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chris, Ford Mechanic
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 3521
Experience:  ASE Master -Ford senior master-20 years experience
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2000 Ford F-150: shifter is loose and drops into reverse..gear without

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I have a 2000 Ford F-150. The shifter is loose and drops into reverse without a key and without stepping on the brake. With the key in the ignition and turned to the position before starting, I can put the truck into any gear without stepping on the brake. The truck starts and drives fine; however, I am concerned that the truck can seriously hurt someone if the emergency brake is not engaged and the truck slips into reverse.

I have read lots of threads including this one:

1) The two gold bolts were loose, so I tightened them. This may have improved the situation; however, it did not fix the problem.

2) I went under the truck to check the shift cable and how it is on the transmission. The bracket that holds the cable is it not loose; however, I can shift from park to reverse by simply moving the linkage cable.

3) Went back under the driver's side of the dash and looked at that arm again. I grabbed the arm but could not lift it up and down, so I do not think the shift tube bushings are worn out.

4) The only left was to adjust the shift cable; however, I was not sure how to do that.

What else could it be and what else should I try?

Hi there


you did well so far ,, the gold bolts comeing loose is a very common problem , and so are the shift tube bushings,, but another problem is the shift cable adjuster comes loose, located on the shift cable ware the shift cable mounts to the trans,, there is a clip , see pic below


number one in the pic above is a clip that you can release and slide up and adjust the cable , sometimes it slides up on its own and the shifter becomes sloppy , see if this is slid up or loose, once you have it adjusted you slide the clip down and it locks it into place.

we can go back and forth on this page


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hello Chris - thanks for the response! I read your similar post about the 97 F-150 ( The diagram you provided should help as I tried to release the clip to adjust the cable and was unable to do so. I will try again in the morning when I will hopefully have some light. Not to sound like a skeptic but how will adjusting the cable solve the problem with the shifter not locking in park? I can see how adjusting the cable will allow the ear shifter to stay positioned in park but not locked. Thanks in advance for the clarification. George

there is a release tab on the cable adjuster that has to be pried up with a pocket screw driver and then the clip can be pulled up ,, once you have the cable ware you want it , slide the clip down to lock it back into place...

the shifter will not lock into park ,, if the cable is out of adjustment it may not be going all the way into park , or not letting the shifter go all the way into park ..... a sign that the shift cable is out of adjustment is , does the shifter go into every gear , park , rev, nutrial , drive , 2nd, low ,, if it does not then its out of adjustment


if it does then --

well, make sure the brake lamps are not on all the time,,

or the shift lock out actuator and its bracket may be loose, both located on top of the steering column , on the top of the shift tube ,,,,also sometimes,, very rare , but there is a small lever in the shift tube that locks the shifter in park , have seen the pin that holds it in place come loose or fall out , or the lever itself is broken ,,,, this makes more sense to me ,,, you would have to lower the steering column to look at the condition of this part see pics below


its located about a inch from ware those loose gold bolts ware on the shift tube




Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hi Chris - thank for the response. The shifter goes into every gear just fine; however, it is not aligned with the gear indicator. It is always to the right of the indicator. As an example, it is to the right of the R when in reverse. Sounds like adjusting the cable will take care of this but not locking it in park.

When state that I need to lower the steering column to look at the condition of the parts, what exactly do you want me to do? I can see a fair amount if I lay on floor board and look up but access is limited.

to get a good look at the shift tube , its lever that locks it into park , and the shift lock out solenoid , you have to lower the steering column , the steering column is held in place by four bolts, 13mm, remove the front two bolts and remove the rear two bolts down to there last threads , and the steering column will lay down on the front seat ,,, then you can see the top of the steering column and the shift tube , and see whats what , and at this point you can even remove the shift tube and repaire it if needed , you will only have to remove the lower dash panel under the steering column , and also remove the white thin shift indicator cable , located on the bottom of the steering column , due to its very fragile and may brake when you lower the steering column , and thats it , I bet something is wrong with the little lever that locks it into park , either its pin has backed out , or its broken , very cheap parts , but takes some time to access and repaire




Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks Chris. I hope to take a look this afternoon when I have some time.


Thanks,, Chris

chris and 2 other Ford Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Definitely the lever that locks the truck into park is broken. We are trying to get a part number for it.

good,, if you have not found the part number yet, i can get it tomorrow when I get to my dealer


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Part number is D5TZ-3D653-B (non-tilt). It is a level control/lock. I have seen the part listed for anywhere from $7.95 to $10. Just hard to source locally.

ok, looks like you have it handled, good luck