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Ford Focus Transmission Problems



  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,564
    I have no idea what your legal rights are in Dubai, or what the obligations are of the Ford dealer there, but here in the states the dealer, and Ford, would have to prove that the damage to the oil pan had any effect on the transmission.

    My view? If it's a small dent, that is an unlikely cause. If there's a hole/leak, well that's a different matter and doesn't look good for you. It also doesn't look good for the used car dealer, but again, I don't know what you can do to him legally in Dubai.

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  • bird54bird54 Posts: 6
    I own a 2003 Focus with 50,474 unabused miles on it and the transmission failed on 1/26/09. It was like I knocked it into neutral when I tried to go above 25 miles per hour. I managed to drive it to Dewey Ford in Ankeny, Iowa where they took it for a test drive-which confirmed what I had experienced and hooked it up to the computer-and it showed no "codes". The service "adviser" said something about a valve cover they could replace for> $800.00, plus $300.00 for taking the "pan" down. They really could not tell what was wrong but he thought it was electrical not mechanical. Not trusting in the dealerships opinion-I had it towed to a reliable trustworthy Transmission garage. They took it a part and basically the "drum" broke due to a weakness in the part-let me cut to the case and I quote "a crappy cheap product that was defective from the factory". Second and 4th gear were gone. This was not something that resulted in poor driving but poorly made parts. I contacted the Ford customer service number 800-392-3673 and of course there is nothing that Ford can do since my car is out of warranty-how predictable. The customer service person asked why I did not get my car fixed at the dealership. First of all they wanted >$3200 for a transmission and second why would I trust Ford to put in another poorly made transmission. I realize that I am one small speck of a person in this vast world and who cares if I will never buy another Ford. There are plenty of other suckers that will invest their hard earned money in a Ford vehicle. Is it any wonder that the automakers are needing a bailout-they make crappy cars that won't stand the test of time. It use to that a Ford stood for something. Now you are lucky if the vehicle keeps running a little past when the warranties are up-without still owing anything on it. Ford has to know that there is a problem with the transmissions-they just won't take responsibilty for them.
  • I read your post and thought I could offer a possible solution to your problem. I own a 2005 Focus SE, auto/ trans with mileage just north of 63K. My "O/D" (overdrive) switch - located on the shifter - seemed not to work at all. No matter how many times I pressed the button the dash light indicating that the overdrive was off remained lit. I started to trace the problem from the switch to the transmission by first removing the plastic shifter housing between the two front seats. To my surprise when I wiggled the connector, found just behind the gear shifter, the "O / D OFF" dash light would go on and off with the ignition in the "on" or "run" position (without starting the car). There was an intermittent electrical connection being made in the connector. When I separated the male end of the connector from the female end, I found the telltale evidence of liquid infiltration. Apparently, soda, coffee or some other foreign liquid had gotten into the connector and caused the trouble. Note: Before I removed the center console in order to start my troubleshooting expedition, I noticed that every once in a while I could get the "O /D" light to toggle off and on when I cycled the ignition on and off again and again. This might explain the intermittent nature of your problem. My fix involved very, very carefully taking the female connector apart using jeweler's flat-blade screwdrivers and cleaning the affected individual connector, first with soapy water using a slightly dampened cotton swab , then spraying with electrical contact cleaner. I then did the same thing on the "male" end of the connector. Hope this helps. :)
  • Thank-you so much for your insite. Unfortunately my car is repaired-the drum on the transmission was cracked. So now I've forked over >$1700.00 in repairs.
    Good luck with your car-
  • I have a 2005 Ford Focus SE Auto... Nothing is "wrong" I just need to change my tranny fluid/filter.

    I am looking for a step-by-step guide on how to do it so I do not make any mess-ups.

    Is doing a full change okay or would it be better for me to pay the damned $200 ford wants to flush it out for me?

