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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I did a search and didn't find a thread that mentions better ground contact, but if I missed it, I apologize.

I try not to rely on one forum for everything and was poking around the Ford Focus subreddit and came across these threads:

DCT shudder mitigation.
2015 SE shudder disappeared temporarily

The idea seems to be that the grounding design is flawed, providing insufficient contact due to the ground point being painted and so contact is only using the bolt. This could cause signal problems for the TCM, producing the shudder when it has no idea what to do, and potentially damaging it over time (and part of the reason the TCM is being replaced so often). Side note: this grounding issue seems to be the cause to some intermittent A/C issues folks have experienced.

The solution is to sand off the paint at the contact point and use some dielectric grease for good measure. The video below provides a demonstration (I've skipped ahead to the demo). In the comments, someone mentioned not sanding off the paint to reduce corrosion, but to add a serrated lock washer to the grease, thereby increasing contact with minimal damage.

Thoughts? There isn't a whole lot of feedback, but of what feedback there is, it's positive. I will say here what I said on reddit: I'm skeptical for the same reason I'm skeptical of Tom's tune. If it's really this easy, I have a hard time reconciling the fact that Ford engineers have completely missed it.

But hey, this "fix" is dirt cheap and shouldn't hurt anything.


EDIT: fun fact, the YouTube video was done by FordTechMakuloco, who is makuloco2000 on here and the OP of the 2012+ Transmission Shudder Issue Explained thread. The video above was made before he created the thread and as far as I can tell, he never references the video in that thread. Not sure why, but he hasn't been active since April of 2015.
 

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Interesting. Would definitely cause some issues, but I’m doubtful it’s the core issue. The shrudder is way to consistent to be a sporadic grounding issue.

With that being said, I’ll perform the mod and report back.


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Interesting. Would definitely cause some issues, but I’m doubtful it’s the core issue. The shrudder is way to consistent to be a sporadic grounding issue.

With that being said, I’ll perform the mod and report back.


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I'm looking forward to this update, as I would potentially be interested in what comes of this!:)
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Interesting. Would definitely cause some issues, but I’m doubtful it’s the core issue. The shrudder is way to consistent to be a sporadic grounding issue.
Agreed...but there is a fair amount of feedback (mostly from Fiesta owners, but certainly some Focus owners, too) indicating that it "fixed" their shudder. Perhaps the poor grounding just compounded the overarching issue (poor design in general), but if it extends the life the DCT at all, it's worth doing.

With that being said, I’ll perform the mod and report back.
I'm looking forward to this update, as I would potentially be interested in what comes of this!:)
I'll be performing the mod on mine tomorrow, but since Ford just replaced my clutch about 1400 miles ago at 48k and the shudder isn't present (yet), there's no way to know if it did anything. I was also planning on using FORscan to enable Sport mode and start using that as it should minimize shifts, so that would skew the results, anyway.

That said, my sister-in-law has an early 2014 that is extremely bad and I'm going to do this on hers sometime soon. Might be a couple of weeks, but I'll report back on it, as well.
 

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I'll give it a try what the heck. I may have missed it, but is there a link to a pic that shows where the ground frame bolt is. I'll report back if it improves things, basically I think this has to go down as one of the worst auto designs of the century so far. It should never have been brought to market but I assume Ford were contractually committed to taking this crap? It's done enough to put me off American cars now and for the remainder of my driving life.
Chevy Camaro 1976 - One Owner - Wonderful vehicle, many years left I hope, still running.
Buick Rainier 2005 - POS, currently dead in the garage awaiting replacement ECM after it died and car came to a stop, only has 67K miles on it. Will be sold as soon as I have it up and running.
Ford Focus 2015 - Did someone mention ...DCT? This vehicle will also be gone within 12 months max. Replacement will only be Japanese and built in Japan, and I'm someone who has always liked Yankee Iron going back as far as the 50's. The quality is just not there at the moment, hopefully it will change.
 

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I had this fix done shortly after the TSB came out. I think it helped temporarily just due to the fact that it's unhooking the battery and the TCM has to re-learn the shift strategy. My shudder eventually came back. It's probably still a worthwhile fix if the grounding actually is poor.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I had this fix done shortly after the TSB came out. I think it helped temporarily just due to the fact that it's unhooking the battery and the TCM has to re-learn the shift strategy. My shudder eventually came back. It's probably still a worthwhile fix if the grounding actually is poor.
When you did it, was the original clutch pack and TCM? Do you still have your Focus and if so, which revision of clutch/seals are you on, and how recently was your TCM replaced?

