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Ford Focus Transmission Problems



  • kiikyokiikyo Posts: 1
    I believe that my transmission may be failing... but it is just a suspicion right now based on the symptoms and my research. Perhaps someone could help solidify my suspicions?

    The car is an 01 Focus ZX3. It has been laboring when getting into 3rd gear (~38-45mph?), but this USUALLY happens when going up a hill. Thankfully most of Delaware is FLAT, so it's not always an issue. However, I'm worried that it could become more serious, since I do a lot of long distance driving. Sometimes the car "chugs" or shakes and won't make it past 45 unless I step more on the accelerator or reach flat land. I've read about a solenoid "A" in the transmission being the culprit, but when I talked to a dealership about this they ask me to be more specific, as they do not know which solenoid I am referring to specifically.

    Also, my check engine light is NOT on. But it was on at one point when I was having an extremely difficult time going up a mountain pass in PA (couldn't get about 30mph). Since then it has gone off, and Auto Zone states that they will not do a diagnostic hook-up to the computer if the check engine light is off. Can they still detect a problem if the light is off?? :confuse:

    Thank you for any help.. :)
  • dno36dno36 Posts: 71
    Yes codes can be stored in the computer for a period of time as well as some codes do not trigger the check-engine light.

    My local A-Z will hook up even if there is no light, as I am a regular.
    If you tell them the light was on when you left your house and just shut off, they may help you as well.

    Keep us informed
    Good Luck.

  • jadkins45jadkins45 Posts: 1
    2002 Focus SE miss firing when accelerating, and transmission jerks when it finally gets enough speed to shift into Drive, plus the engine light is on.

    Haven't done anything to it yet because I just bought it.

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated?
  • marked1marked1 Posts: 15
    It possible that the engine misfiring intermittently when driving only. The check engine light never lights up, no codes stored. May be one of your ignition wires is bad (like mine was, broke and corroded inside a boot), or it could be one of your
    spark plugs. Now, don't let them brake your spark plugs while removing them (they brake way too easy).
    cheers mate.
  • Hey, guys, I'm having some problems with my 2002 Ford Focus SVT, and I was hoping maybe one of you could point me in the right direction.
    The problem seems to be either my clutch of transmission, but I'm leaning toward the clutch at the moment. A month or so ago it made a brief but loud "crunch" when I put the car into reverse with the clutch completely engaged. A few days later, it acted slightly sloggish when I took off from 1st, but was otherwise fine. That happened occasionally, maybe one in ten or twelve times I drove, for a couple weeks, then the whole thing went south fairly quickly.
    Now, it's nearly impossible to start on a hill; the engine will be turning 4500 rms, and the car moves by inches. The tach will flutter going up hills at higher speeds, and I realized by accident a couple of days ago that I can take my foot completely off the clutch while my car is in gear, and it doesn't even notice.
    The car seems to go into all its gears correctly; that is when I'm sitting still and go through the pattern, I hear only the normal sounds it has always made, and it doesn't give me problems when I shift any more or less than any other time. The engine still purrs, but it's like I'm driving with the clutch pressed. Usually, after about ten or fifteen minutes, everything sort of mellows out, especially if I stop an pump the clutch.
    I wanted to check the fluids, but can't find the transaxle resevoir my owner's manual says should be located just right of the middle, near the air filter. I did check the brake/clutch fluid, and when I got it serviced (around the same time the problem started), they seemed to have filled it to the brim. Still, taking the cap off and putting it back on seems to make it a lot better until I turn the car off and restart it.
    Does anybody have any ideas? I'm competent to do minor repairs on my own, and I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty, but if I have to take it for repairs, I like to have an idea about what the problem is and how much is should cost. I have had unscrupulous mechanics try to rip me off a couple times and I know for a fact that doing the homework has saved me nearly a thousand dollars so far! I know the vast majority of mechanics are honest guys, but I'm in a new town and don't know the good guys from the bad guys yet!
  • where to start on this car...well before we could figure out what was causing the jerking issue...she went to the gas station to fill up and when she went to start the car she couldn't turn the key...turns out Ford Focus has a bad problem with their ignition...we called a lock smith who fixed that issue. Then about a week later her check engine light came on..and it turned out to be the reason for her car jerking, which started to get really bad...but it was an easy was her spark plugs and spark plug wires.
    She called from college yesterday and she couldn't keep her car started...turns out a mouse or a squirrel chewed the wire from the battery to the starter...she just called earlier tonight and the blinkers stopped working and called a short time later and her car wouldn't start again...could be bad battery or more rodent damage.....