  • According to the transmission garage where I took my car to be repaired DO NOT EVER get a transmission flush-which I did back in May 2008. You can't change the filter without taking out the "pan"?? Ford will flush then do a backwash and add chemicals to clean out the tranny. I find it strange that my transmission failed so soon after this FLUSH. My "servo" failed and then the drum broke. DON'T LET FORD TOUCH YOUR CAR!! They are not to be trusted.
  • So I found this site that has a walk through let me know if you think its legit and if its a good one to follow.

    eHow ATF Change

    Also, Do you think its okay to change the filter too?
  • Can I use Mobile 1 full synthetic ATF or should i use motorcraft's brand? Both are mercon v
  • Thanks so much to Aokrongly (#76) for the help!! I have a 2002 Ford Focus wagon (96K) and had the same problems getting into 3rd gear. I searched the internet and found your posting. I followed your instructions (#76) and the 3rd gear problem was fixed. The only thing to add is that I decided to replace the filter. I purchased it from AutoZone for $20 and to my surprise it came with a pan gasket. By using the gasket instead of the gray RTV I was able to avoid the RTV curing time, which was important to me using a borrowed stall.
  • dno36dno36 Posts: 71
    How has your Trans Issue gone??
    Read your post and feel your pain.
    I too am mid-tranny pissed off. Slipping, erratic, possessed, transmission that may kill someone who has too much faith in its ability to get someone out of harms way.
    I hope you have at least emotionally recovered from your ordeal. I am still tweaked by the experience.
    At least my Chrysler mini-van had a "limp-in" mode where it worked in second gear until you could get to saftey.
    Ford ignores me like I am a bad penny.
    The dealers, both I went to, are a rude as rude can be. I guess if I had an Expedition they might give me the "time of day".
    I have done a bunch of research and, while being quite handy, I don't want to "practice" fixing this rolling depreciation. So...
    I am going to try 2 things:
    #1 - A solid advisor suggested trying to do a reverse flush:
    a. change the fluid and filter. Do not power-flush.
    b. double secure block the rear wheels and set parking brake in a safe location.
    c. Start car in park and allow to warm up to normal temperature.
    d. Put car in reverse and allow to idle at least 30 minutes with car in reverse gear at idle.
    e. Make sure your car is safely secured and will not move in the slightest. The cooling fan should kick on when the temp goes up, this is necessary to aide in cleaning.
    f. After 30 mins, let cool, drain fluid and change filter again.
    g. He call this a reverse flush and says it should be done every 36 mos or 36K miles. It is supposed to clean the debris and sludge that can accumulate in the precision valves and passages.

    If this does not work, then I will try #76's route and take it to AutoZone to get codes and see if it is a solenoid that needs replacing.

    Jilted, your post inspired me. I will not quit 'til i am satisfied.

    Keep the faith,

  • dno36dno36 Posts: 71
    Mobile1 should be a superior product, no matter what the dealer will tell you.

    As long as it grades to Mercon-V, you should be fine. Mobile1 will "under-grade" their product to help protect themselves legally, which should be a benefit to you.


  • bojelbojel Posts: 1
    I am having the same problem you described. I have a 2003 Focus (bought it in July 2003) and it had only 47500 miles. Three days ago "check engine" light came out and over 25 miles per hour, when I hit the gas, it is like I put it in neutral gear. I took it to a mechanic and they said the transmission code came out. They are still checking. Initially I planned to take it tomorrow to the Ford dealer where I bought it but now I changed my mind because what you experience with them.
    Since 1993 I am with Ford but now I am having a second thought for my next car.

    I wonder if we should forward all these mails to congress which just bailed out the three bigs. They should know that if these companies continue to make these faulty products, they will be out of business. Why Ford does not extend its powertrain warranty to match Haundai instead just 5 years knowing that their Focus has a known ill designed transmission.
  • 03 Focus, ZX3, automatic transaxel slipping out of gear going into 3rd. Check engine light and orange flashing o/d light. Pulled codes and showed shift solenoid A and tourque converter ckt error. Followed aokrongly's directions, post #76 (used new fluid though). Also, bought transmission filter kit (comes with gasket) at Autozone ($20-). Cleared both codes. Runs like a champ. Thank you, aokrongly, was kinda broke, you saved the day!
  • I would not take a blender to a Ford dealer to get fixed. It is funny how they always seem to find hundreds of dollars worth of repairs on your vehicle. Whatever you do DO NOT LET THEM FLUSH THE TRANSMISSION!. Good luck in getting Ford to stand behind their poorly made cheap pieces of dung autos. Ford knows that there is a problem with the 2003 transmissions-it just to costly of a recall repair for them to concern themselves with. I doubt very much if Congress cares about us little people with a few thousand dollars in repairs. I may be one small speck on this planet-but I will tell anyone and everyone-DO NOT BUY A FORD. I am proud to say that my Dad who is 79 and has ALWAYS driven a Ford-is going to buy a Honda after the lack of Ford standing behind there product. Good luck with your car repair and I hope it is not as costly as mine was. I can't wait to unload this Focus and buy a Civic, Matrix-I am done with FORD.
  • Hello

