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81 Corvette with starting problem/auto shifter failure

by Karie
(Foster City, CA)

I bought this car new and it has been a good luck car until recently. My mechanic removed & installed a new Delco heavy duty starter after the starter started to sound like it was flying apart. While still in the shop only the Brake & Check Engine light came on when the ignition was turned. No clicks or anything. We thought the anti-theft has engaged so my mechanic did something under the hood to override that. My car started and I had no problems for about a week. Went shopping and after starting and stopping a few times, same thing happened. Turned the key and only the dash lights came on. Tried several times and then went back shopping for a while. Came back to the car and this time it started. During the course of about 1 month, this happened 3 times and of course wouldn't happen while in the shop. My mechanic cleaned all connections between the starter and the ignition. But now, there is a combination of two problems and they might be related. After I start my car, I put my automatic gear lever into reverse to back out of the garage and I might instead go forward. OR sometimes I put in into drive and it might go backwards. There are times my gear lever slides back and forth with no resistance and then finally after a while I can feel it catch again. Sometimes I can't get it into Park and so I have to keep my foot on the brake and keep trying until I know it's not going to roll. The worse was yesterday when I parked along the street for a doctor's appt. At first it wouldn't start (keeping in mind I had started it a couple of times previously & wonder if it is a solenoid heat issue) but I kept moving the auto gear shift lever back a forth and trying to start the car. Suddenly the car started and I didn't have my foot on the brake so it lunged forward!!! This is the first time that it seems to have started when obviously it wasn't in park or neutral. Which brings me to . . . I've been reading something about a neutral safety switch which I refuse to bypass or I will for sure run into something. But I could also have a cable or linkage problem in my console where the automatic gear shift lever is???? And I still wonder if maybe the starting problem has to do with solenoid over-heating from re-starting and driving the car from place to place. Once I get my Vette started and into drive, the car drives and changes gear perfectly. It only act ups at initially while starting the car. Can anyone help me figure out what parts I might need and in what direction to send my mechanic in??? He works on all types of cars so he isn't a Corvette specialist but has kept my 31 year old car running for the last 10 years.

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