XJ40 ( XJ81 ) 1986 - 1994

J-Shift Ignition Lock Out

Old 12-02-2018, 08:27 PM
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Default J-Shift Ignition Lock Out

I have a 1991 Sovereign.... When starting the cat I have to firmly press the gear shift into the far upper right "Park" position to crank up. The Leather Shift Surround was not securing properly because the plastic chrome retainer's clamps were all broken,... I thought this was the issue.

So, I tried completely removing the Leather Shift Surround ornamentation, but I still have to nudge the shifter firmly into "Park" before each start. What is the problem here?

I have since purchased a new Chrome (plastic) Shift Surround Retainer, and everything holds down securely now, but still this other issue exists either way...
Old 12-03-2018, 10:57 AM
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It sounds like a matter of adjusting the shifter cable. I think there's a slider clamp down inside the console. You would have to take the trim off to get in there. Take out ash tray, then it's housing- 2 screws under the edge of the armrest. Then there are 2 plastic nuts underneath holding the "ski slope" down. You'll need the shifter out of park to make clearance and remove that trim around the boot. I imagine there is more to it than that. I haven't had to adjust that myself. I hope someone will correct me if I'm wrong. Good luck
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Old 12-05-2018, 01:20 PM
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To add to jerry's comments, if you have never remove the veneered ski slope, TAKE YOUR TIME. You already know how to remove the leather/chrome shifter surround. Once you remove the 2 nylon wing nuts and retaining bolts, turn the key and move the shifter to the drive position; gently lift the ski slope at the rear and slowly and carefully clear the remaining shifter box. This is the sticking point where if you are not careful you will bend and crack the veneer. The same caution goes for the carrier that holds the radio/ac-heater controls. Hope this helps.
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Old 12-06-2018, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Jagbro View Post
I have a 1991 Sovereign.... When starting the cat I have to firmly press the gear shift into the far upper right "Park" position to crank up.
Hi Jagbro,

This is a classic symptom of a problem with the Start Inhibit (Park/Neutral) switch, which prevents the starter from operating with the gear selector in any position other than Park or Neutral. I believe on your 1991 the Start Inhibit switch is built into the Rotary Switch on the left side of the transmission.

Try starting the engine with the gear selector lever in Neutral. If it cranks right up, then either the gearshift control cable may need adjustment as Jerry suggested, or the rotary switch may need adjustment. Corrosion or contamination of the switch contacts is another possibility.

The Rotary Switch is Part 1 in the diagram below. You can see that the holes for the mounting studs are short curved slots, allowing for some adjustment of the switch:

To adjust the switch, first clean the area around the switch with brake parts cleaner and a brush and allow to dry. Then use a permanent marker, touch-up paint bottle brush, center punch or other permanent means to make alignment marks so you will know the original position of the switch. Once your marks are dry, loosen but do not remove the switch mounting nuts, rotate the switch slightly one way or the other. My instinct would be to rotate the switch slightly counterclockwise, because I think this will move the switch pads farther toward the Park position relative to the switch wiper, which is connected to the control cable. But I may be wrong.

Snug the nuts and see if the engine will start consistently with the selector in Park. If not, try moving the switch in the other direction. It may take some trial and error and several attempts before it works correctly. Once the engine starts consistently, you can then drive the car to confirm that the transmission correctly selects the gears that correlate with each position on the J-Gate (PRND32). If not, you will have to move the switch slightly back toward its original position to see if all works properly. If adjusting the switch won't resolve the problem, the gearshift control cable may be excessively stretched and require adjustment as Jerry suggested.

While you're at the rotary switch, you can remove the cover of the switch and flush the internals with zero-residue electronic cleaner spray. Then use a soft pencil eraser to gently scrub the gold pads on the switch circuit board. You will have to move the gear selector lever a few times to access all the gold pads, so be sure to have the wheels securely chocked. Then flush the circuit board again to remove any eraser crumbs, allow the electronic cleaner to dry, then reinstall the cover.

Please keep us informed.



Last edited by Don B; 02-04-2019 at 07:20 PM.
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