    I have had the same problem/experience with my 2003 Focus. I have check the codes at autozone and they are right on as to what you have posted. Next I have ordered the part from Ford and will get it on Monday. I am getting ready to do this procedure, so is there any tips/suggestions to make this go easier? It seems very easy/straight forward. I am not a mechanic but a little ability. Again, any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance
  • dno36dno36 Posts: 71
    Greetings Ed,

    It seems as if we are on parallel lines here.
    Our 2003 Focus 99K has been possessed by the tranny-gremlins.
    I did a reverse flush to the trans system on Tuesday, and while it shifted better, the neutral-gear appearances are still there.
    After taking it to AutoZone, it threw out the "0750" solenoid A code again so I went to Ford and spent the $48/with tax on the new solenoid.
    I picked up a "AA" solenoid yesterday and installed it last night.
    You will need in addition to the solenoid:
    1. Oil drain pan. To catch the fluid you will pull.
    2. A 5/16 socket. I used my work cordless driver-drill with a small extension-adapter. Makes super-fast work of the many bolts holding on the pan. Use a regular socket wrench if necessary.
    3. A new trans filter kit.
    4. A small amount of oil resistant sealer silicone.
    5. 3 quarts of new trans fluid, for just dropping the pan fluid.
    6. A 1-2" scraper for getting the old silicone off the pan.
    7. A roll of paper towels & or clean rags.

    It took more time to put the 3 qts of fluid back in the tranny than it did to change the solenoid. Does anyone else have the same fluid filling issues??

    You should put a new filter in as well. The filter at A-Z is $20 and pick up 3 quarts of new fluid too, this is how much I had to replace when I did it. The new filter comes with a nice rubber gasket to help the fluid sealing.
    The toughest part of getting the job done is the removal of the pan.
    The factory used a grey silicone and it is pretty hard to break the seal. You need to be careful here because of the aluminum case is easily scored into, and that may lead to a future leak if you are not careful. See below.
    How to:
    1. Jack and double secure the drivers side front to allow enough working room. Care here is mandatory!!
    2. Remove all of the trans bolts from the pan EXCEPT for 4 bolts at the corners.
    3. Put the oil-catch pan under the corner you desire.
    4. Back out the bolt, at the corner that you want to drain to, about 75%.
    5. Back out the bolt at the opposite corner about 2 turns only.
    6. Back out the 2 other bolts about 1/2 way.
    7. Leaving the 4 bolts in use a pry-bar or large screwdriver to pry down the pan. It is usually quite stuck on, so you may need patience and maybe a tap or two with a hammer as well.
    8. Once you have started to break the seal, the fluid will be draining, work your way around the pan until it rests on the partially backed out bolts, and give the fluid a minute to run.
    9. Remove the lowest corner bolt 1st, then back out the remaining 3 bolts draining the fluid carefully into your pan. Be careful not to let the weight of the pan hang on the last bolt or you may bend the lip of the pan.
    10. Remove the pan and take to cleaning area. The bottom of the pan will be full of fine particulate from the trans, most of it like a metal-based paste that adheres to the bottom of the pan especially around the magnet area. This car has a whopper magnet that works nicely. Large chucks of shiny metal are not common but a couple are usually found.
    11. Pop out the magnet and wipe it clean (no chemicals) along with the entire inside of the pan. Do a good job here.
    12. Scrape off most all of the old silicone off the pan using your scraper.
    13. When the pan is clean and dry, put a thin even coat of silicone on the top edge of the pan, being careful not to get silicone on the inside edge of the pan.
    14. Align the new gasket to the hole pattern and place the gasket on the pan. Warming the gasket a bit in the house may help here.
    15. Put a thin coat of the silicone on the top side of the gasket with same care.
    16. Scrape transmission gasket contact surface as you did the pan. If you find you may have scored the surface when removing the pan, sand it smooth before replacing the pan.
    17. Remove the old filter by 1st pulling the (fluid level sensor??) the thing with the wire attached. It comes straight down and is held in by a plastic pin. I did not replace this as mine looked fine to reuse.
    18. Remove the old filter by wiggling straight down, It is held in with an O-Ring and pops right out.
    19. Install is true reverse of process.
    20. Remove the "A" Solenoid. It is the one with the white wire and located on the passenger side of the trans and is the middle of the three on that side.
    21. Slide off the wire clip, it just pulls straight back.
    22. Unbolt the retainer using the same 5/16" socket and wiggle out the old solenoid.
    23. Install the new solenoid is reverse.
    24. Carefully hold the pan up to the bolt pattern on the trans and finger start at least 3 bolts across the trans. While holding the pan in place lightly run up the 3 bolts just to keep the pan from shifting, and gasket from resetting.
    25. Make sure all of the holes line up and finger start all the remaining bolts.
    26. Working around the pan, lightly tighten all of the bolts and circle the pan tightening a bit more as you work around until you reach proper tightness(3-4 times around should do). I don't use a torque wrench personally, I make the bolts pretty tight.
    27. Lower car and install 3 qts new fluid with car running in park.
    You just saved at least $300!!!
    Make a point of doing the filter at least every 30K.
    Now take a shower and put another notch in that belt!!!


