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Old 07-18-2019, 12:16 AM   #1
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03 ZTW Zetec with ATX Issues

This winter I purchased a 03 ZTW with a Zetec Engine and ATX. I had just wrecked my daily driver and needed something in a hurry. The wagon had low mileage (84k) and was rust free.

Seems I have worked on this thing since the day I got it. Motor Mounts, Plugs, Wires, Coil Pack, O2 Sensors, PCV, Vacuum Hose, Thermostat Housing.

Anyway It was finally seemed to be reliable, until this issue the other day. Summer has arrived with a vengeance, it was 94. I was 5 miles into a 45 mile return trip when the issues set in.

I stopped at a stop sign then started on a two lane road which is 55.When the ATX started to shift from 2nd to 3rd it was like it missed a gear. I let off and it grabbed. It did the same thing from 3rd to OD. I continued my drive and the behavior continued every time I lost speed for traffic or lights.

When I got out on the highway at the 15 mile mark of my trip. I began to notice that OD was fading on the grades. More pedal essentially made more RPMs.

Over the 25 to 35 mile mark of the trip I found that I had to drop out of OD and go back into OD to re-engage the gear.

Over the last 10 miles OD would not re-engage. It also seemed that 3rd was fading and slipping on grades.

I never got any lights or alarms during the entire episode.

This ATX only has 87k on it. It had a single owner who was senior since it left the dealership. Maintenance records indicate someone took care of it. The transmission fluid has been drained at least twice and the filter has been changed. Someone installed a drain plug on the pan. The ATX seemed to be the reliable part till this episode.

Tonight I came home, Checked my levels after warming it up. I enabled the test mode on my cluster to see RPMs and drove it around the neighborhood. The 2-3 behavior where rpms spike in the change is still there. It was able to get 3 into OD unlike the end of the previous trip. I will do some testing with the manual positions and see if it gives any additional clues.

I did notice a noise like chattering/popping solenoid sound every time I transitioned from Park to Reverse. The noise is significant enough to overcome the racket of the vibration of my urethane mounts. It has a little delay before grabbing but seems to work. No clanking or jerking. Still no light or codes to guide me.

This ATX has been smooth and has not shown any sloppiness until this incident. I haven't been hammering on it, so I am at a loss at the sudden degradation of performance.

Any suggestions?
Mechanical Failure on Horizon?
Solenoid on the verge of failure?

I got an 07 Focus with an ATX.
I assume it uses the same solenoids, purchasing some for testing not a wasted purchase.

TIA for any assistance.

This is my first post, so Apologies In Advance if its in the wrong section



Last edited by regularguyme; 07-18-2019 at 12:23 AM.
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Old 07-21-2019, 12:57 PM   #2
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Did some additional testing the other night.

Drove car around in D1 and D2, No slippage detected.

Turned OD off and saw no slippage on 3rd.

Seeing RPM spikes in shifts from 1-2, 2-3, & 3-OD

The longer I ran the car, the worse the shift transitions became.

Hearing an initial distinct extended buzz when I shift into Reverse, D1, or D2.
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Old 07-21-2019, 02:16 PM   #3
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Could be solenoids or could be mechanical, the band controls 2 and 4 and you obviously have some troubles there and poor third gear in the middle gets messed up somewhat too since it depends on the other two happening correctly to be correct itself. The bands sometimes crack at the support to partly apply, if totally broken you would not have 2 or 4 at all. The servo piston that works same band can crack the piston pin loose from the piston itself to do literally the same behavior as the cracked band does. Racket playing with reverse can be the cracked band rubbing to make noise. Buzz could be the same or solenoid buzzing from the pressure drop because band not offering resistance because cracked. Trans does not have to fully remove to take care of any fix there but most shops will want to sell a new trans there.
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