so we've all read about how eventually your automatic shifter will NOT release the button when in park, and allow you to remove your ignition key.
Yes, there are topics about how to remove the little plastic cover on the underside of your column and use a screwdriver to release the ignition lock. BUT, until you fix your shifter, the key will stick EVERY time.
It finally happened to me. I parked on a slight incline...SLIGHT!...car went in to PARK, but wouldn't release the shifter handle and allow me to shut it off completely and remove my key. DRAT! Grab the little screwdriver that has been riding in my glovebox since day 1 in case I have to either release the rear tailgate manually OR get my ignition key out. The "lever" you need to pull back on isn't magically THERE, you have to *find it*, by the way.
so I head home and decide to disassemble the console(been there, done that here:
Seat removal and carpet install
Once I can see the shifter guts, I take a peek, and sure enough...the SHIFTER INTER-LOCK is a micro-switch on the right side of the shifter, locked in to place with two little tabs.
I use a small pick tool to release the micro-switch from the locking tabs and press it closed and VIOLA...the key comes out.
2 zip-ties later and the micro-switch is ALWAYS closed now.
snap the shifter covers back on and it's good as gold.
WARNING: you no longer have shift inter-lock when you do this. that means you no longer need to press on the brake to get the shifter out of park.
For those who are safety-conscious, go buy a new shifter. For those who are tired of worrying about the way GM built this set up, do what I did and remember back when cars weren't built to prevent you from hurting yourself...
-remove the chrome trim ring from the shifter surround.
-remove the top of the center console(it's clipped on, no tools required) from rear to front. slide OVER parking brake handle and set aside.
-remove the little trim piece with the power window switched(pre-08)
-remove the two small bolts(8mm?) that hold the front console to the lower part of the dash, and remove the panel from the car(there's an independent panel that covers the aux fuse box on the passenger side, take that off too)
-look down next to the shifter on the right side you will see a small 2-wire harness that leads to a micro-switch clipped on to the side of the shifter. carefully pry the micro-switch off the side of the shifter. use a zip-tie to permanently CLOSE the micro-switch. BE CAREFUL not to break the micro-switch contact tab(the little piece of metal that you are zip-tying closed. If that breaks off, you're DONE and BROKEN)
-feed the switch and harness down next to the shifter on the floor and secure it to the side of the shifter frame area with another zip-tie to make sure it never finds its way near the shifter mechanism).
-test the vehicle to make sure you can shift through all gears and can get your key out of the ignition.
just remember, you no longer have shift inter-lock so your can can be shifted out of park without use of the brake pedal or ignition key IN.
I found a small part laying in the shifter area that might be related to the failure...I'll make a separate post to ask about it as well.
anyone familiar with the design of the shifter might be able to help.
it's about 4" long, about as thin as a pocket screw driver shaft, tapered on both ends, and has splines all the way around the circumference in the center.
it's a little shaft for something, and might be part of the problem. I couldn't see what makes contact with the micro-switch as there was nothing there near it to roll over the little metal contact tab to CLOSE it, which I believe is why it wouldn't allow me to turn the key all the way off. Perhaps this little part has something to do with it.