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Letter from FORD

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Anyone else gotten this?

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Got the same letter. While it's nice that Ford has extended the warranty, it's not so nice that Ford is content to let us run around with high-failure-rate parts that can strand owners with no warning.

Now maybe the failure rate is minuscule and Ford is just being generous. But that would be unlike Ford, so the failure rate must be significant. Given the possibility for sudden failure and the potential for accidents, to me this should have been a recall. Another chapter in Ford's happy DCT story...and another example of Ford half stepping-up.
 

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Got the same letter. While it's nice that Ford has extended the warranty, it's not so nice that Ford is content to let us run around with high-failure-rate parts that can strand owners with no warning.
This statement is flat out irresponsible and places people in danger:

"There is no action necessary on your part unless you experience the symptoms described above."

The problem is that you may have driven your car for thousands of miles with zero problems and your first TCM malfunction may occur in a dangerous situation in traffic. My TCM malfunctioned on the 2012 DCT Focus I had and it left me with disengagement in the middle of an intersection where I could have been killed. I got rid of that car and bought a 5 speed.

A sudden loss of your ability to accelerate out of an intersection is just as critical a failure as a complete loss of braking.

If there is even a 1% chance of TCM failure, these should be recalled. And you can bet the data is showing a failure rate much greater than that or they would not be sending these letters. Ford's corporate bean counters are rolling the dice and trying to save money at the expense of customer safety. Ford should be treating this issue in the same manner as a potential catastrophic loss of brakes.
 

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It affects '13 model years too. Had my TCM replaced last week at 54k miles.
 

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Separate comment.

If you recall & replace ALL the existing functional TCM's, it's a sure bet that some of those will fail - and the existing one may not have failed.

The only 100% sure way to avoid a high probability of danger from a malfunction is to avoid a situation where a malfunction would be unusually hazardous.

Current brake systems typically fail to a partial performance mode, so making a habit of driving in a manner that requires full performance MAY someday result in an accident. The most common versions of this don't even require a brake failure, just something like less traction than anticipated or another vehicle that changes speed unexpectedly.

Loss of power can have many causes, the transmission is only one of them. Making a habit of requiring power to avoid a collision MAY result in an avoidable accident. Most common is pulling across or into traffic without leaving enough room for traffic to avoid your vehicle IF it doesn't respond as anticipated. Misjudgement in these situations WITH a fully operational vehicle is the largest cause of serious accidents, so the situation should be avoided in any case.


I don't want to discount the seriousness of an unusually large rate of failures, but since failures of this type WILL happen (no matter how high or low the rate) it makes sense NOT to make a habit of creating situations where the result could be tragic.

Even walking across traffic needs to be done with adequate clearance for safety, running across where a slip or trip would be tragic too often ends that way with NO machinery failures involved.

Sorry for the Rant, I've just seen many posts lately on ALL models mentioning avoidable hazards that mechanical failures can exacerbate. Cases where the machine didn't create the situation, it just failed to remove someone from a hazardous one.
 

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I think the former leadership of Alan Mulally and now Mark Fields in the area of customer relations has paid dividends, kudos to Ford for even addressing this, they could have chosen to not do anything! This is the kind of stuff Toyota does behind the scenes to give what they call "goodwill" to the customer (I know, I was a Toyota mechanic and a Ford mechanic,) and it goes a long way in making the customer happy and satisfied. As for all of the TCM's just blanketly being replaced, we really don't know what the failure rate is, it could be as low as .05% or as high as 10%, at this point, replacing all of the TCM's might actually result in more issues, we don't know.
 

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Sorry for the Rant, I've just seen many posts lately on ALL models mentioning avoidable hazards that mechanical failures can exacerbate. Cases where the machine didn't create the situation, it just failed to remove someone from a hazardous one.
I guess this is one of those situations that until it happens to you and places your family in danger that you really can't know just how dangerous this is.

