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Old 12-29-2012, 03:40 AM   #1
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2008 Focus - surging problems ??? Fix?

I recently purchased a 2008 Focus SE with an automatic transmission. At around 60 mph cruising speed it is turning about 2000rpm. While driving, the rpm and engine will speed up (surge) around 500 rpm and immediately go back down. It does this all the time. It's just up and down constantly. It's killing my mpg on top of being extremely annoying. Any help would be appreciated. You guys have so much awesome info on here. I know somebody can help me out. I need help, what to fix?


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Old 12-29-2012, 09:24 AM   #2
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How does the vehicle act when your going at slower speeds??? Is it just at that speed?
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Old 12-29-2012, 10:47 AM   #3
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I recently purchased a 2008 Focus SE with an automatic transmission. At around 60 mph cruising speed it is turning about 2000rpm. While driving, the rpm and engine will speed up (surge) around 500 rpm and immediately go back down. It does this all the time. It's just up and down constantly. It's killing my mpg on top of being extremely annoying. Any help would be appreciated. You guys have so much awesome info on here. I know somebody can help me out. I need help, what to fix?
Sounds like the automatic is 'hunting' or dropping out of lock-up. Usually a PCS solenoid issue. Unless you are handy, it might be a trip to the trans shop, a trusted one. Or, a friend who owns a Snap-On Solaris scanner may be able to pin-point what is happening.
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Old 12-29-2012, 10:55 AM   #4
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It does this at slower speeds too. Really it happens anytime you are "maintaining" a certian speed. What is a PCS solenoid?
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Old 12-29-2012, 10:56 AM   #5
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Hunting sounds like what it's doing.
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Old 12-29-2012, 11:31 AM   #6
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The electronic lock-up torque converter has been around since the late 70's and was originally designed by GM. Other manufacturers followed suit eventually. What it does is lock the torque converter and transmission input shaft and the crankshaft/ flex plate together. This can only be done when the throttle input is steady and the transmission is not under a heavy load, like in climbing a hill or accelerating. You can accelerate slightly with the torque converter in lock-up, but it's very tricky to keep it from unlocking while accelerating even in small amounts.

Now I assume this is a new thing, so it's probably related to something. First off, I recommend as much of a tune-up as is needed for your vehicle. This new locking and unlocking cycle might simply be a sign of reduced engine power as a result of anything from fuel to tires that is effecting the power output of the vehicle. More than likely, it's a combination of multiple things, and I wouldn't personally spend money on transmission diagnosis until I'd crossed off all the things I could- and would be doing anyway as regular maintenance.

From what I understand, 08 Focis have a fuel filter, and it should be replaced like any other fuel filter somewhere around 25k miles. Most people ignore fuel filters, and those will someday be a thing of the past and we'll have to pay much more for fuel pumps and fuel service as a result. I change mine regularly, and have 150k on the original pump- which is about 30k more than I expect a pump to last in a typical car where the filter is never changed.

Start with the basic tune-up items: air filter, fuel filter, and spark plugs are about all you can do to an 08. I don't know your mileage but here's some examples of about how long those things really last. Plugs: 80k, yeah I know, supposedly P or I plugs last 100k, but they don't. Check gap (!), use a dab of anti-seize on the threads when installing, and in wintry weather or without other engine performance mods- I do not recommend one step colder plugs, so stick with Autolite 104s, P, PP, or I. COP ignition like you have doesn't have plug wires, however the plug boots tend to last about 100k miles. If you're as high as 80k, it won't hurt to change those. Cost is $5-8 per boot, change is easy, twist it to break the rubber loose, then pull it off the coil. You'll see how it goes back on- I personally make sure the spring fits around the plug output pin, and then slide the boot onto the plug- don't loose the chunk of solid metal in the spring. Fuel filter: already mentioned. Air filter: another 20-25k mile part except for cotton/oil filters. If you use a cotton/oil filter like a K&N, then be sure to clean your MAF once per week for about a month, and I'd even do it again after 2 months. Oil from the filter element screws up the MAF reading. Use spray cleaner. If you're using paper filters, then you might still want to clean the MAF every time you do an oil change. If you do that, make sure you shake it, and give it plenty of time 10 mins or so, to dry before you start the car. AT fluid level: very important to keep an eye on, especially if you're having transmission hiccups. Make sure it's in range- like the OM says- as long as it's between the marked areas on the dipstick you're ok. You don't have to be maxed, and because AT fluid level is really dependent on temperature- you don't want to add during the winter, and be overfull during the summer. Ford recommends filter changes every 25k miles, but that's an old spec. With newer, longer lasting fluids and better transmission designs, you're really ok until 60-80k. We can show you how to do that stuff on your own if you wish- including flushing all the fluid out of the transmission. I don't personally recommend flushes at shops because it's so freaking expensive for a need that is debatable and fairly easy to DIY. IMO, if you change the filter more often- say every 60k, then don't worry about the fluid that remains after a filter change unless the engine has been overheated. I'd change all the fluid at every other filter change on this schedule. That stuff is like $7/qt, and like I said before, it's a lot better than the older cheaper fluids with respect to maintaining viscosity and lubrication qualities. How many people never change it and go like 150k before the trans gives out? That's proof enough for me.
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Old 12-29-2012, 11:38 AM   #7
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I did mention tires earlier. Yes, bad alignment and balancing mean that your engine/trans has to work harder to keep you at X speed. This means that unbeknownst (oooo big word) to you, you're fluctuating your pedal output more than you would be if you didn't have that dragging you down. It's dropping your fuel economy, and causing the torque converter to unlock more frequently. Like I said before, everything that affects fuel economy has the potential to affect the lock-up. The ECU monitors several sensors to figure torque converter lock-up points. Then again, when all is said and done, it could be that the TC is going out, or the VSS, or something like that. I'm just offering a wider look at what might be causing this so you don't end up being someone who replaces an expensive sensor when the actual cause was a lot of little things. At the same time, I don't relish giving people advice to do a lot of work on their cars if they can't do that work, then they end up only needing a new sensor. That's the problem with internet diagnosis. It has to be applied correctly to your situation.
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Old 01-01-2013, 07:45 PM   #8
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It does this at slower speeds too. Really it happens anytime you are "maintaining" a certain speed. What is a PCS solenoid?
PCS is trans talk for pressure control solenoid. It determines when shifts should be applied and how. On GM vehicles for instance the PCS can command max line pressure if it detects a slow shift time from one gear to the next (measured in milliseconds). The PCS does this independent of the ECM to 'save' the transmission from slippage.

I may be way off base here, but I would imagine Ford uses a similar pressure regulating system for shift points and torque converter lockup.
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Old 01-02-2013, 05:08 AM   #9
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im having a similar problem with my 05 duratec auto trans. it has a lack of power from new like stated above, its surging when cruising, and twice its done it while stopped with my foot on the brake, itd lurch foward like starting a manual car while its in first gear. the only thing im aware of is a small intake manifold leak.
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:43 PM   #10
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Ok, I done all my homework. Finally got two codes P0751 and P0752. It said shift solenoid "A". One code said open and the other said closed. Long story short: I replaced the shift solenoid "A" and it was awesomely easy. After replacing this and the filter and the trans fluid. I still have the same problem as before, if not worse. It did fix the hard downshifting part but not the surging. I'm only out around $130 and still have the same problem. Any other ideas?
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