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.
The Neutral Safety switch This is a part found on all cars with automatic transmissions. It prevents the starter from engaging if the transmission is in any gear other than 'Park' or 'Neutral'. It also turns on the back-up lights when the transmission is shifted into "reverse". It can get out of adjustment or fail.
According to the 2003 Ford Ranger Owner Guide : ( Motorcraft MERCON - V , automatic transmission fluid is used in the automatic transmissions with all engine sizes ) * the type used is indicated either on the automatic transmission fluid dipstick handle , or it is engraved into the automatic transmission fluid level dipstick *
if it is not going into gear when it is started, if it is a standard transmission then it could be that your clutch is not engaging or that your gears are stripped in the caseing of the transmission, if it is an automatic then your torque converter could be bad or there is something wrong with the shift linkage