Shifter linkage & steering column problem 92 Dodge Caravan

Old 06-20-08, 10:37 AM
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Shifter linkage & steering column problem 92 Dodge Caravan

I have a 1992 Dodge Caravan, column shift that has had a problem with getting stuck in a gear, any gear from time to time and I have always been able to shake it or push it through the rough spot and I would be good for weeks or months. I would some times have to cut it off in drive and set the parking brake and I would wait a day or so and it would more easily go back into "park". Anyway, today I guess I didn't have enough patience and forced it to hard when I shouldn't have and it broke in the column. Now I must obviously address and fix the problem. So here is the thing. I would like input on what may have caused it in the first place, where the linkage really is and where it is most easily accessed from, basically how it all works (I have replaced 3 steering columns in my life and 2 transmissions, and a clutch in various makes of cars). I am just frustrated and would like a little guidance because I dread this. Lastly, what is the thing that likely broke in the column, what might that be and should it or should it not require steering column replacement.

Thank you
Old 06-20-08, 03:40 PM
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Likely not.....the common issue with these vehicles is a shift cable.....

In your transmission is a "PAWL" or locking mechanism , that locks the transmission in park. Think of it as a finger that jams between gear teeth, and stops the gear from turning. This is what keeps the vehicle stationary when it is in the PARK gear. ANY slight incline, and the vehicle will roll slightly and the pawl will catch the parking gear. Problem is, you now have the weight of the vehicle , against the pawl and its gear teeth. Pulling the shifter requiresmore effort, and starts to fray the cable inside of its jacket. When the cacle frays gets wedged in the jacket and it wont move.

Usually the "POP" you heard under the dash when the shifter freed up, is the cable ferrule breaking off of the shift lever on the column. You can try to put it back, but will usually not fit securely, will pop off again in the near future, and you didnt actually fix the problem.

Remove the "Knee" Covers from the bottom of the dash under the column. you will probably find the end of the shift cable floating around in open air.

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