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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've figured out that there are several solenoids and sensors involved in this whole thing, from the brake pedal lever to the shift mechanism. The question is how to troubleshoot the problem and replace only the RIGHT (expensive) part(s). Here's the deal:

About a week ago, I had trouble getting the key to turn to the OFF position on my 99 Taco 4WD AT V6 TRD (etc., etc.) and come out of the ignition cylinder; it was stuck hard at the ACC stop. I fiddled with it (don't ask, don't remember) and it came out on the 2nd or 3rd try. No sweat.

It's been getting progressively worse, to the point that now I have to disconnect the battery to remove the key. I've been sliding and slamming the gear shift lever from 1st to Park: at first the key turned to OFF and came out after just a couple of tries, now 15 minutes of sweating over it (it's Texas and still hot!) doesn't help.

When the lever is in Park, it no longer requires stepping on the brake pedal to move it from Park. Rocking the steering wheel back and forth has no effect. At one point I tried the Shift Lock Over-ride button and the key came out, but since that hasn't worked again, I'm thinking that time was coincidental with something else I did, don't know what. I've even checked the tail light fuse (an odd but apparently effective solution to a similar problem I read about here), which is fine.

So I'm down (so far) to it being any or any combination of the brake pedal sensor or ECU, the shift lock solenoid, and/or the shift lock control computer.

Caveat: I have not yet pulled the console or crawled on the floor to check the brake pedal sensor to see if anything's loose or not operating the way it apparently should.

Can anyone steer me in a real direction, or offer worthwhile suggestions other than "bring it to your nearest dealer." The parts are all expensive ($100-plus) and there are, of course, no refunds on electrical parts, so I'd like to get this right the first time.

Thanks in advance for all y'all's help!

6 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
The Solution

Well, problem presumably solved! Here's the run-down for anyone who comes across a similar problem. Ultimately, it was a shifter "slop" problem.

I pulled the console just as iworkforbudlight described in his video on how to change the shifter bushing on a Taco 4x4, the only difference being that there are not quite as many screws that need to be removed as he described, and that said, you really don't need to pull the seats out as his vid implies by the lack of seats in his truck and the fact that the third screw he points out (that you don't need to remove) is obstructed by the seat. I will say, however, that it gives you a lot more room to maneuver if you do.

(Side note: after 16 years and 300K+ miles, the seat bolts didn't want to come out very easily. Even though I don't anticipate removing them again for some time to come - reupholstering, maybe? - I WD40'ed them so they'd go in and presumably come back out again more easily.)

If you watch the video all the way through, most of what he did to replace the bushings - which, really, is probably the permanent solution to this problem of mine - is really helpful, but some of it, primarily disconnecting the shift mechanism under the truck and removing the entire assembly from the truck, turned out to be unnecessary, even for changing the bushings (it seems from close observation).

What I found to be the basic problem is shown starting at 2:11 into iworkforbudlight's video, a white plastic part that appears to be the Shift Lock Control Switch (SLCS), which is illustrated and described on page 2 of a Toyota publication found here. It is also shown on the bottom of the page that I'd like to have copied below, but can't find a way to just upload a photo, so you'll have to go by the video or, alternately, refer to the upper photo in the TTORA thread linked below ... which frankly doesn't help much until you're actually inside the assembly and can figure out what you're looking at. The video tells it better.

Essentially, a pawl (that moves up and down when you depress and release the shift release button on top of the shift handle) is supposed to engage the slotted lever of the SLCS when you move the lever into the Park position, and pulling it upward when you let go of the release button.

(Conversely, when you depress the button to shift OUT of Park, the SLCS lever is pushed down, and pulling the shifter backward into gear leaves it in lowered position - it is not spring-loaded or anything: it is either pushed down and stays there when you push the release button and pull back on the gear shift, or is pulled up and kept there when you're in Park - until you shift back into park and release the lever.

(When the SLCS lever is down, it prevents the key from being turned past the ACC lock position and being removed because, according to the switch, the vehicle is still "in gear." Also, because the vehicle is "in gear," the switch does not tell the gear shift that you have to have your foot on the brake to shift out of Park because, after all, you're "not" in Park!)

The root of the problem was that the pawl was not engaging the SLCS lever because gear shift lever on which the pawl is mounted was too far to the left, too far for the pawl to go into the slot and pull the lever up. That must not have always been the case because the key would eventually come out. Had I known what the problem was, I might've been able to push the gear shift to the right so that it engaged the lever. Not a "fix," but it would've probably worked (and did when I had everything open and could see it).

What seems to be the correct solution is what iworkforbudlight did: add the bushings to either end of the gear shift rocker tube, which would reduce or eliminate most of the slop and might also have added just enough "spacer" to either end to prevent the gear shift from moving left and disengaging from the SLCS lever again (see the end of the video where he puts the bushings in).

HOWEVER (there's always a but, isn't there?), at least in my case, there was a significant amount of space that the gear shift could move on the horizontal shaft about 1/8-3/16" to the left, away from the SLCS lever. There were also no bushings visible on that part of the gear shift lever, so there may still be some "rocking" possible when all is said and done.

So what I did is what JDMHN8 suggested doing elsewhere on this forum, in reply #21 to the thread that I'd already referenced called "Ignition key stuck (hard to turn off and pull out)."

For all my worry about spending half a life's savings getting this fixed (as well I might have had I gone to a dealership or shop: I can't imagine a mechanic passing on making money on the multitude of parts & the associated labor, or me - or anybody - challenging whether the parts actually needed changing!), the solution at least for the time being cost me two small flat washers just as JDMHN8 used in the lower photo.

Also, now that the pawl engages the SLCS lever and pulls it up, telling the Shift Interlock System that you're actually in Park, the brake pedal sensor now knows it's needed to be depressed to get you out of Park.

As NDMHN8 said (is that really his(?) picture?!?), "nice and cheap." Next step (maybe)? Bushings.
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