Gear box or Clutch

Paul Dunne

Asked by Paul Aug 26, 2008 at 07:14 PM about the 2003 Ford Focus

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Hi all!I have a 2003, focus 2.0, 5 speed Zetec. PULP
Prob: Always held revs for a sec after deceleration
         Gear clash in 2nd and 3rd on up or down shift
Interventions: Put Nulon gear oil in box
                        Wait a second to change gears
Outcome: No change!
Q: Is it normal for revs to stay up for this engine?
     Can Clutch be adjusted?
     Could I run Auto trans fluid in GB for the short term?      

18 Answers

A Facebook user

the clash/grinding is the gears being messed up, the clutch can be adjusted as far as engage/disengage point (you have to change the preassure plate to change pedal pres.) AND DO NOT run auto trans fluid, it is way too light of an oil to substitute, even for a short time.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Adam Morgan

Umm... What is your clutch response like, does it feel like it's disengaging properly, fully... I believe it's a hydraulic system in the focus, is there a possibility of air in the lines? Does the clutch pedal depress easily...? Secondly check with your dealer, some of the Zetec fords actually take ATF +3 in the manual gearbox... If you put something else in there at some point without checking then you may have your cause...

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
Michael McGrail

I would check with FORD for your trans fluid requirements. Alot of newer manual transmissions DO USE automatic transmission fluid. Your problems sound as if the clutch master cylinder is not performing its job effectively. It is working, just not at its prime.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
A Facebook user

wow, ill admit that ive never heard that. okay, USUALLY you never put atf in a manual

Michael McGrail

In older cars, you are correct. GM has been doing it since 1993, Ford since 1996, almost all FWD cars are that way. Most trucks and some RWD cars still use gear oil.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
A Facebook user

ill keep that in mind, thanks

Charlie Denbigh

Above was mentioned the Clutch Master Cylinder, you should also check the Clutch Slave Cylinder. The Clutch Slave Cylinder is found on the side of the Trans housing, look for excesive play or wear, also check for full travel

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Paul Dunne

Thanx Michael, thanx all. I had a new '85 laser that a mechanic recommended I put ATF in for this same reason! This is why I asked. Jst checking to see if it was still practiced.. If the gears were not syncromeshed anylonger I would have expected them to grind, but the car is 5 yo! The Nulon additive did not make any difference. A mate suggested I check out the master cylinder. Cant seem to find one unless it's the power steering as well.. It's low but asymptomatic for steering.. I'm thinking that the prob may be premature wear of the syncro because of the high rev's when clutching.. If I wait until the rev's drop (1-2 sec) the gears mesh no prob?? Paul

Paul Dunne

Thanx Charlie you have jst answered my ?

Michael McGrail

The clutch master cylinder is usually located on the driver side firewall reletively close to the pedal assemblies ( it is where you put the clutch fluid in). As the other user stated in may be the slave cylinder as well, although the slave cylinder will usually leak when it is going out. I truely doubt you are having any trouble with the syncro.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Paul Dunne

Thanx for your advice michael! I'm hoping it's not the syncro.. I'll drop it to the mechanic when able and have him sus out the master & slave cylinders. Recommended gear oil is SAE 75W90. The slave cylinder for the car services both brakes and Clutch, Motorcraft Super DOT 4

Paul Dunne

Just as an addit, I have recently had the brake pads and rotors all replaced and the Brake/Clutch fluid flushed so if the Master cylinder were a prob wouldn't it be fixed? The 3rd gear clashed fairly long ago..

Michael McGrail

I have never heard of the brakes and clutch sharing anything on any car. That is a first for me, but I generally only work on GM vehicles. Nonetheless, flushing the system would not correct the problem. When the valve starts going out in the slave cylinder or clutch master cylinder, they do not allow the pressure to build as needed for the clutch to work properly. Let us know back when you have corrected the problem.

Jared Hoag

Sounds like synchros to me, clutch won't cause gear clash, unless synchros are shot, it is possible a dragging clutch will cause synchros to wear prematurely, usually the symptom of a dragging clutch will be very notchy shifting, where it will take a good amount of effort to get it into gear. Having said that, a draggin clutch will not allow the revs to remain high, it will drag the engine down faster. I think your hanging revs is a different issue, and if I recall FOrd had a problem with that not too long ago on the Zetec. best way to check for a dragging clutch is to start your enigne, put the clutch pedal in, leave the car in neutral, go into any gear, and then pull it back out. Wait 2 or 3 seconds, then attempt to put it into the same gear again. If it slides right in, your clutch is not draggin. If it feels notchy, or like you're shifting from one gear to another (it holds you back for a second then allows you to go in), then tyr it again. If it does that 3 or 4 times in a row, your clutch is dragging. Another option is to fill your transmission with RedLine Brand MT90 gear oil. Great stuff, and might help your synchros, but ultimately, your transmission is worn. Also, yes, the brake and clutch master cylinder share the same reservoir.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Michael McGrail

A clutch that is not properly disengauging would cause gear clash. I agree with the high rev, that is a seperate issue. I can see the two sharing the same resevior... On that note, when they flushed the brake lines they may have got air into the clutch side causing the clutch master cylinder or slave cylinder not to work correctly.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Adam Morgan

Yes... I'm not sure about the people who are saying that improper clutch function wouldn't cause the grinding your mentioning... I don't think they've ever had a cable drawn clutch and had to adjust it.


hello there! - newbie to all this i'm afraid! just bought a 2000 focus and have the same prob with the revs not dropping quickly enough and a horrible 2nd to 3rd shift! - quite often pause for a second between the two to let the revs drop for a smoother change. Also have a quiet grinding noise when the clutch is depressed! - could that be a thrust bearing prob? ps. - car ran fine a few weeks ago when i bought it, - drove from austin to houston and now it all seems to be going down hillllllll.... thanks in advance for any ideas! andrew

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
David Hambleton

to the best of my knowledge , hydraulic clutches are self adjusting. the reservoir on most cars work the brakes and the clutch. the over rev on some fords has not changed as can be seen on my 2013 fiesta. I can live with it but it makes it terribly hard to do a smooth gear change. vehicle manufacturers must all think that we are going to snuff out at traffic lights or on hills. if you have gears that are grinding or not meshing correctly, I have found that removal and internal inspection of the gear box can usually identify the problem.

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