Sep 032010

To all,

I could not believe some of the most amazing stories I heard about the Lose or broken Console Shifters Handle in the Lincoln Navigator and then I starting hearing about other Lincoln’s with the same or similar issues like the Aviator.

Navigator – 2004 Lincoln Navigator and Aviator Shifter Fix Solution

I was cleaning the boot and shifter area and pulled up on the shifter handle. It has always been loose and free to move up and down and I never thought much about it. Needless to say the dealership recommended that the shifter sometimes gets messed up and the handle and shifter assembly needs to be replaced as a pair. Cost around $600-900 for parts only.

I have heard labor is around $200-300. If you are stuck and need to get home, this video should help you get your car home.

If you do not have good mechanical skills, take it to the dealer to have it fixed over your local repair person as the dealer does it all day long and they know how to work with this specific breakage.

I think this should be a Ford recall because the screw come loose and if it does not have any lock tight and it should have. Imagine how bad it would be to be driving along and then not being able to shift or to put it in park or remove your keys.

I figured I did not have anything to lose so as a DIY’er. You need to be careful. I could not find any pictures, sketches blow-ups, service manual that would help me so I had to figure it out and pass it to others so they can learn be able to fix and save a lot of money.

I get many people calling me when they are freaked out and cannot get home or are stuck at home. Your welcome to call me after you have paid and need emotional help.

  47 Responses to “2004 Lincoln Navigator and Aviator Shifter Fix Solution Click Link”

  1. 2000 navigator on the tree shifter no forward gesrs shanged filter and fluid

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  3. Where is the link to the video

  4. Hi, Did you remove your video? For some reason, I’m unable to find it. The entire plastic piece broke from my assembly and I bought the metal rod, but I don’t know how to take the assembly apart to replace the rod only. Please help if you can. Thanks!

  5. You are a life saver, I owe you one. I’m at work this morning pulling my hair out. The truck was stuck in the drive position. I had to leave the truck inside the garage until I went on lunch break. I followed your instructions and it worked. I appreciate you and I thank you so much

  6. Excellent insight in the video. Had it all apart, but couldn’t figure out what seems so obvious now…the spring! Thanks for video.Just what I needed to complete the job for $0. Thanks again!

  7. Hi, I just wanted to double check with you about the original symptom. My gear shift will slide up and down but doesn’t “click” into gear. I can still get it into park and I did get the key out. (thank god)I had the same problem last week and the repair shop said the neoprene assembly that attached the cable to the gear shift was broken. I had it & the cable replaced. The truck had a strange whine when I left the shop then today when I was backing out of the driveway the gear lever started sliding around again and the park indicator light was on.
    Going to start taking it apart but wanted to be sure I have the same symptoms.

  8. They are selling replacement shifter rods all aluminum on eBay for 50 bucks. In case your plastic tip is broken.

  9. I have an 04Aviator,stuck in drive can’t shift because shift knob is broken-off,and can’t get the key out,how do I get the key out and into park?

  10. tiny screw fell into boot cover and linkage. Great luck! need a how to get boot and selector pad off so I can retrieve.

  11. This video was a godsend!! I finished packing for camping trip I’m heading out for after work tomorrow. When my shifter wouldn’t work. After a few hours of looking around I found your video! Had some trouble popping the plastic shell off. But, it was easy breezy from their on out! Literally saved my trip! Thanks!!

    • I finally well my mechanic and I found the solution to the shifter problem, in my case 07 Aviator.
      Bypass the ACTUATOR SWITCH! I’m texting from my phone so I can’t send no pictures and tell you more specifics right now but the Aviator shifts excellent never a problem again. I hope this helps save me at least $800 and only cost $65 for labor.

  12. First of all want to start by saying thank you very much you save me $700 you made it so easy to understand and I was able to fix it by myself so thank you very much God bless you

  13. It will also cause the cruise control and the brake lights to not work, but that will only happen when the shifter is being stubborn and will not move out of park.

    • That is good to know also. Bear in mind that one may get stuck with the shifter in one of the positions because the set screw for the shifter knob had come loose and might be floating around the shifter area, so look for it once you get the bezel off.

      Remember, do not rotate the shifter know more than 20 degrees or you could tear the Overdrive wire and break it causing more issues. And as to the Overdrive wire, I do not know if they system will malfunction of the wire is broken. What I am saying is that you may not have to replace everything if you do not use your overdrive and it still functions normally.
      In my lifetime, I have NEVER used overdrive unless I was just testing it….
      If you are stuck and cannot get the shifter out of a gear to drive, Like Park or Neutral, you could, in desperation, take the knob bezel off
      by prying it off. You may have to break it or snap it but it will be cheaper than towing and ruining your day if you do not have AAA.

