'98 Toyota 4Runner Neutral Safety Switch Replacement

by Pete
(Crystal River, Fl)

I have a 1998 4Runner SR5, 3.6 V6,Automatic transmission that has been having starting problems. Often I hit the ignition and get nothing. Then hit it again and it starts. Finally after looking at the schematic I tried holding the key in the "Start" position (on a failed start) and shifting from "Park" to "Neutral". It started. I feel pretty confident the Neutral Safety Switch is the problem. I inspected it and it appeared to be adjusted properly (the flat tang lines up with the "neutral" line etched on the switch body when in Neutral). I'm trying to remove the switch following the relatively simple procedure in my Chilton's manual. I've unstaked the washer and removed the lower (large) retaining nut as well as the upper adjusting nut (smaller) in the slotted hole. I've also removed the electrical harness. That should do it according to my Chilton's. While the switch rotates freely around the stud coming out of the transmission, it will not come free. Do I simply need to apply some addition force with a pry bar, or am I missing something?

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Sep 24, 2010
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Neutral safety switch
by: Joey Berthelot

I'm having an issue with the transmission not wanting to shift gears since washing the undercarriage of my '96 Limited (231k and strong as a bull!) I pulles the neutral safty switch and the connector had moisture inside of it. Is there any way I can test the electrical function of the switch? I think I may have shorted something but don't want to drop 175.00 on a guess. can be reached @ berthelot7@yahoo.com


Thanks!

Apr 15, 2009
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'98 Toyota 4Runner Neutral Safety Switch Replacement
by: Anonymous

Nice to hear it all worked out for you. :)

Apr 15, 2009
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Got it off
by: Pete

Well, with the help of two small pry bars, I got it off. What was fooling me was, when I took the lower nut off, I expected the switch to come off of the treaded stud. Not so, the threaded part is actually part of the switch. The rectangular tang coming out of the transmission actually slides up through the treaded portion, so it looked strange when it finally started to come off.
By the way, if you're doing this to replace the Neutral Safety Switch, it may be worth it to open up the switch and clean it up before investing $175 (discount online price) on a new switch. Mine just needed some cleaning and reconditioning of the contact pieces. Works fine, now.

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