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Discussion Starter #1
1994 Nissan Altima GXE with auto trans. Engine and transmission are running great. No problems. Just replaced the shocks/struts and motor/trans mounts (also sway bar end links, etc.). Car has been maintained and is driving fine.

The problem is, occasionally it feels a bit tighter shifting the gear lever into PARK. When it's harder/stiffer, I usually have a problem starting the car unless I jiggle the gear shift level (gear selector) in the forward position. After forcing the lever into the park position a few times, the car usually starts without issue. Today was the first day it took more than one attempt to start the car after messing with the shift lever.

Any ideas on what could be going on? All other gears (including reverse) do not seem to have an issue.

I've ordered a replacement shifter cable bushing just in case.

Am I on the right track?

Thanks.
 

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Sup Mod keeping the peace
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Examine the shifting mechanism where the key interlock cable is connected; it might need some lubricant. The key interlock cable itself may be binding; it may need replacing. Also examine the steering lock that's on the steering column.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Examine the shifting mechanism where the key interlock cable is connected; it might need some lubricant. The key interlock cable itself may be binding; it may need replacing. Also examine the steering lock that's on the steering column.
I have the shifter cable bushing on order. So when I'm in there inspecting things, I'll replace that (push out old one, press in new one). Hoping this is the cause. Car has 117,000 miles on the odometer.

I will lube where the key interlock cable connects.

A couple questions:

1) silicone grease okay?

2) how much of a PITA is replacing the key-interlock cable should this need to be done?

3) Do you have a part number on hand? Any sources for this part?

Thanks again!!!
 

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Sup Mod keeping the peace
Joined
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6,754 Posts
I have the shifter cable bushing on order. So when I'm in there inspecting things, I'll replace that (push out old one, press in new one). Hoping this is the cause. Car has 117,000 miles on the odometer.

I will lube where the key interlock cable connects.

A couple questions:

1) silicone grease okay?

2) how much of a PITA is replacing the key-interlock cable should this need to be done?

3) Do you have a part number on hand? Any sources for this part?

Thanks again!!!
1. Silicone grease is OK to use.
2. It's not very difficult, you'll have to remove the steering column covers that would expose the ignition switch. The back part of the switch is the electrical portion that you don't have to touch. the side of the switch is where the cable connects; you'll notice there's a metal clip that holds the cable end inside the switch. Pull out the clip to release the cable. Here's a nice video clip that describes the whole procedure:


3. The Nissan part# is: 34908-1E500
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Just a follow-up. Problem solved.
I installed the new shifter cable bushing, which resides underneath the shifter in the center console. The original (from 1993) was intact, but it was brittle and lost its plushness.
To get the shifter out, you have to disassemble most of the dash components. Wasn't banking on spending this much time on the project, but I sure learned a lot!

After I replaced the bushing, the problem persisted, and gear selection was worse than before. If I put the car in LOW, then tried to put it in PARK, the shifter arm would get stiff and not want to go into park (if this makes any sense). Plus I lost the feeling of having a definitive detent between park, reverse and the three drive gears.

Luckily I had the Haynes and the cable is adjustable! I followed this procedure, and the car shifts into gear as it should AND starts every time. Problem seems to be solved.

Here are the directions on how to adjust your shifter cable at the transmission:
Thankful for this forum!

IMG_5203 by Matt, on Flickr

IMG_5204 by Matt, on Flickr
 
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