2001 focus zx3 manual trans clunking barely engages - Focus Fanatics
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Old 01-31-2013, 05:26 PM   #1
FoMoCus
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2001 focus zx3 manual trans clunking barely engages

I figure this is the best place to post this. I'm new to the forum as I just got this car today. Bought it from a friend because it needs transmission work. The car starts fine, the clutch seems fine (fair amount of pressure and pedal movement), but if you try to put it in gear and let up on the clutch pedal, there is a pretty loud clunking type noise coming from the transmission when the clutch is fully engaged. I wouldn't call it grinding, it almost sounds like something is getting slung around in the bellhousing maybe. Most of the time it won't engage at all, but every couple times you try, it will grab in gear but it slips and doesn't fully engage.

The p.o. took it to my personal mechanic and a transmission shop. They both said about the same thing, it's going to be hard to tell without pulling the trans. The transmission shop said transmission, my mechanic said maybe differential. I'm thinking about tackling the job myself but I haven't been able to find anybody with this same problem researching it. I'm wondering if maybe the clutch plate actually broke and parts of it are getting thrown around. But I've never seen that. I've read about the shift cables stretching or breaking, but this noise isn't a grinding, its more of a clunk or knocking. I also read about a roll pin shearing, but I don't know that it would sometimes slightly engage if that were the problem. Any ideas on where to start before I tear the whole front end apart?


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Old 01-31-2013, 11:02 PM   #2
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Ive seen the pressure plate break around the springs allowing one of the springs to pop out. ive also seen a tab break off of the throwout bearing. See this all the time on hondas. dont see why ford would be immune to this problem. Its just abuse or the lack of knowledge how to drive. The only way to tell is pull the transmission out.
if it were a differential problem i think you would feel it or here it like a couple broken teeth on the ring gear. constant popping while driving. if its a wallard out diff then i think you would feel a ton of slack while letting off gas and getting on it.
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Old 02-01-2013, 03:54 PM   #3
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Ive seen the pressure plate break around the springs allowing one of the springs to pop out. ive also seen a tab break off of the throwout bearing. See this all the time on hondas. dont see why ford would be immune to this problem. Its just abuse or the lack of knowledge how to drive. The only way to tell is pull the transmission out.
if it were a differential problem i think you would feel it or here it like a couple broken teeth on the ring gear. constant popping while driving. if its a wallard out diff then i think you would feel a ton of slack while letting off gas and getting on it.
I don't know if you can feel anyhing in the pedal, as I haven't driven it. But the sound could possibly be broken teeth. There's almost no way of letting off the gas and getting on it, because the clutch rarely engages and when it does it doesn't "grab" like it should. I am hoping for just the clutch though, as that's the cheapest of the problems.
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Old 02-01-2013, 05:22 AM   #4
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You needa new clutch.

On Fords, I highly suggest purchasing a slave cylinder, and replacing that also. Our slaves are plastic, and it's a good idea. Hopefully you get in there and you won't have to replace the flywheel. If you do replace the flywheel- Be SURE to purchase flywheel bolts. These are stretch to fit bolts like head bolts, and will not work a second time. You might also want to locate a tap to clean the threads out, or clean off one of the old bolts- then use it multiple times in each hole to clean the blue threadlock out of the threads.

Another good thing about replacing the slave cylinder is that it will come with the throw-out bearing glued to it. You can throw away the bearing that comes with the clutch kit. This will prevent a rattly knocking sound that happens because the throw-out bearing is rattling between the pressure plate and the slave cylinder after the glue wears off. It's just a sound- that goes away when you press the clutch pedal, but it freaks some people out.
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Old 02-01-2013, 01:43 PM   #5
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sounds like my problem cept i have no clutch pedal pressure, to drive the car i have put in 1st gear and start the car...a "self jump start" and to shift i have to rev the rev the engine... i have no clutch lol... and i hear clanking and rattling like u would if you had put rocks in a plastic bottle and was tumbling end over end noise when driving it. ive got a clutch kit w/flywheel coming for 330 buck its a LuK clutch kit Part Number: 5420-07083878 (from parts geek.com)
i hope to god this is the right thing/part(s)
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Old 02-01-2013, 04:05 PM   #6
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Thanks for the tip on the flywheel bolts. And yea I definitely would replace the slave. I hate fords internal slaves. I had the slave fail on my ranger and F-150. Gonefishn, that noise description isn't too far off from mine haha. Let me know what happens when you crack yours open.

My debate now is to try and yank the transmission on my own or just take it in. If it was real wheel drive it would be no question, but on this thing the tight space seems like a pain in the rear.
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Old 02-01-2013, 06:36 PM   #7
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Ill let u know what i find/see ill be opening it up in the morning just got the parts in.
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Old 02-04-2013, 02:01 PM   #8
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so i gave up.. ended up ordereing a clutch that didnt fit, the splines didnt match up, that noise i was hearing was the * up front passenger wheel bearing. i went to napa and bought another clutch and the thing was too small. so im letting the shop fix it, i just hope they know what they are doing cause all they have to do is put it back together after they order a new clutch, cause i cant seem or order a correct on.
when i opened the transmission up it didnt look bad at all. i think all i probabaly needed was a bleed cause i could drive the car fine even with no clutch pedal pressure. i also messed up 2 of 3 helicoils that hold on the throwout bearing. oh and all the transmission/gear fluid came out the axle shaft hole. i just gave up on it and am letting the shop deal with it now. $45 an hour +parts... hope i dont go over a grand!!!


in closing bring it to the shop and let them do it!
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Old 02-02-2013, 12:11 AM   #9
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I'm not getting mine to the garage until tomorrow. Or today I guess, since its 1 a.m. Then I have to decide if I want to break it apart on my own.
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Old 02-02-2013, 03:45 AM   #10
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It is fairly easy to replace the transmission. It only took me 2 weekends and I only did it that way because I didn't want to buy any new parts until I had got the trans out. I did a writeup on it here:

http://www.mittelstaedt.us/

There's a video on youtube to replace the clutch on this but I don't care at all for the way the guy gets the trans out, he does not drop the subframe, and to get the trans out that way you have to turn it and you have very little clearance. he also pries it sideways and it falls down on the floor. It's a lot easier to drop the subframe about 4-6 inches then you have plenty of room to work.

If it was me I would scout a used trans from a wrecker these transes are common. I doubt you have a clutch problem, sounds to me like the clutch is working fine and a gear inside the trans is broken.
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