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InfinityCubed 07-09-2012 11:35 AM

My '12 keeps breaking and I've never been in this situation before so I'd like to ask for advice.
TL;DR at the end but I'd suggest reading the full story to get a better picture of the situation.

I know this can drag on so I'll attempt to type it in a way that will break up the monotony and not have just a giant wall of text.

In October I bought my '12 Focus SE-Sport. Everything was great for the first 900 miles or so, until a grinding noise began happening in shifts from 1st to 2nd gear, and to a lesser degree 3rd to 4th gear. I brought it to the dealership the next Monday morning (this happened on a Saturday evening while I was at work as a pizza delivery driver). It had roughly 1,100 miles on it when I got to the dealership. They spent a couple of days checking it out before saying that I need to put more miles on it to break it in and it's probably nothing. They showed me a pamphlet that says a "green clutch" is at work in the Focus and Fiesta and it takes a while to break in and that this grinding noise could happen but would go away. They said it would go away by 1,500 miles and if it didn't to bring it back in.

At 1,700 miles it still had not gone away, so I took it back in and I got a different service adviser. He said it may take a couple of days to check it out but he would get back with me on it. Three days later I had received no phone call from him so I called him and he said "The sound is normal" and even went so far as to say that he had noticed the sound in his own '12 Fiesta and that it happened in al of the cars as a quirk to the new DCT. I was convinced that the sound was not in fact normal and I decided at my next earliest convenience I would take it to a different dealership to have it looked at.

I was pretty busy that next week so it was about a week from the date that I got it back before I could take it into another shop. During that week my radio started having intermittent periods where no sound would come out of the speakers. It was happening on everything from Sirius to the Phone to the Radio. It would play things fine and people could hear me on the phone, but no sound came out of the speakers. So when I took it in to the new dealership I explained both problems and they said they needed to keep it for a few days to check everything out. Igot a call 2 days later saying they couldn't get it to make the sound go out but they'd order a radio anyway and replace it. Also they said the grinding sound was normal.

3 weeks later they called me back to let me know the radio had come in and that they could install it in about 2 hours while I wait. I agreed and everything was done. I noticed the next day that the new Radio would not read any CDs, I tried roughly 10 of them. I called them back and they said they would need to order another radio, which would take another 3 weeks. During this time I got in touch with many people on this website and found a few with the same grinding issue as me, as well as finding 95% of the people that had no grinding sound. This was enough to convince me that my previous service adviser was incorrect and that the grinding sound does not happen in every Focus. When the new radio came in 3 more weeks later, I went up for another waiting session to install, 3 hours this time.

I got in contact with the member FordCustomerService on these forums and Noemi was awesome. Got me hooked up with the Customer Service Manager for the Houston area who got in contact with my dealership and scheduled for me to drop the car off to them again, and this time I got a rental car! They had said they couldn't give me one before until they figured out the problem so I had to go days without a car each time I took it in, since they never found a problem, saying it was normal. I emailed this video: to the Ford CSM for my area which she said she forwarded to the engineers to take a look at. It is the exact same noise as mine is making, and as you can see from the uploader comments (which are from a member of this forum) they have replaced the transmission in his twice and no luck, as well as recalibrating it with no luck (I didn't know at the time that the calibrations would not work as that is what they have been trying in mine every time I take it up there but it's not working on mine either). He is in the middle of the Lemon Law process now.

I got the car back a couple of days after taking it in, saying all they needed to do was a reprogram of the transmission controller and that it's not making the noise now. I was ecstatic. I went for a week with no noise, so I decided to install a cat-back exhaust. I had had the exhaust for weeks but didn't want to put it in when I had this problem so that they would have no issues hearing it. Soon after the install the noise returned. It was then that I found out that while the transmission is in learning mode for the first 1,000 miles or so after being reset, that the noise doesn't happen. After it finishes learning the noise begins and gets constantly louder until it plateaus at a loud state and happens almost every time I take off.

I took it back in to my dealership and they called me the next day saying they tried a new reprogram on the module and that it wasn't making the noise anymore again. This was after the transmission specialist there rode with me and listened to the noise himself. They also performed the recall on the wiper blade at this time. Again about a week or so later, ~500 miles, it was making the noise again.

