Friday, August 15, 2008

Stuck in Park at the Park, or How To Un-stick a Parking Pawl

Last week I stopped to visit that same friend. Pulled into the campground and parked, put wood out and drove up on it. But I hadn't gone quite far enough onto the block and even though I had set the parking brake, when I released the regular brake the motorhome slipped backwards. My suspicions were immediately confirmed. I was stuck in park.

A parking pawl is inside the automatic transmission. It's the part that keeps the vehicle from rolling when you put it in park, and the part that makes it hard to get out of park when you park on an incline and don't set your emergency brake first. Busting my tranny is not high on my wish list, so I try to always set the emergency brake. This time it didn't help.

What do you do? I had lots of offers and suggestions, many of which involved gently pushing the motorhome forward. Right - forward, and up onto that block that was stuck under the rear wheel. And I have a motorcycle rack on the back of the motorhome.

What we actually did, once we found someone with a jack handle to fit them, is jack up the back end on the stabilizing jacks I never use. Enough to remove the leveling block. And then the vehicle shifted so nice and easy.

I wouldn't like to do that on a hill, but then it wouldn't have happened on a hill because I did set the parking brake.

My RV shop doesn't carry the kind of jack handle I need for those built-in stabilizing jacks, but now I'm determined to find one that does just in case.

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