In recent weeks we seem to have had a run of cars with clutch problems, that have been brought into our garage Pellon-Autocentre, here in Halifax UK. I think that most garages will have these runs of cars with different problems, sometimes it may be brake problems, and sometimes we have a run of exhaust pipes dropping of. This particular time it has been clutch
Yesterday was no exception? Sure enough first thing in the morning an AA transporter turned up on the forecourt with a silver car strapped to the back. The car was accompanied by an old customer of ours and when his Focus was unloaded he came into the reception to explain what had happened.
He told us that he had recently been working away down in the south of England. While he was away he had started to have problems with his clutch. He told us that one morning he was driving to work from his accommodation and called in for some diesel. When he arrived back at the car, the biting point of the clutch was very close to the car floor and the rest of the pedal was very sloppy and loose.
He managed to drive the car to his job, (he is a builder for an housing association, who own properties all over the UK, the head office is here in Halifax and he sometimes has to work away to help sort problems out), although he was having great difficulty selecting his gears. When he first bought the Focus about 18 months earlier he was told that the car had recently been fitted with a new clutch, and this was one of the reasons that he had bought the car, it appeared to be in good condition.
He called out a local garage that topped up the slave cylinder and also told him that the clutch pedals on these Fords have a black plastic hinge type thing attached to it, which is what pushes the master cylinder in. This hinge is attached to the pedal by a metal rod. The hinge is held in by a clip and it is this clip that can come off causing the problem. This was sorted out by the garage and for a few days all appeared to be well with the Focus.
Ford Focus driver could smell clutch fluid?
He noticed a slight smell coming from the cars cab, but he did not know what it was, it was apparently clutch fluid that had leaked from his previous problem. The guy told us that after the
garage reportedly had sorted the Ford Focus 1.6 TDCi problem out then the car gear change was still a bit lumpy. After the job was complete the guy decided to risk it and drive the car back home to the North via the M1.
He decided to call in at the services for something to eat and a rest. On his return to the car, he found that once again the clutch pedal was down to the floor pan of the car, but unlike before there was no bite at all on the clutch. His company had provided their staff with AA breakdown cover, for their employees who travelled away to work, and so the guy promptly called the AA out to the services.
The AA man inspected the cars clutch cylinder to check the level, but soon noticed that the cylinder was empty of fluid. He said that the Ford was susceptible to these type of problems and diagnosed a broken master cylinder. There was nothing that he could do as far as road side assistance, and so he proceeded to load the car onto the back of his transporter in order to take the car to the garage of his choice, which was our garage in Halifax.
When proceeded to put the car on lift, and found that clutch fluid was seeping out at the bottom of the clutch housing through one of the vent holes that are there to alloy dust and dirt to evacuate the housing. We diagnosed the problem as a master cylinder failure and reported back to the customer, who by this time had borrowed one of our courtesy cars and gone back to work somewhere here in Yorkshire.
We removed the Ford Focus gearbox and clutch housing to reveal yet more problems?
The engine was dropped and the gearbox removed and then the Ford Clutch housing was separated to reveal the clutch assembly. We found that the hydraulic cylinder bearing had in fact got a broken seal and needed replacing. Then we found that although the Focus diesel should have been fitted with a duel mass flywheel, it had been converted to a solid single
flywheel, with a normal type clutch plate and to make matters worse, both were damaged. The flywheel was broken and the clutch plate was worn out, and also needed replacing.
We phoned the customer on his mobile and he was not very pleased to say the least, he had expected the clutch to last him more than the 18 months that it had lasted since he bought the car. The old parts were saved for the customer to look at as we always do. Another small problem also occurred? We had some difficulty matching a new single clutch plate with a new solid flywheel, as the old one was a cheap clutch plate and had no part numbers on to match a new one.
With the help of the motor factors we were able find the correct parts and rebuilt the whole assembly. The car works fine now and the customer went away highly delighted, after his initial shock.
The diesel Ford Focus can be converted to a solid single clutch system
When the customer had left I looked at some Ford forums about the conversion to a single clutch assembly and the general consensus is that it is fine to do it. In fact Ford transits can be converted by using genuine Ford parts. That is made especially for these conversions. Also I have heard that many taxi companies convert their taxis to the single clutch system.
For more Ford Focus clutch problems… http://www.rac.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?3124-2001-1-8-Ford-Focus-clutch-issues&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_campaign=car_insurance&WT_tsrc=Affiliate&WT_mc_id=Affiliate_Skimbit
Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre offer car and van servicing and repairs to all makes of vehicles. We are members of Unipart Car Care centres and give a nationwide guarantee for all our work and parts. We also sell Economy Car tyres online from our website www.pellonautocentre.com by using the tyre selector and choosing your tyre size. We offer courtesy cars to local motorists who need to go to work and leave their car with us for work doing. We are also an official MOT testing station and are members of Motor-codes, who carry out checks for high standard of equipment and workmanship.