I called the Ford CSM up again for the second time now, left a message and got no callback. 2 days later I called her again and she answered, and was more that helpful to get my car back into the dealership. She also talked to my dealership and apparently the last time I brought it in before this one the transmission specialist said he didn't even know my car had came in again since the time we took the test drive. During the time between the last 2 reprograms, the passenger's side window switch stopped rolling the window up. This was about the same time that 12B37 came out. I took it back into the dealership and they said that they replaced the faulty window control switch on the passenger's side but they couldn't hear the noise when they took it out and they "didn't want to put too many miles on my car." They performed the 12B37 recall and gave it back to me to see if that would solve the issue.

It's three weeks later now and the sound is back, along with an occasional stuttering off the line before the 1-2 shift and a hard shift into 4th which was never there before. I'm pretty sure that 12B37 was made to address some issues with the DCT, but not specifically for my issue, and it ended up making my issue worse.

This is the first new car I've ever bought, I bought a '96 ranger from an auction when I turned 16 in '99 and drove it for 12 years until I bought this one with no major issues. I decided to use a local promotion to get this new car, and it's been a disappointment ever since. I wanted this car to be my new baby, my toy to mod, and everything since I hadn't done anything to my Ranger in all the years I drove it.

I'd like to implore you guys from the forum, as you're much more experienced and knowledgeable in this area than I am, as to what I should do in this situation. It's obvious that "reprograms" aren't going to fix this issue. Should I pursue Lemon Law filings and bring legal action? Give them a chance to replace everything that could be the problem? They have not replaced a single part as of today. Should I ask for a replacement car? I don't think they would do that, but I'm not sure. Please folks I really need your input on this issue as I'm not sure which direction to head with these problems. The car has ~16,500 miles on it now, I have the 100,000 mile powertrain warranty on it.

If there are any other questions anyone has I can answer them, I wish in hindsight that I had just gotten the manual. My ranger was manual and I picked automatic on this one just for a change and because the automatic was rated with higher fuel economy than the manual, which is a big deal for me since I drive the car for a living. Thank you in advance for reading this long story and helping me out.

TL;DR Car has been in the shop 10 times in 9 months for 3 separate issues and is still not fixed, and is actually worse than it was before. Looking for advice on what actions to take next. Thanks.

Miller88 07-09-2012 11:47 AM

Wow, are you sure there isn't a Chrysler logo on that somewhere! Definitely sounds like a new Chrysler product.

The chattering with the shifting does seem normal. The fiesta I drove did it and it sounds like a manual transmission shifting.

The other stuff ... not really sure. Sorry to hear about your bad luck with the car :(

darkangelism 07-09-2012 11:48 AM

What are the lemon laws there? I would want them to swap it out with a new car

PratoN 07-09-2012 11:49 AM

I dunno, man. My transmission makes the same noise and I'm just going to live with it (assuming it doesn't break before the warranty is up.)

I don't know if you could lemon law it at this point, you could ask them to look at replacing things? The worst they could say is no. If it still bothers you, you could always sell it?

Sorry about your luck. [:(]

craigsfocus 07-09-2012 12:32 PM

I wouls start a complaint. It sounds like you have gone through great lengths to get the issue fixed. It does also sound like some of the dealerships are down-playing your issue with the transmission instead of fixing it. By the video you posted, it sounds like its not going into 2nd from first very smoothly.

I would start the complaint process and maybe Corporate Ford will get involved.

Here is a link for Texas Lemon Law Process and info.

Good Luck!

Mile30 07-09-2012 12:56 PM

Lemon Law applies when there's 3 trips for repair of the same problem... if it's still doing the same funkery you should be able to claim it under that law. I'm not positive on the time frame for Lemon Law, but ten trips in nine months seems pretty high.

