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Old 09-14-2012, 09:02 PM   #1
Focus Jr. Enthusiast
Join Date: May 2012
Fan#: 99262
Location: Englishtown, NJ
What I Drive: 2012 Red Candy Focus SE Hatch

Posts: 26
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1st/Reverse/Drive by Wire?

Hi, everyone.

I bought my car in late May. I'm glad I bought it and enjoy driving it. However, I've been fighting 1st gear on certain days and can't figure out why. I suppose I should preface this by saying that I've been driving manuals almost exclusively for most of the past 30 years, though I inexplicably decided to buy a Prius for my last car. I had that for 5 or 6 years. I've never had any problems with any gears before. I've driven, at various times, a few Toyotas, a few Hondas, a Mazda or two, even my mom's 1986 Hyundai Excel, the worst car I've ever driven. However, I've never driven an American manual before, and I've never driven a drive by wire manual before either. Here's what's going on:

1) I read somewhere on here that you can go backwards in reverse without any gas, and that this has something to do with the drive by wire. Well, it's true that you don't need gas. I haven't used any ever since I read that. In fact, even without any gas, I find myself going MUCH too fast in reverse. It's faster in reverse than any other car I've ever driven. This is a big problem in parking lots, esp. when you're parked between two large SUVs and can't see a damn thing when you're trying to back up. So, I find myself riding the clutch, something I've never done before. I suppose I could brake as I take my foot off the clutch, but I just can't seem to get my head around doing that. Is anyone else experiencing anything like this?

2) First gear is completely normal on some days but unpredictable on others. It's been warm the past couple of days--around 80--and the car's been extremely smooth in all gears on both days. When I've had the air conditioner on, I've had mixed results. Sometimes it drives fine. Sometimes, it will start moving, then suddenly become very sluggish, as though I'm driving through a patch of sand. Then it will be OK after that. On a couple of days, I've fought 1st gear all the way to work. There doesn't seem to be any pattern to these behaviors. I've started warming the car up a little bit in the morning. That seems to help a little bit with the reverse issue. However, I can't imagine that this could be the main cause of my issues, as the coldest it's ever been in the morning since I bought the car has been around 50.

So, I guess I'm seeking input. I'm wondering if I'm fighting the car a little bit because the computer is trying to do things for me that I'm not expecting it to do. I test drove a MINI before I decided on a Focus, and I'll never forget sitting there in 1st gear with the clutch in. When I took my foot off the brake, it went forward. Very strange. Does this car do things like that too? On the other hand, is it possible that my manual driving skills have eroded over the past 5+ years? Any ideas?



2012 Red Candy Focus SE Hatch/MT/sport/winter/203A/moonroof
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