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Ford Focus Transmission Problems

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  • My Focus has started giving me problems changing gears. Going uphill it really hesitates and also on the highway, its hard to get it over 45 miles per hour. Sometimes when it hesitates for a while it acts like it wants to overheat. It is also making a screaming noise when it is trying to change gears. If i am on flat land and back roads the car runs fine, sometimes the screaming will start but not as bad as when i am trying to get over 45 mph or on an incline. Please let me know if you have the same problem or if you know what the problem is.
  • jay80009jay80009 Posts: 6
    That's a new one on me. I just think that Focus transmissions have inherant issues. I guess I am actually lucky as I seem to be able to control my problem. I suspect that in my case the problem could rest in the internal celonoids. In-as-much as mine has quite a few miles I think I am going to sell it. Good luck with your issue. Let me know if you eventually find a cure.
  • had the tranny updated and still having the same problem. we need to get together and find out how many ither people are affected. my e mail is just2muchfun at verizon dot net. had to write it out won't let me leave my address thanks
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,967
    Yep, we really don't encourage users to post their email addresses (there's always someone or something farming for valid emails to spam or scam) but if you want to allow other Edmunds forums members to contact you by email, just click on the Forums Preferences link on the right side of this page and you can set your email to "public". That way, registered forums members, and ONLY registered forums members, can click on your username to find your email addy to contact you.

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  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,914
    Also, the best way to ensure that your complaints are recorded is to file a complaint here:
    https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/

    That's a lot more effective than trying to find everyone by email. You can file your own report, and also search existing reports.

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    Need help navigating? kirstie_h@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.
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  • steven39steven39 Posts: 636
    recently test drove a focus SE with the auto tranny and the same problem occured on the test drive which lasted about 20 minutes.needless to say the test drive was over for me right then and there.didn't want to be bothered with the [non-permissible content removed] update's to the tranny and still have the same thing happening such in your case.purchased a 2012 hyundai elantra with a auto tranny as smooth as butter.
  • kam327kam327 Posts: 115
    FWIW I had a shuddering problem with my '12 Focus's tranny within the first 1,500 miles or so but now at 3,300 miles and it's shudder free and pretty smooth. Feels like a quickly shifted manual. No power loss issues.

