From the late 60s to early 80s Fords were known to fall out of park and go into reverse. The mechanism would get worn and when someone would get out of the car and slam the door sometimes this would be enough to jar the shifter and it would fall in to reverse. This was especially bad if the car was cold and the engine was roaring in high idle.
It would have bankrupted Ford to recall and repair the 23 million cars that had this design defect. Luckily for them our government did them Ford a solid and instead of being forced to recall the cars, they were able to mail out stickers for people to put on the dash reminding them
Before leaving drivers seat
Put firmly in park
Shut off engine
Set parking brake
My question is has anyone ever experienced a Ford of the era falling out of park? I had some defective Fords and i could see how it could happen, the shifter got really loose and sloppy. However i never had it happen.
Early 70’s Ford truck, automatic, never had it move from P to R by itself. It can be a little difficult to get it into the desired spot though. I occasionally have to push the truck a few feet ahead, easier to just do that w/engine off, so release/set parking brake and maneuver trans lever from P through R to N and back again, while standing on the road surface. Sometimes will discover later it stopped in R rather than P.
My aunt had an early '70s Galaxie to which that happened, but she claimed that the engine was off and that it jumped into N. Who knows what the real story was?
The car rolled into… something… in a parking lot, but luckily there was no serious damage. After that incident, she began–for the first time ever–to use her e-brake when parking.
It happened to many people back in the day… thus the attention and the fix(es.)
Oh im not doubting it. I know it happened and it injured and killed many. I remember a very early episode of COPS that featured a basket handle T-Bird that was going in circles in reverse with no driver, presumably after it fell out of park.
I just don’t know anyone who personally had it happen.
I believe that around 1973 or so changes were made that made the shift detents more defined, though they still cpuld fall out of park when rounded off from wear.
I had a friend with a 71 custom and one thing I remember from the few times I drove it was how easy the shifter moved, it felt like it wasn’t connected to anything it was so loose. Of course this was in the early 90s, and that car had alot of years and miles on it.
OK , just for those who might not know what ’ Basket Handle T- Bird ’ is .
The 1977 Ford Thunderbird had a decorative bar over the top of the car that people thought looked like a handle you would see on a basket .
A 73 Comet did it. The owner told the smog person not to run it in park because it would do that. He ignored the owner. Crunch.
It happened to a friends father. When he tried to get back in the truck to stop it the door knocked him down partially under the truck. Broken leg, crushed ribs, punctured lung, separated shoulder, wasn’t pretty. IIRC it was an F-250 Camper Special.
I had a Ford that tried to once. Stopped at the post office, placed it in Park, and started to get out.
The car suddenly lurched backwards while I had the left foot on the ground but caught it in time.
Never happened on my 68 cougar, 71 ranchero or 72 f100. Never heard of the problem, but not dismissing it either.