Sunday, October 14, 2007

SAAB 9-5 Gear Selector Position Sensor

The code I had from the OBD-II was P0705 "Transmission Range Sensor Circuit malfunction (PRNDL Input)"

The gear selector position sensor on the SAAB 9-5 is attached to the top of the transmission and can be reached by removing the battery and battery tray. seems to have the sensor listed as the Neutral Safety Switch (NPN Switch).

You will need:
A socket wrench and extender
10mm socket
13mm socket
17mm socket
13mm wrench

Disconnect the positive and negative battery cables with the 13mm wrench. Remove the nut and brace behind the battery with the 13mm socket. Lift out the battery. Remove the four 10mm screws and remove the battery tray.

You should be able to reach the 17mm bolt and other connectors on the gear selector position sensor from here.

I cleaned everything I could, sprayed a little WD-40, and once everything was back in place I sat in the car and pulled the gear selector from park all the way down to 1st and back up to park. I did this several times fairly rapidly. This gives me a month or two of relief from the issue.

Here is a great write up about the gear selector position sensor.


  1. [...] shift into 4th. This is really annoying when you know the reason for the check engine light isn’t really that important and/or you have people in the car with [...]

  2. Hello,

    Searching the web for a problem with a gear selector on my car, I have found your topic.
    It helped me understand better and to be able to thank you I have posted a link to a small reportage showing the complete "rebuild" of my gear selector sensor. I have to say it is fitted on an old OPEL ASTRA (Vauxhall) but it looks pretty the same as yours... it is even written "SAAB" on its connector (!).
    It is a very expensive spare part here in Belgium, maybe it can help you one day to avoid those costs; here is the link : (sorry it's in french but the pics are quite clear)

    flyer146 (e-mail :

  3. Thank you! That is an excellent explanation. I have a feeling that this is going to help a lot of people.

  4. My pleasure ! The original problem I had was when the car was "sleeping" outside in humid and "cold" conditions : the "degraded" mode was selected by the calculator (with blinking indications on dashboard). Several resets (engine off then on) were required to solve this problem. When you see the inside condition of the contactor I think you can easily understand why... ! I am sure indeed that a lot of people have the same problem with those expensive contactors. Let's hope it's gonna help as you say !
    All the best with your blog.
    See u,

  5. [...] [...]

  6. umm, my little black coupling ball joint has broken/popped off from the brass piece that it rotates on. it appears it screws into the metal rod, and snaps onto the neutral safety brass lever. do they just make this little coupling? i cannot find it anywhere. thats the only part that is broken is my little black coupling. anyone know of a way to fix this without it costing too much? i know i should replace the entire gear selector cable, but i am just trying to get this to work until i can afford a true fix.

  7. Hmm, let me study how mine is set up after work and get back to you with ways I'd attack the problem.

  8. Okay, if I'm picturing the break correctly, here's what I would do if it was my car- I'd use a two part epoxy and the remaining plastic coupling pieces to try and rebuild the part with the idea that if it doesn't work I could always purchase the replacement cable. I'd use electrical tape to kind of form a jig that matches the ball joint so the repaired part will fit back in place once the epoxy dries in ten minutes. Good luck. It looks like the job would be a pain to do, but I'm always in favor of trying repairs before replacement.

  9. someone suggested taking a dremel and dremel down into the brass mall part and stick a pin in it to hole the plastic ball on. i have it rubberbanded on with high heat o-rings for now, seems to be doing the trick. the problem with the epoxy is that the black ball has to swivel on the brass stem, i would hate for them to get expoxied together.

  10. male part/stem, not mall. sorry.

  11. i just replaced the entire gear selector cable, I am having trouble getting the rubber firewall grommet in, have you ever done this? i cannot get my and down to where the grommet goes into the wall. any tricks? tips? I have got the cable in and working, but i just could not get the grommet in the firewall.

  12. Hmm, I'm afraid I don't have any experience with this.
    I guess I might find someone with very small hands that could possible fit in the area better, try getting at it from the opposite side of the firewall or, if it's really giving you trouble, maybe use silicone (on a stick so it reaches) to seal the area instead of the grommet (as a last resort).

    Please post what you end up getting to work so others that read this can follow your lead.

  13. Hey, as for the black coupling ball breaking off. I was able to fix. This happened to me around June as well. Unfortunately know one sells just the ball/bushing. you would think they would as its a cheap part. Noo... You have to buy the whole cable at $200!!! So, I was able to buy a used cable assembly from SAAB/Volvo dismantlers in Rancho Cordova, CA for around $30. I cut open the plastic joint with the ball/bushing in the end. I then pressed it into the one in the car with a socket extension and small hammer. One small hit and it was in. All good car works fine. But, tonight my car gave me a P0705 code and did the limp home mode type thing, no sport or winter mode. Cleared the code. pulled ECU fuse and all is fine. My guess is its time to replace Neutral Safety Switch.

  14. Great job! That was a smart move to go with the pulled part instead of new.
    My car went about two years with the gear selector sensor throwing error codes about once a month, always as a first put the car into gear. One day it did it while I was driving down the highway. That was the day I ordered the replacement part. :O)

  15. Does anyone know if these switches are suppose to have a grease or lubricant? Thanks. Jon

  16. i have a 93 conv 2001 and had a problem the car not starting it would re start after 20/30 min found out it was the poss gear sensor,i have replaced it now its fine,however here are some tips if you have the problem of it not starting you can pore a 2 ltr bottle of cold water down on to the swich its located down under the batt just pore water andhay presto it will start . one thing a notices on the above its very clear how to change but on the 2001 93 conv the batt holder does not come off its welded to the bulk head andits very hard to get to the bolts under the tray but work at it ,it can be done only took me 4 hrs