Tag Archives: 1996

What to do if your 1996 Landcruiser’s Shifter Will Not Come Out of Park – How to Release the Shift Lock Button

Have you ever noticed that things go bad at the worst time? In my case it was during heavy snow. I was plowing wet snow out of the way and had a few hours to beat when the temperatures would drop and turn the melting snow into a block of ice.

My plow truck is a 1996 Toyota Landcruiser that has a rear mounted plow made by a long gone firm named “Super Plow”. It works pretty good when snow stays under 18″ so I plow a few times during a storm to keep it knocked down.

I was plowing, put the truck in park and got out to see what I needed to touch up. I got back in and it would not shift out of Park. I could tell that the shift lock button was not going in as far as it should. First, I tried turning the steering wheel left and right – no luck. The lock would not release. I then put the truck’s transfer case in Neutral and rocked it some – nothing. I dropped the blade to make sure there weren’t any stresses – nothing. Well, that meant the selector solenoid wasn’t moving out of the way. Argh!! Of course I was stuck right in the middle of the driveway.

I called my buddy John Freehling up who is a real mechanic and will forget more about cars than I will ever learn. He told me that there ought to be an emergency release somewhere near the lever and to do a quick search on the Internet to find out just where, which I did.

You get access to the emergency release by using a blade screw driver, knife or something, to pry the little rectangular lid that is located to the upper left of the shift console. You then can insert a screw driver to gently push down and release the shift lever.
Bingo! Problem solved. I then got the truck back to my garage and went in and read on the computer instead of my little phone screen.

The access plate is at the upper edge of the console. You can see the small plate sitting in the boot of the transfer case lever. You need to reach in and press the release each time you want to take the lever out of park.

The Work Around

Now, it is literally subzero weather right now and I’ll work on permanently solving the weather this weekend when it warms up. Until then, I found a great solution on the web – cut a carpenter’s pencil off so it sticks up slightly – just the body – you don’t need it to be pointed. I put my pencil in and gave myself about an inch protruding and cut it off in my bandsaw.

Getting out of park takes two hands – I push down on the stubby pencil with my left hand, push in the lock button like normal and pull the lever down with my right. Again, you just need it to move the shift lever out of park – not all the time. It works just fine. I was able to finish plowing my hose and my mother-in-law’s no problem.

What might the problem be?

Troubleshooting and fixing this one ought to be pretty straight forward when it is warmer. Here’s what I am going to try in order:

  1. Push down on the brake pedal. If the lights turn on, then the brake pedal switch is good. If they don’t then the problem is most likely the brake pedal switch. I read an interesting post where the guy said unscrewing and removing the brake pedal assembly makes it very straight forward.
  2. If the brake lights come on, make sure they all come on. If not, one blown bulb could potentially cause the problem.
  3. Related to #2 – Check brake light fuse and replace if blown.
  4. If the light all come on, check for power at the solenoid because odds are the solenoid failed.

So, we’ll see what the final fix is but I hope this helps anyone stuck and unable to get the shift lever lock switch to depress and let them shift out of park.

2/3/19 Update: It blew the fuse — As you see, the truck’s plow is on the rear. I smashed the trailer light hookup assembly pretty good and it must have shorted somewhere. This summer I’ll use a hole saw and cut the rear bumper to install a trailer electrical assembly that is better protected vs. under the bumper. So, the truck’s brake lights and shifter are working again.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Genuine TOYOTA LandCruiser FJ80 Center Diff Lock Switch

$66.51
End Date: Saturday May-11-2019 22:18:17 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $66.51
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Genuine TOYOTA Landcruiser FJ80 HDJ80 HZJ80 without Rear Wash Windshield Washer

$64.29
End Date: Saturday May-11-2019 1:11:27 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $64.29
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

GENUINE Toyota LandCruiser FJ80 Rear Left LH Door Weatherstrip Moulding CHROME

$48.24
End Date: Friday May-10-2019 17:37:57 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $48.24
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

GENUINE Toyota LandCruiser FJ80 FZJ80 HDJ80 HDJ81 Door Courtesy Light Switch

$19.45
End Date: Monday May-20-2019 1:39:38 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $19.45
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Genuine TOYOTA Landcruiser FJ80 HDJ80 HZJ80 Fuel Line Return Solenoid Valve

$149.82
End Date: Wednesday May-8-2019 0:32:13 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $149.82
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

GENUINE Toyota LandCruiser FJ80 FZJ80 HDJ80 HZJ80 Lower Front RH Door Hinge

$52.21
End Date: Thursday May-9-2019 2:15:29 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $52.21
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

GENUINE Toyota LandCruiser 80 Series FJ80 Front Right Fender Guard Splash Seal

$30.04
End Date: Wednesday May-15-2019 20:21:41 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $30.04
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

GENUINE TOYOTA LANDCRUISER 80 SERIES FJ FJZ HZJ REAR BOOT DOOR BADGE EMBLEM NEW

$83.64
End Date: Sunday May-5-2019 20:56:55 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $83.64
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

GENUINE Toyota LandCruiser FJ80 FZJ80 Windscreen Washer Bottle Tank wRear Washer

$68.30
End Date: Monday May-13-2019 16:35:19 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $68.30
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

TOYOTA LANDCRUISER FJ62 FJ70 FJ75 HJ75 HJ79 FJ80 BLACK DOOR PINCHWELD 4M

$21.45
End Date: Thursday Apr-25-2019 19:09:34 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $21.45
Buy It Now | Add to watch list