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Hagerty Employee

Piston Slap: A Torino's parking pawl-em, lost ground, and tongues that lost their grooves?

I own a 1968 Ford Torino GT convertible with a 302 and C4 automatic column shift. I have three questions that maybe you can help me with. First, the column shift jumps out of park. I have adjusted the linkage according to the service manual and still the problem is there.

The parking issue was an internal issue and mostly due to wear.

As Sanjeev pointed out make sure the parking brake works well. Also shut the car off before getting in or out and do not leave it running Un attended.

It was a problem and not on every models but I did know someone killed by this.n they got out of the car and was pinned between the car and house when it fell into reverse.
Advanced Driver

Ford had a major recall on the parking pawl problems. Their ultimate solution was to give everyone a sticker for the dash reminding them to apply the parking brake before getting out of the car.

In Ann Arbor, a man was killed when scraping the ice off the rear window of his Lincoln. He had applied the parking brake, but when the transmission slipped from Park to Reverse, the parking brake automatically released.

I would not count on a transmission rebuild fixing the parking brake issue. You could make it good as new, and it still would be a problem. Perhaps you can find a genuine Ford sticker on E-bay to put on the dash.
Pit Crew

The parking pawl issue almost got me cut in two. I was working at a gas station in 1971 and just finished an oil change on a fairly new Mercury. I pulled it out of the bay and parked it. It was an automatic; I put in park. I opened the door. There was another car very close, I had pulled in with little room to exit the Mercury. As I got out, my eye caught that door was moving. My two feet were already on the pavement; the car was slightly angled so, I’m also pinned between the open door and the other car. I was able to jump in and stop the mercury before it caught my legs but not before the door went into the car parked next to it and bent the hell out the Mercury’s door. I went the garage, white as a ghost. My boss asked what happened and a said “I just ****** up”. He came out, fooled his eyes and rubbed his forehead. He called the owner. We covered the repair. It was a number of years later before Ford had its recall and I could honestly say, it wasn’t because I was young and stupid. I as young and stupid but it had nothing to do with what happened that day.
New Driver

I remember many moons ago while driving my dads Ford for drivers ed practice - He always reminded me to turn down the radio - turn off the heater blower motor and all other accessories and just after you put the transmission in Park - to Listen for the "Click". Then always engage the Park Brake. Never had any issues since - You can still hear that "Click" today even with todays modern electronic control transmissions.
Advanced Driver

Ensure the parking brake is good to go, then ditch the automatic & install a manual transmission.

Wrt fuel gauge on most cars negative ground, the fuel gauge is on the hot side when ignition is on. Current goes through the gauge down to the variable resistor in the "sending" unit then to ground. A short to ground anywhere in the wire between the gauge and sending unit will cause a full reading. So will a shorted resistance wire in the sending unit. And least likely, a float inside the tank that is somehow wedged or frozen at the top of the tank would cause an always full reading once the ignition switch energizes the circuit.
Intermediate Driver

pawl issues were commeven on my 73 montego there was a warning sticker

I don't think that the parking pawl was as much of an issue as the slotted locks of the column selector wearing, and or worn spring tension on the mechanism causing enough slop between park and reverse to cause the lever to fall out of park and drop into the reverse detent. Ford Trucks were recalled for such problems. If you'll remember you have to pull back the lever to select reverse from park and sometimes the spring tension on those old Ford levers could get sloppy after a while. As for the fuel gauge issue, use an Ohm meter to check the sender wire for a short to ground before the sender.
Intermediate Driver

It was described as "jumping out of park" and not that park didn't hold which points to wear in the shift mechanism.

Regarding the fuel gauge you are correct again, the first step in an always full gauge reading is to check the resistance between the disconnected sender wire at the gauge and a good ground. On Fords of that era you should have about 10 ohms with a full tank and 73 with an empty tank. It is not exactly linear between the two points with half at about 30-35 ohms if I remember correctly.

I'd put my money on the sending unit since the typical problem is a gauge that doesn't go to full due to extra resistance in the connections that has developed over the years.

Your right because of the column locks, that alone wouldn't allow any selector from falling out of park as long as it is locked. However, when unlocked I've seen Ford trucks and vans so sloppy that they do fall away and land into the reverse detent with engine running. That was the reason for the brake actuated selector column release feature starting in the early 80s.

As for shift kits on a C4, It is possible to carve a snap ring slot higher up into the 2nd gear clutch drum to add 2 more clutch disks and turn a 3 clutch pack into a 5 clutch pack drum. All done with a brake drum lathe.

The transmission shop that we used was very familiar with the park pawl issue and came up with their own solution: they slightly undercut the teeth on the spur and increased the angle a bit on the pawl itself. It required a bit more effort to disengage, but solved the problem well enough that the local Ford dealer sent all of their transmissions to them for the fix. Regarding the fuel gauge, ensure that the instrument cluster voltage regulator is sound. Changing it might help.