      • Hi Eric,

        I have an 05 Aviator and it got stuck in park. When some guys helped my wife with it we found the tip of the rod has broken off. Do you know how to replace the rod?

        • Dan,

          In some cases, the tip can be partially broken off as long as the spring can fit in back the hole. It did not come out because of the tip being broken off it came off because the screw came out and caused the head to float. The spring and screw are very specific.


          • Eric,

            About an inch of the tip broke off where the spring goes in so we need to replace the whole rod. If we had to drive the car we would have to use a needle nose pliers to get it into gear. That is why I am asking if you know how to replace the rod.

          • I believe it might be an entire assembly. I am sorry, it hurts. I cannot say 100% that that is the only way but I am pretty sure you have to replace the top half. The dealer will tell you how it comes. Be careful, it’s not easy and I cannot explain the process. E

        • I have a 2004 Aviator that the shifter had broken, I improvised with a wooden dowel and that worked ok for awhile. I found a website called usa shifters and he rebuilds the entire thing for $275.00 He replaces the cheap plastic rod with an aluminum one and replaces and tests all the connectors.

      • right on about the screw!

        here is the first part of the video? I don’t know how you got the spring out or why you took it out.

        When I took mine apart the screw was floating around. I put the screw back in but the shifting is still a problem. I can see the spring is in the tube but I don’t know how to remove it or whether i should remove it.

  14. In reply to the above post about the 2003 Aviator the gear shifter gets stuck because of the stop light sensor under the brake pedal is bad. I have had the same problem for a while. The part cost only $80 and is easy to replace yourself.

  15. I have the same problem, took it all apart but cant get the middle piece off of the handle to look at th spring

  16. We have a 2003 Lincoln Aviator and for about the past two years have had issues with not being able to get the gear shift out of park. I have had it looked at by two dealerships and they say that the whole gear shift console needs to be replaces and it will cost 1500 dollars with labor and parts. I grew up around cars an own a 49 chevy pick up and a 74 buick appollo. I have no problem fixing it mechanically myself but am not sure if what you explain in the video will fix the problem we are having also….. Any advise is greatly appreciated!

    • I am going to assume that the complete system has been pulled out and tweaked and it might need to get rebuilt. There is a user on this blog that rebuilds them for like a few hundred dollars.
      My video is showing you how to fix the shifting issue if you were not to have taken the entire assembly out plugs and all. I have done that. There are some serious interlocks and nothing will shift if the shift cover is 1/2 inch lifted. I guess it is for safety, so look around for anything broken or snapped. Do you have the spring and screw for the shifter? Have you tried to carefully put it back together after careful inspection? That is the best I got.

      BTW – Have you had any in cab heater flapping noise issues? I found a new fix for that.

  17. hi Erick great video, can you tell give me the inf. about the guy who rebuilts the shifter. Thanks

  18. Eric,
    Your the best. I just paid for brake switch, actuator, wiring etc.. and all I had to do was this. Wow.

    • RConnell wrote – In my case, we had to replace the shifter assembly because the solenoid that was bad was in the shifter assembly and they don’t sell those solenoids separately. I had replaced the brake switch by the brake and the actuator in the console and the problem with stick getting stuck didn’t go away. So we found that we had a bad solenoid inside the bottom section of the shifter assembly which you can’t buy separately. So you have to buy the shifter assembly. It works great now.

      Eric Reply Thank you,
      Solenoid, hmmm. Did you get the old one back. I would test it just so see and make sure. You apply 12 volts to see if it will work. Maybe it is sticky. How much was the shifter assembly?
      You know, I posted there was a guy that rebuilds them for under $200, but time to send it out and stuff may not work out for most.

      Glad it fixed.

  19. About six months ago while in for service at the dealership for something else, I told them that sometimes it will not shift out of park. They said they couldn’t find anything wrong with it (even though the handle moved up and down freely). I now realize after watching this video that the screw must have fallen out a long time ago. It was only a matter of time until the shifter got stuck in park like it did the other night. A mechanic friend of mine suggested having a flatbed take it to the dealer because they have probably seen this before. The next morning, after reading these threads and hearing how much it would probably cost, I found this video. THANK YOU SO MUCH!! I had it fixed in a matter of minutes. I will pass this info on to anyone else that has an Aviator. Real time and money saver!

