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Old 12-01-2010, 06:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation HELP! Car rolling while in park!

Hey Everyone,
I hope someone on here can help me ASAP. I have a huge problem with my car. Tonight I was out for a drive, when I returned I went to put my car into park as I normally do. I had my foot on the break, placed the car in park and shut the car off. I then removed my foot from the break and the car began rolling backwards, about a foot before I depressed the break again. According to the gear selector the car is in park but its not acting like it is. I am unable to start the car now, and I can not shift the car out of the position it is in. If anyone has any idea about how I can fix this or what may be wrong with it, I would greatly appreciate it.

The car is a 1999 Subaru Outback with an automatic transmission.

Thanks in advance
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Old 12-01-2010, 06:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Eiderman they make cars with something called a parking brake for a very good reason!

No transmission is designed to hold the car when in park. However they have small teeth called pawls which snap into a gear and provide a limited amount of friction to prevent rolling. These can be broken easily or worn out if a car is not parked with the parking brake correctly.

May I strongly suggest you learn how to correctly use the "parking Brake" you engage it before releasing your foot brake and when releasing the parking brake you only do so after you have applied the foot brake. Try it your car will not roll. By the way I live in San Francisco where you get ticketed if you don't curb your tire and yes we get cars which break their parking pawls and run down streets or hit other parked cars quite often due to people ignoring the proper use and application of the "Parking Brake"
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Old 12-01-2010, 07:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Sounds as if the cable that connects the in-cabin gear selector lever to the inhibitor switch on the side of the transmission either slipped from its clamp mounts or broke just as you moved the lever to Park.

Gear selection in the AT is electronic (that's one of the roles of the inhibitor switch), but control of the parking pawl is mechanical -- the cable moves a lever at the inhibitor switch. The lever goes into the transmission where it is connected to the pawl.

Moreover, the position of the inhibitor switch determines whether the car will start. It has to be in its Park or Neutral position. If the cable broke before the switch actually reached the Park position, it's either still at R, or somewhere in between in which case it "inhibits" the starter from functioning.

It's not uncommon for the cable mounts or the cable itself to fail, especially due to rusting.

This will require raising the car to inspect the cable. Probably need to flatbed the car to a garage, or where it can be serviced.

Attached is a diagram of the gear selector linkage, showing the cable, and another showing the cable at the inhibitor switch.

Let us know what you find.
Attached Thumbnails
HELP! Car rolling while in park!-cable.jpg   HELP! Car rolling while in park!-cable-switch.jpg  
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Old 12-01-2010, 07:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plain OM View Post
Sounds as if the cable that connects the in-cabin gear selector lever to the inhibitor switch on the side of the transmission either slipped from its clamp mounts or broke just as you moved the lever to Park.

Gear selection in the AT is electronic (that's one of the roles of the inhibitor switch), but control of the parking pawl is mechanical -- the cable moves a lever at the inhibitor switch. The lever goes into the transmission where it is connected to the pawl.

Moreover, the position of the inhibitor switch determines whether the car will start. It has to be in its Park or Neutral position. If the cable broke before the switch actually reached the Park position, it's either still at R, or somewhere in between in which case it "inhibits" the starter from functioning.

It's not uncommon for the cable mounts or the cable itself to fail, especially due to rusting.

This will require raising the car to inspect the cable. Probably need to flatbed the car to a garage, or where it can be serviced.

Attached is a diagram of the gear selector linkage, showing the cable, and another showing the cable at the inhibitor switch.

Let us know what you find.
Pretty rare case - though most AT's if you toss them into park and catch them just right the parking pawls will not catch right away assuming his car is still functional given he didn't say anything about not being able to start it or drive it he probably just has worn the pawls or simply hit it just right and they missed allowing the car to roll.
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Old 12-01-2010, 07:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subiesailor View Post
assuming his car is still functional given he didn't say anything about not being able to start it or drive it
Quote:
Originally Posted by eiderman View Post
I am unable to start the car now, and I can not shift the car out of the position it is in.
He did say the car won't start...

Sounds like the cable broke.

Can you still move the gear shifter? If not the shift lock might be stuck. Follow the procedure in the owners manual to over ride the shift lock.
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Redilyn

Good point on the shift lock involvement.

Also, this problem could be caused by accumulated dirt or rust on the two linked levers at the inhibitor switch. It can prevent them from moving fully into the Park position, while the select lever itself does, and then the lever gets "trapped" in Park by the shift lock, which won't release it because the inhibitor switch isn't in the Park position.

All to say, it's probably a shift linkage issue of some sort.

If the override of the shift lock works, and the cable is, in fact, still good, moving the select lever back and forth a few times (P to 1) might clear up, the problem, at least temporarily.
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Old 12-02-2010, 06:32 AM   #7 (permalink)
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subiesailor, This is my first Subaru and I have been driving for more years than I can remember. In all previous vehicles I ALWAYS used my parking brake just as you describe and never had a problem related to the parking brake/transmission interaction.

When I picked up my new 3.6 Outback the salesman told me not to use the parking brake unless on a very steep incline. To me, this was counter-intuitive advice and did not fit my practice with previous vehicles. But heck, I assumed he knew more about the cars than I did so I have been doing it his way (with some discomfort) since I picked up the Outback about three weeks ago.

Thanks to your comment and a re-reading of the owner's manual, today I start doing it the correct way again.
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John_M View Post
subiesailor, This is my first Subaru and I have been driving for more years than I can remember. In all previous vehicles I ALWAYS used my parking brake just as you describe and never had a problem related to the parking brake/transmission interaction.

When I picked up my new 3.6 Outback the salesman told me not to use the parking brake unless on a very steep incline. To me, this was counter-intuitive advice and did not fit my practice with previous vehicles. But heck, I assumed he knew more about the cars than I did so I have been doing it his way (with some discomfort) since I picked up the Outback about three weeks ago.

Thanks to your comment and a re-reading of the owner's manual, today I start doing it the correct way again.
John good call though the sales man was full of BS. Sad when the buyers know more about the product than the sales man paid to sell them.
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