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Thread: Where is the Neutral Safety Switch?

  1. #1

    Where is the Neutral Safety Switch?

    Where is the neutral safety switch on a 1963 with a 260 V8 and a Ford-O-Matic? Where is it physically located, and is it difficult to replace?

    Neutral Safety Switch:
    Neutral Safety Switch.jpg

  2. #2
    It is attached to the steering column just behind the dash. Stick your hand around the column and run it down the tube and you'll feel it bolted to the top.

    It's an easy replacement and they don't fail often. Usually it's extra sloppiness in the shift lever that caused the perception that the NSS is bad.
    Patrick Brown
    331 Stroker / T5 / 8" / Wilwood Disks / RRS R&P Steering / Megasquirt EFI

  3. #3

    The park lever engages the starter.

    Thanks. I'll take a look at it this evening.

    My problem is that the starter motor is activated when the ignition is turned on and I pull the shift lever to the left while the transmission is in park.

    I can start the car by pulling up on the gear shift. I have to be careful when putting in park while the engine is running so as not to engage the starter and have it grind against the flex plate.

    I thought "What in the shift link would send voltage the starter solenoid?" The only thing that it can be is the neutral safety switch. Maybe it has shifted or is cracked so that it is shorting when it is pushed to the left.

    I read this description on the internet that would fit my cars symptoms:

    "A neutral safety switch carries starter solenoid voltage when the ignition key is turned to the start position and is controlled when the vehicle gear selector is moved throughout its range from park to 1st gear. A neutral safety switch can become misadjusted due to normal wear of the mechanism that controls switch slider."

  4. #4
    Maybe you have the two wires on the starter solenoid reversed?
    Roger Moore

    63 "Flarechero"
    powered by: 347ci stroker | Tremec T5 | 8" 3:45 TracLoc rear

  5. #5

    Reversed wires?

    Quote Originally Posted by Luva65wagon View Post
    Maybe you have the two wires on the starter solenoid reversed?

    I will look. What would having reversed wires do?

  6. #6
    One of these little wires is from the "start" position on the switch (brown) and the other is to feed 12 volts to the coil from the solenoid while in the Starter is engaged. But it also tees off to go into the cab. So this wire that normally goes to the "I" terminal (red-blue) is also going to the IGN part of the switch, though it is intended really ONLY for the coil. So, if these two wires are reversed, then the key switch in the IGN position would feed 12 volts (actually more like 9 volts via the pink wire) to the S terminal of the solenoid as soon as you turned the key ON - assuming the neutral safety switch was in the PARK position. It sounds like there is a misadjustment going on in the Neutral Safety Switch (NSS) anyway, and so it isn't showing the instant you turn on the key, but is waiting until you yank on the shift handle.

    That said, assuming they are not reversed and the brown wire is on the S terminal of the solenoid and the red-blue is on the I terminal of the solenoid, then at the NSS you should NOT have 12 volts to either wire in the "RUN" position of the key switch. If you do, then follow the red-blue wire from the NSS back to the switch and make sure that red-blue wire is attached to the S terminal there, and not the center terminal (accessory) or "I" terminal (Ignition). Or the B (battery) terminal. Any 3 of these would cause the starter to spin in a key position other than START.

    As a side note, there may "seem" to be a discrepancy in the fact that there is a red-blue wire mentioned going to "I" at the solenoid and another red-blue wire mentioned that goes to the S terminal of the key switch. These are the the same ends of the same wire. They are NOT the same wire path. Don't know why Ford opted to use the same wire color codes on the same component circuit, but going to places on each end, where, on either end they are opposite of each other. But they did. The red-blue from the solenoid actually transitions to the pink resistance wire at the firewall connector, whereas the red-blue wire from the key switch transitions to the brown wire on the firewall connector.

    More info than needed, but that's just me.
    Roger Moore

    63 "Flarechero"
    powered by: 347ci stroker | Tremec T5 | 8" 3:45 TracLoc rear

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Mill Creek

    Where is the Neutral Safety Switch?

    Do any of you folks get amazed at the level of knowledge we have in the Rainier Falcons????? I sit in awe at how much some of you know and really appreciate reading these posts. What an amazing opportunity we have. Larry
    Larry Smith
    1964 Futura
    347 stroker

  8. #8

    Everybody knows a lot about a few things and maybe not so much about others (although Roger isn't a newcomer to the Falcon so he's got a jump on a lot of us!). And as a group, there's almost always someone who can supply the answers or at least point you in the right direction.

    I've dealt with that NS switch (although I would call it more of a connector than a switch) and they can be persnickety. While you have it out, clean the connection points with an eraser and bend them out just a tad so they make good contact with the inner tube. And take a mirror and flashlight to look down into the opening. If the surface of the inner tube looks dirty you may want to try and clean it as well.

    But there's really not much to them. Just hard to get adjusted. Especially if the detent plate is worn and your shifter arm is sloppy.

    Kenny Likins
    Ballard, Seattle, WA

    `62 Tudor Sedan (`69 200, C4, 8-inch 4-lug 2.79 rearend, Duraspark II, MSD, Weber 32/36 DGEV)

  9. #9
    Wouldn't you know it - I rewire this Comet as per the wiring diagram and when I go to restart it yesterday (after detailing the engine compartment a little bit) the engine started turning over with just the key on. So I swapped these wires and all was well again. So... I've now got to check the wires on the other cars.

    Hopefully, by now, you've resolved the issue you had.
    Roger Moore

    63 "Flarechero"
    powered by: 347ci stroker | Tremec T5 | 8" 3:45 TracLoc rear

  10. #10

    Sidetracked by a coolant leak.

    Hello, Roger.

    "...the engine started turning over with just the key on".

    Thanks for the info. That is a short and sweet summation of what happens when the wires are backwards. My car is black and all my wiring under the hood and in the trunk were spray-painted black by a previous owner when they had painted and detailed the car. That adds an additional element of challenge when I try to figure out which wire goes where. Sometimes I can use my thumb nail to scrape off enough black paint to be able to see the color coding. I looked at my wiring diagram and looked at the starter solenoid and what I have (red on left brown on right) matches the diagram (see below) and seems to be correct. The car does not start with just the key on as you described above. The key needs to be in the on position and then it starts when the shift lever is pulled further to left while in park. I'm still betting that the problem will be connected to the neutral safety switch.


    Before I could pursue the neutral safety switch issue, another more immediate concern intervened when my car started leaking coolant. It was a slow drip coming down the lower right radiator hose. The clamp was tight, so it seemed that maybe the actual leak was somewhere up above and the hose was just the point at where the coolant was dripping from. The source of the problem was not at all obvious, so on Friday I left the car at a garage where they said that they would pressurize the cooling system to find the leak. Hopefully, I'll get the car back and be able to resume pondering the neutral safety switch issue this coming weekend.
    Last edited by ew1usnr; May 12th, 2013 at 06:34 AM.

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