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Discussion Starter #1
Hey there fanatics.

I'm new here, though I've been lurking for a bit. I've got an 02 focus wagon (zetec, auto, I'm guessing the infamous 4F27E) with over 170,000 miles on it. But hey, it still moves, and I enjoy the challenge of high-mileage vehicles (my 86 subaru gl has 228k, and I consider it middle-aged...). The tranny was rebuild only a couple years ago, so it's got a lot few miles on it than the engine.

Recently I've been having a bit of trouble with shifting. Sometimes it is just rough. Other times it almost seems to shift twice, the first time grabbing pretty hard, and the second time going into gear. At highway speeds, it randomly grabs at times it has no reason to shift, almost as if it tries to downshift but then quickly changes its mind. It's been getting steadily worse, and I can't isolate the problem - it can happen at any gear, while under load, while coasting, while hot, cold, etc. I've got no CEL, no other symptoms that can narrow anything down. The one thing that I did notice (and that convinced me that this is definitely a transmission issue) is that if you put the shifter in 1, rather than grab, the tranny slips in and out of gear.

My question has to do with testing shift solenoids. Can I unplug the ECU and apply power to each solenoid's relative pin (it looks like 1, 73, 82, 99, and 102) while listening for a click? Or is this a good way to fry something? And is there anything else I could do to test the shifting mechanisms? This is obviously a mechanical issue rather than electronic (hence the lack of a CEL), so I'm half expecting a worn clutch, but I want to make sure this isn't just a faulty solenoid or something else more easily replaceable.

Thanks in advance for the help!
 

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Aurelius Pardus
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26,535 Posts
you will get a code if there is an issue with the solenoids. at least most of the time anyway.

as far as applying power to the pins directly... make sure you know exactly what voltage they need and you should be fine as long as you get the right pins.

also Im sure you did but check to make sure that transaxle of yours isnt still under a rebuild warranty. I know the place we go through usually offers a 3 year warranty on the work they do.

other than that, [welcome] to FF!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
you will get a code if there is an issue with the solenoids. at least most of the time anyway.
That's kind of what I was thinking, but I guess I still have some lingering (albeit fading) hope that the problem is something as simple as a solenoid.

as far as applying power to the pins directly... make sure you know exactly what voltage they need and you should be fine as long as you get the right pins.
Voltages... voltages... See, this is why I asked - I would have just assumed 12v and fried something. Does anyone know these offhand? Or have the page from a fsm?

also Im sure you did but check to make sure that transaxle of yours isnt still under a rebuild warranty. I know the place we go through usually offers a 3 year warranty on the work they do.
WHERE IS THAT?! Probably not economical for me to drive out there, but gee whiz... Definitely didn't get any kind of deal like that here. The only guarantee they gave us was that our wallet would be thin on the way out!

Does this problem sound like a mechanical failure in the transmission, like a clutch or band? It sounds like these rebuilds aren't too bad, and $250-300 for a rebuild kit is reasonable. I just need to isolate the problem better before laying that down.
 

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Aurelius Pardus
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26,535 Posts
J&G transmissions....... UT only business we use them for work. little out of your way lol.

I thought I'd take a little time to look up and see if there have been some common problems with these. Take a read through this link and it might make some more sense especially if it sounds like your problem. I wouldn't discount the solenoids if there's no code though.

http://www.fordforums.com/f166/ford-focus-transmission-problems-159238/

also maybe a stupid question but have you tried taking a look at the trans fluid from the dipstick and seeing if it smells like sour milk (my description anyway) and kinda grayish? (if you wipe that across your hand anyway. probably brown or red on a paper towel). If you have metal in there then the clutch linings or something like that is worn.


edit: this is a picture of the valve body and where the solenoids are just for your reference. I found it while I was looking up something for another member on Lentech's site.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I thought I'd take a little time to look up and see if there have been some common problems with these. Take a read through this link and it might make some more sense especially if it sounds like your problem. I wouldn't discount the solenoids if there's no code though.

http://www.fordforums.com/f166/ford-focus-transmission-problems-159238/
First of all, thanks for the ongoing help. I read through the link, and I'm not sure that any of the solenoid failure descriptions sounded like what I've got going on. Most say, "not all gears present," and looking at other threads, it sounds like people often do "lose" gears, almost as if the transmission drops into neutral rather than whatever gear is "not present." In my case, it almost seems like it tries to drop into 1st or 2nd while in 4th, but only for a second. Actually, it feels a lot like a hard engine miss, but the rough shifts and ability to make it "slip" rather than grab by shifting down makes me pretty sure it's actually a tranny problem.

also maybe a stupid question but have you tried taking a look at the trans fluid from the dipstick and seeing if it smells like sour milk (my description anyway) and kinda grayish? (if you wipe that across your hand anyway. probably brown or red on a paper towel). If you have metal in there then the clutch linings or something like that is worn.
I definitely don't think there are any stupid questions when you're messing with cars! Quite often, it seems like the one doing the work just forgot one simple thing, and now they're going crazy because they can't figure out what else could be wrong. [:)]

Actually, the fluid is beautiful - almost looks like it was just changed. It's only been a couple of years, but yeah, perfect color, no strange smell, and no debris that I can see.
 
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