Ford Focus Transmission Problems & Overview

For the 2000 model year, Ford decided to replace its aging Escort compact with an entirely new offering from Europe. Dubbed “Focus”, this new C-Segment entry had been on sale in the rest of the world since 1998, and people absolutely loved it. The little car had angular “New Edge” styling, and a 4-wheel independent (“Control Blade”) suspension that made it handle better than many sports cars of the day.

Sales were incredibly strong, and the second generation 2004-2010 Focus used many of the same critical elements that made the original Focus so popular. The 3rd generation Focus debuted in 2010, and was for the first time considered to be a global model, meaning that the same basic car was sold in all worldwide markets.

Does something seem wrong with your Focus? Let’s look at some of the most common Ford Focus transmission problems, and see what you can do to get your car back on the road.

We know a good transmission shop in your area.

Ford Focus Recalls

Recall ID – NHTSA: 02V117000 – 2002 Ford Focus

Summary

On 534 2002 Ford Focus models equipped with a manual transmission, the speed/cruise control cable could become entangled with the throttle body bracket during high or wide open throttle application. If this happens, the throttle would be prevented from returning to the closed position once the accelerator pedal is released.

Consequence

If the throttle becomes stuck open, the driver would have to depress both the clutch and the brake pedals in order to bring the car to a stop.

Remedy

On April 25, 2002, Ford instructed dealers to replace the throttle body assembly on affected cars. Owners can contact Ford at 1-866-436-7332. Or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 1-888-327-4236 (refer to the Focus recall 04V176000).

Ford Focus Technical Service Bulletins (TSB)

2012-2015 Focus – TSB 14-0197-15-0043 / 10057872

Problem:

2012-2015 Focus’ that were equipped with the dual-clutch Ford DPS6 automatic transmission, can experience a pronounced transmission clutch shudder during light acceleration, and/or fluid leaks around the clutch housing. This can occur because faulty input shaft seals can allow fluid to seep in and contaminate the surface of the clutch.

Solution:

Both input shaft seals will need to be replaced. And depending on the severity of the damage, a new clutch assembly may be required. However, it might be possible to clean and reinstall the clutch.

2014-2015 Focus – TSB 44852 / 10057815

Problem:

With regard to the TSB listed above, if the clutch contamination repair isn’t performed correctly, the problem could re-occur because the new input shaft seals could swell and rupture.

Solution:

The accepted procedure is to use brake cleaner to clean the bell housing and clutch assembly. However, if ample time isn’t allowed for the parts to dry before installing them, the new input shaft seals could swell and rupture if they come in contact with the cleaning solvent.

2014-2015 Focus – TSB 383123 / 10057861

Problem:

After replacing the dual clutch assembly on a DPS6 transmission, it’s not uncommon to experience a light shudder during shifts, because the clutch friction material requires a 1,000 mile break in period.

Solution:

Unless there is a fluid leak, the clutch assembly will not need to be replaced. Instead, the technician should run the IDS Service Routine Transmission Adaptive Learning program to reset the clutch travel.

2012-2013 Focus – TSB 32331 / 10053657

Problem:

This was a service tip to diagnose the following problems: no crank, no start, hard start, unusual noise during start, delayed or intermittent gear engagement, and numerous diagnostic trouble codes.

Solution:

Prior to performing normal diagnostics, it’s recommended to first check the G-104 ground for good body to ground contact. If the eyelet is loose, torque the fastener to 12 Nm. If no problem is found, resume normal diagnostic procedures.

What Transmission Does a Ford Focus Have?

YearEngineTrans TypeDrive
2010-20083.5LPGRAFWD
1997-19952.2LMPJAFWD
19982.3LMDWAFWD
2006-20053.5LBGRAFWD
20073.5LPGRAFWD
2010-20083.5LPGRAFWD
2001-19993.5LB7TAFWD
2004-20023.5LBYBAFWD

How to Diagnose & Fix

  1. Check the OBD Codes
  2. Check the fluid level
  3. Test transmission pressure
  4. Drop the transmission pan
  5. Repair, replace or rebuild

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3 thoughts on “Ford Focus Transmission Problems & Overview

  1. I have a 2000 Ford Focus, 5-speed manual transmission and over 100k miles. A few days ago, as I turned the corner, tried to shift into second and it felt like there was nothing there and I couldn’t get it into the gear. I had to slow a bit since I was still in 1st gear, but moving the stick shift around, it felt like it was not attached to anything. Then, I wasn’t even able to move it over for 3rd or 4th gear, it now only moves up and down freely, but will not shift out of 1st.

  2. 2004 ford focus se with 111,000 miles on it, and took it to aamco for diagnosis, my estimate was $1700-2100 plus $495 to open up the transmition but that goes toward the cost. Everyone is saying that’s too much anyways, and I can’t afford that either. The car drives great excluding the slip in the tranny on the 3rd gear:/
    What are some alternatives?

  3. I am experiencing some “stick” while shifting between gears in my 2000 Ford Focus. I did a transmission fluid flush about a year and half ago (less than 10,000 miles ago). I received a quote from the dealer for a diagnostic test at $110. That would just cover them examining and reporting the issue to me. Is it standard for shops to charge this amount for a diagnostics on transmission issues? I will continue calling around in my area to get quotes for diagnostics. In the meantime, maybe someone else has input on this?

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