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Old 07-26-2008, 02:14 PM   #1
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Common Ford Focus Transmission Problem, How to fix

The first time this issue happened (at 60k miles) I paid a transmission shop $600 to fix it. It just happened again (at 100k miles) and I fixed it myself for about $50. It's a fairly common problem, so I'm posting the symptoms, codes and instructions here to help others.

I own a 2002 Ford Focus with automatic transmission. The symptoms are that the transmission disengages (slips out of gear) when it goes into 3rd gear. When the car slows down to 20 miles an hour or so (or when you stop) it re-engages. You can drive the car in 1st or 2nd gear generally. The transmission light comes on. There are no noises associated with this problem. If you have this problem then it's probably the "A" Solenoid that needs to be replaced. Here's how you make sure that's the case and fix it for $50.

1. You need to pull the diagnostic computer codes. Ford will pull them for you for $100. But, you can do it for free by going to AutoZone. They have a loaner computer diagnostic code puller. If you bring the car they'll just do it for you in the parking lot. If you want to borrow the tool then they will want a $200 security deposit. I recommend that you bring the car to them if you it's close. Also, there are lots of small shops that will pull the code for you for free. There's no reason to pay a "diagnostic fee" to pull the computer repair code. This code will tell you Exactly which solenoid to replace. It's typically the "A" solenoid, though.

2. Once you get the code you need to know which solenoid to replace. Here is a list of diagnostic solenoid codes:

P0750 SSA SSA solenoid circuit failure SSA circuit failed to provide voltage drop across solenoid. Circuit open or shorted or PCM driver failure during on-board diagnostic. No reverse gear (short) or no fourth gear (open). Refer to Pinpoint Test A.
P0751 SSA SSA functional failure Mechanical or hydraulic failure of the shift solenoid. Not all gears present. REFER to Diagnosis By Symptom (307-01 , DIAGNOSIS AND TESTING).
P0755 SSB SSB solenoid circuit failure SSB circuit fails to provide voltage drop across solenoid. Circuit open or shorted or PCM driver failure during on-board diagnostic. Not all gears present. No converter clutch apply in third and fourth gears. Refer to Pinpoint Test A.
P0756 SSB SSB functional failure Mechanical or hydraulic failure of the shift solenoid. Not all gears present. No converter clutch apply in third and fourth gears. REFER to Diagnosis By Symptom (307-01 , DIAGNOSIS AND TESTING).
P0760 SSC SSC solenoid circuit failure SSC circuit fails to provide voltage drop across solenoid. Circuit open or shorted or PCM driver failure during on-board diagnostic. Not all gears present. Refer to Pinpoint Test A.
P0761 SSC SSC functional failure Mechanical or hydraulic failure of the shift solenoid. Not all gears present. Refer to Pinpoint Test A.
P0765 SSD SSD solenoid circuit failure SSD circuit fails to provide voltage drop across solenoid. Circuit open, shorted or PCM driver circuit failure during on-board diagnostics. Not all gears present. Refer to Pinpoint Test A.
P0766 SSD SSD functional failure Mechanical or hydraulic failure of the shift solenoid. Not all gears present. Refer to Pinpoint Test A.
P0770 SSE SSE solenoid circuit failure SSE circuit failed to provide voltage drop across solenoid. Circuit open. Shorted or PCM driver circuit failed during on-board diagnostics. Not all gears present. Refer to Pinpoint Test A.
P0771 SSE SSE functional failure Mechanical or hydraulic failure of the shift solenoid. Not all gears present. Refer to Pinpoint Test A.

3. It's fairly easy to replace the solenoid. You need a 5/16 socket and rachet and a tube of Gray RTV Gasket Maker (you can get it at any auto parts store).

4. You need to buy the solenoid. I only found it at Ford. For some reason when I told 3 different parts managers I wanted the "A" solenoid (which is how it's described in every Ford transmission diagram and on the computer code) they didn't know which one it was. There are 6 solenoids in the transmission. The "A" solenoid is the one they sell the most of and probably have on hand - because it goes out fairly often on this model. The Ford part number (off the bag) is XS4Z-7H148-AA. I paid about $45 for it at a Ford dealership.

