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Old 09-07-2014, 10:37 PM   #1
Garzilly
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2012 Focus SEL - Transmission Failed on Highway! No drive-train power! (Got it all on video!)

Hi All,

I've been a long time lurker and member since we bought our 2012 Focus in the fall of 2011. I've experienced a very scary ordeal, now TWO times, with our Focus. The transmission (Transmission Control Module I suspect) completely failed while on a major highway, resulting in a complete loss of power. It happened two weeks ago with just me in the car, and then again today with my pregnant wife and 1 year old daughter in the car.

I'd urge you all to be very careful driving this car if you're experiencing these transmission issues. It's only a matter of time before something fails, and fails big time. It's one thing to put me at risk, but my wife no longer feels safe in this car.

YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.


Here's the full story I've already typed out in the Youtube video description:

"I bought my wife a brand new 2012 Ford Focus SEL in the Fall of 2011. Since the day we've bought the car, it's had strange transmission issues. It hesitates when shifting, and jerks constantly when taking off from a stop or shifting lower gears. We had it checked out just a few months after buying it, and were told that it was "as designed." Whatever..

So we've dealt with the annoying transmission issues until now. On August 24th 2014, while driving down a busy highway in Houston, the car transmission completely shut off on me, resulting in a complete loss of drive-train power. I was left stranded on the highway for 30 minutes, until the car started back up and seemed to have healed itself miraculously (check engine light went away, and ignition started). I suspect the Transmission Control Module needed to reset.

I drop the car off at Tomball Ford in Houston, TX the following morning, and it is left there the entirety of that week. I got a call on Friday August 29th, telling me to come pick the car up. The service technicians drove it around all week, and could not duplicate the issue, nor was there a log of the CEL in the computer (Ford not logging catastrophic failures?!). I resist, but ultimately have no choice, as Ford refuses to replace the part without a service department duplicating the issue.

Fast forward to today (September 7th). We've had the car back in our possession for just over a week, and the same exact thing happens. Complete loss of drive-train power, leaving my pregnant wife, myself, and my 1 year old daughter stranded just off a major highway in NW Houston, TX. Thankfully, we avoided any accidents as we were able to exit and coast to a complete stop in a shopping plaza.

After waiting for a tow truck, the car is dropped in our driveway at home later that day (dealership doesn't accept night drop-offs, further adding to our frustration). We try to start the car in our driveway, and it starts right up, with all check engine lights turned off. Essentially, the same exact issue we experienced the first time around. I suspect the Transmission Control Module is failing, but is able to reset itself once it sits for a period of time.

You can imagine how frustrating it is to have this catastrophic issue, but have the car reset it's CEL before we can get it to the dealership, making it impossible for a dealer to duplicate the issue unless they drive my car for huge periods of time, inconveniencing my family, and costing me huge sums of money in rental fees."


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Old 09-08-2014, 06:05 AM   #2
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I had the same thing happen, including having the car towed to the house, yesterday.

I connected a code reader - and no codes are stored. Starting the car, the check engine light comes on and code U0101 is captured. This translates to 'communication failure with TCM'

Apparently the failure mode is just to shift into neutral.
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Old 09-08-2014, 10:09 AM   #3
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I had something similar happen to me about a year ago after I bought the car. It was on a back road. I turned the car off and back on it it worked again. The dealership said they couldn't replicate the problem and there were no codes.

If that happened with my son in the car I would have freaked out. I'm really glad I traded the car in last week. Even if I took a huge hit in negative equity.
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Old 09-08-2014, 10:56 AM   #4
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Well, its finally at the dealer - and they _may_ be able to look at it by Wednesday or Thursday. The tow truck driver reported that the check engine light is still on.
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Old 09-08-2014, 11:07 AM   #5
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that is insane. i would definitely try another dealer. you could also deal with one of the ford reps on the site. there is no way that is "as designed" ford would be out of business
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Old 09-08-2014, 11:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOldBear View Post
Well, its finally at the dealer - and they _may_ be able to look at it by Wednesday or Thursday. The tow truck driver reported that the check engine light is still on.
Wow, sorry to hear you're having similar issues. Strange that your CEL is still on, considering mine seems to clear itself. Maybe it's a completely different issue? Did you experience the same dash/HUD indications seen in my video?
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Old 09-09-2014, 05:41 AM   #7
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I did not get the flashing 'D' that was in the video - but I did get a warning about 'Hill start assist not available' when the car came to a stop.

