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A6 won't shift out of park - root cause found

 
Old 06-12-2017, 03:04 PM
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CSixDude
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Default A6 won't shift out of park - root cause found

After having some discussion about this on another thread, I decided to go out and take another look at this issue.

The problem many folks are having with the A6 not shifting out of park is usually solved by employing some method to "tie back" the shift lock controller arm. This works, but it has issues of its own, as it defeats the theft deterrent of the transmission lock and may also allow the car to be started in gear by accident.

Upon closer examination, the problem is not with the solenoid at all, but is instead with the tiny switch that senses when the car is in park. If this switch isn't "made" or closed, then it won't allow the solenoid to release when you apply the brake. If you have an A6 and you don't hear your shift lock release solenoid make a distinct CLICK when you apply the brakes, then this is most likely your problem.

The fix is simple. Just apply a little self adhesive foam to the gear shift lever where it contacts the microswitch as shown in photos attached. This is all you need to make sure the switch gets pushed far enough forward to make contact, thus allowing your solenoid to work like it should.

Also, make note that there are TWO microswitches in the gear shift assy right next to each other. The one you need the foam shim on is circled in the photos.
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Last edited by CSixDude; 06-12-2017 at 03:08 PM.
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Old 06-12-2017, 03:11 PM
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Interesting but if that switch were not closing all the way wouldn't you get a "Shift To Park" warning on the dic?
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Old 06-12-2017, 03:13 PM
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No, the SHIFT TO PARK message is caused by a different circuit and is activated by the SECOND microswitch that you can just barely see in the photos. I tested this and was easily able to duplicate the problems I was having. By simply pushing forward on the switch a fraction of an inch it would start working again every time.

The only reason I didn't find this the last time I was in there was that I mistakenly left the passenger door open while I was troubleshooting, and that employs yet another lockout feature that won't allow the solenoid to release with a door still open.

Last edited by CSixDude; 06-12-2017 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 06-12-2017, 05:03 PM
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Wow! another reason to have three pedals.
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Old 06-12-2017, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by TD-Machines View Post
Wow! another reason to have three pedals.
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Old 06-12-2017, 06:46 PM
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That's interesting for sure, but I've already cut the locking 'dog' off in mine years ago. Haven't had a problem since.
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Old 06-12-2017, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by TD-Machines View Post
Wow! another reason to have three pedals.
That's true until one of those 3 gets stuck to the floor.
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Old 06-12-2017, 06:54 PM
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Vet Interested
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Two pedals, three pedals, they all have "issues".

Will the foam eventually wear away causing the old problem again?

Last edited by Vet Interested; 06-12-2017 at 06:56 PM.
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Old 06-12-2017, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Vet Interested View Post
Two pedals, three pedals, they all have "issues".

Will the foam eventually wear away causing the old problem again?
I'm hoping that even after it is compressed the foam will still be thick enough to do the job. It only needs to move it about a millimeter. If it wears out, I'll replace it with a thin piece of hard rubber.
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Old 06-12-2017, 07:48 PM
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C6 thanks for this new explanation. Very helpful. I've not attempted this before, what all do you have to remove to get access? Is it like a previous thread where you remove part of the console and prop up a shift cover? Then can you get to the culprit?
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Old 06-12-2017, 09:17 PM
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I have the A4 and I tied the locking pawl back years ago because it would get stuck in park much too often. I like what you have found to be the real cause of this issue. I would think the A4 switch is similar to the A6. I just might try your fix one day and untie my locking pawl. Thanks for posting this thread.
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Old 06-12-2017, 10:17 PM
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Is there a write up somewhere of how to gain access to that switch? And, why not just bend that metal contact back just a bit?
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Old 06-13-2017, 08:35 AM
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Excellent research! But wouldn't just bending the lever slightly be a better/more permanent solution and why many people never report the issue?
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Old 06-13-2017, 09:56 AM
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Awesome....

