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I wanted to share the solution to a problem I had this morning where I couldn't shift into drive.
I knew it wasn't the shift lock because I could hear it disengage when pressing the brake, and I was able to shift as far as neutral.
I knew it wasn't the transmission because reverse worked fine.
But whatever is hidden by a cover in a car is black magic to me until it gets explained. So I still suspected some sort of locking mechanism or something complicated.
I did a quick search but only found posts about issues with the shift lock. But I found a youtube video that explained clearly what was happening. I'm posting it here because there are too many questions and not enough answers on the internet.

The solution for me was the metal bracket, that puts pressure on some ridges to help keep the shifter locked in position, came loose causing it to butt up against the plastic physically preventing the shifter from travelling further. Re-aligning the bracket and tightening the screw allowed the shifter to move.

 

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Yep same thing happened to me 2012 Frontier with about 68,000 miles on it.
I found the same youtube video and I also adjusted my parking brake while i was in there.
 

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Good to know! I had a different issue with the shifter in my 2008 Pathy. It wouldn't disengage from the PARK position unless you popped out the plastic access plug on top of the shifter and manually overrided the shift lock. I thought is was a bad shift lock actuator because I was getting power to it with the brake pedal depressed, but it wasn't. With the actuator removed, you can see a micro-switch with a small, metal lever which gets depressed and released with the movement of the shift lever. The switch is not available separately and comes only as part of the shifter assembly. I tried looking for one using the numbers printed on it to no avail. Anyway, I was able to fix the problem by carefully bending the metal lever so that it would engage the shifter like it used to do when the shifter is put into the PARK position. When the shifter is in PARK and the lever is not engaging the micro-switch as it should, then it sends voltage to the actuator to cancel out its ability to ground the circuit and operate the actuator plunger to release the shift lock.
 

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I wanted to share the solution to a problem I had this morning where I couldn't shift into drive.
I knew it wasn't the shift lock because I could hear it disengage when pressing the brake, and I was able to shift as far as neutral.
I knew it wasn't the transmission because reverse worked fine.
But whatever is hidden by a cover in a car is black magic to me until it gets explained. So I still suspected some sort of locking mechanism or something complicated.
I did a quick search but only found posts about issues with the shift lock. But I found a youtube video that explained clearly what was happening. I'm posting it here because there are too many questions and not enough answers on the internet.

The solution for me was the metal bracket, that puts pressure on some ridges to help keep the shifter locked in position, came loose causing it to butt up against the plastic physically preventing the shifter from travelling further. Re-aligning the bracket and tightening the screw allowed the shifter to move.


Yesterday, I stopped at a McD's for a burger. Came out and my 2012 Frontier 4WD would not go into Drive. I fussed and fiddled to no avail. Reverse worked fine. So I pushed it back into a parking spot and went back inside McD's and hooked up free wi-fi and typed in "nissan frontier won't go in drive" in Google and your entry came up as the 2nd option. Read your notes, listened to the video and went back out to the truck.

Took off the console covers, unsnapped the shifter plate and found the EXACT SAME PROBLEM. Loose screw about 1/4 inch and a doo-dad was jamming up in a slot, preventing the shifter from going into drive. Put it in Park, got a phillips screwdriver and tightened the screw. Put everything back (click, click, click) and was working perfect in less than 15 minutes!

Had I been ignorant of basic automotive repairs, the default would be to call AAA and tow it to the dealer, whereby a two-plus hour inspection and analysis would have probably resulted in several hundred dollars later of labor...and who knows what else they might swap in for a few extra hours of labor???

Thanks for your write up and a two-thumbs up to Google and YouTube. Great resource.
 

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Shout out to James!!!!!!
Just want to say a thousand thank you
I have a 2012 Nissan frontier I use daily as a work truck. I'm self employed and during my first hour of work i couldn't get my truck into drive. I was piders off and going to sell my truck and buy a new one. After finishing putting up post on the internet to sell my truck i couldn't help but think my truck was running fine there's got to be an easy solution to my problem. So I googled what was wrong and came across your video. Problem fixed in 2 min and saved me thousands of dollars. I owe you lots of beers if your ever in fresno ca look me up I own sequoia pest control Google it and is be glad to buy you as much as you can eat and drink til you pass out
Thanks again
 

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It's 2019 and this is still very much relevant. Thank you, James! I didn't know that an issue like this could happen. Saved me and my family! (Nissan Frontier 2012)
 

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I wanted to share the solution to a problem I had this morning where I couldn't shift into drive.
I knew it wasn't the shift lock because I could hear it disengage when pressing the brake, and I was able to shift as far as neutral.
I knew it wasn't the transmission because reverse worked fine.
But whatever is hidden by a cover in a car is black magic to me until it gets explained. So I still suspected some sort of locking mechanism or something complicated.
I did a quick search but only found posts about issues with the shift lock. But I found a youtube video that explained clearly what was happening. I'm posting it here because there are too many questions and not enough answers on the internet.

The solution for me was the metal bracket, that puts pressure on some ridges to help keep the shifter locked in position, came loose causing it to butt up against the plastic physically preventing the shifter from travelling further. Re-aligning the bracket and tightening the screw allowed the shifter to move.

I just want to say thanks.... you just saved me a bunch of money and time. You rock jamesfast
 
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