[A4] A4 Tiptronic won't shift out of park

Tyson Varosyan tyson at up-times.com
Mon Mar 3 15:01:40 PST 2008

Hi Kent,

I have never taken apart your year/model car in this area, but the way
these things work is pretty simple.

Under the Brake pedal there are buttons which activate when you press on
the brakes. Sometimes there is more than one. Obviously your brake
lights (and sometimes a dash indicator) are activated by these switches
- check their function and if they don't work, that's a clue. The button
in turn activates a magnetic actuator in your shifter area. Pretty
simple thing - just a plunger that goes back and forth with a 12v

What I would do:

Crawl into the footwell with an electrical tester and test the function
of the button(s) on your brake pedal. 90% of time the problem is here. 
If that fails, I would check your fuse panel (this is easy enough and a
good general step to take).
If that does not resolve it, you got to take apart the stuff surrounding
your shifter and look for the magnetic actuator. Your manual would be
handy here. It is usually a circular thing with 2 wires going to it -
directly bolted to the moving parts of the shifter.
You can test the actuator by feeding it 12V of electricity from the
battery. If it does not move, you have found your culprit. 

Bottom line is, the actuator is a safety device that can be removed if
you are conscious enough to not shift your car in gear by accident. The
car will work just fine without it - but you have to be careful because
an unguarded movement, a child, a pet or your mother-in-law may
accidently shift the car while its running and the brake not pressed.
Certainly only remove the actuator temporarily until you figure out the
problem - but it will get you rolling...

Tyson Varosyan
Technical Director, Uptime Technical Solutions LLC.
tyson at up-times.com
206-715-TECH (8324)

-----Original Message-----
From: a4-bounces at audifans.com [mailto:a4-bounces at audifans.com] On Behalf
Of Kent McLean
Sent: Sunday, March 02, 2008 6:19 PM
To: quattro; A4-list
Subject: [A4] A4 Tiptronic won't shift out of park

The honeymoon is over.

I went to move my '99 A4 Tiptronic today, but when I tried to shift into

reverse, the shifter wouldn't budge out of park.  My foot was firmly on
brake. The little "press the brake pedal" light on the console goes out
when I 
press on the brake. The button on the shifter to release the shift lock
in (what I think to be) "enough". But the shift lever won't move out of

a. Is it something simple like like a brake switch having failed?

b. Is it something simple that I can disable without ripping anything

c. Suggestions other than "buy a Honda".

P.S. I have the Bentley for the A4 on CD, but I haven't been able to get
working on my Vista laptop (dual boot with Ubuntu Linux).

Kent McLean
'99 A4 Avant, w/ quattro, V6, Tiptronic, :(
'94 100 S Avant, "Moody"
'91 200 TQA #1, undecided
'91 200 TQA #2, up in smoke 2
'89 200 TQ, "Bad Puppy", up in smoke
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