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Old 05-13-2019, 12:56 AM   #1
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Transmission disengaged “mid-flight” (long story)

HELP!
My 2005 focus se scared the hell out of me and my wife just a few hours ago. As I was driving about 75 on the highway, the transmission completely disengaged. Left me coasting in “neutral”, even thought was in drive. Pulled off, and put in park. Waited a second, put it back in drive. It engaged until around 30-40mph on the highway. Did it again. I pulled over, put it in park, shut it off.
Started, drove it slowly up to about 70. Got us home. Looked on my FIXD app: Error code B1601. Never seen it before and I’ve had the car since 2012. Now I’m nervous about driving it to work (45 mins one way). Worse, I have no fall back car (yet, after this series of unfortunate events). PLEASE tell me:
A. If this has happened to someone before.
B. You know what caused it.
C. It’s a relatively easy fix.
At first, I thought my transmission had gone out again (after being rebuilt about 60k miles ago), but it made it back home like nothing happened. When I got home, prnd all shifted and engaged fine.
I will update tomorrow after work.


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Old 05-15-2019, 12:26 AM   #2
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Neutral and drive are next to each other in the shifter linkage and cable, if something has gone foul with say the cable or the firm holding of it to hold it hard in drive then possibly the trans maybe shifted into neutral on its' own, maybe at a slight bump.

I can't say exactly mechanically how that could happen (several ways) but it most certainly should be possible and the cable could be out of proper adjustment to do it too. There is a locking collar that if it has gotten loose on shift cable could do it.

I DO know there is no detent between the two positions and calculated to be a safety thing as if you hit something the inertia of the impact pops the shifter lever into neutral say if cruise was on to stop the car from trying to re-accelerate away from an accident. Had it happen to me when I stupidly caused an accident. All one has to do is slightly brush against the shifter lever to pop it into neutral too, my wife has done it messing with a purse while driving before and thought the trans did something wrong but it was fine. After I explained it to her the next time it happened she looked and that is what she had done, or nudged the shifter out of drive.

If it happens again try pulling BACK on shift lever to see if it helps any, you'll also know then if it has popped into the neutral position.

Wouldn't hurt to check all mounts as them loose could contribute to the issue. Most especially the two on the trans.

Last edited by amc49; 05-15-2019 at 12:29 AM.
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Old 05-15-2019, 12:33 AM   #3
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The 1601 code is BCM code and should only affect starting, the BCM is not concerned with the trans there any that I know of. Trans completely controlled by PCM only, that changes on later ones of course.
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Old 05-15-2019, 03:37 AM   #4
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As far as the code, I read up on it and I can only guess with it being for ignition, maybe it was just a computer hiccup, as it read it after my car had already started and was driving. (On my FIXD app)

As far as the transmission slip, I did read that it could be because of a leak (which it has) dropping the trans fluid level too low, leading to the solenoids not getting enough fluid to keep pressure to shift. Then also, could be the solenoid/solenoids themselves going out.

I checked the fluid level the same night it happened. It was at minimal, but I filled it back up to max. Then it did it again the next day, only I was doing 30 on a 2-lane. I’m just going to keep an eye on the fluid levels. If it keeps doing it through this week, I might just change out all of the solenoids this weekend.

Thanks for all the help guys!!!
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Old 05-15-2019, 01:30 PM   #5
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Unless you are on a long straight stretch of road so you cannot tell, the trans will tell you early it is low on fluid by slightly flaring up in rpm when you go around a corner due to fluid dropping out of the pickup point.

If you are running out of fluid at highway speed you are just about doing solid trans damage, the trans will not take more than a very few times of that, the clutches fry with a few seconds of no pressure. I've had a new trans torch them instantly at a hard accel into the freeway, the trans flared up hard due to a cooler line blowing out. That gear was permanently damaged when I put fluid back in.
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Last edited by amc49; 05-15-2019 at 01:33 PM.
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