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Technical Neutral Saftey Switch

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by HOTRODPRIMER, Sep 23, 2019.

  1. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 5,278


    A few years ago I was standing at the tech line at the hamb drags waiting to ask a question about the scatter shield requirement and two cars failed the NSS test.
    3W JOHN, HOTRODPRIMER and Stogy like this.
  2. Andy
    Joined: Nov 17, 2002
    Posts: 4,765


    No NSS
    Mine is the roadster. Ran across a walkway full of people and kocked my car back 20 feet
    P1020173.JPG P1020175.JPG P1020172.JPG P1020176.JPG
  3. 3W JOHN and Stogy like this.
  4. Andy
    Joined: Nov 17, 2002
    Posts: 4,765


    This was at the LSRU a few years ago. Dual four blown big block and straight headers plus an auto trans. He would reach in thru the window, start it and rap it up every 30 minutes. It finally somehow got in gear and took off. I was two streets away and turned to see what the noise was about. It sounded like it was at full throttle. I saw his car leap in the air as it road up on mine. In the pictue, my car was parked where his is shown. It was in the middle of the day and the crowd was big. He had been parked on the other side of the road. It is really a wonder no one was killed. My old car must be tough as I drove it home. His went on a stretcher.
    It pushed in the grill, ripped a tire and scrached and bent up a lot of stuff plus the headlight damage. I had the radiator fixed, bought new tires and repaired the rest.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2019
  5. olscrounger
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 4,331


    Crazy!! Saw something similar at NSRA show. Model A with blown motor-they would start it up every so often Lady got in it and started it-lots of throttle and no NSS. Took off and some guy grabbed a handful of spark plug wires and stopped it but not before it went about 40 feet and hit a car broadside! Was a crazy sight to see.
    A guy down the street bought an old T bucket with a 283 and PG-no NSS. They liked to drink a bit too. They were fooling with it in the garage and it started up and stuck him to the wall-luckily his friend shut it off and he wasn't hurt too bad. Saw it being hauled off the other day--had not been started in years.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2019
    3W JOHN and Stogy like this.
  6. I'll be a bit of a contrarian...

    If you're running an auto trans and don't have a NSS, you're playing with fire. Particularly if using an aftermarket floor shifter like a Lokar or similar. Most don't have indicators to show what gear they're in, and they don't generally have the most positive detents either. It won't always be obvious by looking what gear it may be in. But even factory shifters don't usually have a detent between neutral and drive, so you can't necessarily trust them either.

    Manual trans? I'm not a fan of the clutch-pedal interlocks on the late models and would be hesitant to retrofit one on an older car. First, they assume that you're stupid and don't have sense enough to make sure the car is in neutral before starting. It's generally considerably more obvious if a manual is in neutral. If you are stupid, you'll find another path to prove it. Second, there's a mechanical reason; crankshaft thrust bearing wear. When you push in the clutch, that pushes the crankshaft forward against the thrust bearing. On a dry start (the engine has been sitting a while, time for the oil film to mostly drain away) you have the possibility of damage to the thrust surface. IIRC, one of the GM divisions had issues with this when these switches became mandatory. Fitting a NSS to some older engines with a manual trans may prove to be a crapshoot.

    If more cars had effective operating park/emergency brakes on them and the owner used them, a lot of this would be moot...
    Cooon, GuyW, morac41 and 5 others like this.
  7. joel
    Joined: Oct 10, 2009
    Posts: 1,926


    Your point is well taken; I prefer to start my car in neutral due to a similar train of thought. I would prefer to have the switch on the shifter, but I have not been able to come up with a way to do it. I had nothing but 3 pedal cars until I was 28 and didn't worry. Now everything I drive ,except the coupe, is automatic. Maybe moving to a warmer climate so I can drive the hot rod all year is the answer.:)
    3W JOHN likes this.
  8. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 6,260


    A neutral safety switch is cheap insurance. Why wouldn't everyone have one as needed? Checking the operability of one should require a routine check to insure its working properly.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2019
    3W JOHN and olscrounger like this.
  9. Put a relay and one of these in the seat.
    When you sit down it closes the switch.
    trollst and 3W JOHN like this.
  10. This is kind of asinine backwards and certainly not idiot proof but it’s better than nothing.
    vtx1800, Stogy and 3W JOHN like this.
  11. Ideally, having the NSS enabled by having the manual trans in neutral would probably be the best solution but unfortunately it's easier said than done...

