BW66 - how to move out of Park to N without engine running

I have SIII XJ6 that has been dead in garage for 10 years. (Fuel switch malfunctions) Before parking, the BW66 was rebuilt and working fine. Now need to transport car to new house, and do not want to get engine running. When I move gear selector to N without engine running (selector very stiff) , the parking pawl appears to still be in place. Rear wheels rotate about 2 degrees each way when off the ground but clearly restrained by mechanical pin.

Question - how to get the BW66 transmission out of Park, and move to N , so can safely move the car (by winch and pushing)

I was not aware that the BW 66 had any interlock feature to prevent that. I suspect still linkage or torque. but the fact that the rear wheels will turn just a bit contradicts that.


  1. Get “roller pads” for the rear wheels.
  2. Do as the tow operators do, disconnect the drive shaft. Easies at the rear, better place to tie it up. Or at each end, out of the way, Eight bolts as I recall.
  3. As the park lot guys do, a trolley jack on the center of the rear. Best have a wood pad for this…
  4. Disconnect the cable at the transmission, it might just be possible to shift the transmission there. eliminates lever and cable drag.


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the problem has been reported several times that the shifter doesn’t shift any more. As an auto box is different from a manual box where clutch plates may bind over time and the trouble has to be in the linkage I’d first try the wiggle-as-much-as-you can approach, then remove the shifter cover and access the cable directly:

(pic for BW65, but BW66 should be pretty much the same)

Good luck


75 XJ6L 4.2 auto (UK spec)

This is very unusual. Once the BW66 shifter is moved to Neutral the car should move freely unless the brakes or parking brake are engaged.

Have you tried moving the shifter back and forth around the Neutral position while trying to move the car? With the work done on the BW66 before it sat I suppose that the cable adjustment might be a little off and when you put it into Neutral it is slightly out of Neutral.

I suppose it is possible that the rear brakes are locked or the parking brake is stuck. But if the brakes were preventing movement I would not expect the 2 degree rotation in the rear wheels.

Carl gave some excellent suggestions on moving the car.


My thoughts were the brakes sticking as well and the 2 deg of wheel movement could be down to play in the U/j’s?

I didn’t think about the universal joints. A little bit of play in them might explain the 2 degree of movement. It is not unusual for the brakes to get stuck in a car that sat for 10 years. Especially if the car is in a damp environment. I have no idea where Fred lives, but it does sound like stuck brakes is a possible explanation to Fred’s problem.


As the S3 is not fitted withe an LS, you should be able to rotate wheel 360. So I’d say its the handbrake that is your problem.

I have nothing but clapped out XJ’s and none of my Series I, II, or III’s have neutral safety switches. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve inadvertently let the car in neutral only to chase it down the drive way before it ended up in the neighbors front room.

Now, the Series III’s do have a steering lock that will require a key to release the steering wheel.

Have you checked at the lever at the gearbox, Fred…?

The parking pawl is rod operated from the selector shaft/detent lever - and the external selector arm must move to release the pawl.

In principle; if the pawl is stuck (weight of the car bearing on the box) the shift lever cannot move - unless rods/connections inside is malfunctioning.

So if the problem is the parking pawl - the best bet is to disconnect the propeller shaft at the rear, as Carl suggests. Of course; if the rear wheels still will not turn - it is not the parking pawl…

xj 85 Sov Europe (UK/NZ)


Good point. I’ve pondered that concept a time or two. One wheel can walk the “middle” gears. The ones that I forgot the name for that are welded by racers to get a “locked” rear.

Mark: Your cars do have a “neutral safety switch” unless some one has disabled it!! but preventing a runaway is not the function. It prevents the engine from being cranked and fired up in gear and thence the runaway!!!


I to it that the shift lever in the cabin refuses to be moved from the park position. I like Jochen’s suggestion as to the wiggle technique. It just might enhance the chance of that technique’s success if the rear wheels are up in the air. As frank saya, torque release.

This very thing can happen if the car is placed in P and and parked against a stop in a nose down position…

Lots of stuff to try, the car will be moved, one way or another!!!


