News - Ford Focus
Ford Focus hit with drive shaft failures
Broken: Ford’s Focus has been beset with dual-clutch transmission troubles, but now the drive shafts need to be replaced too.
Now drive shaft breakages force Ford to call Focus back to dealers for repairs
24 July 2015
FORD’S current-model Focus small car has hit more turbulence in Australia, this
time with more than 10,000 cars being ordered back to dealership service
workshops to have substandard drive shafts replaced.
According to a Ford Australia letter sent to owners early this month and seen
by GoAuto, Ford has discovered that drive shafts not up to specification could
have been fitted to cars built between May 2013 and January 2014.
Potentially, the shafts can break under aggressive acceleration on take-off.
Although Ford Australia service engineering manager Mark Cruse says in the
letter that the fault could render vehicles immobile, the company has chosen to
remedy the issue through a so-called service program, rather than a public
safety recall involving the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Ford Australia has confirmed to GoAuto that it has reports of vehicles
suffering this drive shaft condition, and has written to the 10,600 owners
asking them make an appointment with their Ford dealership to have it fixed
free of charge.
The drive shaft problem follows accusations from LW-model Focus owners of
widespread problems with Powershift dual-clutch automatic transmissions that
variously shudder, leak oil, fail to select first gear when coming to a stop
and make noises.
Ford Australian communications and public affairs director Wes Sherwood told
GoAuto last month that Ford had released a software update to reprogram the
“adaptive learning strategy for the transmission” on 45,000 Focuses in August
This refers to the transmission electronics that theoretically “learn” the way
a driver typically drives, and sets the transmission control module settings
However, Ford dealers and car owners have reported to GoAuto that the problems
persist with dual-clutch transmissions on petrol Focuses that are fitted with
so-called “dry” clutches as opposed to the oil-bathed “wet” units on diesel
Focuses, and that full clutch replacements are not uncommon.
More than 200 Ford small-car owners have formed a Facebook page to call for
more support from Ford on the problems with both Focus and Fiesta.
Some owners say that despite the software reprogramming and even full
transmission replacement, the problems have returned, sometimes repeatedly.
One owner wrote on an internet forum that their car had been through three
clutches and numerous computer resets.
Another told GoAuto that their 2014 Focus had just been returned from having
its transmission changed when the letter regarding the front drive shaft
replacement arrived, increasing their frustration.
The letter says in part: “It is possible that the front drive shafts fitted to
your vehicle were not manufactured according to our stringent quality standards.
“Shafts that do not meet specification could fail during aggressive
acceleration on take-off and you would lose the ability to accelerate from a
standing start. This would render your vehicle immobile and require towing.
“We want to ensure that you continue to experience trouble-free motoring, so
wish to replace your shafts free of charge.”
The LW Focus was introduced in 2011, but production of most variants was
switched from Europe to Thailand in mid-2012.
Ford is preparing to ditch the troublesome Powershift transmission in its
mid-model facelift Focus LZ due in Australian showrooms in October when it will
revert to a conventional six-speed torque converter-type automatic transmission.
This year, Ford Focus sales are down by more than half, and is now ranked 10th
in the small-car sales rankings.
The company is hoping the mid-life facelift will rekindle buyer interest in
Focus in the fourth quarter.
Further excitement will be generated by the arrival of the hot 257kW Focus RS
hatch from Europe in the first half of 2016.
Share with your friends
Motor industry news
GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.
All Ford models
Research cars by brand