    On a certain other forum for Focus owners, many report that they LOVE the tranny and quite a few others have gripes with it. Some who had gripes had the updates applied and it was successful.
  • maciuomaciuo Posts: 1
    Hello,
    I have problem with my tranny, this problem is shoving only when it is really hot outside. When i ride in traffic or at low speed ride on 3rd gear and speed is going up but suddenly i need to brake, transmission is going on 4th gear (i suppose it should stay at 3rd). There is jerk and pulling. There is no souch problem when it is not hot or when riding continousely. This is my first car with auto transmission-what can cousing problem? Overheating, soleniods or internal elements, mileage is 133000 miles, oil was replaced in october 2011.
  • focufilfocufil Posts: 1
    I pulled up in my 1.6 auto focus, put into park & handbrake on the car rolled back slightly. I used the foot brake, restarted the car Put into R then back into park & switched off.
    Went back to the car 30 mins later started it put into reverse, nothing! The lever moves but does not select D or R. Does anyone have any ideas?
  • melm1melm1 Posts: 6
    My hassle with Ford re our Focus SEL involves the dual-clutch on several levels. I understand a LOT more after joining the Forum however and doing some research in Edmunds on the tranny in our Focus that I did not learn from Ford or the Ford dealer.
    We were QUITE surprised when starting up on a slight hill to find that our Focus IMMEDIATELY started to roll backwards when I took my foot off the brake! I expected it to behave like any other "automatic" tranny but what I experienced was more like a manual transmission where I still had my foot on the clutch or had been popped into neutral. I was doubly surprised given that the literature talked of an automatic hill-holding feature. Whe I read the manual, the feature was explained for models "...if equipped..." But at no time had the dealer warned me or informed me that my car might not have this feature and, if not, what that meant!
    Only by browsing etc did I stumble on the fact that, apparently, Ford includes the hill-holding feature on the BASE Focus S and the slightly upscale SE, but discontinues it for reasons entirely unexplained on our SEL or the top-of-the-line Titanium model.
    Now that I know this, I will either use the very handy handbrake on a hill or resort to left foot braking. Either will work, but Ford should not blindside it's customers like that!
  • AT 3200 MILES AND MY SPEED SENSOR WAS SOMEHOW BROKEN. DEALER FIXED THIS BUT STILL NOW 3D TIME IN THE DEALERSHIP. AS FOR THE TRANSMISSION I AM S.O.L. THE DEALER SAID THAT'S JUST THE WAY IT IS. FEEL REAL STUPID. WE DID NOT TEST DRIVE THE CAR WE BAUGHT. THIS WAS WAS ORDERED!!!!!!! WE WANTED THE YELLOW TITANIUM. THE DEALER SAID WE WILL PUT A BACKUP CAMERA IN FOR YOU. WELL IT'S BEEN 6 MONTHS AND NO CAMERA. THEY OFFERED 1000 DOLLARS BUT, WE REALLY WANTED THE CAMERA. BEEN A TOTAL DISSAPOINTMENT. FEEL LIKE AN IDIOT. MY MOM SAID DON'T BUY NEW BUT, I WANTED A NEW CAR. 443 EIGHT 24 NINE 243 IS MY NUMBER SO ANYONE CONTACT ME SO WE CAN GET ON THE SAME PAGE AND PERHAPS HAVE SOME LEGAL RECOURSE. JUST2MUCHFUN AT VERIZON DOT NET. MY NAME IS CRAIG. HEY OTHER THAN THAT THE CAR IS ACTUALLY NICE. I WILL SAY THERE ARE SEVERAL POSITIVIES. RIDES GREAT ON THE HWY. AND THE SYNC IS GREAT AFTER THE UPDATE. SEVERAL NICE FEATURES. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ASK QUESTIONS OR COMMENT LET ME KNOW AND VOICE YOUR OPINION THANKS. HAVE A GREAT MEMORIAL DAY. SUPPORT OUR TROOPS YOUNG OR OLD
  • hackattack5hackattack5 Posts: 315
    edited May 2012
    link title
  • hackattack5hackattack5 Posts: 315
    Wow I just typed this massive response and when I hit the post my message button it wiped it all out :cry:
    I researched the Focus before buying. I had a manual shift Fiesta that no one else in my family could drive but me. I knew that the Focus was not a traditional automatic. It is an automated manual As far as the hill assist feature I think you will find out that your Focus has this feature but you have to know what triggers it into action. 1. you have to be stopped with your foot on the brake. 2. you have to be on a hill of 20% or greater. 3. when you take your foot off of the brake the hill assist will hold the brake on for 3 seconds or when you push on the gas. I love my Focus because It a manual that anyone can drive (after I explain it) But I was shocked that my Ford dealer told me nothing about this car being an automated manual so I can see if you have never driven a stick and you purchase a Focus you are going to be very disappointed.
  • melm1melm1 Posts: 6
    edited May 2012
    First, I LOVE the idea of this transmission, once I learned about it. But, as with you, the dealer told me NOTHING about it. As far as I knew, based on the Ford literature, it was a 6 speed automatic with a select-shift feature. Initially, I did not fully understand the significance of the dual-plate clutch v. the usual torque converter. I knew that I could select the gear I wanted with this tranny.
    The dealer seems to still know very little about the Hill Assist, which I am now noticing as a feature on a number of other vehicles. By the way, I thought I read in the manual that the hill has to only be a 5% for the assist to kick in.
    But I also read that the assist comes on the S and SE models and NOT on the SEL and Titanium. It seems to make NO sense tying this to any trim level, given what it does, and even less sense when it's apparently not available on the more "upscale" models. If someone could clear that up, I'd appreciate it.*
    My wife, who uses the car mostly, drives with both feet, using the left to brake. In fact, she does not even need the hill assist by driving this way. Because I am kind of long legged and the steering wheel sometimes interferes, it's often more difficult for me to get my left foot onto the brake. But I am working at changing this longstanding habit.
    In the meantime, now that I know about it the behavior of the Ford transmission (which does not pay the fuel penalty associated with having torque-converter drag when standing still), I am making more use of the handbrake on the Focus as I would on any car with a manual transmission and easy-to-access handbrake.

