How to Repair a 2001 Ford Explorer Steering Column Shift Arm

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The gear shift arm of your 2001 Ford Explorer is on the steering column. To repair the shift arm, you will need to disassemble the steering column to access the arm. The easiest way to repair a faulty shift arm is to replace it. It is less expensive and less time-consuming to replace the arm. As you will not be able to operate your Explorer without a steering column shift arm, you should replace the arm immediately if it ever breaks or begins to malfunction.

Things You'll Need

  • Socket wrench
  • Straight pin
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Slotted screwdriver
  • Turn the Explorer's engine off and pull the release lever to open the hood. Lift up the hood and use a socket wrench to disconnect the negative terminal from the battery in the lower right corner of the engine compartment.

  • Remove the four screws from the center trim panel with a Phillips screwdriver and pull the panel off the Explorer.

  • Remove the key lock cylinder by inserting a small straight pin into the release hole to pop the cylinder out. If you do not have a straight pin, any long, metal object that fits into the release hole will suffice.

  • Lower the steering column to its bottom position.

  • Remove the two screws from the lower steering column cover and use a slotted screwdriver to pop off both the upper and lower cover.

  • Remove the two screws securing the shift arm. Disconnect the arm's electrical connector and pull it out of the steering column.

  • Install a replacement shift arm. Attach its electrical connector and the two screws with a Phillips screwdriver.

  • Reinstall the steering column covers and the key lock cylinder. Reattach the center trim panel and reconnect the battery.

References

  • "Ford Explorer, 1991 thru 2001, Haynes Repair Manual"; Haynes; 2005
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