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A friend of mine has a 2005 SE automatic AWD model with a problem. Seemingly randomly, the vehicle won't start. The battery has plenty of life, but turning the key does nothing. Experimenting, we discovered that if you put your foot on the brake and shift into neutral, you can start the vehicle quite normally. Any thoughts on how to fix this?

The dealer left him high and dry, even though the problem started within the warranty period. They have no idea how to fix it, and want to charge diagnostics in the service department as they hunt for the problem which they failed to repair months ago. I'm thinking it may have something to do with the Park/Neutral Switch up near the front of the transmission. So he's both annoyed at the lack of support from the dealer, and the fact that they can't seem to fix it.
 

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Hi,

Yes it seems as though either the Park-Neutral Position (PNP) switch is either faulty or needs adjustment of the switch or actuating cable.

Here are the diagnostic steps from the service manual.


Here are the adjusting steps from the service manual.
 

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This is great information, thanks! I considered attempting to adjust the cable from the housing to the PNP switch, but felt it was aligned as comfortably as my own when I move the shifter from P to 1 and back. I spoke with the dealer yesterday, and they seem to think that it has to do with the linkage requiring lubrication between the shift housing and the switch. I'm not convinced, since I don't feel any dirt or grit (the movement of the shifter feels clean, if you know what I mean) and it feels very much like my own X-trail's shifter movement. I'll try to get over to get a look at his vehicle in the near future with this information and see what more I can figure out. Thanks very much for this!
 

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Just to update you, I used the technical diagrams you posted here as a guide in decision making, and decided to make an adjustment to the PN Switch. Based on what he was telling me, and what I read above, I loosened the bolt where the shift cable meets the switch, and moved it 1mm upward. He's been known to keep quiet after trying something and I finally remembered to ask him last night, about two weeks after we made the adjustment. He was quite thankful, as it seems to have done the trick. It hasn't had this problem starting since we made that minor adjustment.

I really want to thank you for your guidance and the technical info you provided. You were a great help.
 

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My pleasure and I am glad the information helped to fix the problem.
 
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