GM Malibu/Cutlass 1997-2000

Transaxle Range Switch

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The backup lamps will light whenever the ignition switch is in the RUN position and the transaxle is in REVERSE. On older vehicles, this function was handled by a dedicated switch with a name such as the Neutral/Safety Backup Light Switch, or something similar. This switch was designed to keep the engine from starting in any gear except PARK and/or NEUTRAL. The switch contacts also activated the backup lights when the transaxle was placed in REVERSE.

On the vehicles covered by this guide, the backup lamp control function is part of an integrated switch called the Transaxle Range (TR) switch (sometimes also called the Park/Neutral Position or PNP switch). In addition to turning on the backup lights, the Transaxle Range (TR) switches primary function is to transmit the driver's transaxle range selection to the Powertrain Control Module (PCM). The PCM uses this information to control both engine and transaxle functions electronically.

The Transaxle Range switch is mounted externally on the transaxle. New service replacement switches come pinned in the NEUTRAL position and no adjustment should be necessary. Please note that if the switch requires adjustment, GM recommends that their special tool J 41545 Park/Neutral Switch Alignment Tool be used to properly adjust the Transaxle Range switch, if required.

SHIFT TEST



The transaxles used in the vehicles covered by this guide are all electronically controlled, under the command of the Powertrain Control Module (PCM). GM recommends that professional technicians perform this test before any further diagnostic work is done to make sure that the electronic control inputs are connected and operating. If a technician does not check the inputs before operating the transaxle, it is very possible to misdiagnose a simple electrical condition as a major transaxle condition.

  1. Start the engine.
  2.  
  3. Firmly depress the brake pedal.
  4.  
  5. Move the gear selector to the following positions:
    1. PARK to REVERSE
    2.  
    3. REVERSE to NEUTRAL to DRIVE
    4.  

  6.  
  7. Gear selections should be immediate and not harsh.
  8.  

Because the transaxle is under the control of the PCM, certain conditions will cause Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) to set. A qualified technician using a scan tool connected to the vehicle's Data Link Connector (DLC) should be able to read and interpret the codes to help diagnose transaxle performance issues.


WARNING
DO NOT, under any circumstances, attempt to diagnose a powertrain condition with basic knowledge of this powertrain; you may misdiagnose the condition and/or damage the powertrain components.

REMOVAL & INSTALLATION





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Fig. Transaxle Range (TR) (also known as the Park/Neutral Position) switch mounting-4T40E transaxle



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Fig. The shift linkage on the transaxle is fastened with one nut


NOTE
The Transaxle Range (TR) switch (also called the park/neutral position switch) also functions as the back-up switch.

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2.  
  3. Remove the shift linkage.
  4.  
  5. Detach the electrical connector from the switch.
  6.  
  7. Unfasten the switch-to-transaxle screws/bolts, then remove the switch.
  8.  

To install:

  1. If installing the old switch, proceed as follows:
    1. Place the shift shaft/control lever in N .
    2.  
    3. Align the flats of the shift shaft with the switch, then loosely install the mounting bolts.
    4.  
    5. Insert a gauge pin in the service adjustment hole and rotate the switch until the pin drops to a depth of 9 / 64 in. (9mm).
    6.  
    7. Tighten the bolts to 18 ft. lbs. (24 Nm), then remove the gauge pin.
    8.  

  2.  
  3. If installing a new switch, proceed as follows:
    1. Place the shift shaft/control lever in N .
    2.  
    3. Align the flats of the shift shaft to the flats in the switch, then install the switch assembly. Tighten the bolts to 18 ft. lbs. (24 Nm).
    4.  
    5. If the bolt holes do not align with the mounting boss on the transaxle, verify the transaxle is in the N position, do not rotate the switch.
    6.  
    7. If the shift has been rotated and the pin broken, the switch can be adjusted by following the procedure in Step 5.
    8.  

  4.  
  5. Attach the electrical connector to the switch.
  6.  
  7. Install the shift linkage.
  8.  
  9. Connect the negative battery cable, then start the engine and check the switch operation.
  10.  


CAUTION
After switch engagement, make sure the engine will only start in P or N.

ADJUSTMENT



For TR switch adjustment, please see the removal and installation procedure.

 
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