As I said, Ford would not be sending out these letters unless there was a significant risk of failure. This is a CYA attempt by Ford but if someone ends up getting killed because their car's transmission disengages in front of an oncoming Kenworth, then Ford will have a Toyota situation on their hands.

I am personally tired of seeing posts that think Ford is being benevolent about these matters. They are a publicly traded company that must answer to shareholders and cut costs in any way they can.

Regarding your comment about allowing reasonable clearance for safety: I agree and am very cautious but explain to me how you can plan ahead when you pull out in an intersection and your transmission decides to spontaneously disengage. How is that an avoidable hazard?
 

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Separate comment.

If you recall & replace ALL the existing functional TCM's, it's a sure bet that some of those will fail - and the existing one may not have failed.

The only 100% sure way to avoid a high probability of danger from a malfunction is to avoid a situation where a malfunction would be unusually hazardous.

Current brake systems typically fail to a partial performance mode, so making a habit of driving in a manner that requires full performance MAY someday result in an accident. The most common versions of this don't even require a brake failure, just something like less traction than anticipated or another vehicle that changes speed unexpectedly.

Loss of power can have many causes, the transmission is only one of them. Making a habit of requiring power to avoid a collision MAY result in an avoidable accident. Most common is pulling across or into traffic without leaving enough room for traffic to avoid your vehicle IF it doesn't respond as anticipated. Misjudgement in these situations WITH a fully operational vehicle is the largest cause of serious accidents, so the situation should be avoided in any case.


I don't want to discount the seriousness of an unusually large rate of failures, but since failures of this type WILL happen (no matter how high or low the rate) it makes sense NOT to make a habit of creating situations where the result could be tragic.

Even walking across traffic needs to be done with adequate clearance for safety, running across where a slip or trip would be tragic too often ends that way with NO machinery failures involved.

Sorry for the Rant, I've just seen many posts lately on ALL models mentioning avoidable hazards that mechanical failures can exacerbate. Cases where the machine didn't create the situation, it just failed to remove someone from a hazardous one.
Putting aside the safety issue for the time being, how about owner convenience? Like many, we use our Focus for long-distance vacation travel. So now we know the risk of being stranded in Nowhere, Wyoming while on vacation is higher than we had suspected. And there's no way of predicting or preventing this failure. And Ford knows what the problem is. And it's a higher risk of failure than for a 2014/15 Focus. And typically, failure rates of modern, non-Focus TCMs is so close to zero it can barely be measured.

We're supposed to set off on trips with confidence? And happily buy another Ford so we can repeat the experience? Ford's handling of this may be legal, but it sure doesn't seem smart, especially in the context of this transmission and its history and reputation.
 

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I guess this is one of those situations that until it happens to you and places your family in danger that you really can't know just how dangerous this is.

As I said, Ford would not be sending out these letters unless there was a significant risk of failure. This is a CYA attempt by Ford but if someone ends up getting killed because their car's transmission disengages in front of an oncoming Kenworth, then Ford will have a Toyota situation on their hands.

I am personally tired of seeing posts that think Ford is being benevolent about these matters. They are a publicly traded company that must answer to shareholders and cut costs in any way they can.

Regarding your comment about allowing reasonable clearance for safety: I agree and am very cautious but explain to me how you can plan ahead when you pull out in an intersection and your transmission decides to spontaneously disengage. How is that an avoidable hazard?
You act as if every Focus' transmission is at risk of spontaneously disengaging, where are you getting this data from? Do you have a spreadsheet from Ford stating that this many ppl out of this many have had their transmission spontaneously disengage while driving? This is the issue, there is no "defect" being called out in the TCM, the warranty is simply being extended on it, if Ford came out and said "Hey, we found a defect with the TCM that requires it to be replaced" then I hope they would issue a recall and a notice saying "don't drive the car until fixed, here's a loaner." The vast majority of transmission issues on this site are related to clutches, seals, programming, or any combination of those 3 at once, TCM issues, while relevant, account for a small percentage of issues discussed on these forums.