    I like this idea. Another choice could a seatbelt interlock; if there's a body buckled into the seat, chances for a mishap go down a lot (you're back to stupid at this point). Finding a seat belt set-up shouldn't be at all hard, given how everything these days has a warning light for unbuckled belts.
  12. X-cpe
    Joined: Mar 9, 2018
    Posts: 1,191


    GM tried this in the early to mid 70's. Annoying buzzer to go with it too. You'd be amazed how many cars came in with the seat belts clicked full time across the seat behind the drivers rear end. Lasted about a year and a half.

    When I built the shifter for my coupster I included a NSS. Found a switch with a ball plunger. Then cut a triangular piece of steel. The point of the triangle pivoted at the shifter pivot. I drilled into the face of center of the base of the triangle deep and wide enough for the plunger to extend to the off position when in reverse. The wings of the triangle base were wide enough to depress the plunger in park and neutral. I think I will have to run a Ford solenoid because I don't believe my switch will carry enough current for the Chevy solenoid.
    Stogy, 3W JOHN and olscrounger like this.
  13. 4wd1936
    Joined: Mar 16, 2009
    Posts: 971

    from NY

    How about the dumb a... that had the time to install a remote starter but no NSS, that ended very badly as people got hurt. Another where a remote starter in an OT car with a stick, started in gear, through the garage door into Moms new vette. Saw the end result of both and not pretty. I would imagine an insurance co would not be too cooperative in either case.
    3W JOHN likes this.
  14. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 15,085

    from oregon

    I guess the riding lawn mower industry got it right!
    trollst, Stogy, da34guy and 5 others like this.
  15. ;)
    Stogy and 3W JOHN like this.
  16. 3W JOHN
    Joined: Oct 8, 2015
    Posts: 952

    3W JOHN

    If it works why not?
    Stogy likes this.
  17. Remember I said it’s better than nothing.
    It’s a normally open switch powered by an internal spring. The switch being open
    It’s requires adjustment and careful adjustment by the installer for it to work. After it’s adjusted it needs to stay adjusted and what keeps that without a little tack? The detents in the shifter head need to match those in the transmission and they don’t always do that.
    Stogy likes this.
  18. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 8,839


    A mandatory safety requirement here.
    Safety is not an option but a necessity!
    Sadly common sense isn't that common either these days!
    Stogy and morac41 like this.
  19. I built my shifter on the C cab. I used a Morse cable and two micro switches.
    The switch's were wired in parallel so it would start in park or neutral. If I had a stick shift I'd put one on clutch peddle .
    I can't imagine not having on.
    Stogy likes this.
  20. Mike
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 3,535


    Something I've picked up from working in the aviation industry and land speed racing (and general common sense) is that you should never start a machine (car, airplane, boat, tractor, anything) unless you are in a position to control that machine.

    And yes, vehicles equipped with automatic transmissions should have a neutral safety switch.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2019
    trollst, Cooon and Stogy like this.
  21. Habit I got into years ago, NSS or not. Always have my foot on the brake pedal B4 I start anything.
    Seems most new cars/trucks are like that.
    Stogy likes this.
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 356


    A few years ago a pal of mine took his 40ty Ford Deluxe coupe into a Mechanic shop. Mechanic was doing something under the hood and hit the under hood start button on the starter solenoid mounted on the firewall with his elbow. He was not hurt and vehicle received minimal damage hitting work bench. He said he wasn't aware that something like that even existed.
  23. What “he” wasn’t aware of what “something”’s existence?
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
  24. Even though all of my automatic cars have a safety switch, I still put my foot on the brake pedal.
    Brian Eddison and TagMan like this.
  25. Driver50x
    Joined: May 5, 2014
    Posts: 150


    In my T-Bucket I really couldn’t find the space to mount a neutral safety switch near the transmission. So I mounted it behind the seat instead, and ran a cable to it. I used a 1960’s Chevy pickup switch, $16 from Amazon. I also used a Schwinn bicycle brake cable from Walmart. The beauty of using an OEM style switch is that the car will start in both park and neutral, when you wire it through the two terminals I am pointing to. You could also use the other two terminals, and wire in backup lights if so desired. I drilled multiple holes in the switch “lever” to adjust the amount of travel. After about 10 minutes of cable adjustments and trying different holes, I got it to work perfectly.