5. For the repair you need to raise the front of the car. I used ramps, but make sure it's secure. The transaxle (transmission) is in the front right, as you look at the car. The bottom is a pan, like an oil pan, with about 20 bolts holding it on. They're 5/16th's. There's transmission fluid in the pan, but no "drain bolt". So, have a pan ready to catch the fluid once the transmission pan comes loose. Be careful. Transmission fluid is hot, it will make a mess. And, the pan has a silicone gasket seal around it. So, once you get the bolts off/loose you will probably need to work the pan loose. Don't bend it. (Make sure you get all the bolts off, it's easy to miss one.) I left one bolt on the front so I could ease the pan loose from the transmission on the back and let the fluid run into a pan. Then I removed the pan.

6. You will see SIX solenoids in the transmission. You can't miss them. Each one has a different colored wire going to it. The A Solenoid has a white wire going to it, it's a small solenoid in the center on the right. It's held in place by one bolt (that's also 5/16ths). Unplug the wire, remove the bolt and remove the solenoid. Put the new solenoid in.

7. Carefully and completely scrape all the old gasket off the transmission surface the the edge of the fluid pan. Clean it. Then apply the new gasket (from the tube) onto the edge of the pan. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you just apply a thin bead of gasket compound. Don't use too much or the excess will get into your transmission and cause a problem.

8. Replace the pan. Let the gasket set according to the instructions on the tube - READ THE INSTRUCTIONS. And refill the transmission with transmission fluid. I was told to use the same fluid I took out, by someone I trust. You use a funnel and refill it through the transmission dipstick tube (front, right of the engine, yellow handle). Make sure you put it in the right place. Fill it slowly. Then run the engine and check the fluid. Add until it reads correctly on the dipstick. You check transmission fluid with the car running and the fluid hot.

9. Look under to car to make sure there are no leaks around the transmission pan. Over the next days and weeks keep an eye out for leaking transmission fluid when you park. If the transmission pan is leaking then you'll need to redo the gasket but do a better job this time.

That's it! It's so easy a 14 year old kid could do it. It doesn't take strength, mechanical ability or the ability to grow a beard. It just takes care, patience and dirty hands. Have a shop do it for you for $450-$600 OR MORE. Or do it yourself for $45 for the part and $5 for a tube of RTV gasket.


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Old 09-13-2008, 09:48 PM   #2
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Good onfo thanks!
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Old 09-13-2008, 10:18 PM   #3
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interestin info b/c i have an atx so thanks
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Old 10-15-2008, 04:46 PM   #4
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what a lifesaver thanks for write up is this stickied?
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Old 10-17-2008, 03:02 AM   #5
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Very good info, thnxs. Question: can you replace all the solenoids like that to basically renew the whole thing or not. I think I might need this info very shortly, ATX is acting out too.
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Old 10-17-2008, 03:09 AM   #6
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My trans is slipping from 2-3 and 3-4 and it happened after a fluid and filter change not a flush. The only thing is I am not getting a code. What do you suggest? Mechanical issues? Clutches?

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Old 10-18-2008, 03:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thisdude_05 View Post
My trans is slipping from 2-3 and 3-4 and it happened after a fluid and filter change not a flush. The only thing is I am not getting a code. What do you suggest? Mechanical issues? Clutches?

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Anyone?
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Old 10-18-2008, 10:58 AM   #8
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Thumbs up

Moved to Ford Focus Technical Chat

Great write up
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Old 10-18-2008, 04:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thisdude_05 View Post
My trans is slipping from 2-3 and 3-4 and it happened after a fluid and filter change not a flush. The only thing is I am not getting a code. What do you suggest? Mechanical issues? Clutches?

CarJunky.com :)
its hard to get tranny questions answered becuase i guess it could be anything
well look over the solenoids that control 2-3 and 3-4
replace them?
ive seen some threads where noone gets a CEL
but they use these how tos to fix but never respond back if it worked i hate that
but NEways its worth a shot to replace the solenoids before spending big bucks on a Mechanic
so look at the solenoids that control certain functions of the ATX and pinpoint it down to what controls all of these if needed

good luck
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Old 10-18-2008, 04:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FociBoi121 View Post
its hard to get tranny questions answered becuase i guess it could be anything
well look over the solenoids that control 2-3 and 3-4
replace them?
ive seen some threads where noone gets a CEL
but they use these how tos to fix but never respond back if it worked i hate that
but NEways its worth a shot to replace the solenoids before spending big bucks on a Mechanic
so look at the solenoids that control certain functions of the ATX and pinpoint it down to what controls all of these if needed

good luck
Thanks man yeah I was thinking of going that route first.
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