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Discussion Starter #1
Got just under 83k on her now, but after doing all of that head work, I wanna make sure this auto transmission isn't far behind.

I really don't wanna dump too much into this car, regardless of how cheap I got her.

So should I be looking at a transmission fluid change and filter soon, with a new pan gasket? I could probably do that myself...I'm just worried that the mileage is already too high, and the transmission starts shifting harder, (or even worse, slipping) after I change it, and out of random, blows up on itself.

It shifts fantastic now, smooth as smooth. Fluid is still very clean (pinkish-red) and topped off. Not burnt, nor does it smell that way.

I guess I'm just thinking ahead of time?
 

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w/ my magic bag
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Just do a filter/ fluid change. Don't use cheap fluid.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Just do a filter/ fluid change. Don't use cheap fluid.
Just a pan gasket and filter replacement?

Looks like the OEM Merc V is the best fluid for replacement? This just cleans out roughly 3 quarts of fluid right, not the torque converter?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
What's the amount of torque that supposed to be applied to the bolts on the pan gasket, when tightening it back up?

No response yet on the first questions either. Any help?
 

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No one has caused themselves trouble doing a pan drop/filter change type service.

Back flush or pumping it out while adding to flush, either can go wrong potentially.

Pan bolts are too bloody small to be using a torque wrench on, you'd need inch pound & it varies if you're using a gasket - don't want to squish that out.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hopefully I can trust you guys on that then. [thumb]

I talked to the wife about it, and she's down for helping me with it this weekend. Shouldn't take more than 2 hours for us in the driveway, and we will have to be careful not to lose the bolts, since the leaves around here are falling like a SOB right now.

What size mm wrench for the bolts, how many bolts total, and how many quarts of fluid needed for replacing? Or best to just go with a gallon of tranny fluid for the job?
 

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w/ my magic bag
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Hopefully I can trust you guys on that then. [thumb]

I talked to the wife about it, and she's down for helping me with it this weekend. Shouldn't take more than 2 hours for us in the driveway, and we will have to be careful not to lose the bolts, since the leaves around here are falling like a SOB right now.

What size mm wrench for the bolts, how many bolts total, and how many quarts of fluid needed for replacing? Or best to just go with a gallon of tranny fluid for the job?
W/o looking could be a 10mil, I'd get qtrs not a gallon jug. Get a tranny funnel also. Before starting, rack & sweep the leafs up & the a big piece of cardboard & then drive the car up put it up on jackstands & with a big pan, start undueing all the bolts & then remove all but 1 in the rear & 2-3 up front & then let the pan tilt towards the rear & of course you'll have a rag or two, cafefully remove the rear bolt & let the fluild flow till it slows & the undue the 2 front ones & then you should have the pan in your hands, Remove the filter, possibly 8mil bolts & remove the filter & let drain & then put back everthing the same way. Hope hat helps you some.
 

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83k isn't bad. I'm dropping the pan and replacing the fluid and filter on my sister's 05 ZX4 with 90k miles. Fluid is still red from what I can see so no problems should arise because of the change. Also, you should be fine with other brands of transmission fluid in my opinion especially if you plan on keeping up with the fluid and filter as per Ford's recommendation (every 30k). All the other brands of Mercon V have to go through Ford's certification process anyway. I just picked up 7 quarts of Castrol Mercon V for only $35 at Advance today.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
83k isn't bad. I'm dropping the pan and replacing the fluid and filter on my sister's 05 ZX4 with 90k miles. Fluid is still red from what I can see so no problems should arise because of the change.

I just picked up 7 quarts of Castrol Mercon V for only $35 at Advance today.
Good to know I'm not the only one getting an average life, used car with mileage like that, willing to JUST now take care of it. Since the last owner didn't know what transmission fluid was.

7 quarts for $35 isn't bad, especially for Castrol. I would be careful what to put in my transmission of course, since the stuff is corrosive. It's a detergent and I'm always careful with stuff like this. Down to factory spec, take my time, exact amount of fluid, completely shiny, clean pan and making sure the pan gasket is lined up just right when I bolt it in. All that jazz.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Now back to the original question. Who here has had an auto transmission, in either a Zetec Focus, or SPI (since they are apparently the same from what I've read up on them) that blew up on them?

What was the mileage you remember on the odometer, when the transmission went out, regardless of age, driving type, or maintenance and care?

To me, 150,000 miles out of an automatic, domestic transmission would be fair to reach in my mind, especially when taken care of.

Now, on the other hand, if the car was beaten to death and the fluid and filter weren't changed on Ford's (or any other domestic brand's) recommended schedule, then I wouldn't expect that said tranny to go quite as far.

I've driven Chevy's, Pontiac's, Dodge, Chrylser's, and many other domestics in the past, that had well over 200k on them. If the transmission had been replaced before, I wouldn't have known, since I picked most of those vehicles up at auction lots.

That's still not bad though, even if they had been changed once before. By the time I have to change more than one transmission on a car before 200,000 miles, I'm dumping it, lol. You should never need to replace a transmission more than once before that point IMO.
 