  • hi bojel , my son has an '01 ZX3 w/the same problem ,, replaced the "A" solenoid ,but it didn't help ,, would like 2 know how u fixed your tranny & what was done 2 it ,,thanks ,,keith ,, :lemon:
  • Hello Dno36

    Thanks for your response. I did the procedure today (Friday), the only difference is that I didnt replace the trans filter. I probably would have done it if I had seen this part listed in the original post. I got all my stuff together during the week and did it today on my day off.

    The results: I had the code/light cleared at autozone but the problem persists. It still is reluctant to shift up and does so when I accellerate slowly. The exclamation light is still on which indicates some transmission/transaxle issues.

    I wonder if the change of the filter is the problem or it could be a sensor or something else.

    I feel good about the repair, just wish it had solved the problem I will probably change the filter on my next day off just to cover all bases.

    Any thoughts anyone?

    Thanks in advance.
  • dno36dno36 Posts: 71
    Hey Ed,

    Sorry to hear your issue still exists.
    Yes I would definitely do a new filter. $20 is good insurance, and even before we changed the solenoid the trans shifted better.
    Did you take it and get it scanned?? If so did it throw a code 0750 back?? 0750 is for the "A" solenoid.
    If it did not throw the 0750 code, which one did it show??

    Ours is fine now. The engine light actually went off without resetting it with a OBD2 reader/tool.
  • keifer56keifer56 Posts: 2
    hi, changed the filter & fluid when i replaced the "A " solen. then got a P0761 Code ,, "C" Solen. ,,replaced it ,but still won't shift right ,, & no O/D ,,then i got a P0766 Code ,, so i cleared the Codes , drove it 30-40 mi. & re-cked it , no 0766 code came up , only 0732 ,, Gear 2 Incorrect Ratio ,,, not sure what 2 do know ,,since the 0766 never came back up ,,thinking it either needs a rebuild ('2-4' shift bands) , or might b the a bad PCM or TCM ,,,anyways thanks 4 replying ,,keith ,, :lemon:
  • smokiflsmokifl Posts: 5
    Thanks for the great information in post #76. I have a 2003 focus with fault code P0750 "A" solenoid. The car runs from a stop okay, then when it gets to 30 or 35 and the tac goes up with no power.
    A transmission shop doesn't think it's the solenoid and is quoting BIG $$$$ to remove the transmission and inspect. I'm thinking I'll try the procedure and see what happens. It's worth the $80 in parts and fluid. And if it fixes it great.

    Does any one have a picture or illustration of the transmission from the bottom with the pan off showing the filter and then with the filter off showing the solenoid?

