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Old 08-01-2019, 03:57 AM   #1
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Focus MK1 engine breaking in 1st gear: Software bug?

I have a (manual 1.6) 2004 Focus Futura, which I'm pretty sure is a mk1. I've owned the car for almost 4 years now.

I discovered a problem: engine braking doesn't work properly in 1st gear. I drove off from stand stil in 1st gear, instantly down a 17% slope with many sharp turns. The engine revs up without using the throttle, but consumes 12 l/100 km fuel! I apply the brakes for the turns, but the engine keeps getting fuel.
That means I was down hilling as if I have my foot on the throttle, while also applying the brakes, and the car refuses to stop using fuel!

In 5th or 4th gear at high speed, engine breaking is instant when I take my foot off the throttle. It gets 0 l/100 km instantly.
In 3th gear, it takes a bit longer. In 2th gear, it takes even longer. But engine braking starts after a few seconds.

Later on, on a steep slope with much less turns, I discovered engine braking works instantly when I gear down from a higher to a lower gear. And: when I gear down from 2nd gear (while engine braking is activated already, so 0 l/100 km fuel consumption), it works in 1st gear too!
This means, that to activate engine braking in a low gear on a steep slope, I had to speed up in 2nd gear by pressing the accelerator up to 60 km/h, then take my foot off, wait a few seconds for the fuel consumption to go to 0, then push it hard into 1st gear. All this had to happen before the next hair pin, and once it worked, it keeps running without using fuel. Until the speed gets to low, because the moment the engine requires fuel again, I had to start this over speeding up in a higher gear again. When there wasn't enough space to reach a high enough speed in 2nd gear, I had no choice but to apply the brakes continuously to reduce speed.

I can reproduce this problem as described above, and I can't think of a single reason why Ford would have implemented it like this. I tried to find anything on this problem online, but couldn't find any other reference.
I don't have another MK1 Futura to see if I can reproduce the problem there, but to me it looks like a software bug in the car.
I'd like to know if there's any way to fix this, other than buying another car.



Last edited by DutchFocus3; 08-01-2019 at 08:09 AM.
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Old 08-05-2019, 10:58 AM   #2
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Has nobody experienced this before?
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Old 08-25-2019, 09:26 AM   #3
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I'm still hoping to find an answer :)
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Old 08-25-2019, 11:38 AM   #4
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Dont know if I would say it is a bug it was designed to do this.

You have to be above both a certain MPH and RPM. the car does not really "know" what gear your in. it knows through RPM and MPH because there is only 1 gear out of the 5 (or 6) that allows for that combination.

We dont have the l/km gauges (or MPG) in the Mk1's in the US. so not sure what you are looking at. I have a Air Fuel Ratio gauge in my car that I can tell when fuel is cut. It does not work in first gear either and expect that its designed that way.

These are small compact cars with no towing, so a hill descend "feature" is not really needed. first gear is designed for getting the car moving, your only going 5-10 MPH by the time you get to 3k rpm (IIRC). The cut off I noticed on my car was around 25 MPH and 3k RPM. if you were below that the engine keeps supplying fuel.

So this is normal. Its not a problem and why would you look at selling the car? Its a small compact car so what if your on the brakes a bit. put the brakes on, then roll a bit, apply the brakes, roll. Are you smelling your brakes? its a 2,400 lb compact car not a 6,000 truck/suv or a 30,000 lb semi truck.

The car was not designed to have heavy engine braking at low speeds and low RPMS.

Edit: Also because your car display says its giving fuel does not mean its the same fuel as giving it throttle. the throttle body is closed, meaning the air it is getting is through the IACV which means the small amount of fuel that is being used is the same amount that it would use for idle and keeping the car engine just running. its going to maintain the 14.7:1 ratio as well as it can.
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Last edited by Magus2727; 08-25-2019 at 11:40 AM.
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