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Discussion Starter #1
So we got this 88 Thunderbird 5.0, we think the neutral safety switch is the problem but we arent sure. The car starts in neutral and idles fine, but as soon as you move the column to drive the car shutters and cuts off. Unfortunately we werent prepared to tow the car so we are kinda just stranded at the moment. Does anyone have any sort of tips or anything?
 

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Neutral safety switch prevents the car from starting with the trans in anything other than park or neutral, so I doubt that's the issue. What happens if you try to engage the trans while you hold the engine in a high idle (e.g. 1200 RPM)?

I'm no 5.0 expert though, so... :zdunno:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Neutral safety switch prevents the car from starting with the trans in anything other than park or neutral, so I doubt that's the issue. What happens if you try to engage the trans while you hold the engine in a high idle (e.g. 1200 RPM)?

I'm no 5.0 expert though, so... :zdunno:
Like its weird the car idles perfect, you can rev it in N all you want and it doesnt stall... I dont think I have tried to put it in drive while keeping it at a steady idle though so I might try that, the car was almost completely out of gas the last time I tried to start it and put it in drive, since then we filled it up, but we havent tried to start it and put it in drive because the couple times we tried before the car shuddered real hard and that scared me lol
 

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Well, being out of gas would do it. LOL

If the problem developed around the time the gas ran low then that would be your problem. Drop a can of Sea Foam in the gas tank too. That will help. You should be able to find it at any Wal-Mart or any autoparts store, they run from about $8 to $10 a can depending on where you buy it.
 

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+1 on the Sea Foam, a whole can in a full tank. Let the car idle for a while, then try driving it.

If that doesn't help, try changing the spark plugs. It doesn't sound like the previous owner treated the car too well if they let it sit out of gas.

Good luck with it.

Al
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Is the parking break release switch important?

Well basically ive been spending all of today looking for reasons why my 88 Thunderbird will only start in neutral, but wont go into park or reverse. It confuses me because like the car idles normal and everything in neutral, then if you try to go to drive or reverse the car just instantly shuts off, no grinding, lurching, shuddering or anything, just boom instantly off. Earlier today I noticed the TV cable had come loose from where it connects near the intake, so I reconnected that (apparently some little rubber grommet fell off and thats why it disconnected) and then tried to start the car and put it into gear (Its an AOD transmission btw) and still, the car shut off instantly. So I got to digging around inside the car under the steering column and stuff and I noticed that the parking break release switch (part number E45C-2B623-AA) was broken. The rubber hose was fine, but the smaller cable or whatever was cut and I didnt find the rest of it. I doubt this is what is causing my problem, but I figured I would double check with people who know more about it than me. Lol
 

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What is the story behind the car? Does the guy you bought it from have any clues?

Al
 

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Discussion Starter #9
What is the story behind the car? Does the guy you bought it from have any clues?

Al
Well story is, it was an older ladies car and she hardly ever drove it which is why it has only 59k miles, they drove it home when they bought it and said when it got close to home it cut off, which I think was because the tv cable got disconected, so the car sat for a while till we came and bought it for 600 bucks which I think is a good deal lol anyways it will only start and idle in neutral, you cant even put it in park when its idling or it cuts off just like I turned the key off or something, no lurching or noises or anything. They said their buddy was a mechanic and that he said the neutral safety switch was the problem, but that still doesnt explain why it cuts off in any gear but neutral, I think its an electrical problem, I figure if the torque converter was locked up and I tried to put it in gear it would atleast jerk or shudder or something, but it doesnt. Im stumped at the moment.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
What is the story behind the car? Does the guy you bought it from have any clues?

Al
Update: After pushing it off the trailer I got it to go into drive to park it, only thing is when I put it in park it cut off again. Also it seemed to just crawl foward like I had to push the pedal almost to the floor. You think the tv cable needs adjusting?
 

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Update: After pushing it off the trailer I got it to go into drive to park it, only thing is when I put it in park it cut off again. Also it seemed to just crawl foward like I had to push the pedal almost to the floor. You think the tv cable needs adjusting?
Its not the TV cable. That controls the shifting.

Nothing to do with the parking brake either.

You need to start checking basic things, transmission fluid level, idle air control valve, distributor timing, fuel pressure, etc ..
 

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I don't have experience with the neutral safety switch, but I would replace that. Especially since their mechanic said it was bad. Can't be too expensive.

Al
 

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I was thinking MLPS but I'm not sure if the '93 5.0 has one like the 4R70W? Did '93s have 4R70W's?
 

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The only thing a bad neutral safety switch would do is prevent the car from starting with the shifter in the usual places - it's designed to only let you start the car in P or N.

His problem includes only being able to start the car in N, not P, so THAT could be a neutral safety switch problem... but the bigger issue of the engine dying when he tries to engage any gear is not going to be related to the neutral safety switch...

Not sure where '93 came from; this is an 88 Fox bird, is it not? Either way it's the AOD transmission.

Also - with this being an EEC-IV vehicle, you can have the computer run a self-diagnostic while the engine is idling. Read here for more: http://oldfuelinjection.packrad.net/page94.html
and
http://oldfuelinjection.packrad.net/page13.html
 

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He has '93 5.0 V8 in his profile. But yea, he did say 88 5.0 in the OP. My bad.
 
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