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Clutch/ transmission mystery

Discussion in 'General Chit-Chat' started by Bill Blue, Feb 10, 2020.

  1. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Diamond Level Sponsor

    Our son had just made a stop for gasoline and was slowly getting up to speed (45 mph, 5th gear) when he felt and heard something that made him think he had run over a soft ice ball. He thought that was strange, he not seen anything like that in the road. But then he noticed he had no power to the wheels and coasted to a stop. Lifted the hood and in the reduced lighting saw a hole in what he thought was the transmission and a bunch of oil. While the car would not move, the speedo would respond when the car was put in gear and the clutch let out.

    What we have found so far. Holes in the bell housing, you can see the clutch cover rotating and some suspicously shiny bits on the back of the cover. You can also see the pressure plate move when the clutch pedal is depressed. Not a lot of oil, what I see looks more like a 100,000 mile accumulation of seepage of engine oil. He has started the disassembly process and has progressed only to the point that he can see other holes in the bell housing, but no source of oil.

    Any ideas what happened? Oh yes, 20003 Focus, 5 speed manual.

    Bill
     
  2. mikephillips

    mikephillips Donation Time

    Wow, a Focus from the future, Ford will be glad to know they'll still be here come the year 20,003...

    On a more serious note, the holes say to me that something on the front of the transmission failed, or perhaps the way the FWD passes through that area. So, with the car running, if the clutch isn't engaged, does an attempt to move the stick into gear result in a grinding?? If so then the gearbox itself is still spinning which would lead me to the "diff" for the FWD or an axle connection. If the front end is jacked up, the car off and put into gear, do the wheels freely spin or feel like it is in gear?? One or both like that??

    I'm not sure what type of slip the FWD diff has, may have to clock or put the weight on one wheel when trying this.

    Not really much else I can offer since I'm not familiar with the Focus and would want to look it over to see how it all goes together to offer much else.
     
  3. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Diamond Level Sponsor

    We did not do a bunch of diagnostics other than put it in gear and watch the roundy round show through the hole in the bell housing. He also revved it a bit to see if things were still in balance, they were. When he took his foot off the gas and it was coming down to idle, something started to drag and killed the engine. That is all we know until it comes apart. I cannot image something breaking loose in the tranny, going through the transmission case and out the bell housing while leaving the clutch operable (seemingly) and allowing rotative force to get all the way to the speedo gear. But that is exactly what appears to have happened. But if that is the case, why no power to the wheels? Did the differential break and exit through the bell housing? That would be an interesting trip. It would be interesting to see the internal layout of the transmission/differential.

    Bill
     
  4. sunalp

    sunalp Platinum Level Sponsor

    Since it's FWD, are both axles in good shape? Had one axle go on an old Ford Tempo break while
    driving, and it wouldn't drive. Didn't make too much in the way of noise but the CV joint gave
    up .
    Something to check.
    Cheers!
    Steve
     
  5. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Diamond Level Sponsor

    Don't know. Was giving that considerable thought as it would explain much, then I saw the ventilated bell housing. That really brought me up short, never seen that before. Tings just don't add up.

    Getting the car into the garage was his priority as it is cold and wet here.

    Bill
     
  6. Aladin Sane

    Aladin Sane Gold Level Sponsor

    I would bet one of the axles is broken. It happened on my wifes fwd minivan back in the day.
     
  7. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Diamond Level Sponsor

    That is reasonable, but how did the bell housing get broken? Should that be ignored?
     
  8. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Diamond Level Sponsor

    Just heard from the Boy. He can find nothing wrong with the axles, although I'm not sure he would know what to look for. I know I would not. He now has the transmission uncovered and found a pool of oil on top of it, he can see no reason for it to be there.

    Bill
     
  9. husky drvr

    husky drvr Gold Level Sponsor

    Bill,

    Do you know if it has a "dual mass flywheel"? I know they are considered to be a consumable part but do not know anything about failure modes.

    Sounds almost like it tried to drive two gears and cracked the case. But why?
     
  10. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Diamond Level Sponsor

    No idea, his is a base model with the CVH engine and IB transaxle. I'm pretty sure the Zetec 's had them. but that means nothing. Why indeed, would it try to drive two gears. Keep in mind he was in 5th and accelerating gently. Everything was fine until he "ran over the ice ball". No stress, gear crunching, clashing or shudder.

    Bill
     
  11. husky drvr

    husky drvr Gold Level Sponsor

    Bill,

    The "two gear" thought was just speculation for a starting point -not to imply anything beyond your statements. I looked on Rock Auto, without VIN codes or more knowledge, it seems that your son's Focus probably doesn't use a dual mass flywheel. I did see a statement on Wiki about the early design of that transaxle having a tendency for the diff bearings to collapse and lead to the destruction of the case. The final drive and differential are below and beside the bellhousing. I'll guess that means the diff bearing wear allows the final drive gears to lose engagement and either shells the teeth off the gears and/or forces the case to spread and crack as the gears ride up over each other.

    Figure you have found the issue by now.

    Stay safe and good luck,
     
  12. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Diamond Level Sponsor

    Don, my son is located 2 1/2 hours from me, so I know only what he tells us. We were able to visit Saturday, but not do any work as at that time he was unsure which way to proceed and he needed help on a bathroom project, which took most of our time. Junk the car or repair. About an hour before we left he made the decision to repair, so we helped him get it in the garage, then boogied. So I'm pretty much in the dark.
    He told me he had read something (probably what you have above) but did not know what was meant by "an early version". Is 2003 early? He has no clue, I have no clue. BUT, that does pretty much fit the description of his problem.

    Bill
     
  13. husky drvr

    husky drvr Gold Level Sponsor

    Bill,

    My take on the article is that the IB unit started in the mid Eighties as a four speed unit. I think your son's unit is the third design series.

    Stay safe and good luck,
     
  14. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Diamond Level Sponsor

    Mystery solved. I consider the problem a fluke.
    The shaft holding the two transfer gears in the differential assembly broke in two. From the looks of the remains, the crack was very old, probably started during heat treatment at the factory. The shaft pieces show no sign of lube failure or abuse. When the shaft broke, it sent at least one of the differential gears through the case wall and into the bell housing, where it got the old hammer mill treatment by the backside of the pressure plate assembly. He only needs a transaxle and clutch kit.

    Bill
     
  15. husky drvr

    husky drvr Gold Level Sponsor

    Strange, but I think you are correct - a fluke.

    It might be a good idea to check run out and end play before reassembly in case the crank was bent due to the other destructive forces.

    Just a thought,
     
  16. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Diamond Level Sponsor

    It probably would be, but I doubt it will happen. He does not have the equipment to conduct the test. Everything looked fine and there was no vibration while observing the clutch through the bell housing hole with the engine running. We could even see the clutch release/engage. I think the cast aluminum housing let go before forces became great enough to do further damage.

    Bill
     

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