What you're saying about having the TCM re-learn - and therefore reduces shudder - makes sense, and certainly rings true given my doubt that this could possibly be the fix...but if the theory is correct and if your TCM was already damaged and if the latest clutch pack assembly and seals revision actually fixed an issue, maybe this could work for folks?

That's a lot of ifs and it's not just wishful thinking on my part or anything, I'm just trying to work through the variables.
 

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I had this fix done shortly after the TSB came out. I think it helped temporarily just due to the fact that it's unhooking the battery and the TCM has to re-learn the shift strategy. My shudder eventually came back. It's probably still a worthwhile fix if the grounding actually is poor.
Exactly !

Tom
 

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Exactly !



Tom


About half way through unbolting the ground, it occurred to me that we were simply clearing out the adaptive memory by doing this lol.

Did it anyway.

The bolt is a fine thread, and it’s meant for maximum contact by being so. It has some. Type of coating on it as well.

Prob will make a bit of a difference until adaptive rears it’s ugly head again.


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Discussion Starter #11
Exactly !

Tom
So to be clear, you're saying this will have no positive effect whatsoever after adaptive learning kicks back in?

Personally, I'm not claiming this fixes anything. I have, however, noticed multiple users (reddit comments in the Focus and Fiesta subs, YouTube comments) claim their shudder has not come back after more than a month. I realize that the time required for adaptive learning to complete is dependent on the mileage, but I can't believe they're all folks who drive only a couple of hundred miles in a month. Maybe, though.

I would also like to point out that it's a Ford tech that posted the video, so it's not just some joe schmoe with a socket wrench and a wild idea.

In any case, I (and the community as a whole, I'm sure) would appreciate it if anyone who does this will report back after a month or so, or after 1000 miles (IIRC, that's enough time for the process to have completed). The more data we have, the more we can be confident that it does or does not do anything.

PS - Tom, while I (possibly) have your attention, irrespective of your tune, do you believe utilizing Sport mode in city traffic helps to minimize issues with DCT by increasing shift points and thereby decreasing shifts overall?
 

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Adaptive will have its learning done after a few driving cycles. It doesn’t take as long as a lot of people think.

Will hopefully be able to drive it some next week (my teenage daughters car) and see if it made any difference.

Saw no signs of bad connectivity, no heat, no arcing, etc.

I’m not expected any change other than the trans relearning shift points for however long.

Firmly believe it’s in the tune, and if I still have it after warranty is gone I’ll get toms tune for sure.

Whoever said “make it feel like an automatic trans” needs to be kicked squarely in the privates.


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... I will say here what I said on reddit: I'm skeptical for the same reason I'm skeptical of Tom's tune. If it's really this easy, I have a hard time reconciling the fact that Ford engineers have completely missed it.

...
Concerning the 'Tune' side of your argument, Ford's engineers most likely did NOT miss it. The problem is with the Managers at Ford who wanted the DTC to shift and feel *exactly* like an normal hydraulic automatic. The only way to do that was to have the clutch slip and be feathered waaay more than a manual transmission should be. I'm sure the engineers knew the clutch glazing and shudder issues this would cause... But depending on the culture at Ford they may not have raised those concerns too strongly or if they did they were completely ignored.

I do not have Tom's tune, so Im no expert, but from what Ive read about it the reason it works is that it makes it shift more like a manual transmission. This does result in jerkier shifts, but honestly I like that and think most Ford drivers would as well.

It would be interesting to get Ford's opinion on Tom's tune, or any other 'sporty' shift tune that may be out there. It seems like it would be incredibly easy to add a tune to a software update and have it available as a Sporty mode that you could toggle between in a setting somewhere.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Concerning the 'Tune' side of your argument, Ford's engineers most likely did NOT miss it. The problem is with the Managers at Ford who wanted the DTC to shift and feel *exactly* like an normal hydraulic automatic. The only way to do that was to have the clutch slip and be feathered waaay more than a manual transmission should be. I'm sure the engineers knew the clutch glazing and shudder issues this would cause... But depending on the culture at Ford they may not have raised those concerns too strongly or if they did they were completely ignored.
I don't agree. I don't see them spending hundreds of thousands (probably over a million dollars at this point) in hardware and shop time to keep replacing clutch packs. And why is the TCM being replaced? Are you saying it's being worn out by too much feathering? This is a lot of money for Ford the lose just so that the ride is a little smoother. People might complain about the "rough" shifting (and only rough compared to a slushbox), but I assume they complain more about taking their cars in for new clutch packs every 15k miles.