    *I am reminded of my 1989 Ford Probe, with its large, sloping rear window. Ford has always, IMHO, tied features to models and option levels in a very mysterious way. In this case, one needed to buy a supercharged GT model in order to get a rear wiper, a feature needed on ALL the Ford Probes. Even in a rainstorm, rear vision was severely hampered without a rear wiper. Made NO sense to me!!
  • hackattack5hackattack5 Posts: 315
    You could be right about the 5% slope. I have a SEL and it does have the hill assist. If I am on a hill completely stopped with my foot on the brake then it works like it should (holds the brake on for 3 seconds after you take your foot off of the brake) but there are situations where you do not use your brakes to come to a complete stop or it takes you more than 3 seconds to get going and that is when its going to roll like a car in neutral. Its really not bad but I wonder how many people have fender benders because they roll backwards at a red light? I had a 1990 Probe GT that was a cool car.
  • ohtoncohtonc Posts: 1
    edited May 2012
    I have an 07 Focus SES. Has about 62,000 miles on it and is an automatic. Recently the o/d light began flashing and it started shifting hard. The speedometer stops working and where the mileage and trip meter is blanks out and shows ---------- in its place. It does this for maybe a minute then resets and all things are restored and begins operating fine. It set the engine light off once and said it was a speed sensor, replaced it and still does the same thing.

    Sometimes when i accelerate the speedometer stays at 0 then jumps up to my current speed without any shifting problems. Anyone have any ideas? Thanks!
  • kam327kam327 Posts: 115
    Hill start assist activates at a 4-deg slope or greater according to the manual. It activates on my driveway which is about 4 degrees. I've never heard it depends on the trim level - my SEL has it.

    You should never drive with both feet on the pedals. This transmission should be operated similar to a manual transmission except there's no clutch pedal and the computer shifts for you. But you don't drive a manual with one foot on the gas and the other on the brake, do you? That's a recipe for disaster (foot/pedal confusion), or at least increased manintenance (brakes, clutch, etc.).

    Again, a car with a manual transmission rolls back on a grade before taking off, and this one will too sometimes. It's perfectly normal. Just quickly move your foot from the brake to the gas and you'll be fine.
  • kam327kam327 Posts: 115
    "Its really not bad but I wonder how many people have fender benders because they roll backwards at a red light?"

    It's no worse than a manual car and there are plenty of those on the roads. And you don't hear about tons of accidents due to manual cars rolling backwards. As long as you don't lollygag between taking your foot off the brake and applying the gas (and assuming the HSA hasn't engaged for some reason) the most you'll roll back is maybe 6 inches (from my 5,000 miles of experience with the car). If someone has stopped less than 6 inches behind you at a light then you've got other problems.
  • I am in the process of having ford buy my car back. The car is 7 months old 4200 miles and in the shop 4 times for all reasons. Check previous posts. The transmission continues to give me fits. Sounds like a grinding noise at slow speeds. It's like the gears are too low for the required speed. The transmission is built for economy not performance. With that said over 15 mph the car is fast and I mean fast especially in stick mode. So, I am a dissapointed I will be giving this car up. Perhaps in 2013 ford will fix the bugs. If any of you are having problems calling ford is the way to go they have been very helpful. Two week ago my speed sensor went up and my dealer said I hit something. HA HA. Come on the car is spotless 4200 mile at 7 months the car is babyed. Good luck to all. to the other posts never noticed the hill assist. With this car you better keep your foot on the brake hard.
    `
  • kam327kam327 Posts: 115
    Sorry to hear about your troubles. My DCT had some growing pains early on but is now operating almost perfect at 5,000 miles. Did you get the 12B37 software update? Many have reported that that update fixes all the problems.
  • melm1melm1 Posts: 6
    Yes, that did it. I had really noticed NO shifting problems at all, just the rollback issue on an incline the instant you take your foot off of the brake. This update also reprograms the ABS module such that the brakes will hold on their own for a few seconds, until you get your foot on the throttle.
    My wife had no problem because she drives an automatic with two feet. And once I discovered the rollback (or roll forward if you are pointing downhill), using the handbrake worked fine, particularly since it is so accessible on the Focus.
    I pretty much love the car.
  • kam327kam327 Posts: 115
    Well the Focus always had Hill Start Assist (rollback preventer). I don't have the 12B37 update yet and my brakes will hold on inclines. I don't know what this update does but I'm guessing it just makes it a little more agressive or refines it so it's more consistent or something.

