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Discussion Starter #1
I'm using the factory service manuals from my library to troubleshoot a tranny problem on an '02 Focus SPI. I'm getting DTC's P0750, P0760, P0765, P0770 (solenoid circuit failure for SSA, SSC, SSD and SSE) and I believe the car is operating in the "emergency operating program."

I lost gear function over time (slipping and dropping gears) and the number of DTC's has grown (though at some point I was also getting P0750 for SSB, and now I'm not). Earlier on I replaced SSA and SSB with dealer-new solenoids, and I bought a used (supposedly good) PCM and had a Ford dealer reprogram it for me, but this got me no improvement.

Probably needless to say, I don't have a Ford IDS scan tool or equivalent, just an OBD scanner and multimeter. But it still seems that there are many things I can check this way.

I may end up posting several questions about my test results, but let's start here: Pinpoint Test A3: Check Solenoid Function. The test uses the scan tool to turn each solenoid on and off and asks "Does the solenoid turn on and off when commanded and can solenoid activation be heard?"

With no scan tool, I simply applied battery voltage to each of the installed solenoids. The PWM solenoids (SSC, SSD, SSE) all click audibly. But I can hear nothing from SSA or SSB, even with my ear just half a foot from the solenoids. I note that these solenoids are not PWM.

Should those click if they were good?
 

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I do not know if you are supposed to hear them, but it is a safe bet that you are supposed to hear them because your reference is the factory service manual. There is a small chance that the circuit for these 2 solenoids is broken or intermittent. Use this chart to "ring-out" the 2 circuits, checking for proper resistance of SSA and SSB. If you find an Open-Circuit, you have made progress and next step would be drop trans pan and inspect and/or inspect wiring at (external) transaxle case connector.



Edit: Adding 2nd and 3rd picture that will help you ring-out the circuits while at the PCM connector. Your factory service manual likely has these picture or similar, but thought I would post them anyway. If the pics and pin-outs are different on your car, please let me know so I can learn.



 

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Discussion Starter #3
I do not know if you are supposed to hear them, but it is a safe bet that you are supposed to hear them because your reference is the factory service manual. There is a small chance that the circuit for these 2 solenoids is broken or intermittent. Use this chart to "ring-out" the 2 circuits, checking for proper resistance of SSA and SSB. If you find an Open-Circuit, you have made progress and next step would be drop trans pan and inspect and/or inspect wiring at (external) transaxle case connector.
I already had the pan off because I knew that I wanted to run as many tests as I could in the Pinpoint Test A, B and D suites.

The diagnostic trouble code chart for the four DTC's I'm currently getting all say to run the Pinpoint Test A suite, so I started there. I was not able to do anything with tests A1 (scan tool setup) and A2 (wiggle test using scan tool), nor with A9 (use the scan tool to check if the PCM voltage signalling seems correct), but I did all the other tests.

Including A10: Check Solenoid Resistance. All were within range, with pin 1 @ 2.5 ohms, pin 3 @ 2.5 ohms, pin 6 @ 14.0 ohms, pin 8 @ 14.0 ohms, and pin 9 @ 1.8 ohms.

If the A and B solenoids are bad, it is despite having proper resistance.

Not only that, but the C, D and E solenoids all test OK in the "A" suite tests that examine them, despite DTC's casting suspicion on them.

That's why I'm homing in on whether A and B are actually bad (and remember, these were dealer-new a while back).

The A suite tests didn't find any wiring problems either, so I am left trying to weigh whether the used PCM was actually bad from the start (or if something upstream of the PCM is killing them).

I will probably post soon about my Pinpoint test B and D results, which also leave me scratching my head at a few items.

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Granted, trusting that the factory manual is properly written is a reasonable starting place, but I have found it to be in error before. For instance, see my post #4 at http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/showthread.php?p=6621225 and one or two follow-ups by others.

But in some of the tests I'm currently dealing with, I don't know enough to confirm or deny, and in other cases we are dealing with the unknown black-box behavior of the PCM.
 

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... Pinpoint Test A, B and D suites.
I will do you a favor and not rant too much about my dis-taste for troubleshooting with tools like Test Suites or Fault Isolation Procedures (FIPs) that I used only a couple times on helicopters because I Hate FIPs!! You only need some theory, a schematic, your imagination, and a functional diagram if available.

