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95 intermittent starting issue. Fiddling with the shifter (auto) fixes it. Bad park sensor?


New member
Mar 13, 2019
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Southern IL, USA
Vehicle Year
Make / Model
Ranger XLT 4.0
My truck has a bad transmission range sensor and its always running with the O/D light flashing, otherwise it falls in and out of gear constantly. But i've had it for almost a year and it just started doing this a couple months ago and I believe the park safety is a seperate switch from this thing right? My fat arse won't fit up that far under the truck and still have enough room to work so I'm just going to have the shop do it when I get the rear main seal done and the trans will be out anyways. Just to be clear the park safety is a seperate and independent system from this thing?


I did some searching and it seems like the park safety issue is a pretty common issue with all ford column shift vehicles? I found some youtube videos showing the repair being done on other vehicles and much newer Rangers than my 95 but I couldn't find anything up under the dash that looked like the two screws they were supposedly tightning. So far I've always been able to get it running by shifting in and out of park/neutral/drive for a minute and sometimes rolling the truck back a bit. Also when the truck rolls back after being put in park I can see the column shifter jerk sometimes? Is that normal? The main concern is sometimes I get it started the very first try, sometimes I just have to move the shifter down and up once, and sometimes I have to spend 30 plus minutes fiddling with the shifter, moving the truck, etc.

Is there some easy way bypass the stupid park safety or otherwise get the truck running? I drive the truck for work and my concern is getting stuck at a job site. I'm assuming their has to be some way to jump the start under the hood and bypass the entire ignition link, I just can't find any information. Everything I can find refers to problems with the PATS on newer rangers, which my truck doesnt have. I just want an emergency fix until I can either find out what the actual problem is and how to fix it, or pay a mechanic to fix it next month when I start my new job (and I can afford to fix the massive oil leak, get the rear brakes working, fix the broken shock mount, get a new windshield, figure out the shaking and clanking in the rear end, buy tires that aren't bald.... etc the list goes on)

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Supporting Member
May 28, 2018
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41N 75W
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The range sensor is the neutral safety switch. Replace it. Problem solved.

Josh B

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Aug 15, 2019
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Vehicle Year
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
4.0 V6
2WD / 4WD
I have some of the same problems on my 96 there Cyber but think most of mine is in the linkage adjustments somehow.

I haven't had to use it for quite some time but keep with me a rigid (10 or 12 gauge) electrical wire a little over a foot long stripped on both ends.

If it doesn't start use that wire after first being certain it's in park or neutral and the emergency brake is solidly pushed

Under the hood near the battery, on the firewall is a relay that goes to the starter. It has two larger cables bolted to the sides and on another side is a smaller wire that just slips on. Slip that one out just a bit to accept one end of the jumper wire. With the key on touch the other end of the jumper wire to the hot post on the battery.

Any wire would work but I like the rigid wire because at night and you have to hold a flashlight or something you can almost operate the jumper wire just one hand

Good luck with it, but also pay special note to Dirtman's post, that could solve it