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It sounds like your shift cable has broken. A common occurence
Please forgive me i misunderstood what you were saying, actually i have had that happen a couple of times, in both cases it was the tube up around the area where the lever attaches. I went with a junk yard column there pretty cheap, just swap your key ring and key
Thats what im saying transfer that to your replacement column
What i found best and cheapest in both cases was to purchase a used column and transfer the key and ignition to the replacement column. I picked up a column for like 60 bucks
moval and Installation
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DISASSEMBLY AND ASSEMBLY: STEERING COLUMN - COLUMN SHIFT
211-04 Steering Column2004 Taurus/Sable
DISASSEMBLY AND ASSEMBLY
Procedure revision date: 08/09/2004
Steering Column - Column Shift
Steering Column Locking Lever Tool (Shop Fabricated)
Penetrating and Lock LubricantXL-1-
Premium Long Life GreaseXG-1-CESA-M1C75-B
WARNING: To reduce the risk of serious personal injury, read and follow all warnings, notes and instructions in the steering column removal and installation procedure.
NOTICE: Carefully note the position of the steering column lock gear, bearing and retainer prior to removal.
WARNING: The steering column position spring is under tension and can come out with great force. Failure to follow these instructions may result in personal injury.
NOTE:Coat all surfaces with multi-purpose grease.
NOTE:The "UP" position of the bearing must be facing forward, toward the engine.
NOTE:Install the steering column lower bearing and sleeve so that the inner race is visible when installed.
23517Bearing (in the "UP" position)
NOTICE: Gearshift lever pin must be installed correctly or 1st gear position may be blocked.
NOTICE: Install the upper steering column bearing so that the inner race is visible when installed.
2-Bearing (in the "UP" position)
NOTICE: Install the large steering column bearing so that the inner race is visible when installed.
NOTE:Use an appropriate bearing installer or socket.
23511Steering column lock cylinder housing
4-Bearing (in the "UP" position)
NOTE:Lubricate the lock cylinder housing bushings with penetrating and lock lubricant.
NOTE:The narrow section of the keyhole in the lock gear must be in the 1 o'clock position.
NOTE:When installing the steering column, read and follow the steering column installation instructions and warnings as outlined in this section.
please let me know if those come through and if they are all you need.