This thread is to show how to repair a loose gear shift lever and reset the needle indicator.
Applies to: '97-'03 Ford F-150 pickups with automatic transmission
Users suffering from this problem may experience the following symptoms:
-Play in the gear shift lever between gears
-Inability to shift into Park
-No engine start when in Park (requires shifting to Neutral)
-Gear indicator needle off by one or more gears
Problem: The adapter plate at the base of the steering column connecting the gear shift lever to the gear shift cable has become loose.
- 7mm Socket or Nut driver
- 8mm Socket or Nut driver
- T30 Torx bit and ratchet wrench
- 3" ratchet extension
- Thread lock
To begin, remove the upper cover around the steering column. The four spring clips will release when pulled away from the dash. Once free, twist the cover up towards the dash, then towards the center of the vehicle (when removed, it will be upside down).
Next remove the hood release and parking brake release levers from the lower dash cover. Each lever uses two 7mm bolts, one on the face of the dash cover and on the bottom, behind the lever.
Next remove the lower dash cover by removing the 4 remaining 7mm bolts around the perimeter of the dash cover and the 2 8mm bolts on the lower left dash frame.
The faulty piece is buried behind the steering column.
Once removed, you'll look underneath the dash to find the adapter plate on the base of the column. The picture below is taken from above the gas pedal looking towards steering column. The adapter plate has two T30 torx bolts.
Remove only one of the two bolts, apply thread lock compound, replace then tighten the bolt. Once tightened, remove the other bolt, apply thread lock, then replace and tighten to approximately 23-27 ft-lbs.
Once tight, locate the thumb-screw that attaches to the gear shift indicator, located below and to the right of the steering columns universal joint. Adjust the screw until the indicator appears centered around the selected gear.
Once complete, replace the lower dash cover (reverse of removal), then replace the parking brake and hood release levers, then replace the upper column bezel.
Now your gear shifts should be tight and free of play. You indicator should also match the select gear.