With your logic, Honda should recall all torque converters on their Civics because they are at risk of failing at some indeterminate point in the future, Volkswagon should recall all Passats because their drive-by-wire throttle might stop responding at some point in the future. It just doesn't pass the logic test, no company can guarantee no issues with their product.
 

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You act as if every Focus' transmission is at risk of spontaneously disengaging, where are you getting this data from? Do you have a spreadsheet from Ford stating that this many ppl out of this many have had their transmission spontaneously disengage while driving? This is the issue, there is no "defect" being called out in the TCM, the warranty is simply being extended on it, if Ford came out and said "Hey, we found a defect with the TCM that requires it to be replaced" then I hope they would issue a recall and a notice saying "don't drive the car until fixed, here's a loaner." The vast majority of transmission issues on this site are related to clutches, seals, programming, or any combination of those 3 at once, TCM issues, while relevant, account for a small percentage of issues discussed on these forums.

With your logic, Honda should recall all torque converters on their Civics because they are at risk of failing at some indeterminate point in the future, Volkswagon should recall all Passats because their drive-by-wire throttle might stop responding at some point in the future. It just doesn't pass the logic test, no company can guarantee no issues with their product.
Ford is basically saying that the TCM doesn't meet its own reliability standards - otherwise no warranty extension would be needed. We have no way of knowing what the failure % is, but as others have said, it must be significant for Ford to even raise the issue. I agree if the failure rate is minuscule, Ford has done a nice thing. But if that's not the case, Ford is happily putting a good percentage of us in the position where we will have a breakdown at the time and place of the car's choosing.

I don't know what a TCM replacement costs Ford, but I would bet it's modest, certainly compared to a torque converter on a Civic. And keep in mind 2012 Focus DCT owners have been put through lots already with multiple trips for reprogramming, lots of clutch and seal replacements, trashed resale value, etc. Ford hanging this unresolved issue on top of everything else is just kind of insulting.
 

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Well, that last post got some discussion going!

A good thing IMHO, on the safety side it might help as a reminder of how small decisions can affect our chances of avoiding trouble.

For convenience & safety this letter/warranty extension gets the word out to both owners & Dealers that even if this is a much smaller issue (numerically) than the "drivability" problems, it's MORE important to be addressed when any symptoms present themselves. This will help reduce the reluctance on an Owner's part to take the car in for service (I only had a problem once or twice, can't afford the possible repair) It'll also reduce Dealer reluctance to repair (known possible issue, LONG warranty coverage).

Even though the numbers I've seen are small (maybe even the lowest of known possible issues), I've always considered this possibility one of the most serious failures that might occur. It's right up there with power steering or drive by wire throttle failure possibilities to give two examples of troubles that can be serious if they occur at a bad time.


Wavsine - the "rant" wasn't directed at you, rather at the tendency I've seen to list ANY failure in the same "OMG, I could have ..." category not matter how major or minor the issue. I've been that oncoming "Kenworth" driver (sometimes literally that brand) for well over a Million miles, and any time another vehicle puts me in a position where I couldn't avoid a collision should something not go as planned it's a scary situation. Lucky enough to manage to avoid all in front of me, I've had minor & one major hit to the sides. Fortunately none involving Injury. (loss of control hit to my "blindside" trailer tire by a car was the worst)

Left turns across traffic are the worst, whether you're doing it or someone else. "Tricks" I know are to a: don't turn the wheels until turning, in case you're hit from behind and b: leave room to accelerate enough to complete the crossing before turning the wheels to commit to the turn. Any time this isn't possible, much more space is needed because you are depending on someone else to stop should something go wrong. Something going wrong isn't necessarily mechanical, imagine a pedestrian changing their mind & suddenly walking in front of you blocking your way!

