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Old 05-03-2017, 12:43 PM   #1
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Clutch Shudder, customer service, and coverage

Has anyone successfully resolved the clutch shudder problem with an R titled vehicle? I saw some old posts that mentioned it was possible, but no confirmed resolutions.

My car is a 2013 Focus that I bought for my wife as a gift after returning from a deployment. It had a Reconstructed Title when I bought it ( with full PA enhanced inspection) from some body damage that was repaired, but no mechanical issues and less than 25k miles. Within a year, the clutch started the shuddering issue that we know so well (I also have a 2011 Fiesta with the dual dry clutch).

I took it to the dealership and they said they'd have to run the test, but that it's not covered due to the R title. I called Ford Customer Care and asked them about it and the rep said it was covered and to go ahead and get the diagnostic test done and that if it confirms the shudder, it'd be covered... well, now they changed their story. I took it to the dealership, they ran the tests and of course, it needs the seal and clutches, but it's not covered. I called customer service again, and they basically told me "too bad. " I wouldn't have even gotten the diagnostic done if Customer Service hadn't told me it was covered! I already knew it was shuddering! Now I've got a bill and still have a problem.

Sorry for the rant, but has anyone gotten this problem resolved, either with Ford, or outside? I know there are lawsuits and stuff, but I'm just trying to get my wife's car fixed. I find it ridiculous that they say this isn't a safety recall and not covered since her car shudders so bad on the highway it is nearly jerking and surging on hills. The title status and body damage had nothing to do with an internal seal leaking on the clutch packs.

Any luck with outside mechanics, or is Ford the only option to get this fixed? No one I know services these types of transmissions.

I own 3 Fords, and my Fiesta was already at the dealership for a month for this transmission, and after this hassle I don't know if I can stand behind them as a company any more. A transmission should last more than 35k miles! Again, sorry for the rant, and thanks in advance.


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Old 05-03-2017, 02:05 PM   #2
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a rebuilt title you take your chances.
Obviously you 'thought' it was a good deal. until it started having problems.

One 'fix' is to drive it harder.
Stop babying the transmission.
Step on the gas HARD from a stop. At a stop one needs to have the brake foot firmly planted. no 'sliding' forward..Just sit, instead of creeping forward.
(if the car is used and sits/moving slowly in bumper to bumper traffic twice a day.. you have my sympathy. That is the worst scenario for the transmission clutches)
It may take a few months, but just driving the transmission hard, may fix it.
Trying to go easy;? will only make it worse.
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Old 05-03-2017, 06:11 PM   #3
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I would tend to agree. The branded title has little to do with the issue, but it's an easy out for Ford.

So no one outside ford will touch these clutch issues? I might consider putting some prices together for a repair. The issue would be no warranty on the repair though as its a know issue. It might last 15,000 miles or 1000..

A couple things about these is a little tedious. The torque proceedure for the clutch nuts is one. Not done correctly and you can end up with a nasty engine vibration.
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Old 05-03-2017, 07:24 PM   #4
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I understand the chances with the title, although an issue like this where it's an obvious design flaw should show at least some customer allegiance. My Fiesta is not a rebuilt title, and I had to fight to get that one covered too.

My issue is also with the fact that I was told to take it in BY FORD and assured that it was covered. I told them about the title, we pulled up the VIN, he opened a case #, and told me I was good to go. I didn't need the diagnostic done, I already knew exactly what was going on. They told me to get it done to confirm it was the shudder, and that if so, they would cover it. I rearranged work, took it in, it confirmed the shudder, but now they won't cover it. So now I'm going to be charged for something I already knew.

Also, the reason I bought the R title was confidence in the Ford brand. I knew I wouldn't get something like a Radio or other minor problems covered, but seriously, this transmission issue is a design flaw. ANY car should last more than 35k miles, regardless of a warranty. My buddy bought a used KIA with over 100k miles (no warranty) when he got back at the same time, and his is still going strong. Silly me with my 25k mile Ford purchase. If my Fiesta problems had occurred before my Focus purchase, I probably would not have bought it. I agree that the title status is just an easy out, but really? When I get teased by buddies for having 3 Fords in the driveway, my defense is what? "They're pretty good sometimes, just not these two new ones. My 96 Ranger is reliable..." Old is gold, I guess.

The shudder is so bad that I don't think any driving style or rapid acceleration is going to fix it. I called 4 places so far, and no one wants to touch it. There's one garage who said they can do it, but not anytime soon. I guess I'm probably just stuck leaving it with the dealership.
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Old 05-04-2017, 08:55 AM   #5
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You might try Tom's Tune. Search this forum to find info about it.
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Old 05-04-2017, 03:50 PM   #6
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I checked him out. I don't think his services will help my problem. A tune won't stop the oil from leaking on my clutch packs.

