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Neutral Safety Switch Issue and Location


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15 replies to this topic

#1 markjplatten

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Posted 27 November 2011 - 11:22 PM

I have an automatic 97 legacy outback limited that will not move out of park without pressing the bypass switch. I can hear a clicking in the steering column. I think it may be a failed neutral safety switch but am not sure. If this is the problem, is there a good schematic on where it is located and a step-by-step procedure to replace it?

#2 bstone

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 03:14 AM

It's on the external transmission. If I recall correctly, it's on the passenger's side.

#3 KaraK

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 04:20 AM

Is there a recall on this??? Thought I saw something about shift linkage...
I'm no expert though...

#4 mdjdc

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 06:51 AM

I wouldn't be the neutral safety switch. I t would be the park lockout. You may have a bad solenoid on the shifter linkage or you may have a bad switch on the brake pedal.

#5 xbeerd

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 10:59 PM

i had that problem with our shifter once, the metal L shaped lever popped out of the plastic groove in the parkin lockout. i pulled it apart and popped it back in place pretty quickly, on the 2000 legacy outback its on the passenger side of the shifter.

#6 Fairtax4me

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 11:42 PM

Yeah that's an issue with the shift lock mechanism. Sometimes it's just gummed up with sticky dried up soda that spilled on there 6 months ago.
You should hear a click under the shifter when you press the brake pedal (key on).

#7 nipper

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 12:01 AM

Very first thing to check is the brake pedal switch and make sure it is working. I dont remember does this have a trigger button to move the car out of park on the selector or is it the squiggly shifter (arent techy terms great)

#8 Mike104

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 12:50 PM

Very first thing to check is the brake pedal switch and make sure it is working. I dont remember does this have a trigger button to move the car out of park on the selector or is it the squiggly shifter (arent techy terms great)


Since we are getting all technical, I think the Gen 1 OBs do not have the squiggly shifter (its on the 2000-2004 Gen 2's for sure).

#9 nipper

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 02:36 PM

OK since this is a straight line shift pattern, when you put your foot on the brake and press the release button, you should here a relay click under the dash. If you do its the solenoid, if you dont its the brake switch. The NSS has nothing to do with the shift interlock.

#10 nwtech

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 08:54 PM

ran into this on a 97 outback wagon, mistakenly pulled the MLPS nut instead of pulling the clip where the shift linkage attaches to the MLPS when removing the transmission, to get the switch to contact at the right point in order to shift out of park and for the brake switch to engage, you need to align the hole in the MLPS as well as the switch contact, with a small punch inserted in the hole, adjust the nuts on the shift cable to where the linkage meets the transmission, insert clip, remove punch and torque all bolts unfastened. assuming the park switch and neutral safety switch are in working order

#11 pixie

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 12:19 PM

Yeah that's an issue with the shift lock mechanism. Sometimes it's just gummed up with sticky dried up soda that spilled on there 6 months ago.
You should hear a click under the shifter when you press the brake pedal (key on).

I have the same problem with my 97 automatic legacy as markjplatten who started this thread:  it intermittently, and increasingly, "will not move out of park without pressing the bypass switch. I can hear a clicking in the steering column."

I don't hear any clicks anywhere related to pressing on the brake pedal with the key on, just the click in the steering column (or under the dash?) when i press the trigger button on the shifter to move the car out of park. 

Can you tell me what this means about the shift lock mechanism's problem, or the problem in general?



#12 pixie

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 01:07 PM

OK since this is a straight line shift pattern, when you put your foot on the brake and press the release button, you should here a relay click under the dash. If you do its the solenoid, if you dont its the brake switch. The NSS has nothing to do with the shift interlock.

 

As I mentioned above, I have the same problem with my 97 automatic legacy as markjplatten who started this thread:  it intermittently, and increasingly, "will not move out of park without pressing the bypass switch. I can hear a clicking in the steering column."