Cheers
 

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Ford is basically saying that the TCM doesn't meet its own reliability standards - otherwise no warranty extension would be needed.
- Or they are saying, hey we want to put customers minds at ease regarding our transmissions, here is a gesture of goodwill. You are assuming.

We have no way of knowing what the failure % is, but as others have said, it must be significant for Ford to even raise the issue. I agree if the failure rate is minuscule, Ford has done a nice thing. But if that's not the case, Ford is happily putting a good percentage of us in the position where we will have a breakdown at the time and place of the car's choosing.
- If Ford were ever to be caught "happily" putting it's owners in a dangerous situation I would be the first to jump on the anti-Ford bandwagon. I choose to believe that in this day and age they would be smarter than that, especially after what they just saw their cross-town rivals go through in the courts for ignition switch recalls (GM.)

-We also have no way of knowing the failure %, a few posts on a forum saying "I had my TCM replaced" does not mean that everyone's TCM is shoddy, consider for a moment that it may in fact mean a TCM failed for whatever reason. Again, I'm not going to assume that it's a poor quality or defective product based on a goodwill letter from Ford.

I don't know what a TCM replacement costs Ford, but I would bet it's modest, certainly compared to a torque converter on a Civic. And keep in mind 2012 Focus DCT owners have been put through lots already with multiple trips for reprogramming, lots of clutch and seal replacements, trashed resale value, etc. Ford hanging this unresolved issue on top of everything else is just kind of insulting.
- Listen, I'm right there with you on the resale values, it sucks that my '12 has a crap resale value, and I'm sure people going online and searching Ford Focus problems and finding this forum has a lot to do with that. Again, I am not going to assume Ford is choosing to hang an unresolved issue over our head, but rather trying to rebuild consumer confidence in their product.

Now do I blame Ford for their marketing and rollout of this new technology? YES! Did you know that Hyundai is rolling out the same type of trans and has had the same issues that we've experienced, however they decided to use the already quirky looking Veloster as their test bed, by limiting their real-world rollout to a smaller number of vehicles, they have kept their mainstream products safe from the fallout of having to tweak and re-tweak things. I think Ford should have done this transmission as an option vs. a standard auto....
 

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it sucks that my '12 has a crap resale value, and I'm sure people going online and searching Ford Focus problems and finding this forum has a lot to do with that.
You just relegated your comments to the theatre of the absurd.

The fact that people typed an issue they were having with their Focus into Google and found kindred spirits on the Focus Fanatics forum comes without surprise. I don't think any rational person could attribute a slide in their resale value to this forum.

Besides, there are some here who complain how much their trade in value has declined versus Monroney (MSRP) and conveniently forget about the $4,000 factory incentive and dealer discount they got at signing.

Wavsine,
Is it absurd to think that someone who had their heart set on a used Focus would in this day and age, choose to do some research on the Internet for problems, find this forum along with many negative posts about the Focus they were planning on buying, then tuck trail and run?
They do their research, read reviews, read forums... and then this happens:

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101566962
 

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Wavsine,

Car resale values are about supply and demand, just like any other commodity. Is it absurd to think that someone who had their heart set on a used Focus would in this day and age, choose to do some research on the Internet for problems, find this forum along with many negative posts about the Focus they were planning on buying, then tuck trail and run? Combine that with the fact that most Focus buyers are younger and more likely to do their research online before buying a car and hopefully you'll see my point.

Just search Google for "2012-2014 Ford Focus Problems" links from this forum are in the top 10 results compare that to a search for Honda Civic problems. The point is, even one negative comment on a forum can make many people think twice about purchasing something.
 

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I did have a situation where the tranny did not engage, and took a few minutes for it to act right again. This was on a long trip, and it has not happened since then. I definitely need to drop this off for repair.

If Ford is going to replace or repair my TCM, what does it look like, and where is it? I want to see the old one before I bring it in for inspection. This way, I can know for sure if it was replaced or just wiped off with a rag and I am told "Your TCM is acting just the way it was designed."

Bill
 
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