Well, I think I’ve solved the mystery of the “Help, I can’t shift out of Park!” issue…
After taking apart my center console, I found that there is an electric solenoid that actuates upon the activation of the brake switch (under the dash). This solenoid’s plunger pushes a metal “stopper” into the path of a blue cam that is part of the transmission lever’s push-button mechanism.
So, when you try to shift out of Park by pushing the lever’s button, the metal stopper keeps it from going…
Now, if the brake switch is having “issues” like mine, then you have more than one problem… The brake lights aren’t working either! I proved this by having my wife watch the lights while I used the switch during the “failure” period of the shift issue.
While working under the dash, looking at the brake lever-to-switch contact area, I noticed a plastic bushing that actually does the contacting of the switch’s plunger. When I removed it, there was a rather deep divot where contact is made… this can’t be good either! So, I took a piece of thin stainless steel sheet metal and cut/formed it to cover the area and bonded it with SuperGlue (worked great).
In addition, I tapped the brake switch with the flashlight a few times to see if it would help it… it DID!
After fixing the plastic piece and the brake switch, all is good again!
(Note: I’ll be watching the brake switch for future failure. I would rather have replaced the switch and plastic piece, but this repair works just fine for now).