    One thing to consider, it seems some owners are saying you have to drive the DCT aggressively for the first 500 miles or so in order to break in the clutches. After I started doing this my shudder issue eventually disappeared and now it's smooth even without the latest update.
  • melm1melm1 Posts: 6
    I had no choice in that breakin. My dealer, Keith Hawthorne Ford of Charlotte, NC, really went out of their way to find the Focus model we wanted. They sent some guys several hundred miles to get our car from another dealer, so it had over 500 miles on it when we got it.
    I seem to have heard several versions of the Hill Start Assist, including that the SEL and Titanium did not have it. That may only be because maybe the tranny and ABS controls were programmed differently, perhaps not intentionally!. I presume that if you do not have a rollback problem, you probably don't need the recalibration of the control systems.
    In any case, we LOVE the car more and more. I was able to get 41 mpg on the highway if I took it easy and have been averaging over 25 mpg in town. It has phenomenal handling, steering, etc.
    This is changing the subject slightly, but I was totally frosted by the fact that it appeared that our SEL had Sirius XM radio, all we had to do was activate it. There were Sirius manuals and program guides in the glovebox and "Sirius" would show up on the Synch screen when I hit the right buttons, albeit greyed out. The deal was to retrieve the SN of the radio and call Sirius and give them that so they could activate it for a free six months. I simply could not retrieve the number per the instructions. I spent MANY hours trying to get this from the dealer and even Sirius using the VIN, etc. I finally found out that despite the manuals, etc. THE SEL WITHOUT THE MY TOUCH IS NOT CAPABLE OF GETTING SIRIUS IN THE FIRST PLACE!
  • badtran64badtran64 Posts: 4
    I am also having shifting problems. The car seems to "leap" from 1st gear into 2nd. Like it is going to jump out from under me. It makes a grinding/moaning noise when it shifts. Yesterday, while stuck in a traffic jam from h-ll, it did it everytime I was able to accelerate. I took it back to the dealer after a beach trip, they kept 2 days and said it was fixed and up to date. This was before the traffic jam yesterday. Dealer said give it the 1k mile break-in period. I have 978 miles now. I have never heard of a car that has to learn how I drive. I do not want to show the car off until this is fixed. The dealer has been very nice, but the problem is still there. Taking it back Monday.
  • rlc001rlc001 Posts: 9
    Just curious if you know when your car was built. I heard that all new Focus built after ~May 3rd, 2012 would have the latest 12B37 built-into the car. We just picked up our new Focus from the dealer and our car was built on 5/27/12 and so far the transmission seems to be working fine. If your car was built earlier, have you had the latest SB 12B37 update loaded onto your car by your dealer?
  • badtran64badtran64 Posts: 4
    I pulled up the build date on my car and it reads 09.05.2012. I must assume that means the 9th day of May. No clue 12B37 being on my car, but will inquire.
    Thanks!
  • rlc001rlc001 Posts: 9
    So you should have the latest fixes on your car. My saleman said 12B37 was built-in starting May 3rd, but I read else where it was started on May 5th. Since yours was built on May 9th, you should have the latest fixes but I'm surprised and sorry to hear you are having transmission issues but I hope that it will be resolved shortly by your dealer.

    Interestingly, you can find some interesting details on your specific car at this website: http://www.etis.ford.com/vehicleRegSelector.do

    Select "Vehicle" then input your car's VIN and then select more minor details to get the built details and installed items in your car.

    Have fun looking and good luck with your car.
  • badtran64badtran64 Posts: 4
    ">Thanks for the info. I have decided to just drive it and see if what if what they say about the car needs to learn how I want to drive it is true. When I back out of my garage in the morning, put car in drive, press the gas, it goes and then "lurches" into 2nd gear. I always thought when a person buys a new car it is one of the great events in life. But this car is messing with my mind. Surely, all Focuses are not like this one.
  • cannon3cannon3 Posts: 296
    I have an Oxford white SE hatch loaded with all kinds of options. About 2 weeks ago I tried the "hill assist" and it failed. I took the car in for the re-program and LOVE IT! This is like a different car. The car is more responsive from the stop and downshifts quicker when freeway passing. I am a technician of 25 years in the robotics field so I know a bit about mechanics. This re-program was a bulls eye and a kudos to the engineers who figured this one out. I am trying to spread the word to other Focus owners to have this done asap. You will enjoy your vehicle a whole lot more!
  • cannon3cannon3 Posts: 296
    I have an Oxford white SE hatch loaded with all kinds of options. About 2 weeks ago I tried the "hill assist" and it failed. I took the car in for the re-program and LOVE IT! This is like a different car. The car is more responsive from the stop and downshifts quicker when freeway passing. I am a technician of 25 years in the robotics field so I know a bit about mechanics. This re-program was a bullseye and a kudos to the engineers who figured this one out. I am trying to spread the word to other Focus owners to have this done asap. You will enjoy your vehicle a whole lot more!
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