For example, your Test Suite will likely not check for shorts between other wires. Lets pretend pin # 6 and # 8 are shorted together (ref your data above) and maybe one of those wires is also broken. Your Test Suite likely still passes, and the fault was not caught, because you were using the Test Suite and not using your imagination. The result (if pins 6 and 8 are shorted) might be SSA and SSB fail to energize, or both energize at the same time!

Did you do these checks (above) from the transaxle case connector OR from the PCM connector? Gotta do them from the PCM to make sure all the wiring is functional.

I honestly can not help you very much because you have the tools, the ability and the car in your hands. I can only provide basic info, generalized instructions and a few details here n there. You added more confusion or complexity to the situation with a PCM replacement and a car starting/ignition problem. Did your intermittent car starting problem get fixed?

So I guess the trans pan is now back on?
Do you have the old solenoids? -the old PCM? Can you test the old solenoids for the audible click? -do it on a test bench, not on the car. I am guessing your old PCM is plug & play ready for use, assuming you programmed the same PATS keys to the new PCM...? Or that you have a unique set of PATS keys for the old PCM?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I did the checks from the transaxle case connector, but also ran some tests for opens/shorts in the harness to the PCM. Might be worth double-checking the latter to see if that ground is well covered.

(The intermittent car starting problem was indeed solved by replacing the starter. I cited that problem merely to note a case where the manual was clearly wrong.)

The trans pan is still off.

I do have the old solenoids. Like the new ones, they test fine for resistance but don't click when battery voltage is applied (and this is with the old ones not installed in the car).

I do have the old PCM, but when I swapped that in recently to see what would happen, the car wouldn't even start. I don't know much about the programming process, but I recall that one method uses the old PCM and the other uses a download from Motorcraft Service + some manually entered info. I think the dealer used the old-PCM method, but they also made me a second key. As far as I know the new second key matches the first one in its original state, but I don't know for sure, and I'm grasping at straws to understand why the old one won't even allow startup now.

The B and D pinpoint tests seem to implicate the PCM. I also observed that the car seems not to have recalibrated its performance stuff after having been off-battery recently (so that it drops to very low RPMs and sometimes stalls out when I brake to a stop), which in my mind also points to the PCM.

There are several strikes then against the PCM, but that's an expensive replacement. So I have been wanting to nail down the diagnosis as well as I can. That's why I was looking for some comfort on the state of those A and B solenoids.
 

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I do have the old solenoids. Like the new ones, they test fine for resistance but don't click when battery voltage is applied (and this is with the old ones not installed in the car).
While bench testing, are you grounding your power source to the body of the solenoid? I am guessing you should be hearing the solenoid click if it is alive and you are powering it correctly.

I do have the old PCM, but when I swapped that in recently to see what would happen, the car wouldn't even start. I don't know much about the programming process, but I recall that one method uses the old PCM and the other uses a download from Motorcraft Service + some manually entered info. I think the dealer used the old-PCM method, but they also made me a second key. As far as I know the new second key matches the first one in its original state, but I don't know for sure, and I'm grasping at straws to understand why the old one won't even allow startup now.
Your old PCM should work with the old PATS key. If not, the Ford tech might have accidentally erased the key codes in it during his work of programming the new PCM. I would hold him/them liable, and ask the service dept manager to fix what they messed up. You paid them to get your new PCM working, not prevent your old one from future use.

The B and D pinpoint tests seem to implicate the PCM. I also observed that the car seems not to have recalibrated its performance stuff after having been off-battery recently (so that it drops to very low RPMs and sometimes stalls out when I brake to a stop), which in my mind also points to the PCM.