Jag Forum team - I am very impressed and appreciative of the multiple and collaborative responses to my posted question. My frustration today is that I am 650 miles from where the XJ6 is parked. So it will be a couple weeks before I can report progress. (facts not previously reported - Parking brake was NOT engaged during storage - garage floor and roof dry but there is dripping moisture on a wall when rains in Delaware USA ) From your suggestions, it seems my steps in order are:

  1. wiggle the selector a bit more vigorously around the Neutral N position, with rear wheels in air to see if that releases the Parking pawl.
  2. Check the U-joint and drive shaft to a rear wheel when lifted clear to see if it is Ujoint play or Parking pawl. (if both move, then parking pawl is not released) . Am I right on that, if a inboard rear disc is binding, then the drive shaft would not rotate at all?
  3. disconnect propeller shaft at rear diff. So 2 more questions/apprehensions:
  • how frozen will those 4 bolts be, and how difficult to get to all four with socket or open end wrench when cannot rotate the propeller shaft, and working with just floor jacks to support rear. (limited working space and angles to apply/move wrenches)
  • should I just unbolt the rear flange plate or do I need to worry about a “center bearing” on that shaft from the transmission? (I cannot see under car right now and factory workshop manual is not particularly clear) )
  1. report back to JagLoversForum.

Thanks for the help !

Fred. You do not need to get the car in neutral to get it to roll onto a transport. Any position but park will do. If you get under the car and observe the shift lever on the transmission while someone in the car moves the console shift lever you can see if it is in park. Any position other than completely to one end of the arc or the other will do. Once you have determined that the lever is not in park then you can focus on the much more likely frozen park or regular brakes. If you have sufficient access a little tug with a recovery strap could very possibly break things loose enough for the car to roll

No Carl, OP states that the lever moves to the N position but is stiff.

If the parking pawl is engaged, Geoff - the car must not(!) be forcibly moved with the rear wheels on the ground…

xj6 85 Sov Europe (UK/NZ)

If one wheel brake is binding, and the pawl is free, Fred - the other wheel, and the prop shaft will rotate. If both wheel brakes are binding; nothing will rotate - irrespective of parking pawl state. If the pawl is locked, and brakes are free; any rear wheel will counter-rotate - except with Powr-lock, with no movement except slack in joints…

Unused over time, the discs will inevitably rust - and the discs won’t turn. As there are universal joints in the driveshafts - a certain amount of play will be detectable when turning a wheel against locked brakes. Only viable option is to observe the discs while moving a wheel - no disc movement; frozen brakes…

One solution is to force the pads away from the disc - which requires some dexterity…

That said; the state of the brakes is easier to assess than the state of the pawl. And while brute force may free brakes - forcing a pawl is highly destructive…:slight_smile:

xj6 85 Sov Europe (UK/NZ)

I am not suggesting to forcibly move it with the parking pawl engaged. The parking pawl is only engaged with the selector lever on the transmission in the park position. If you check under the car to ensure that it is any other position but park the car can be rolled without damage to the transmission.

I think it will be difficult to reach the 4 diff/tailshft bolts if you cannot turn the shaft, although a banana spanner may get the “top” one

I would bet on rear brake caliper pads stuck to discs

First thing I would do though is disconnect the trans cable at the shifter linkage and manually move the selector arm to neutral

then apply leverage to the wheels to try and free the discs, if they are stuck

The fault may be internal, Geoff - the lever may be out of park, but the pawl may not…

Without some positive proof that the pawl is free, like the propshaft can be turned, the car should not be moved, on wheels against a locked up parking pawl.

Or, indeed; if the gear lever is out of park, but the lever is stuck in park - the pawl should be assessed as being stuck in park…

xj6 85 Sov Europe (UK/NZ)

I submit that the likelihood of the pawl being internally stuck in park in a car with a rebuilt transmission, that was working well before parking, and a lever on the side of the transmission that can be put through the positions normally, either with the shift lever or manually by disconnecting it, is so small as to be almost nonexistent. The driveshaft could be disconnected if one was concerned about those odds.

You may want to look into having the car towed to your new house. Those guys usually have the equipment to move frozen cars. It would save you a lot of work.