Last edited by TheOldBear; 09-10-2014 at 05:50 AM. Reason: typo correction
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Old 09-09-2014, 08:42 PM   #8
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Insane! I know for sure I won't put my life or any life on jeopardy by driving that kind of car, if I were you I won't drive that Focus any more. Period.
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Old 09-10-2014, 07:04 PM   #9
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I am having a similar issue with my 2012 Focus. It suddenly goes into neutral while I'm a driving. At first it only seemed to happen when coming to a stop. I would get the blinking drive indicator as well. Shifting to different gears doesn't do anything. I had to power of the car and wait 20-30 seconds and turn it back on and it would fixed it self.

Today it happen to me twice once while was driving at about 40-45 MPH it seemed to go into neutral and had no drive. Came to a stop. Recycled the power and started working again. Then I tried using the "Sport" shift mode to see if that helped. It shifted from 1st to 3rd once. Then a minute after that it wouldn't shift gears and then there was no power. I was able to pull into a parking lot and noticed my engine was off. I did get a "Transmission malfunction Service now" warning message this time. I turned the engine back on and it wouldn't get into gear. Waited a few minutes and tried it again and was able to get it into gear.

I'm taking it into the dealership tomorrow morning. From everything I have been reading I am pretty sure its a bad Transmission Control Module (TCM). Hopefully I don't have any issue with the service department duplicating the issue. The problem is pretty dangerous, especially when it happens at high speeds.
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Old 09-11-2014, 12:34 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbean24 View Post
I am having a similar issue with my 2012 Focus. It suddenly goes into neutral while I'm a driving. At first it only seemed to happen when coming to a stop. I would get the blinking drive indicator as well. Shifting to different gears doesn't do anything. I had to power of the car and wait 20-30 seconds and turn it back on and it would fixed it self.

Today it happen to me twice once while was driving at about 40-45 MPH it seemed to go into neutral and had no drive. Came to a stop. Recycled the power and started working again. Then I tried using the "Sport" shift mode to see if that helped. It shifted from 1st to 3rd once. Then a minute after that it wouldn't shift gears and then there was no power. I was able to pull into a parking lot and noticed my engine was off. I did get a "Transmission malfunction Service now" warning message this time. I turned the engine back on and it wouldn't get into gear. Waited a few minutes and tried it again and was able to get it into gear.

I'm taking it into the dealership tomorrow morning. From everything I have been reading I am pretty sure its a bad Transmission Control Module (TCM). Hopefully I don't have any issue with the service department duplicating the issue. The problem is pretty dangerous, especially when it happens at high speeds.
Sounds very similar to what I'm going through. When you say it went into neutral, did your indicator actually shift over to neutral when the failure occured, or did it stay in drive, but seem like it went into neutral?

The car has been at the dealership since Monday, and they're still not able to duplicate the failure once again. I got a call yesterday, and after talking to the engineers at Ford, they claimed that Ford told them they need to take my driver's seat out and investigate the wiring harness, as they think it's a wire "chafing" issue.

Since the wiring harness is not covered under the power-train warranty, I'm required to pay for the wiring harness tear-down. What's crazy though, is the dealer admitted they've never seen a failure like this, and they aren't even sure it's the wiring harness. So it's possible, I'd pay $400 for them to much with my wiring harness, only to have it not work at all.

I've asked the regional service manager to call me, and I've yet to hear back.
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