There are several strikes then against the PCM, but that's an expensive replacement. So I have been wanting to nail down the diagnosis as well as I can. That's why I was looking for some comfort on the state of those A and B solenoids.
PCM is very likely good. Engine performance problems are not a temperamental PCM but more likely sensors and systems outside of the PCM ->&-> Edit: It is possible that a defective PCM would cause some or all systems to fail... it just happens so very very rarely. Also, one of the few good things about a Test Suite or FIP is that once you complete the test steps you get a result that tells you what to repair or replace... Never seen one that merely seems to implicate something. When you said "The B and D pinpoint tests seem to implicate the PCM" it confused me, and maybe you too? There are many stories of bad FIPs, where the test steps were done perfectly, the problem was isolated to be a defective bread toaster, the toaster was replaced, and the system still failed to operate. It was not a defective toaster, it was a bad FIP.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
While bench testing, are you grounding your power source to the body of the solenoid?

Your old PCM should work with the old PATS key. If not, the Ford tech might have accidentally erased the key codes in it during his work of programming the new PCM.

PCM is very likely good. Engine performance problems are not a temperamental PCM but more likely sensors and systems outside of the PCM ->&-> Edit: It is possible that a defective PCM would cause some or all systems to fail... it just happens so very very rarely. Also, one of the few good things about a Test Suite or FIP is that once you complete the test steps you get a result that tells you what to repair or replace... Never seen one that merely seems to implicate something. When you said "The B and D pinpoint tests seem to implicate the PCM" it confused me, and maybe you too?
Yes, when bench testing the old solenoids, I grounded to the solenoid body.

Regarding the old PCM and the prospect that the key codes may have been erased: I notice now that when trying to start, the PATS light is flashing rapidly, which indicates a fault in the PATS system. I have not dug into that any farther, but it seems like you're onto something.

About the B and D tests "implicating" the PCM: Since I'm not able to run any of the scan tool tests in B1, B2, D1 and D2, I'm hesitant to call it an ironclad diagnosis.

Specifically:

Pinpoint Test B - Transmission Fluid Temperature (TFT) Sensor

B1 Electronic diagnostics setup (not performed)

B2 Warm-up/cool-down cycle verification (not tested)

B3 Check powertrain control module and vehicle harness for power (presumably a key-on test, but I ran it both ways)
Key On -- pin 4: 0 V, pin 5: 4.4 V ||||| Key Off -- pin 4: 0 V, pin 5: 0V
Is there any voltage? If yes, go to B4.

B4 Check vehicle harness for short to power
pin 4: 0 V, pin 5: 0 V
Is any voltage present? If no, install a new PCM.

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Pinpoint Test D - Electronic Pressure Control Solenoid (PCA)

D1 Electronic diagnostics setup (not performed)

D2 Solenoid functional test (not tested)

D3 Check vehicle harness and powertrain control module for short to power
pin 7: 0.80 V, pin 2: 11 V
Is any voltage present? If yes, go to D4.

D4 Check vehicle harness for short to power
pin 7: 0 V, pin 2: 0 V
Is any voltage present? If no, install a new PCM.
 

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....

Specifically:

Pinpoint Test B - Transmission Fluid Temperature (TFT) Sensor

&

Pinpoint Test D - Electronic Pressure Control Solenoid (PCA)
Typed you a good & long reply then ERROR and it was all gone. Nice. Ain't typing that whole thing again. Here is a Cliff-Notes of what I typed.

We are off the path of SSA and SSB. I am unsure what the Ford service manual is expecting for the test result values OR what the system should be doing in some of the Pinpoint Test B & Pinpoint Test D steps. I need more theory, more detail or a functional diagram to reply with better help.

I am a hack. I have little or zero experience with the PCM ->to-> the transmission solenoid signals. I understand PWM signals, but I am lost based on what THEY expect to see measured verses what you measured.

Check all wiring. Re-focus efforts to check & test the operation of SSA/SSB solenoids. After that, your transmission may have physical problems outside of the electrical control & sensors for it.
 

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Trans going into fault mode can also be caused by the engine itself.............

Low idle and dying are likely something wrong with engine, not PCM..........and I hold this out for all to see once again....

'...and I bought a used (supposedly good) PCM and had a Ford dealer reprogram it for me, but this got me no improvement.'

NEVER change the PCM until FORCED, likely it is fine.

Depending on what the seat is like solenoids may switch but be quiet, see if you can FEEL them switching. If not, well, you know they control SOMETHING, rig to fit hose and vacuum source to see when they open or shut............or blow through them.........more than one way to check that.