When it comes down to it, neither of us can know and we're just swapping opinions.

I do not have Tom's tune, so Im no expert, but from what Ive read about it the reason it works is that it makes it shift more like a manual transmission. This does result in jerkier shifts, but honestly I like that and think most Ford drivers would as well.
Doesn't the Sport mode also shift more like a real manual? Or does it just increase the RPMs at which the shifts take place?

It would be interesting to get Ford's opinion on Tom's tune, or any other 'sporty' shift tune that may be out there. It seems like it would be incredibly easy to add a tune to a software update and have it available as a Sporty mode that you could toggle between in a setting somewhere.
Well, the guy who posted the YouTube video is (or was) a Ford tech. That's about as close to an opinion from Ford that we'll ever get.

What you just said only reinforces my view (at least, so it seems to me): if it's just tuning, you'd think it would be a nut Ford engineers could crack. Maybe Tom is a Einstein-level genius when it comes to the DCT, I don't know. Still, he claims a Ford dealership would buy his tune for each DCT Focus they sold used; seems to me word of his miracle fix should have made it back to Ford by now.

I know Tom takes offense at the very idea that I question his tune; I don't mean any disrespect or insult, I just have a healthy amount of skepticism for something that is only supported by advertisements and (by and large) the opinions of users with low post counts. No guarantee or warranty also makes me skeptical. Truly, I don't mean to imply that Tom is dishonest in any way, even though he has taken it that way several times.
 

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What you just said only reinforces my view (at least, so it seems to me): if it's just tuning, you'd think it would be a nut Ford engineers could crack. Maybe Tom is a Einstein-level genius when it comes to the DCT, I don't know. Still, he claims a Ford dealership would buy his tune for each DCT Focus they sold used; seems to me word of his miracle fix should have made it back to Ford by now.
Exactly Any aftermarket tune automatically voids any and all factory warranty unless they're "licensed" like Dinan for BMW.

I know Tom takes offense at the very idea that I question his tune; I don't mean any disrespect or insult, I just have a healthy amount of skepticism for something that is only supported by advertisements and (by and large) the opinions of users with low post counts. No guarantee or warranty also makes me skeptical. Truly, I don't mean to imply that Tom is dishonest in any way, even though he has taken it that way several times.
No need to be sorry. Questioning something that affects somebody's vehicle in a large way isn't a bad thing at all. A lot of tuners (not pointing fingers, just generally speaking) tend to break out into a "god complex" where they don't feel like they should be questioned. It happened in the Evo world in 2014 and caused a huge split in the community. Almost happened again this summer.
 

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Folks,
Where is this frame bolt located? I'm assuming it is not the negative battery frame post. That looks nice and clean. I might monkey around with it if I have time. I remember there was something like this supposedly would cure an ABS false error on the Chevy Trailblazer family of SUV's. ......it didn't fix anything for me. [:)]
She goes in for the 250 rpm test soon, I need to do it before the 60K point. Very frustrating....fantastic looking car...what were they thinking.
 

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Folks,

Where is this frame bolt located? I'm assuming it is not the negative battery frame post. That looks nice and clean. I might monkey around with it if I have time. I remember there was something like this supposedly would cure an ABS false error on the Chevy Trailblazer family of SUV's. ......it didn't fix anything for me. [:)]

She goes in for the 250 rpm test soon, I need to do it before the 60K point. Very frustrating....fantastic looking car...what were they thinking.


It is the negative battery frame post.


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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Folks,
Where is this frame bolt located? I'm assuming it is not the negative battery frame post. That looks nice and clean.
If this is the issue (or just one more thing that compounds the overarching issue), corrosion isn't the problem, so it doesn't matter if it looks clean.

If the Ford tech is right, it's that there's insufficient contact surface, which (might) be problematic at times of high draw.

IIRC, this was a documented issue with the 2011 Fiesta (which obviously came out a year before the first MK3 Focus, and still had a DCT) and Ford replaced the bolts with longer ones. I believe this is part of why the Ford tech advocates for improved grounding contact even with the revised bolts.

To be clear, I'm not saying this is true. Others have claimed reduced or eliminated shudder after sanding off the paint and the argument for doing seems logical to to me, in a general sense. For 10 minutes of your time a couple of bucks for dielectric grease (if you don't already have some), it can't hurt to try.
 

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I recently purchased my brothers Focus for my wife and we're having the same issue. Clean up the ground contact today and it drives much better. I'll report back in awhile to see if it changes.
 
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