You might have noticed that our Kashy mechanics have really hunkered down on our blog posts lately with topics covering individual cars and even history. Some say it’s because we ran out of interesting things to write and some conspiracy theorists believe it’s all about algorithmic ranking on search engines.
No matter what you personally believe, we still find this pretty interesting (mostly because we get to share some of the weird common failures we see). So without further ado, “why won’t my Ford select gears?”.
The Ford Falcon and Territory really were some of the last great Australian motor cars. Big, lazy 4L inline sixes (or thunderous V8’s if that’s your jam) paired mostly with automatic gearboxes and sedan bodies long enough to fit the entire family, a dog, luggage even and the proverbial mother in law.
It’s little surprise that they were the taxi of choice for many many years however, while early Falcons used a mechanical linking rod between the shifter and transmission, Fords of the late 90’s and early 2000’s switched to using a shift cable connected at each end using a plastic or rubber bushing instead.
Whether these cables were for packaging or just for cost, they were ultimately a bit of a weak spot in the real world and over time the rubber bushes at each end were well known to wear through.
While this isn’t so bad in the early stages, after they had worn enough slack into the bushes it became quite common for the shifter to not move the selector quite far enough to grab the gear or to even fall off.
So what is the solution. Well first and foremost, diagnose the issue with a mechanic you trust. While the answer we’re going to sprout off below is definitely the most common answer, these early 2000’s Ford also suffered commonly from sticking or broken shifter cables and there’s always room for an unexpected issue on an older car.
With that said, a lot of the time these cause for concern on these old Falcons and Territory’s is the shift linkage bushes. They’re usually quite cheap to get replaced so long as you can get the car to your mechanic (or have a mechanic come to you).