Just checked, A and B are normally CLOSED and where the clicking occurs, they open when you apply power and there may be no open stop to click there. Blow on the solenoid and should be closed and pass no air, but will when open. Orient the solenoid body so you can say add trans fluid in one port (it should not leak through) and then activate solenoid, if the fluid then runs through it is working.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Trans going into fault mode can also be caused by the engine itself.............
The manual has this to say:
Emergency operating program

If correct gear shifting can no longer be guaranteed due to failure of certain signals, the PCM changes to an emergency operating program.

The driver is informed of the operating of the emergency operating program by the illumination of the powertrain warning indicator in the instrument cluster.

Continued motoring is guaranteed in the following limited conditions:

- maximum main line pressure
- 3rd gear in manual selector lever positions D, 2 and 1 without the torque converter lock-up clutch
- reverse gear in manual selector lever position R


It would be great fodder for troubleshooting if I knew more about the failure of certain signals (what the specific criteria are for triggering fault mode). I wish the manual had included that, in say, the Diagnosis By Symptom charts. Do you know more about that?

Low idle and dying are likely something wrong with engine, not PCM..........
But this only occurred after the battery had been disconnected/re-connected. I don't see how the engine would cause this bad follow-up behavior.

Just checked, A and B are normally CLOSED and where the clicking occurs, they open when you apply power and there may be no open stop to click there. Blow on the solenoid and should be closed and pass no air, but will when open. Orient the solenoid body so you can say add trans fluid in one port (it should not leak through) and then activate solenoid, if the fluid then runs through it is working.
Thank you so very much for checking on the solenoid behavior and figuring out a workaround test in lieu of hearing a click. I'll be testing old and new solenoids with this info today.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'm still very interested in the questions I raised in my previous post, but following up on AMC49's information that SSA and SSB are normally closed, I did this test:

At the bench, I removed the bottom o-ring on the nipple of the solenoid, fitted that with a hose, and then pressing the hose to keep a tight connection, blew in the other end, both with and without battery voltage applied across the solenoid.

With both the old solenoids and newer ones, I was not able to detect that the valve was passing any air with or without voltage applied.

So it seems that either 1) all the solenoids are bad (despite all testing at proper resistance and with no shorts), 2) the valve opening is so tiny that the amount of air that passes is minuscule/undetectable, or 3) the trans operates at much greater than lung power.

Comments?
 

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It would be great fodder for troubleshooting if I knew more about the failure of certain signals (what the specific criteria are for triggering fault mode). I wish the manual had included that, in say, the Diagnosis By Symptom charts. Do you know more about that?
The Transmission Service Manual does not provide criteria for what it takes to allow the PCM & trans to enter "Fail-Safe" operation; -> outside of Complete loss of electrical control. It does however identify several external sources/sensors that the PCM uses for trans control strategy.

I'm getting DTC's P0750, P0760, P0765, P0770 (solenoid circuit failure for SSA, SSC, SSD and SSE) and I believe the car is operating in the "emergency operating program."
All of your DTC's are specific to the circuits of the solenoids. Not one of the codes you posted are indicating other sensor faults. If I was you, I would double check the health of the wiring from the PCM to the point where each solenoid plugs into. SSA's are known to fail sometimes, but you have 4 dead solenoids (of the exact same type) and that is extremely rare and flat out super weird. You have a wiring problem or your PCM is possessed by an evil spirit.

For starters, you need 2 new solenoids.

You might consider this silly load test;
Plug-in/Rig-up a 12Vdc incandescent light bulb into the spot a solenoid would normally sit. Disconnect PCM and apply power for the light bulb at the PCM connector. Does the light bulb turn on? Repeat test for each solenoid socket. Doing this test can be hazardous, so take precautions and consider using a 5 amp fuse and maybe measure for amps/current at the same time you are doing this lamp load test. Try it on the bench first, then do it using the car wiring.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
...you have 4 dead solenoids (of the exact same type) and that is extremely rare and flat out super weird. You have a wiring problem or your PCM is possessed by an evil spirit...
Indulge me by probably repeating yourself: Do you think then that my test was valid and all four of those A/B solenoids are dead (rather than the other two possibilities)?

