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Discussion Starter #1
My car is a 2005 zx3 with manual gears. Lately the reverse lights stopped working. I noticed one night I was coming home from work and as I backed into my parking space I couldn't see what I was backing into. Would also like to note my shifter is a bit finicky on some days. When cold I have a difficult time selecting 1st and reverse, as if the car almost doesn't want to, but there is no grinding. Also want to mention when my car is in reverse when I push the shift knob down further back from its resting position the reverse lights turn on but when I take pressure off they turn back off. There are no YouTube videos explaining why my car is doing this. I can confirm that my reverse lights do work, but for some reason the sensor doesn't register when my car is in reverse gear.
Any advice is appreciated.
 

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Your '05 is a Duratec 2.0 with the 5-speed MTX-75 transmission. I had this same issue when I got my '09, which is mechanically identical to yours. I thought the switch ('sensor') was in the shifter inside the car, but it's actually located on top of the transmission itself, just underneath the battery tray. You'll have to buy the new switch at a parts store (Mine was like $9 at AutoZone, IIRC), and you can install it yourself. This was the first thing I ever did under my car's hood!

One other thing, to replace the switch you will be removing your upper transmission mount. This is a golden opportunity to replace it, since you're already taking it out. If you choose to do so, MAKE SURE to get a genuine OEM one from Ford. Yes, the autozone/rockauto ones are cheap, but for a reason...only genuine Ford mounts last. You don't have to replace this, of course, but I'd recommend it since it is probably worn by this point. 2 birds with 1 stone lol.

Anyway...

Here's a quick how-to if you have tools (it's fairly easy). Obviously I am not liable for damage if something goes wrong though. !!!Make sure you have a torque wrench handy before you take stuff apart!!!
  • Park car on flat surface, kill motor, set brake, pop hood. Let it cool a bit if needed so you can touch the trans.
  • Remove the battery (negative terminal first, then +). Needs 10mm deep socket
  • Remove the battery tray (Three 13mm nuts, most likely rusted to hell but still functional). Needs 13mm deep socket with 1 or 2 3/8"socket extensions.
  • After the tray is out you'll be looking at the upper transmission mount, a 5x7" metal/rubber plate with four 14mm nuts on the outside and a big 21mm (IIRC) bolt in the middle.
  • Remove the four outer nuts but leave the middle one. Spray the middle one with WD-40, it's gonna be a bitch.
  • Place a small floor or bottle jack under the transmission, with a small block of wood between the jack and trans, and jack it up ever so slightly, so that it lifts the weight of the engine/trans off the mount.
  • Now loosen the big middle nut. You might need to use a cheater bar on your socket wrench. When it breaks loose it will make a loud CRACK noise, it's fine. Remove the nut.
  • Make sure the trans is jacked up high enough, and then remove the trans mount plate.
  • Look through the hole at the top of the trans. Between the trans mount bracket (with the bolt sticking up through the hole) and the front of the car, the old switch should be screwed into the top of the trans with a wire clip running to it.
  • Unclip the wire plug and move aside
  • Using a crescent wrench or whatever fits down there (don't remember what size wrench, sorry! I think 14 or 15mm), break the old switch loose, and then remove the rest of the way by hand.
  • Now screw in the new switch, just wrist/wrench tight, don't wail on it. Easy to strip cast aluminum.
  • Plug wire back in
  • Now reverse order for the rest. If you opted to replace your trans mount, put the new one in now. The torque specs for the trans mount are as follows;
    • Large middle nut: 98ft-lb
    • 4 outer nuts: 35ft-lb
  • Rest of the battery/battery tray nuts are just wrist/wrench tight. Just use common sense, it's easy to over tighten stuff like that. Just want to make sure it is good enough stuff won't move around.
  • Reconnect positive battery terminal first and tighten, then negative and same thing. When you touch negative and make the connection it will probably spark and the headlights will flash, this is normal. You'll have to reset your clock and radio settings, but you won't lose radio presets or have the radio deactivate like in some foreign models.
  • And you're done! When you start the engine it may take longer to turn over, also normal, just the ECU re-learn process.
Hopefully this helps, but if you don't feel comfortable doing it no problem, just take to a mechanic. This may be expensive in a shop though and is easy for beginners with basic tools, so I encourage you to go for it though.

Cheers

B
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Wow I can't thank you enough for the lengthy, informative response in regards to this issue I'm having. I assume is a common problem with this particular year range. Is there a remedy to correcting a wonky shifter? I can't tell if it's related to worn synchromesh in this case but as I described before it feels very tight. Some days I have to wrestle to put it in gear.
Also this seems like a very labor intensive project. I'll likely have to devote my next day off to fix it. But I greatly appreciate your diagnosis.
Many thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Also wanted to mention my odometer is currently sitting at 71K mi. Is that considered the median lifespan on engine/trans. mounts? From an owners perspective they still seem healthy.
 

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Also wanted to mention my odometer is currently sitting at 71K mi. Is that considered the median lifespan on engine/trans. mounts? From an owners perspective they still seem healthy.
Like everything on your car the life of any given part is both a fuction of time (years) and distance (milage). You may 'only' have 71K miles but the car is 15+ years old. The load on the engine/trans mounts is both static (time) and dynamic (distance). If your car is not vibrating with the engine running and the rubber on the mounts is not cracked would leave the mounts alone.

Paul
 

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Also wanted to mention my odometer is currently sitting at 71K mi. Is that considered the median lifespan on engine/trans. mounts? From an owners perspective they still seem healthy.
Yeah so that’s just kind of a characteristic of these shifters. I think you can adjust them, mine has gotten funky lately as well so I’ll look into it soon. It’s a lot better when the car is warm though. Maybe flush the trans with the recommended Motorcraft fluid.

As for longevity, I have 148,600 on my ‘09 and it still runs like a top. Just keep up on the maintenance and don’t let something that’s broken go unattended for too long and you’re good. I change my oil every 5k and keeping up on this car is sort of my hobby so that helps I suppose! But yeah I drive the piss out of this thing and even tow heavy loads in a UHaul trailer once/twice a year (moving for college) and I have no issues with it. Reliable as hell. I anticipate I’ll have this car another 4-5 years and will be pushing 300k by the time I offload it, and I think that’s a realistic goal honestly.
 
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