  20. Please let me know if there is any options you know of to replace the shifter switch instead of purchasing a complete shifter assembly from ford. This is for a Lincoln Aviator 2003.

  21. Hi Eric,

    Great video…thank you for that. My 2004 navigator will not move from park position. It has gradually gotten to this point. For a few weeks i was able to wiggle the shiter and get it to move from park position. I have taken off the shifter handle and the spring and white piece look ok. Once it’s out of park it works fine. Any ideas on a fix for this? Maybe transmission linkage?

    • It is all in the video. Everything is interconnected so the shifter top has come undone more than likely, causing the shifter not to disengage.
      There is a guy that posted on her that does remote repairs. You can fix it yourself if you are brave and have some mechanical.

  22. Thank you for posting this fantastic video and advice. It worked like a charm. For all of us poor souls still driving an Aviator, we need this kind of help, since Lincoln continues to take advantage of us. Now if there was just some way to fix the cracked rear window panel! Thanks Eric

  23. Thank you Eric. Thanks to your video, I can plainly see that the plastic rod is broken. However, up until this video, I did not have the confidence to take it apart and I can at least now shift into Drive and Reverse, etc. Thank you very much.

  24. Do you know how to fix the shifter if the plastic piece inside has already broke? Mine broke and i am using plyers to put truck into its gears and i can’t pay the 700.00 the shop wants to fix it !

  25. had same problem but found that a mouse built a nest in the counsal and the plastic lever inside the shifter needed lube so pb’d it and ill get some white lithium later

  26. Same here but found a mouse nest Inside counsel plastic piece lube and works ok ill get some white lithium later and update

  27. I had a problem not being able to pull the key out of the ignition on my 2004 Aviator. The ford dealership ran a test($76) and told me the entire shifter needed to be replaced. The cost was $1250. After a couple of emails to Eric I decided to fix it myself. I ran a continuity test on all the switches and interlocks on the shifter assembly and everything turned out fine. Everything showed that it was getting power and every switch worked correctly. The problem was the shifter control bezel sensor (7E034) It’s the shifter position light sensor on the shifter itself that tells you what gear your in. The indicator showed that it was in reverse through 1st but would not come on when the vehicle was in park. I simply unplugged the shifter control switch (small white plug on top of shifter) from the shifter, unplugged the battery terminal for 30 secs. Everything works perfectly, key came out without any problems. I will be looking for a new sensor, because it doesn’t show what gear it is in. But it sure beats paying $1250 for something that wouldnt have even fixed my problem. Hope this helps someone else with the same problem.

  28. Duke Mayes wrote – Hey eric, just watched your youtube video about the 2004 aviator shifter fix. My shifter will shift into park but the light indicator for park wont light up. The key will not come out either. Is there somewhere to buy the park relay switch. Ford wanted $1250 for a complete new shifter. I thought about putting in a momentary relay switch and bypass the default switch that isnt working. Do you have any experience with that. thanks.

    Eric Replied –
    Can you describe what happened leading up to the key not coming out? The shifter mechanism is very complex and has all kinds of interlocking switches and such. Will the shifter move into all the other selections? The key will not come out in any other selection but park. I am not sure if the park position requires an external button or switch somewhere below the shifter mechanism but not in the shifter box. There is a possibility that if shifter was lifted up and incorrectly positioned back in place, it might be off just enough to work but not hit park. You do not have much to lose to experiment because your alternative is $1,200 bucks as they are going to replace the upper and lower assembly. I do not know if there are multiple or more than one position that the shifter can be but if it had come unscrewed and you had to try and put it back in place, you might have moved it to the wrong place.

  29. I really appreciate you going out of your way to make this video. You saved me a lot of time and money. Unfortunately on my truck, the shaft that sticks out of the shifter with the slotted hole in it was broken off right under the slot.

    No worries, I’m going to have a machine shop that I work with manufacture a shaft (with the slot) that I can press fit and green loc-tite onto the remaining piece. After that I will put it all back together as you have demonstrated.

    If they were to charge me at all for the piece I draw up, I doubt the cost would exceed $50.00.

    • Would anyone be able to share the dimensions of the shifter rod? Mine was broken into a few pieces, and one is missing, so I can’t get the dimensions from the original part. Would be happy to send a Starbucks gift card or something so that I don’t have to pay $90 or $180 for a a little bit of aluminum rod!

  30. Thanks so much for insight/ had same problem happen today in my driveway and within a half hour had it fixed with your help…it was haelpful to see how shifter disassembles…its pulldown on leather boot, remove white plastic locking key, slide silver escutcheon down, pop off cover

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