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Mike V.
Mike V., Auto Service Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 23816
Experience:  25 years of experience, Certified Subaru Technician and Nissan factory trained.
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99 Trooper: 125k..weather was VERY cold..sitting overnight..Park

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Hi. We have a '99 Trooper with around 125K on it. The car has been great and it still runs very well.

About two winters ago, we noticed that sometimes when the weather was VERY cold, and only when the car was sitting overnight, it was hard shifting out of Park. The button on the side of the shift lever could not be pressed until the car had run for a few minutes.

Then, last winter, the problem was more consistent, but once the car was warmed up for a few minutes, there was no problem whatsoever.

Throughout last spring and summer this problem never occurred at all. However, a few weeks ago, as our Chicago weather started turning cooler, the problem has come back worse than ever. It takes at least several minutes at least to get that button to depress-- even if we warm the car up first.

Once the car is out of Park, the tranny shifts perfectly and the shifter, going from R to N to D, seems to work without any problem. But, if we park the car and leave it in sub 40 degree weather for a few hours, we again are unable to depress the button.

Any thoughts? I don't want to go to some tranny shop and be taken to the cleaner.

This year the problem
Greetings Sir or Madam and welcome to JA! I will do my very best to assist you with your problem.
Hi, I suspect over time it is possible you have spilled coffee and or soda into the console. The will cause the shift solenoid to become sticky. This is likely why it has to be warmed up before it will shift for you.
I don't have any diagrams for this but have seen it many times on other vehicles. The shift solenoid is located under the cover of the shifter in front of it.
If you can get the cover off, then you can try cleaning up the rod from the solenoid to the shifter and this can likely solve the problem. I have very limited info on the Isuzu, but I feel this is a valid answer and can solve the problem for you.
A little brake cleaner on the rod can clean it up real good.
Hope this helps somehow!
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
It feels very mechanical, that the shift button won't budge until it's ready. But you're saying that button is connected to linkage ending at the solenoid. And when that stickiness or whatever it is falls below a certain temperature, it won't allow that solenoid to release?

Would a good test of this theory be to use a heating pad or blow dryer applied to the console cover on a cold morning and see if the shifter button moves?
Yes, it is actually mechanical. And electrical. When you step on the brakes, it activates the shift solenoid. Then you can push the button and get it out of gear. I think a blow dryer on it is a great idea! Wish I thought of it. It could get things moving faster and would show if this is right or not.Good idea!
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