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How to Replace a Neutral Safety Switch in a Sonoma

by Dan Ferrell

If you have to wiggle the transmission shift selector or push it forward to start your GMC Sonoma, the neutral safety switch may be defective and need to be replaced. Installing a new safety switch on your pickup is a simple process, but you must get a special tool to adjust it correctly. These steps will help you remove, install and position the new switch.

Remove the Neutral Safety Switch

Apply the parking brake.

Set the transmission to neutral and chock the rear wheels.

Lift the front of your Sonoma pickup using a floor jack, and support it on jack stands.

Look for the neutral safety switch on the driver's side of the transmission.

Unscrew the nut holding the transmission control lever to the manual shaft on the neutral switch, using a wrench or ratchet and socket. Then separate the manual shaft from the transmission control lever.

Unplug the electrical connector from the neutral safety switch.

Unscrew the two mounting bolts securing the neutral safety switch to the transmission, using a ratchet and socket.

Slide the neutral safety switch off the manual shaft and remove the switch from the vehicle. If the switch does not slide off the shaft, says Robert Maddox the "GMC Sonoma Pick-ups Haynes Repair Manual," smooth the outer edge with a file and then remove the switch.

Install the New Neutral Safety Switch

Set the new neutral safety switch on its mounting position on the manual shaft, aligning the switch bracket with the mounting boss on the transmission. Then tighten the two mounting bolts with your fingers.

Mount the neutral position adjustment tool J41364-A on the neutral switch by aligning the two tabs on one end of the tool with the two slots on the small rotating button on the lower part of the neutral switch. (See "Resource" for more information.)

Rotate the adjustment tool to align the pin on the other end of the tool with the slot on top of the neutral safety switch.

Tighten the two switch mounting bolts using the ratchet and socket, and remove the adjustment tool.

Plug the switch electrical connector.

Secure the transmission control lever to the manual shaft, and tighten the mounting nut with the wrench or ratchet and socket.

Lower the truck.

Check the neutral switch. The vehicle should start only in "Park" and neutral.

Items you will need


About the Author

Since 2003 Dan Ferrell has contributed general and consumer-oriented news to television and the Web. His work has appeared in Texas, New Mexico and Miami and on various websites. Ferrell is a certified automation and control technician from the Advanced Technology Center in El Paso, Texas.

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