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You say nothing about Trans once going so must be OK linkage is mechanical have u visually inspect ed linkage that there is nothing binding fluid level of Trans there is a mechanical lever side of Trans hooked to linkage disconnect linkage 2 see if lever shifts freely there is an internal ratcheting arm that engages park in Trans may b at fault but it's internap drop Trans pan can see lever then change filter aND Trans fluid and new pan gasket don't over tighten pan bolts all I know hope it helps
I think it is linked to the Starter Interlock system and probably a switch on the Brake pedal lever under the dash.
There is suppose to be a safety system(check brake lights) which prevents starting the car without a foot on the Brake or without the car in Park.
Some makers may allow starting in Neutral like the old days; but the intention of the system was to prevent runaway cars from moving when the Gearshift lied about being in Park.
I know that the system had to be adjusted "referred to as timed" so that the shift linkage, Brake pedal switch and sometimes Ignition switch had to be in the right place for everything to work.
Reading your problem it is evident that part of the system was crippled for some time, and finally fell apart on you.
Possibly your shifter indicates D when it is in another gear and that the linkage is binding and preventing the correct selection of gears.
You could securely jack a rear wheel off the ground and disconnect the trans linkage. Have an assistant operate the gearshift and see if it makes sense and if it is binding. If the shifter seems okay, your only choice is to try to operate the shift lever sticking out of the trans. Engine OFF. To see if valve body in trans is rough.
Alternative is to tow it to a Repair shop for diagnosis. Notice I did not say Trans shop. You don't know if you need a Trans shop yet. So taking it somewhere where they do not install Transmissions will go further in getting only what is necessary fixed.
i have a 2003 chev s-10 pickup with automatic/ 4 cyl I am not able to move shifter from park to drive i believe my shifter cable is binding gears selection matches fine when shifting. But will not get out park go to reverse or neutral selection only drive, 3rd, 2nd and 1st do i need to replace shifting linkage cable?
Was the fluid you drained red or black? did it smell like trans or gear oil? With linkage disconnected, could you put trans in park by moving the lever on the side of the unit? Oil condition is likely a separate issue...most "blown" transmissions generally have normal operation of shift, it just dosen't do what you tell it to. two things likely going on are: linkage problem and likely in need of fluid/filter change.
you could need a throttle linkage adjustment. first check to see if your ram will start in "park" and "neutral" only. if it starts in any other gear=faulty neutral safety switch. replace. ok, now check linkage for proper adjustment...with engine off and in park...remove intake housing..disconnect cableend from attatchment stud on your throttle body..slide cable off the stud (carefully)..verify that the transmissionthrottle lever is fully forward (idle) position..and verify that the lever on the throttle body is at curb idle pos..insert small screwdriver under edge of the retaining clip and remove..center the cable end on attatchment stud to within 0.04", or 1mm. install retaining clip onto cable housing..check cable adjustment..be sure trans throttle lever and throttlr body lever move in sync with each other.