of the shifter, and found the little linkage that controlled the shifter lock. I pulled it out and was able to shift the car. At this point my assistant said "lets put something in there to hold it open and call it a day. Since this girl wasn't up for going to the parts store or spending much money to fix the car, I thought "why not". So we tried jamming it open, but some of the plastic linkage pieces broke. So we pulled out the little pin that moves the linkage, and shoved a washer on it and glued it to hold it back.

This worked alright, and the shifter was moving fine. However, when she drove it she complained of a loss of power. Aparently the transmission is shifting differently, and from what she is telling me now it sounds like it is slipping in the higher gears, I think this is because my "assistant" told her that it wasn't going into overdrive and she could shift it manually. :applause:

she is also complaining of her brake pedal being spongy and dropping to the floor. she told me this guy also fixed her brakes a couple of months ago, but that before the shifter incident the car was stopping fine. Her A/C is not working either. I told her its a completely different system, but she wanted you guys to know that b/c she swears its a related problem.

Anybody have any ideas with the new information? This car has 99 problems, and ameteur mechanics are oblviously 98 of them. I know my way around a VW Jetta, but this Pontiac stuff with sensors and solenoids, computers, and junk is driving me up the wall. I'm going to look at it this weekend I think.

Fixing it isn't a big concern for her, as it was GIVEN to her by it's previous owners. The car sustained the typical GM hail damage (I swear its a factory option nowadays), and they were only offered $300 trade in for it. So she is not out anything if she has to scrap it.

06-28-2006, 06:11 PM
You mite need to bleed the breaks again, could fix it or a run to the parts store.
AC isnt related to breaks so it couldnt be related. When you say it doesnt work, as in it blows warm air, or simply doesnt work. New condenser would prolly be quite costly, and freon is fairly cheap. As for your shifting problems, there has to be some junk ones in GA semi close that you could steal parts from. Good Luck. Other wise, trade it in for one of those push/pull for guarnteed 1000 dollars or something.

Good Luck.

06-28-2006, 08:52 PM
I experianced the SAME problem, and I ended up needing a new tranny. Check the fuse box under the hood, I can almost gaurntee that there is a blown fuse. I couldn't tell what the fuse was for because its to worn to read the side label...but what you said is exactly what was going on with my '96 GA (with the 3.1v6). Appearantly something shorted out in my tranny and fried a bunch of wires, and ended up burning up the tranny. I got a used tranny, and had it replaced at Cottmann Transmissions, they did it for just shy of $1,000. I didnt have the problem you described with the brakes though, and my a/c never blew cold air lol. Feel free to ask questions if you have any.

Edit: I went and took a picture of my fusebox... IIRC it is the one i highlighted.

07-31-2006, 01:06 PM
i had the same problem with my wife's car. i was doing some work on the a/c and had the car up on the side walk and i could not shift from park. come to find out it was a fuse called (IIRC) or something like that. its a 20 amps fuse in you engine compartment. i replaced the fuse and everything got fixed. the abs light was on so was the brake light. check that out.

07-31-2006, 05:50 PM
I'd say check the brake fluid resivour while you're at it and make sure there's actually enough fluid left. Also if the trans fix doesn't solve your problem give the brake system a thorough check.

08-01-2006, 12:05 PM
my friends car did this same exact thing. turns out it was stuck in second gear. thats where shes feeling the loss of power from. i woudlnt drive it like that you end up screwing more stuff up than its worth. his car was a 96 3100 with the 4t60e. he ended up getting it rebuilt. the tow truck guy showed him the white clip trick.

08-01-2006, 02:32 PM
If it is stuck in second that means its in limp home mode (typically) and there is a major issue with the tranny.