Keep up with your Ford CSM, they seem to be pulling the best strings for you so far; but it wouldn't hurt to google the specifics of Lemon Laws in your state... the better educated you are as a consumer, the harder it's going to be for them to pull any wool over your eyes or dazzles you with legalese!

cbdallas 07-09-2012 01:09 PM

Check the TX lemon law specifically. Some states require that the problem have a direct effect on safety, which would exclude repeated radio fixes but if the transmission is actually posing a threat to safety, it would be included.

NickCornell 07-09-2012 01:59 PM

I read your whole post, that's awful honestly. Lemon law that car and keep fighting till its made right. I'd have ford managers by the throat till it was made right

forceflow2 07-09-2012 03:19 PM


(d) There is a reputable presumption that a reasonable number of attempts have been undertaken to conform a motor vehicle to the applicable express warranties if

(1) the same nonconformity has been subject to repair four or more times by the manufacturer, converter, or distributor, its agent, or its franchised dealer and two of the repair attempts have been made within a period of 12 months following the date of original delivery to an owner, or 12,000 miles, whichever occurs first, and the other two repair attempts occur within the 12 months or 12,000 miles immediately following the date of the second repair attempt, whichever occurs first, but such nonconformity continues to exist;

(2) the same nonconformity creates a serious safety hazard and has caused the vehicle to have been subject to repair two or more times by the manufacturer, converter, or distributor, or an authorized agent or franchised dealer, and at least one attempt to repair the nonconformity was made in the period of 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever occurs first, and at least one other attempt made in the period of 12 months or 12,000 miles after the first repair attempt, whichever occurs first, but the nonconformity continues to exist; or

(3) the vehicle is out of service for repair for a cumulative total of 30 or more days in the 24 months or 24,000 miles, whichever occurs first, and at least two repair attempts were made in the first 12 months or 12,000 miles immediately following the date of original delivery to an owner and a nonconformity still exists that substantially impairs the vehicle's use or market value. The initial 12-month period or 12,000 mile limit, the subsequent 12-month period or 12,000 mile limit, and the 30-day period shall be extended by any period of time during which repair services are not available to the owner because of a war, invasion, strike or fire, flood, or other natural disaster. During any period of time that the manufacturer or distributor lends a comparable motor vehicle to the owner during the time the vehicle is being repaired by a franchised dealer, the 30-day period provided for in this subsection is tolled.
Since none of those things seem to legally constitute a serious safety issue, this is probably the pertinent legalese you want to look at.

Your issues are slightly different, but the experience is almost on par with mine. The truth is it's pretty difficult to lemon law a car, despite that being everyone's go to response when they read things like this. I'm currently working towards my 30 days (it's the same time period here, but without the tolling) of being out for service and would probably have already reached it if it wasn't for the fact that I have become more and more resistant to bringing it in for service since it doesn't seem to help. (It's been 21 days since they said they were going to fix my seat and cruise control. They said they would get the part in in 7-10 days and hear back from Ford in a few days. I've just decided to ignore it since doing so causes me less stress than actually trying to get anything fixed. Although the cruise control working intermittently is pretty annoying.)

InfinityCubed 07-09-2012 05:28 PM

First off I'd like to say thank you to everyone for the support and advice given thus far. I did go ahead and educate myself on the Texas Lemon Law and it's process before the second time that I contacted the CSM at Ford just so I knew where I stood as far as options.


Originally Posted by Miller88 (Post 4250037)
The chattering with the shifting does seem normal. The fiesta I drove did it and it sounds like a manual transmission shifting

Did you watch the video that I linked? My Ranger would only make a sound resembling that if i didn't press the clutch in all the way. This sound is horrible and can at times last 3 seconds or longer, a few times I've heard it continue throughout the gear into the 2-3 gear shift.

The stuttering during first gear feels like what a normal automatic feels like when the transmission is slipping, and has only been present since the 12B37 update. Just thought I'd add that in.

I hear most people saying to start the lemon law process, and I appreciate all the links I've been given and will be following up on them. If anyone has more to add I'm listening, and I'm going to make a decision on what to do by tomorrow most likely. I was thinking of coming to the Ford CSM with options like replacing the car with a used Focus with close to the same miles and a manual transmission, or filing the lemon law paperwork, and see what she has to say. Any thoughts on that?

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