    Thanks again, I plan to do the work tomorrow.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,564
    That code should mean that you have no 4th gear and no reverse.

    This code also indicates a circuit fault, not necessarily a solenoid. Could be wiring, too or a PCM fault.

    I think there is a resistance test one can do for the solenoid.

    If you want to tackle this on your own, you should probably subscribe to I think it's about $27 for a whole year, for one car. pretty good resource but you have to be technically minded.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • smokiflsmokifl Posts: 5
    Perfect, I was able to get the figures thanks, Thanks for the reply.

    I was reviewing some of the other posts and it seems that the procedure helped others with code P0750 tripped with the same symptoms. It just seems like the shop is giving me the run around and they want to jump right to transmission removal for big money.

    Any other comments would be appreciated.
  • smokiflsmokifl Posts: 5
    By the way it still has reverse.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,564
    Well don't forget the "jiggle test", and wiggle all the wiring couplers and connectors. You could get lucky here.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • dno36dno36 Posts: 71
    Hey Keifer,

    Maybe I missed the post, but did you have your trans scanned before you started??
    If so, what codes did it show then??
    If it only came back with a 0750 code, then I would have no idea why you would be chasing other codes unless you have a PCM issue.


  • dno36dno36 Posts: 71
    (RE: Does any one have a picture or illustration of the transmission from the bottom with the pan off showing the filter and then with the filter off showing the solenoid?)

    Hey smokifl:

    I do not have a pic or illustration of the solenoid, however it is super-easy!!

    When you pull down the filter, there will be 3 solenoids facing to the passenger side of the car, the middle one will have a white wire going to it. This is the "A" solenoid.

    When you do it, you will say to yourself, "Wow, couldn't miss that one".
    It removes with a 5/16 hex socket and pulls straight out.

    Extra simple.


  • smokiflsmokifl Posts: 5
    Hi DNO,

    It looks like you had the P0750 code in your post #110 and I'm glad it worked well for you. What were your symptoms? I picked up the car today from the shop to bring it home and it seems to go into 1st and 2nd then it revs and drops out and loses power. I can still use reverse.

    Your #110 post is very helpful along with post #76. It looks like there are mainly success stories so I'm hoping for the best. I went and got the solenoid, filter, gasket and fluid and will attack it in the morning. I'll also verify the connector mates. I have my fingers crossed big time!!!!

    Thanks again
  • dno36dno36 Posts: 71
    Hey smokifl,

    Yes we had intermittent "Neutral Kick-In" at between 32 & 38 mph. Could never predict it, and was scary especially merging into traffic in suburban Chicago.

    I thought the reverse clean-run would help, but, while it helped, it seemed that the solenoid was "gone", and in need of replacement. I never lost reverse.

    Best of Luck,

  • smokiflsmokifl Posts: 5
    Holy cow!!!!! I owe someone a beer!!!! Performed the procedure as outlined in posts #76 and #110 and I'll have to say I was hopeful but not expecting much. But after I reconnected the battery and the check engine light was off, "okay that's a good start but maybe it will trip again when I drive it". Took it for a drive cautiously, bringing it up to speed and VOILA 3rd gear then 4th. Drove it around for a while in traffic and on the highway and all is good again. One thing I found with the bad solenoid is the electrical connection on the solenoid was not tight and could be rotated back and forth a little where all the others were tight. I'm guessing that might have been the problem.

    Thanks again for the information on this site, it saved me big $$$$.

    Here's the story:
    The car was 4 hours away with my daughter at college so I had her bring the car to the big name transmission shop in town that starts with 2 As. The guy calls me back 2 days later with the bad news that he will have to drop the transmission for them to inspect and just that will be $350. I ask him about the solenoid and he says that's not the problem and it won't fix it for code P0750. I tell him not to do anything and my daughter will be back to pick up the car. I took the day off made the 4 hour ride, did the work and drove back the same day. Granted the ride home was a little easier with the transmission fixed. Parts, gas and lunch with the daughter & friends $150. A lot better then the $700 to $2000 they said it could be. Here I am just some yahoo searching the internet for the same problem and I find the answer. Thank goodness they were slammed ripping other people off which gave me time to research the problem and I found this web-site.

    Thanks again.
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