Xj 40 wont start until red P is illuminated on the gear lever

Hello everybody! I have a question and I hope maybe you can help me. I dont find anything on the internet.
It seems to be a common problem: When the red illuminated P is not visible, the car wont start, right? When I am jiggling the gear lever around, the red P appears and the car will start. How can I fix that problem? its a bit annoying. I bended the „spring“ of the microswitch a bit - but no effect. What do I need to change? Is there a simple fix?

thank you!

Clemens Berndorff …

Hello. On my '89 all the gear selection lights are red, P N D R. Just for fun the next time this happens select neutral (N) and see if the red light comes on and the car starts. On my car If I place the shift in park and shut off the engine I get a warning horn if the lever isn’t all the way in park. If I nudge the lever forward a hair the horn is silenced.

I’m not sure what micro switch you’re talking about but I believe you need to adjust the entire shift assembly. Remove the gear shift trim surround and the wood trim “ski slope”. The shift assembly is attached with 4 bolts (one at each corner) through elongated holes. Once you loosen (no need to remove them) the bolts you can slide the entire assembly back and forth until you find the sweet spot that illuminates the “P” when the lever is in park.


The car is behaving as expected. The microswitch board is adjustable, after careful disassembly of the selector gate, with some micro scews. I think cleaning with care using contact spray will help. In case you short something the car will fry its selector fuse and will not start at all.