Author Topic: Starter won't engage when in park  (Read 457 times)

johnm

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Starter won't engage when in park
« on: June 11, 2019, 23:20:17 »
I have a 1966 W-108 250S automatic with a column shift. When the car is in Park and I turn the key the starter won't engage. When I shift the car into neutral the car starts fine. I'm looking for advice as to whether something is out of adjustment or how I may be able to fix this problem. Please go slow as I'm not a mechanic.  Thanks.... John
1970 280SL
1966 250S

rockingchairmotors

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Re: Starter won't engage when in park
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2019, 00:04:12 »
I am no expert but make sure push the shifter away from you towards the instrument cluster when you put it in park.  Seems to me that the safety is still being engaged. I honestly do not remember where that safety is.  There are others here that are far more familiar with the inner workings than I and I'm sure they will chime in.


WRe

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Re: Starter won't engage when in park
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2019, 00:21:05 »
Hi,
Maybe you have the same transmission safety switch as Pagodas have, located at the firewall. You should check this.
...WRe

ja17

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Re: Starter won't engage when in park
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2019, 01:33:35 »
Nice diagrams and information from WRe. Yes, you have the same safety switch as on the Pagoda. If your shifter bushings are worn you may not be activating the switch. Also make sure the steel wire core going to  the safety switch is not bent down near the transmission. Check the travel of the switch lever as someone operates the shifter. Pop the control cable off the switch And check it by moving it manually. You should find two start positions (P and N).  Lastly your switch may be defective. CAUTION to keep the engine from dangerously starting in gear, remove the coil wire from the ignition first so it does not accidentally start and go!
Joe Alexander
Blacklick, Ohio
1969 Dark Olive 280SL
2002 ML55 AMG (tow vehicle)
2002 SLK32 AMG (350 hp)
1963 404 Mercedes Unimog (Swedish Army)
1989 flu419 Mercedes Unimog (US Army)
1998 E430
1974 450SLC Rally
1965 220SE Finback

johnm

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Re: Starter won't engage when in park
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2019, 09:54:07 »
Thanks very much. This is an excellent place to start. I will advise once I have a chance to check on the switch.
John
1970 280SL
1966 250S

wwheeler

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Re: Starter won't engage when in park
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2019, 14:46:43 »
FYI, here is a picture of my switch for a '68 280SE coupe auto on the column. The switch certainly functions the same, but I believe the lever arm and the way it is mounted is different. If you get another switch, make sure it is from a car like yours. I actually took mine apart by grinding off the rivets and replacing them with screws and nuts. I was able to clean the contacts and put in new dielectric grease for lube. Should last another X number of years. 
Wallace Wheeler
Texas
'68 280SE W111 coupe
'60 220SE W128 coupe
'70 Plymouth Roadrunner 440+6

johnm

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Re: Starter won't engage when in park
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2019, 09:58:28 »
 
   I located the switch and cleaned and lubricated all moving parts. The car starts fine in Park now. Thanks for your expertise and guiding me to the cause of the problem. All the best... John
1970 280SL
1966 250S

Mike Hughes

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Re: Starter won't engage when in park
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2019, 21:28:19 »
Aren't these cars grand?  One can actually FIX them instead of just hanging new parts on them like modern iron!  ;^)
- Mike Hughes  -ô¿ô-
  1966 230SL Auto P/S
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wwheeler

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Re: Starter won't engage when in park
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2019, 00:35:32 »
Mike you are right and these cars were really meant to be maintained by the owner or other caring soul. I need to clean my power window switches because the contacts are starting to fail. Easy enough. Take them apart, clean the contacts and they are good for another 50 + years. One of the reasons I fell for Classic Mercedes cars!
Wallace Wheeler
Texas
'68 280SE W111 coupe
'60 220SE W128 coupe
'70 Plymouth Roadrunner 440+6

Cees Klumper

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Re: Starter won't engage when in park
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2019, 11:20:27 »
Well I do all the maintenance and repairs on my thoroughly modern Volvos and BMW and have preferred repairing them over my Pagoda. Some issues with Pagodas (cold starting, warm starting, misfiring, hard shifting, hesitation, warming-up, cutting out) are all too common, hard to diagnose and harder to fix. So I have over the years become converted to the virtues of more modern technology.
Cees Klumper
1969 Mercedes 280 SL automatic white