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Discussion Starter #1
I have an issue where my 03 automatic forester won’t go back into park or reverse. The key is stuck in the ignition. The car starts in neutral and goes into drive runs fine but I’m just at a loss for what it could be. I had the codes read and the code was P0oo38. The transmission shop I took it to said that was the problem but as far as I know that’s an oxygen sensor? I’m thinking perhaps the neutral safety switch is the problem? Anyways if you could give me some ideas that would be wonderful.
 

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Yes, P0038 is related to the heater present in the upstream o2 sensor (also called an A/F sensor - it is a sensor before the catalytic converter so closest to the engine). The heater is not functioning. It needs that heater to increase its sensitivity. That is a problem. I believe on your car it is run through a fuse so check your fuses. If not, it could be the connection to the A/F sensor or involves replacement of it.

It is not related to not being able to move your stick to park, tho. If that transmission shop is suggesting it is related, they are full of something.

There's an interlock that you can access with a small screw driver through a hole next to your stick. It is usually described in the user manual, I believe. The problem may be related to that interlock or possibly your brake switch. The brake switch needs to be activated by pressing the pedal for it to come in and out of park - if it is defective, it won't let you do that.
That screw driver trick should let you move the stick to park. You may need to bring that screw driver with you until that issue is fixed because it will likely not let you move out of park.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes, P0038 is related to the heater present in the upstream o2 sensor (also called an A/F sensor - it is a sensor before the catalytic converter so closest to the engine). The heater is not functioning. It needs that heater to increase its sensitivity. That is a problem. I believe on your car it is run through a fuse so check your fuses. If not, it could be the connection to the A/F sensor or involves replacement of it.

It is not related to not being able to move your stick to park, tho. If that transmission shop is suggesting it is related, they are full of something.

There's an interlock that you can access with a small screw driver through a hole next to your stick. It is usually described in the user manual, I believe. The problem may be related to that interlock or possibly your brake switch. The brake switch needs to be activated by pressing the pedal for it to come in and out of park - if it is defective, it won't let you do that.
That screw driver trick should let you move the stick to park. You may need to bring that screw driver with you until that issue is fixed because it will likely not let you move out of park.
I’ve tried that, right now I got the neutral safety switch taken out just waiting a couple of day for the part.
 

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You can shift from reverse to park without pressing the button or the brake pedal? Seems dangerous.
There is no button and, while I would usually have the brakes applied, you do not have to press the brake. The shift is gated between R and P so moving aroud the gate probably activates the neutral switch. I guess there was more faith that drivers knew what they were doing back in 2003 :p

531848
 

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I just went and pulled the shift shroud and even though the little cover is there, nothing underneath. No mention in the owners manual either. To confirm I actually went outside and with the engine running I was able to shift between park/reverse/park/reverse/park without any brake applied.

So it's only Aussies that are trusted to actually stop the car before putting it in park! :D
 
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