The transmission worked perfectly well until yesterday. The shifter is in the park position but the transmission is in drive. You can start the car but if you remove your foot from the brake pedal the car wants to move forward. Now I am headlong into the driveway and I cannot move the shifter out of the park position.
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You disconnect it down at the transmission, and move the linkage manually. Doing so manually will engage the "park" position on the trans itself, but the wiring to release the key is connected directly to that shifter. The only way to "bypass" would be (_after_ disconnecting the linkage to the trans), disassemble the entire shifter from the console. You will find a switch. You simply need to engage the switch (or disengage it, depending on what position "park" would put the switch into)... Then you can remove the key. Seems to me it's easier to remove the car battery and simply use spare keys to lock the doors, until you can obtain a replacement shifter. You can even "block" the tires to prevent motion if you don't want to mess with the trans linkage until after you obtain a replacement shifter. (If I was there I'd get that to shift. I've done it before. I just can't explain how to do it. It's a pain-in-the-rear-jury-rig process, but it can be done).
the shift linkage is directly below your auto transmission shifter. simply place in park, undo the bolt joining the shifter to the transmission, push on the transmission shifter at the other end so it clicks fully into park and tighten the bolt up hard. then check for normal operation.
just remember chances are when your pushing down on the shifter to drive that the direction your pushing at the transmission is reversed so park should be towards the rear of the vehicle and drive is towards the front. but may not always be the case. best bet is to get a mate to move the shifter up and down untill you see exactly what is going on, then adjust your linkage to suit.
This could be the problem. If your dash indicator is showing reverse but the transmission is in park it could be the safety switch. I'm not talking about the safety switch in the transmission though. In automatics they put a second switch to kill the starter from engaging. You need to adjust the linkage. If your shifter isn't actually on the column but the indicators are there is a cable that attaches the floor shift to the column and that is adjustable. Put the Floor shifter in Park and turn the column section nearest the dash by hand until you find park. Then adjust the cable length as needed. If all you have is the column shift it is still a cable adjustment. Set the emergency brake, drop the shifter to low 1 and adjust the cable linkage by loosening it on the transmission and manually move it all the way to low 1 then tighten it down then move the shifter to park and repeat teh adjustment process to verify that it is properly aligned. Lock the linkage back down and see if the vehicle will start, if it doesn't move the shifter to neutral and try to start the vehicle if the vehicle starts then check the column shift safety switch at the park position to make sure it is still in place and working. Typically, if the vehicle won't start in Park or Neutral it is more likely to be the Transmission neutral safety switch.
I'd venture to say your linkage is out of adjustment - don't mess with the bands if the transmission worked before. Move the shift lever all the way to the lowest gear detent (farthest away from Park), then tighten the linkage cable adjustment until the shifter on the transmission is right at its stop on the transmission. The shift indicator needle should be centered on the letter. (If the transmission is now working properly and the needle is still off, you can adjust the needle inside the shifter housing by sliding its clip on the bracket attached to the shift lever. I didn't say it would be easy to get at it...)
If the car rolls with the shifter in the park position and the starter will not engage the engine than the transmission is not in park. This could be caused by a bad shift cable. In order to confirm this you will need to find the area where the shift cable attaches to the transmission. While a helper runs the shifter through the gears check the linkage at the transmission to see if it is moving. If the linkage is not moving that there is a problem with the shift cable or the shifter. Some disassembly of the center council may be necessary to gain access to the area where the shift cable attaches to the shifter to see if it is still attached to the shifter. If it is and the shifter is moving the cable than the cable will need to be replaced.
If the cable is moving the linkage at the trans than there is probably something wrong internally inside of the transmission.
If you have any questions or need further help I will be happy to do what I can!
Have someone operate the gear shift while you watch the mechanism on the transmission so that you know what parts you are looking for. Shift into the park position, then uncouple the linkage and move the lever on the transmission fully into the park position. Then adjust the length of the linkage while holding the driver's lever in the park position so that the linkage connector goes back together without pulling on anything.
check to see if your shift cable is stretched or broken, also look on the transmission itself to make sure that the lever where the cable attaches to is not bent. also you can check under the shifter itself and make sure the linkage there is all ok. it sounds like your shifter cable is the cause for your problem.
if the cable is ok and you can see the shift lever move on the transmission than the next likely cause would be the valve body in the transmission.