How to Repair a Loose Ford Column Shifter - Common Issue

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Video tutorial on how to repair a common issue amongst may Ford trucks which causes sloppy or loose column shifter linkage. This particular truck is a 1998 Ford Ranger, but this issue can be found on similar generation F series trucks as well. This is an extremely easy fix and the only item required for the repair is thread locker.

Tools/Supplies Needed:

  • threadlocker
  • light
  • ratchet set
  • torx drivers

Step 1:

As you can see there is excessive play in the column shifter linkage, either making it hard to select a gear, not allowing gears to properly engage, having issues engaging park, and also not activating the safety switch when in park.

Step 2:

Now you can disassemble some of the dashboard under the steering column, but with a little patience you can reach up and access the fasteners. Unfortunately there are two fasteners which comes loose over time, causing play in the steering linkage. When going under the dashboard under the steering column, you can see a bracket which is basically above the hood release.

This bracket is held on with two torx bolts. You can simply tighten this, but instead I would recommend removing each bolt and applying a medium grade threadlocker.

Step 3:

Remove one fastener at a time, this at least saves the trouble of having to line up the bracket again as it’s a very tight space to work.

Once that fastener has been removed, ensure it’s clean and then apply a medium grade threadlocker.

Reinstall the fastener and move onto the next one. Apply threadlocker to it as well and then ensure both fasteners are tight.

Step 4:

After testing out the shifter, the play is greatly reduced and there is no longer gear selecting issues or activating the parking safety switch.

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