I have two questions:
1) High heat area...how's the glue and foam holding up in this environment?
2) Would bending the metal arm, or wrapping wire around the arm's curves head, where is contacts the sensor a valid option?
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Old 06-13-2017, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Vet Interested View Post
Two pedals, three pedals, they all have "issues".
trufe
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Old 06-13-2017, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by CSixDude View Post
After having some discussion about this on another thread, I decided to go out and take another look at this issue.

The problem many folks are having with the A6 not shifting out of park is usually solved by employing some method to "tie back" the shift lock controller arm. This works, but it has issues of its own, as it defeats the theft deterrent of the transmission lock and may also allow the car to be started in gear by accident.

Upon closer examination, the problem is not with the solenoid at all, but is instead with the tiny switch that senses when the car is in park. If this switch isn't "made" or closed, then it won't allow the solenoid to release when you apply the brake. If you have an A6 and you don't hear your shift lock release solenoid make a distinct CLICK when you apply the brakes, then this is most likely your problem.

The fix is simple. Just apply a little self adhesive foam to the gear shift lever where it contacts the microswitch as shown in photos attached. This is all you need to make sure the switch gets pushed far enough forward to make contact, thus allowing your solenoid to work like it should.

Also, make note that there are TWO microswitches in the gear shift assy right next to each other. The one you need the foam shim on is circled in the photos.
Good Job!!!!
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Old 06-13-2017, 02:31 PM
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There are a variety of ways to fix the switch. Yes you could bend the arm slightly if you were careful. You could also glue a hard shim to the shift lever where it contacts the switch. I just decided to use adhesive backed foam because it was handy and I knew it would compress to conform so it wouldn't result in bending the arm.
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Old 06-13-2017, 02:35 PM
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Interesting!
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Old 06-24-2017, 02:20 PM
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I have experienced this "stuck in park" problem as well and it was getting harder and harder to "coax" the shifter out of park so I did some testing of my own.

I decided to remove the switches and bench test them and found that the switch(es) are not out of adjustment or alignment but actually going bad. Micro switches are supposed to be either open or closed and nothing in between but an ohm meter verified that the switch (in certain positions) has resistance and therefore would not actuate the solenoid that pulls the release.

I think the OP's fix will work for a while (I even contemplated something similar) until the micro switch goes completely bad so I elected to replace the micro switches and after I did, the shifter has worked like new. I used some $3 micro switches and simply soldered them onto the existing wires and snapped them in (they are standard size). The original switched are cheap pieces of junk!

This was really a test for me to see if in fact the switch was causing the issue and time will tell how long these cheap replacement switches last. If they begin to fail, I will order some higher quality switches for a more permanent fix but so far it has been flawless for 6 months.
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Old 06-24-2017, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by pfloor View Post
I have experienced this "stuck in park" problem as well and it was getting harder and harder to "coax" the shifter out of park so I did some testing of my own.

I decided to remove the switches and bench test them and found that the switch(es) are not out of adjustment or alignment but actually going bad. Micro switches are supposed to be either open or closed and nothing in between but an ohm meter verified that the switch (in certain positions) has resistance and therefore would not actuate the solenoid that pulls the release.

I think the OP's fix will work for a while (I even contemplated something similar) until the micro switch goes completely bad so I elected to replace the micro switches and after I did, the shifter has worked like new. I used some $3 micro switches and simply soldered them onto the existing wires and snapped them in (they are standard size). The original switched are cheap pieces of junk!

This was really a test for me to see if in fact the switch was causing the issue and time will tell how long these cheap replacement switches last. If they begin to fail, I will order some higher quality switches for a more permanent fix but so far it has been flawless for 6 months.
Well with this scenario (switch going bad), it seems as though it doesn't really matter what the fix is......pad shifter to contact switch....or replace switch...either way some of the autos are destined to have some kind of work done to keep from getting stuck in park....still sounds like the tie back method may be best even with it's short comings.....
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