    I am getting tired of this car!
  • I have had an issue for about 2 months now. This seems to happen after my car has sat in the sun for the day or first thing in the morning. I'll turn on the car and accelerate and it seems like the car doesn't want to go into 1st gear. The rpm's will go up but the speedometer stays on 0. Sometimes it'll catch in gear and the car will jerk and the tranny light will come on. Then the speedometer works too. Other times, if i slowly press the gas, it'll catch and go. Lately, it takes a few minutes for it to catch into gear. It feels like im drving in neutral. I usually have to restart my car 4 or 5 times before it'll work. Sometimes the speedometer will randomly drop to 0 and there will be dash marks (----) where the odometer reading is. Its odd. I took it to a shop where they hooked it up and nothing came up. One of the workers suggested i try the transmission range sensor. After $80 that didn't work. I took it to a transmission specialist and they said the speed sensor code popped up. My check engine light had turned on around that time too. I'm planning on having that sensor changed soon. I have to find out if it is the input or the output speed sensor though. Has anyone had this happen to them or have the same issue? Thanks
  • dno36dno36 Posts: 71
    Just to clarify..Manual 5-speed transmission, correct.
    How many mile on the car??
    Original Clutch??
    Personally, I would first check and see if there is any pedal adjustment available for your car. it sound as if you are slipping terribly (4500 rpm's only moving inches) This is very bad to do to any clutch and will 'smoke' it.
    You fluid-level description seems a bit strange...
    Suggestion....I would start by getting a Haynes or Chilton repair manual for your car. This is a source of much better detail for all basic service and repairs, with many pictures to assist. It sounds like you are competent at the basic stuff and would be a good investment of less than $20.
    Keep us informed.
  • dno36dno36 Posts: 71
    Hi Kaylynn, hope we can assist.
    You say, "I'll turn on the car and accelerate and it seems like the car doesn't want to go into 1st gear. The rpm's will go up but the speedometer stays on 0."
    Is the car moving and the speedo stays at 0??

    Can you tell us, mileage of your car, with any recent work done.
    Second, take your car to a place and get the codes scanned for free. You may need to call a few places and explain your situation. Have them scan it and look at the codes yourself as they do it, it is not a big secret thing. Details get lost/filtered in translation.
    A decent parts store will give you a printout of the codes with recommended repairs/parts all for free.
    A speed sensor can cause problems. Most speed sensors now are magnetic, and there is a maintainence item with some of them as they collect a mass of little bits of metal on the tip as the years pass, They can be removed, cleaned, and reused.
    If you allow a shop to just replace things until they find the problem, you may be broke by the time they replace them all.
    Always start with the codes.
    Keep us informed.
  • No, the car has the manual 6 speed transmission, close to 75,000 miles, and I know the previous owner had the clutch replaced. I bought it from a friend of mine when she moved to Japan, so I am pretty well aware of the car's history. She bought it new, and learned to drive a stick in it. The clutch that was replaced was faulty, though. I think that was at about 30,000; I bought the car at about 50,000. By the time the clutch was replaced, she was proficient at driving a manual. Luckily, my parents insisted I learn to drive in a manual ('73 AMC Hornet), so I'd say the clutch has been pretty gently used by me, except for a few people I gave driving lessons to (three of them, at about an hour apiece), and one DD who claimed to know how to drive a stick (If I'd known he was that bad at it, I'd have walked the mile to my house, lol).

    Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question. I genuinely appreciate it.
  • kaylynnkaylynn Posts: 2
    edited September 2010
    Yes, the car moves when the rpms go up and the speedometer says 0. Ther car has roughly 135,000 miles on it.
    Thanks for your suggestions. I took it to a mechanic and 3 codes came up this time. One was for the speed sensor, another was something about the computer and the last was the transmission. The mechanic is going to take out the sensors and clean them and go from there. Hopefully its nothing too big. Thanks again
  • 130 k when i start and cold my reverise works when tranmission heats up got no reveris but when t do work clunking and baning shaking is my tranmission going changed oil and filter
  • I have a 1999 ford focus ghia which does not go into reverse.It dives perfectly and goes into every other gear but reverse.Can somebody help because all the experts seem to be stumped because the shifters and everything seem to be fine.So it looks to be a transmission problem.Help?
  • nsk2nsk2 Posts: 4
    I am afraid at 25,000 miles, my Ford Dealership says I need a new transmission. I am the original owner. It has an automatic transmission. I have the same problem with the overdrive light flashing and the car not going more than about 20 mph while the tach is way up there. When they hooked the car up to the computer, no codes came up. In the time the car was setting the battery died and they said that was why no codes showed up. To make a long story short, they said with the symptoms I described it probably needed a new transmission. The only thing they said was the transmission fluid smelled burnt.

    Of course the warranty was 5 years/100,000 miles and I've had the car for 6 years. They said I would get no help from Ford and after reading all these posts I understand. I am for the Class Action Lawsuit!