[I would prefer it if this was a wiring problem rather than a second bad PCM, so your wiring double-check suggestion is well taken.]
 

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You do not need trans fluid pressure; once powered, blowing thru it like you did will detect an operational solenoid. I believe a good ON/OFF SSA type solenoid will make an audible click, making additional functional testing (of a non-clicking one) unnecessary... but was wise to do it anyway. Functional testing of a solenoid that Clicks makes sense too.

The same type of testing with PWM solenoids is not a good idea. PWM solenoids do not want to have 12Vdc sitting on them (or for very long). Your PWM solenoids lived thru the 12Vdc click-tests that you did, but I would keep that kind of testing to a minimum. Maybe they can live for years with 12Vdc on them, but I am pretty sure that the PCM operates the PWM solenoids differently.
 

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Everything he says is correct, the PWMs are supposed to be energized for no more than like 2-3 seconds at most IIRC. As short as possible, they do not like full 100% voltage.

'...that is extremely rare and flat out super weird.'

I agree with that on the 4 solenoids being bad. You'd think the solenoid would click at least going back off. I believe you can readily detect the open or closed condition, it is not a 'minor cannot detect it' thing. PWM solenoids meter but the A and B are simple on/off and should be totally restricted or wide open (where you can detect it).

You could always buy one new known good (or so you hope!) solenoid and check it................

Double check harness and PCM volt out as he says, sometimes you will get wonky result in electrical that cannot be figured out, but it is what it is. The more information you have the better your final judgement will be, don't lock in on any one thing, look at all of it together, electrical can often be like that.

FYI, on Contour zetec I have changed spark plugs and internally damaged at least one plug wire from pulling them out of valve cover, they damage easily doing that. The car then began to ever so slightly misfire, I worked on wires until I got the misfire to go away, or at least not perceptible. On the drive home (did all that at work) the car refused to shift correctly and OD had totally disappeared, thinking WTF have I done now???? Car in limp home mode. Thought about it and bought brand new plug wires and installed. Car then went right back to shifting perfectly and OD snuck back in there to work fine. Go figure..............
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Double check harness and PCM volt out as he says
Thanks to both of you for the follow-ups. I'm planning on rigging up the 12vdc bulb load test today.

But I'm wondering about double-checking the PCM volt out. I already checked the simple PCM-connected, key-on voltages (and am game for double-checking those). Are you saying there is also a way to mimic what a scan tool does with Output State Control and commanding solenoids to turn on/off?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Since I'm on the topic of double-checking (I should have asked this in the previous post), test A5 is Check for battery voltage (PCM connected and key on, testing pins in the disconnected transaxle harness connector).

My results for the relevant pins:
1: 0.65V
3: 0.65V
6: 0.45V
8: 0.45V
9: 0.65V

But then to determine the next action, it asks Is any voltage present?

I've been assuming that the question is just badly worded -- that they should have asked Is there any battery voltage present? If so then my results do not indicate a problem.

Now seems like the time to double-check my understanding. Are these small voltages proper? Besides the state of the SSA/B solenoids, this was my only other question mark from the suite of solenoid tests.

(OK, I'm off-topic now, but maybe I'll post some nice wrap-up info separately when I get this all sorted out.)
 

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Normal definition of "battery voltage" would be the system voltage as supplied by the battery.

I never expect to find the exact voltage as measured at the battery in such cases, but it should be close.

Fractional voltage would count as zero when asked if battery voltage is present, micro voltages can often be found in car wiring that's not connected directly to a power source when using a digital meter.

Marde's got a book to look at, I'm just commenting from prev. experience with other vehicles & manuals.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks, Sailor, that's a nice review of terms and some parameters.

But to clarify, my question is, with PCM connected and key on, should the solenoid voltage pins in the disconnected transaxle vehicle harness show 0 V, or small voltages < 1 volt?

(It seems clear that they should NOT show battery voltage, but I'm not sure about 0 V or < 1 V. In other words, I don't quite understand the test as written, since though the test name involves battery voltage, the follow-up question is about any voltage. You seem to hint that these small voltages are probably OK, but that's what I'm trying to nail down.)
 
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