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Discussion Starter #1
On my 02 Focus SVT, I made a discovery this morning that made my stomach churn. I was driving to work down a main highway. 60 mph in sixth gear, light throttle, when suddenly, the engine began to spin freely. The shift lever wasn't pushed out of place, and the clutch was still engaged, but I began to lose speed. Interestingly, though, the speedometer began to climb with engine RPM's, so the speed sensor is still reading activity. I downshifted to fifth gear, and didn't notice anything different, so I went back to sixth. Later on down the road, after driving several miles at speeds not topping 50mph and having no issue, I reached another 60 mph speed zone. Cruising along at 60, it did it again, in exactly the same way. I'm no transmission expert, and I'm not exactly sure what to make of it, aside from the fact that its probably not safe. Any advice? Or similar experiences?
 

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That could be something as simple as engine dying for a prolonged period then coming back on.
 

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Well, I guess this is a half an update. On the way down to the transmission shop, I lost all shifting. The clutch seems to be engaging, and whatever output shaft the speed sensor ties in to is still spinning when you put it in gear, but forward momentum is no.
 

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Check output shafts/ half shafts. A few times I've seen the splines stripped out of the axle or the C/V joints. Just a guess, My best advise? Take it to a Ford Certified Mechanic. I wouldn't assume its a good thing to diagnose anything over the net let alone over the phone. P/S: Yes I'm a dealer kind of guy....... Quality really is JOB ONE.....
 

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I had a friend who had a 95 Saturn w/ manual transmission that was doing something similar, it ended up being the clutch was simply worn out and slipping at speed. He never got it replaced though as the framing was rotted out.

Though wonder if it could be a CV joint wearing/worn out, did you hear any metallic clunking noises? I had that happen on my 93 Escort when one of the CV joints broke a lot of clunking when in gear but no moving, that and pieces of the CV joint and bearings under the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I had a friend who had a 95 Saturn w/ manual transmission that was doing something similar, it ended up being the clutch was simply worn out and slipping at speed. He never got it replaced though as the framing was rotted out.

Though wonder if it could be a CV joint wearing/worn out, did you hear any metallic clunking noises? I had that happen on my 93 Escort when one of the CV joints broke a lot of clunking when in gear but no moving, that and pieces of the CV joint and bearings under the car.
I had that thought cross my mind, since, upon acceleration and while braking, there was a clunking noise coming out from under the front end. I pondered on it and wonder, after thumbing through a Haynes manual and seeing how the yokes are assembled, if one or both of them were worn out, and had developed play in the assembly, and I just exacerbated the problem by driving it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Check output shafts/ half shafts. A few times I've seen the splines stripped out of the axle or the C/V joints. Just a guess, My best advise? Take it to a Ford Certified Mechanic. I wouldn't assume its a good thing to diagnose anything over the net let alone over the phone. P/S: Yes I'm a dealer kind of guy....... Quality really is JOB ONE.....
I would love to, and have a friend that is a technician at one of the ford dealerships close to work, but I'm on a tight budget. I took it to a transmission shop that i've heard nothing but good things about as far as quality workmanship is concerned. I'm very wary of independent shops, and I know that makes me a bit of a hypocrite, since I moonlight as a marine technician, but in my day job, I'm forced to use a network of independent repair shops, and have had problems with them. But that's a story for another thread.
 

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There is no need to go to Ford to diagnose anything. If you like dealerships, fine, but there are plenty of independent shops that do better work...and some that do worse.

My guess is CV joint, too, with the clunking. The worst case is a full clutch job (if it really is slipping, but I think you'd have noticed first on hard acceleration and not just at the 60mph mark), but just the CV axle is about $100 for the rebuilt axle and about the same to install.

Wishing you luck that it's just the axle!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
There is no need to go to Ford to diagnose anything. If you like dealerships, fine, but there are plenty of independent shops that do better work...and some that do worse.

My guess is CV joint, too, with the clunking. The worst case is a full clutch job (if it really is slipping, but I think you'd have noticed first on hard acceleration and not just at the 60mph mark), but just the CV axle is about $100 for the rebuilt axle and about the same to install.

Wishing you luck that it's just the axle!
If it even comes down to needing a transmission, I consider it a bit of a blessing that used transmissions for these cars are relatively inexpensive. i was quite surprised to see that. Maybe I'll get lucky.[pray]
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Maybe I'll get lucky.[pray]
UPDATE!!!

John at RTP Transmissions called me Wednesday. The problem is the intermediate shaft bearing, and its carrier, were damaged, and were allowing the axle to move. It was sliding out of the splines on the transmission. As far as he can tell, aside from the transmission seal I already needed, no other parts were damaged.[twothumbs]

I found a good bit of info on this problem, and it seems to be pretty common that there are problems with that bearing making noise, but nothing that i have seen quite like this. I have also seen a TSB floating around for the noise issue, and the recommendation is to replace the bearing. That said, the bearing itself is discontinued, as are a lot of parts for this car, but there are re manufactured parts available, which all show the bearing as being a part of the axle itself. Is there a reason for this?
 

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This is like trying to get replacement C/V boots, hard to get hold of because the job is usually done by replacing the axle assy. complete.

I THINK your bearing presses on the axle while the inner joint is apart (just the solid axle to deal with so you can put it in the press) so replacement takes a bit of work.

Complete axle is the "easy" fix. Numbers off the bearing could get you a replacement & then you'd need clamps for the boot to take that apart - do the bearing R&R - reassemble.
 

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Just went through this with ATX and the bearing available but the entire axle BRAND NEW not rebuilt was LESS than bearing alone before shipping. Axle when showed up was very high quality.

Until someone tries to re-stab an axle back in place no way of telling if diff side gear got burred up with the jumping in/out of axle stub...............Normally the spin-free for a second of axle then grinds the spline on side gear end to burr it. May luck out though.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Just went through this with ATX and the bearing available but the entire axle BRAND NEW not rebuilt was LESS than bearing alone before shipping. Axle when showed up was very high quality.

Until someone tries to re-stab an axle back in place no way of telling if diff side gear got burred up with the jumping in/out of axle stub...............Normally the spin-free for a second of axle then grinds the spline on side gear end to burr it. May luck out though.
UPDATE: Jon at RTP Transmissions has me rolling again. [twothumbs] I sourced an axle from O'Rilley's, a bearing carrier from another forum member, and everything else from ford, which was just leftover stock at the dealership near my office. I did indeed luck out on this one. You could see where the splines on the old axle were flattened near the tip, but I'm driving the car today, so that means if there was any damage to the side gear, it wasn't enough to keep the axle from being put in. Rolling dirty from sitting for a month while I rounded up the parts, but rolling. Couldn't be happier.
 
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