    Any suggestions as to what I should do? Will I do more harm to it if I drive it to another service station? It bearly goes above 20 mph. I really don't have the $3,000+ to fix it. And by the way, they did ask me if I wanted to trade it in!
  • dno36dno36 Posts: 71
    OK nsk2, this sound like a sad repetitive story here...
    Can you give more info on your car and current problem? Any check engine light activity at all??
    did it just start to act up?
    Has it been seeming strange for a while??
    Where was it setting when the battery died??
    If there is a trouble code, it will reset. Do you have a bad battery??
    There is not much more to hurt by driving it, aside from getting stranded if the trans is kaput.
  • nsk2nsk2 Posts: 4
    Hi dno 36. My car is a sedan, auto trans with a Zetec engine. The check engine light has not been on. My problem is the Over Drive light starts flashing after I drive a few blocks. It happened once before during the winter and the roads were wet, so I thought maybe the roads were icy but nobody else had a problem. Any way the next day it was fine. I kind of ignored that it was slipping as I pulled out from stop signs. One day I stopped to pick up a pizza and the parking lot had a little hill and my car did not want to go up it. The next hill I came to the tac was past 5 and the car was crawling and the overdrive light was flashing! Did manage to get to work the next day by using back roads. My son thought it was my imagination, he took it out and couldn't get much past 30 mph either!

    Parked it for a few weeks and the battery died. Was original battery, guess it was it's time. I also saw a post on how the Focus eats tires. My Perrelli tires were shot at less than 15,000. miles.

    Also to the person who keeps blowing out their rear tail light, mine it also out. All these stories are sadly similar.

    I guess I'll have them put in a new battery and try to get it home. I haven't heard a word from them in about a week. Think they will charge me $100. to put it on the computer even though no codes showed up?
  • I don't know if you found any of my posts about a similar issue that I have yet to resolve. My car is a 2005 Focus SE. OverDrive light flashes some, I have a check engine light on. Transmission is rough when I start up and it has a hard time going into drive when I first start. The code on the engine light shows a grounding problem with the speed sensor for the trans (this has been "repaired" several times and keeps popping back up).

    I have had numerous wierd problems over the past two years with this car. Mysterious dead battery; blown anti-theft fuse; alternator shot, new alternator gone bad before the car even left the repair shop; alternator just tested bad diodes, even though battery had just tested 104%; turn and brake lights gone out, although they came back when the engine codes were cleared. I had a new trans put in a year-and-a-half ago. Problems started before that.

    The reapairman who drove it when the brake lights went out said he had someone else run codes and it showed the GEM was bad. I took the car to another shop for another opinon and they said they didn't think that was the problem. They found no code showing anything wrong with GEM (actually, two places have told me that). The tranny people say the car has an electrical problem. The auto electic guy I went to this summer says it needs to go back to the transmission shop.

    I have a feeling I may try to find a new GEM and have that put in and see if it takes care of the problem. I heard they used to only be available through a dealer, but they may now be available aftermarket. I guess I could also find one in a junk yard. Anyone have an idea on the cost of a GEM?
  • dno36dno36 Posts: 71
    This does have the 'earmarks' of an electrical issue. The entire car systems are all electrically driven. Tim's response #348 is similar to your plight, however as he does not have a resolution...
    Personally, I would call around and find a parts or repair shop that will hook up your car to an engine reader for free. They are out there, you will need to make calls. Be straight with them.

    Outside of that, the 1st thing I would check the battery (non-running voltage should be 12.3 - 12.6 volts, and running 14 or so volts) and all of the grounds should be checked as well.

    Blowing a taillight sounds like a shorting (positive contacting ground) issue somewhere. If the voltage regulator is going out, I would think it would effect all of the lights not just 1 of them.

    I am not a Ford mechanic, just someone who shares your pain.

    GL & Keep us informed.
  • nsk2nsk2 Posts: 4
    Looks like I'm in for a rough ride. Would get rid of the car if I could! Unfortunately I also have a "96 Ford Explorer with some issues that I was planning to replace first. Think I could trade them both and get one reliable car?

    Anybody know any good repair shops in the Allentown, PA area?

    Keep me posted on your issues. I feel your pain!
  • nsk2nsk2 Posts: 4
    Just bailed my car out from the Ford Dealership. Amazingly made it home without any issues and no lights. Charged me $109.95 for a new battery and $24.00 to put it in! That better be a good battery! Charged $40. to see that no codes showed up. New service manager said "It's drive able but I don't know for how long"

    Did run in to old service manager told him my story. Said he would make some phone calls and get back to me. I'm not holding my breath about it, but do appreciate his efforts.

    By the way the exact mileage is 24,253 and it's a Focus ZTS with a 2.3L. It also needs front brake pads and rotors to pass inspection. I'll see who is having a special and have it done there and replace the brake light bulb myself.

    I'll update you on any new developments. No news is good news!
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