    2C9E5973-8135-4666-94B3-BDE9277CB8A0.jpeg 181F36D2-82A4-4A68-A1D7-17C4613CFA31.jpeg E6659C47-C3A8-4EDC-96D6-02A8ADE99DEE.jpeg 2E8CF605-C058-4AAD-993E-0ED6CC3DABCC.jpeg 22B111FC-31A2-4DC1-8550-322DB5F15576.jpeg
  26. morac41
    Joined: Jul 23, 2011
    Posts: 532


    Never start your car from outside IE; through the drivers window ...especially any Ford with a FMX auto.... 54 onwards
    Driver50x likes this.
  27. thomas.parker197
    Joined: Dec 29, 2017
    Posts: 52


    I'm pretty careful driving my 55 with drum brakes and standard steering. When I got it the neutral safety switch had been bypassed. I ended up replacing the switch with an nos part. Hooked it up, but was never really sure it worked until last weekend when I parked in front of the corner store in my neighborhood. I killed the car in drive for some reason and set the parking brake. When I got back into the car I released the brake and turned the ignition switch. Lights came on but the starter did not engage. Looked down and saw the d selected. I was very grateful for that safety switch or I would gone through the plate glass window and into the store pretty quickly.

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
    Stogy likes this.
  28. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 7,537


    Here's my story on this subject. I Bought a running driving HighBoy Roadster, gone through, safety checked, ready to rock from a Hot Rod dealer. SBC, no choke on edelbrock carb so when firing up you pumped gas, kept tickling throttle to keep it running for a minute or two. I had it backed into my 2 car garage so I could drive it in my enclosed trailer to take it to World of Wheels in January in Wisconsin. Get in fire it up, colder than a well diggers butt so I'm dickin around trying to keep it running and in one of my attempts to move it, it stalled and I did not get it in park (GM TH400) I pump gas, a little throttle, hit start and SHIT, I'm smoking the tires in reverse, hit brakes and stopped hitting a bunch of boxes, moving blankets and other crap piled up in back of garage, no damage to car and my wife who came out to see what I was doing stated, pretty good reflexes for an Old Guy LOL got it loaded in/out now knowing no neutral safety switch, I went through the car, Many unsafe items found, safety checked, ready to rock, my ass.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
    Stogy, 31Vicky with a hemi and Andy like this.
  29. Didn’t you test it???????
  30. Texas57
    Joined: Oct 21, 2012
    Posts: 3,329

    1. 1952-59 Ford Social Group

    Reluctant and embarrassed to tell my story, but if someone else can benefit from my mistake............
    When I first got my '57 done and was in the first few thousand miles, I started having hot start problems which I later found out was two separate issues. I had put a new rebuilt starter/solenoid in it before I installed the engine, but regardless of that, I figured I had a starter-mounted solenoid issue, so I pulled it and had a local shop check it out (knuck1947 here on the Hamb). They found a faulty solenoid as suspected, and replaced it along with cleaning and checking the starter. My starter is difficult to reach if the car isn't on a lift, so while I was spending the few hours putting it back in the car, I thought to myself, if this doesn't fix the problem, the next thing I'll check is the neutral safety switch, but everything worked great for 3 or 4 days, no hot start issues at all.
    I brought it to a local hand wash car wash place in town. Normally they wash the cars then they move them up front of the building for hand drying, but they asked me to move it up as they weren't sure if they could operate the old thing, lol. It was maybe 30 feet from the front overhead door. I got in the car to move it up, and no start. sheeeet! If I was home, I would have made a neat little jumper wire for the fuse panel to bypass the neutral safety switch, but I wasn't home, I was at a car wash trying to McGyver rig it. We found a piece of electrical wire, so I kneeled on the floor of the car wash with my head up under the dash and held the wire on the two terminals while I asked the guy who worked there to reach in from the passenger side and try to start it. It started right away, but I quickly found out the safety switch was doing exactly what it was suppose to do...........not let the car start if it's in gear.
    My FI engine goes right to 2k rpm when it starts, I jumped in the car trying to stop it before it headed out to the street with 4 lanes of heavy rush hour traffic. I just got in the car when my door hit the door jamb on the building and actually pushed my foot inside the car the last few inches. I was lucky. I was 70 at the time, didn't think this old man could still move that fast. I got the car stopped, but not before it creased and pancaked the side of my car from headlight to tailight. and did damage to the building. No one was hurt, but I had nightmares about being in my car with my foot jammed in the door heading into traffic.
    Turned out the problem was the outer casing for the shifter cable was slipping out of the retainer, so even though the shifter was hitting the detents, and looking like it was in in park or wherever, it wasn't.
    This car is my pride and joy, cleaned and taken care of, babied like I never do my daily drivers. It seems like I can find more unique ways to f#!@k it up that I've never done to my DDs, how is that?
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2019

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