 

So, since I hear the a relay clicking under the dash/in the steering column, from what you're saying I'm assuming my problem is "the solenoid." Can you tell me the full name of this solenoid so I can try to find a replacement one? Like, is it the shift interlock solenoid? The shift linkage solenoid? The shift lock solenoid? etc

 

I don't think my Haynes manual gets into this (I looked before but I don't have it in front of me right now). Can anyone give or direct me toward instructions on how to replace this solenoid?

 

Do I understand correctly that these symptoms are specific to this solenoid and don't suggest a problem with the neutral safety switch, or the brake switch?

 

Thanks a bazillion!!



#13 Fairtax4me

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 10:12 PM

Haynes manuals are kinda useless for this kind of thing.

Right, just like the OPs problem, yours is probably the shift lock solenoid (that's the FSM term for it). It's in the center console by the shifter mechanism, and it should click along with the key lock solenoid in the dash when you hit the brake pedal. (Key lock solenoid prevents the key from being turned off and removed while the shifter is in any position except park)

The console is really easy to pull up. Remove the two screws under the lid of the arm rest and pull the rear section up then pull the front section up. It helps to move the shifter to the D position so you have room to rotate it to slide it over the shift lever.

Shift lock solenoid should be visible, but if not turn the key ON and hit the brake pedal a bunch of times until it starts clicking and you'll be able to find it.

#14 pixie

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 11:22 AM

Just a little update.  My partner checked out all the possible problems.  

- testing the solenoid in the steering column, works.  At least by holding it at bay with a small pen and gauging the strength of the solenoid's magnetic

tension with various pressure of holding the pen between his fingers.   Enough tension created by the electrical charged within that coil.  

- testing both switches ( he pulled off an extra switch and solenoid from another subaru car) that are located within the transmission shifter (both contacts work) 

 

- replaced the solenoid on the transmission shifter.  He tested it before replacing by hooking it up to a couple of batteries.  The magnetic strength was 

present to shift the latch.  Now on changing the solenoid, he found another problem.  Hahaha.... it was classic too.  The strength of charge wasn't there for the solenoid to move the latch over.  So he checked underneath the dash for the break release button.  And found a number of wire (purple and grey) that are completely disconnected from somewhere.  He is not exactly sure from where.  There is a random black plastic dual-wire female connector that isn't connected to anything.  Also some random wire (X) that has been disconnected from who knows where and the insulation has been removed and is latched onto (copper wire is wrapped around) another wire (Y) (small section of insulation has been removed).  This connecting "Y" wire comes up from the break release button/switch that I presume is directly related to the transmission lever/solenoid system.  

Pictures to come very soon.  I imagine these wires are related to the poor strength of voltage being sent to the solenoid.  



#15 Gloyale

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 11:54 AM

J  And found a number of wire (purple and grey) that are completely disconnected from somewhere.  He is not exactly sure from where.  There is a random black plastic dual-wire female connector that isn't connected to anything.  Also some random wire (X) that has been disconnected from who knows where and the insulation has been removed and is latched onto (copper wire is wrapped around) another wire (Y) (small section of insulation has been removed).  This connecting "Y" wire comes up from the break release button/switch that I presume is directly related to the transmission lever/solenoid system.  

Pictures to come very soon.  I imagine these wires are related to the poor strength of voltage being sent to the solenoid.  

 

There are supposed to be several connectors under the dash not connected.  they are for testing ECU, TCU, Cruise, ABS, etc......No nessecarliy an issue.

 

Those lockout solenoids fail, or get weak, or get very stick pivots from soda and coffee being spillled in the console.

 

Easiest way to solve it is to simply remove, or just ziptie "down" the lever activated by the solenoid and call it good.

 

 

I would highly doubt that the under dash wiring has anything to do with it.  Wiring doesn't just "rewire" itself.  99 times out of a 100 the wiring is fine, and the problem is something else.....people just get confused by colorful spagetti nests going everywhere but in all likelyhood the wiring is fine unless someone went up in there and messed with it.



#16 pixie

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Posted 24 November 2013 - 10:07 AM

Thanks for the feedback all






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