Why wont your 97 ford ranger 23l 4cly automatic transmission come out of park when its turned on but will go into drive if started in neutral?

Likely something is wrong with the connection with your brake. You have to press the brake to get it out of park (safety feature so kids etc can't shift into gear), if you start it in neutral you have already bypassed that safety feature. I'm currently having the same problem and is why I signed onto this website. Check to see if your brake lights work. It might be a blown fuse, loose wire going from the brake to steering column, or similar electrical problem. I haven't figured out what mine is yet, but it works fine as long as I start it in neutral instead of park.