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1996 19ft Van RV Towed and now wont turn over?

The NYPD towed my van for an event they call this a “relocation”. My van no longer starts? I thought the battery was dead? I had a jump and realized the head lights were fine and bright and all the lights light up when I turn the key forward. Then I tried to start it in by putting it in neutral and it still didnt make any kind of clicking or noise when turning it over. It’s an automatic transmission and when I moved the shifter from Park to neutral it felt like there was no places to stop for reverse or even neutral? It just slide? instead of how it stops automatically and you can tell what gear you’re in or if you’re in Reverse or neutral a park or drive…It was hard to tell?

All I know is the truck number they moved it with. But no idea how they moved it.

Any ideas what they did to it? Oh and as a bonus they managed to break off one of my compartment doors on the side of the van? Maybe was angry? He did nicely place that under the windshield wiper so at least I didn’t lose the door completely.

And sorry for the mistakes this was mostly of voice to text because I’m trying to type this on my phone and I can’t see what I’m writing. Note to the android developers.( I see the word developer right now)

[quote=“rye39, post:1, topic:101882, full:true”] It’s an automatic transmission and when I moved the shifter from Park to neutral it felt like there was no places to stop for reverse or even neutral? It just slide? instead of how it stops automatically and you can tell what gear you’re in or if you’re in Reverse or neutral a park or drive…It was hard to tell?[/quote]Perhaps they disconnected the transmission linkage so they could shift it into neutral so they could move it.


On those old trucks and vans it only takes a few seconds to slide under and disconnect the shift linkage and move the transmission from park to move the truck.

Be sure to use the parking brake so the van doesn’t roll away before you reattach the linkage.


If not a linkage issue, could be a coincidence, the battery might just be bad or need a charge. Especially if it sat unused for any length of time. Towing can sometimes damage other stuff, like the transmission and even break the timing belt. But that wouldn’t normally cause a no-crank.

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Oops… I responded as though this were a Ford… I was pointing the OP to the emergency breaker inside the vehicle. My bad… Not applicable on a Dodge. Sorry…disregard


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Thank u so much for responding.

Thank u. Okay I will try to get it jump-started again but the battery indicator says that the battery is not dead

If the linkage is not connected the van may not start. It may have been actually left in a gear to keep it from rolling away. The neutral safety switch must be engaged by the linkage in park or neutral in order to start the vehicle. Also you can have plenty of power for lights and not have enough to start. You have to verify the voltage on the battery and the connection. If you have a hot enough battery and the computer allows you will get the starter to at least click if the starter solenoid is good.

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I just talked to the tow truck supervisor. He said that the tow truck driver did do my linkage and then he put my linkage back together and so now my van should run… I asked if he was sure that he did it properly? So obviously the man made a mistake when doing it and I don’t know what that mistake is?
Any ideas where to look?

All lights on and radio works…will get a tow truck tomorrow to jump it and then i guess…uf that doesnt work…?

Ive left my lights on multiple time and when i have a low battery it clicks or makes noise…this doesnt do anything…

The transmission is located about 4 feet towards the rear from this picture.

Above the left side of the transmission oil pan you will find the transmission linkage.


Does that mean I need to go all the way under the van? As in my whole body will be under? Thats how far from the engine? Sorry I’m really stupid about cars (although I can’t change oil but probably not on this van:) I’ll take more pictures tomorrow in the daylight. And thanks everyone for putting up with my vehicle ignorance.

Are you paying storage fees while you are trying to get this thing moving? If so can you have it towed to your parking place or a shop that can fix it.

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Leaving an automatic “in gear” will not stop the vehicle from rolling.


Don’t go under the van without setting the parking brake and blocking the wheels.

Open the hood and look at the steering column where it passes through the firewall while an assistant shifts from park to drive. You will see a lever on the steering column move up and down, this is where the shift linkage begins, you can follow the linkage to the transmission.


@VOLVO_V70 I can leave it on the street until Friday. I dont want to move it until I have fully investigated and documented with pictures in case if the tow company broke something

Sheesh, get it towed to a mechanic, get it fixed, and add the cost to the “stupid tax” you’ve already paid for parking illegally.

(BTW, I’ve paid stupid tax with many zeroes, so don’t take this personally.)



My Ford truck’s C4 automatic transmission, the linkage can be working ok – by that I mean it shifts into all the positions and the transmission responds correctly to all positions – but it still might not crank. That happens if the neutral safety switch isn’t correct aligned with the other parts of the linkage. As I recall I have to use a drill bit as a sort of indexing dowel to get it lined up correctly with the other shift linkage. If your Dodge is like that, you might have a difficult time fixing the no crank problem just by trial and error.

The reason that part is even exists in the first place is just a safety issue. They don’t want a condition to happen where a kid who’s left in the car with the transmission in P while the parent goes into 7-11 for a big gulp to be able to just turn the key and start the engine.

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That is an interesting theory you’ve conceived, how does the neutral safety switch discriminate between children and adults?