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Go Back   Chevy HHR Network > General Discussion > "How To" Tutorial Library > shift inter-lock repair/delete
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"How To" Tutorial Library Write tips and instructions on how to install parts or fix problems. This is for detailed "How To's" only, not a forum to ask how to do something. Please post those questions in appropriate forums.

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Old 02-04-2012, 09:21 PM   #1
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shift inter-lock repair/delete

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.
-re-assemble.
DONE


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.
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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.
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Old 02-04-2012, 11:21 PM   #2
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Good info, Thanks for posting it..
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Old 02-05-2012, 06:51 AM   #3
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I remember, the day fondly. I had to buy an adaptor, so I don't have to step on brake,release brake,step on brake while pulling up parking brake. To play a movie on the tv. I like the ziptie fix, just wonder if there is anything else that switch affects ?
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Old 02-05-2012, 10:42 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SS fan View Post
I like the ziptie fix, just wonder if there is anything else that switch affects ?
I took it for a nice test drive. all systems appear to function properly...doors lock when shifting out of park, knob must be depressed to shift forward or reverse from/to DRIVE, and doors UN-LOCK when PARK is selected.

seems nothing has changed EXCEPT the shift inter-lock function.

just curious of this "found" splined shaft was supposed to be what tripped the micro-switch...it was just laying under the shifter...I heard it "fall down" when I was under there working on the micro-switch.

when I first inspected the shifter, there was NOTHING that activated the micro-switch contact tab as I moved the shifter back and forth...no ridges, humps, or devices that went anywhere near the micro-switch...SOMETHING has to hit/depress the micro-switch to CLOSE it to allow the ignition key to be turned fully to OFF and be able to remove the key. I suspect this shaft slides through the shifter mechanism somewhere and contacts the micro-switch.
just hate having a "part" left over...
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Old 02-05-2012, 12:32 PM   #5
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Smoke Wagon, ever see this thd Ignition Jamming look at post 140, maybe the shaft you "found"
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Old 02-08-2012, 09:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wmsburghhr View Post
Smoke Wagon, ever see this thd Ignition Jamming look at post 140, maybe the shaft you "found"
YAHTZEE!

thank you.
yep....that's the shaft.

I'm leaving it OUT.

all it does it prevent the shifter from "moving" in/out of gear without depressing the shifter knob button.

so, on that note:

FAIR WARNING FOLKS!!!

*if* you find the little rod laying on the tunnel below the shifter, your shifter button will not need to be activated, and your shifter CAN be moved from/to ANY position without the button being squeezed.

BE CAREFUL!

this means you can accidentally select PARK at 65 mph from DRIVE without depressing the shifter button.
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Old 02-09-2012, 02:08 AM   #7
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Just a thought, the switch probably energizes a solonoid. Most solonoids are not meant to be on all the time, it could burn out. If you find problems down the road, check that out.
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Old 02-10-2012, 12:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
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Just a thought, the switch probably energizes a solonoid. Most solonoids are not meant to be on all the time, it could burn out. If you find problems down the road, check that out.
Prod- Good point, be good to hear how this does down the road..
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Old 02-11-2012, 11:33 PM   #9
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yea, I read that the switch does energize a solenoid...I dont think I want to find out "down the road" that something's gonna burn out and leave me stranded.

I gotta find out how to simply disable the darn shift inter-lock so I dont have to deal with replacing the darn shifter because of some qwappy safety feature that 'wears out'.
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:49 AM   #10
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According to the dealership that replaced our shifter under warranty in 2008, the replacement shifter is an upgrade and won't develop the problem. Ours hasn't almost 4 years later.
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