I got a call back from Ford customer service today and was basically told to eat it and that they won't be helping.

That's like me saying "here, have a free cheeseburger" and then charging you for the cheeseburger. They told me to get work done and that it was covered, then won't pay for it.

I'm basically stuck eating the charges and will probably make a complaint to the Better Business Bureau.

Ford should have to list a warning on these cars for the used car market if they have these transmissions installed. I had no idea it was a DCT when I bought it. Only when it started acting up was I like "oh no, not this again..."

Advice to anyone out there in the future: Don't buy a Ford without a warranty. Apparently they need a warranty to make it to 50k, so basically never buy a used modern Ford...
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Old 05-04-2017, 07:04 PM   #7
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FWIW - they ARE covering the TCM even for "R" cars, so if the diagnostics (codes etc.) showed an issue with that it would have been covered.

You could have self diagnosed if that was likely, the Customer Service Reps both have no experience in mechanics and aren't allowed to as well.

Whoever you got on the first call obviously wasn't explaining that, or not well enough for it to register as a 'maybe'. NOTHING is ever promised as covered until AFTER it's been diagnosed at a Dealer and the determination is made.


For facts that MIGHT be useful, the seals are included whenever clutches are replaced - so unless there's a diagnosed drip definitely from there they may not be involved at all. This makes the driving tips for attempting to cure a shudder reasonable to try, along with possibly the tune solution, IF you don't have a known leak.

Engine main seals can seep as well, without the same clutch issues resulting, so it's VERY difficult to be sure even if some seepage is noted.
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Old 05-04-2017, 07:42 PM   #8
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Thanks. I know the TCM is covered, as I have already had that replaced on my Fiesta after it went (and I almost got into an accident).

In addition to the shudder symptoms, there is also a noticeable oil seep at the splitline. The dealership also confirmed what I already knew and stated that it needs the seals as well as a new clutch assembly.

I was very clear in my initial call to customer service and was sure to point out the specifics, because by now I've read all of the TSBs, and sadly have become well versed in the problems. I still believe you shouldn't be able to lure someone in with a promise and then change it when the bill comes. If a company goes back on its word, then their word is useless.

If you go to AutoZone for the advertised "Free Check Engine Light Code Scan," but then they turn around afterwards and say "that'll be $200," I'm sure you'd be a bit miffed.

My bigger mistake was also not knowing this had the Powershift when I bought it and fully researching this car and its problems beforehand. Australia pretty much rose up against this transmission, and there are class action lawsuits in at least 3 states. The local news here even did a story on how bad these transmissions are, although I only found it recently after it aired. I still don't understand how there is not a full recall. There needs to be a badge or marking on these things to warn people of the risk before they buy. What will everyone do once their warranties run out? Toyota boasts about their reliability and the amount of old cars still running on the road. Ford says, "No warranty? Drive at your own risk...we certainly wouldn't." Great. I've never owned a Toyota or KIA or the like, but now I'm considering it.

(P.s., my power windows are also already going out and are intermittent already, which I see is another common problem. What a great car. Lemon?)
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Old 05-04-2017, 07:53 PM   #9
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You've got your share of troubles with this, and I'm not going to argue them by any means.

What doesn't add up is the idea that anyone told you the diagnosis would be free and it would be covered whatever the problem.

Not in this day when MANY dealers are padding their income on warranty repairs regularly by adding "diagnostic" fees to check them out even when the issue is obvious. For example a broken window regulator so you can move the glass by hand and the operating motor doesn't affect it.

This is a common complaint I agree with wholeheartedly, basic diagnosis for a car under warranty is NOT the responsibility of the owner. ONLY when the owner insists on further diagnostics for a problem that can't be demonstrated are they liable for the costs if no problem is found.
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Old 05-04-2017, 08:10 PM   #10
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Yeah. The dealership was up front, so I have no problem with them. It was the Ford Customer Service line. I called them for clarification of what is/isn't covered with the branded title because I was debating avenues/options. I was skeptical and asked multiple times that he was sure it was ok with the title status. He pulled the vin, took his time, and said I was good. They even opened up a case # for me to give to the dealership. That gave me confidence to rearrange work for the week, take the car there, and tell them to proceed since Ford had my back (I thought). Now that I already planned this week to be without it, I'm kind of stuck on that path. Oh well.

I know when I'm beat. My advice: don't trust Ford customer service. Don't buy anything with a Powershift.
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