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That's still not bad though, even if they had been changed once before. By the time I have to change more than one transmission on a car before 200,000 miles, I'm dumping it, lol. You should never need to replace a transmission more than once before that point IMO.
Depends on the vehicle & how it was taken care of. I've replaced transmissions on a couple of vehicles before 100.000. Off the focus subject, On a 73 Powerstroke, around a 100,000 your replacing the trans. The 60's w/ 5 spds go way further the the 4spds in the 73's.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Eh, but when comparing to import's, that really sucks when you think about it. [:(]

I mean, many cars can get over 250,000 on original transmissions, if well taken care of, or even beat on, in some cases for import's, and smaller domestics.

...and to think, I gave up my Saturn for this Focus, when it still ran like a top at 178,000, with no transmission issues besides the clutch being a little worn and having to put some pieces back together on the shifter bushing mechanism.

What's truly reliable nowadays, and what's the standard for that reliability? Where does it sit? As in, were these Foci built from the factory, by Ford, being weak in mind, when it comes to the auto's? The manuals tend to go farther, right?
 

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How to judge,

Most we hear of are getting their first fluid change at 90,000 or 130,000 when the recommended service was every 30,000 - and it's often being done because of a failure to work normally.

How far before a clutch replacement on a manual? That's hardly a trivial expense. Except for that & linkage problems, yes manuals tend to last a long time. See a FEW 200-300,000 mile SVT's, they usually have a replacement manual somewhere in that time.

Automatics do often get replaced earlier than manuals, wonder how many would have gone indefinitely with maint. & a rebuild when the wear items needed it instead of being driven until thoroughly broken.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
How to judge,

Most we hear of are getting their first fluid change at 90,000 or 130,000 when the recommended service was every 30,000.

How far before a clutch replacement on a manual? That's hardly a trivial expense.

Automatics do often get replaced earlier than manuals.
So after looking into your thoughts here, your insight is one I would expect to count on, since it looks like you've been in this community a long time, and have been doing this kind of work, for that much longer.

How great (or total junk) are the auto transmissions themselves in the SPI and/or Zetec Foci? I've read many reviews online of them getting a bad rep, but that of course, could be because of the maintenance factor, lack of it thereof.

I guess going back to the OP and trying to sit a question next to the case and point here. It's hard to do when more questions continue to pop up, lol.

If I take care of it and follow maintenance closely, should I still expect it to fail on me soon? Or does it have a lot of life left? Any preemptive signs of failure I should look out for? Average lifespan of these auto tranny's (in terms of mileage). How many miles would be considered "broken in" for the ATX?

Lots I've asked here, and just I guess I really just expect you to answer what you can. If you don't know every answer, or miss one, don't sweat it. You've been more than helpful. [cheers]

All of you guys/gals. [loveff]
 

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Just judging from posts here, they definitely don't seem like junk, "autotragic" is just because of a preference for a manual by many enthusiasts.

Given one like yours that shows no evidence of abuse, I can't see worrying about it other than doing reg. maint.

No good statistics on lifespan, 200,000 when not abused is reasonable to expect. Cross fingers like anything else, there are always exceptions that can't be predicted.

Good thing is that the most common issue (solenoid) can be repaired almost as easily as changing fluid by dropping the pan, so that isn't a tragic problem.

They're basically quite sound, judged by those that run a turbo with just a tune to help out. High boost/nitrous etc. requires more modification, but it does for the manuals as well. Manuals need a limited slip to keep from blowing the weak spider gears out at the drags, and a better clutch as well. Neither type is a real worry in normal use.

As for warning signs, if it started slipping when shifting or slamming shifts (without a simple repairable cause) I'd bet a rebuild would save it. Driven 'till it grenades - same as a knocking engine driven 'till a rod comes out through the block.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
No plans to run a turbo, or nitrous, so no problems there, lmao.

Cool, everything sounds good, and I'm glad that these transmissions can take the hot and cold. Whether beat on or not, I do plan to always maintain this car and keep up with it, regardless of my lack of paycheck. [bootyshake]

All in all, it sounds good, and I think my questions have been MORE than answered.

This past week, I just ended up having my mechanic do the transmission filter and fluid, since he only charged me $50 anyhow. Another great deal, as usual. While he was in there, we decided hell with it, and just threw in another Anchor mount (since the first one snapped) I ordered. Hoping this one lasts the wife and I at least through the winter. We shall see.

I'll let you guys know!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Update:

Since my last post, just over 3 days ago, I've put nearly another 500 miles on it. It's shifting great, and taking the light side of foot, and the heavy. [:)~]

However, the aftermarket mount isn't holding up all too well. While it's not awful, the vibrations have become a little worse than the day we put it in. Not a big deal, since I'm used to small cars with this issue. Looks like the guys around here knew what they were talking about.

As long as it doesn't get as bad as the OEM one was, I think I'll be able to tolerate it, lol.
 

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Mine's at the 'vibrates when cold" state now, it's going to stay in use until it gets to the "vibrates all the time & it's annoying" level (original).

Depending on your luck & tolerance for vibes, aftermarket can be acceptable for the PSM. After hearing enough comments on unhappy with vibes from anything BUT a Ford PSM it's simple to hand that advice out whenever the question comes up.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Mine's at the 'vibrates when cold" state now, it's going to stay in use until it gets to the "vibrates all the time & it's annoying" level (original).

After hearing enough comments on unhappy with vibes from anything BUT a Ford PSM it's simple to hand that advice out whenever the question comes up.
Yah, but the Motorcraft mount is fairly expensive. That's the only problem with the mount there.
 

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Yup

That's why I haven't bothered to replace yet, an aftermarket could be WORSE than my old original.
 
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