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65 KA 5th gear at 30mph?


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Hi there,

I've recently purchased a KA zetec 65 plate at 22000 miles. I'm still within my warranty so just looking for some advice before it ends.

The car itself feels fine however the gear shift indicator is wanting 5th at around 32 mph.

I'm a relatively new driver so unsure if this is common in the KA? Once i get up to around 70mph i'm sitting at 3000+rmp which seems high. Its as though the car is wanting another gear. So i'm just after some info on whether this is common in the KA or if i need to take it in to be looked at?

As a rough estimate this is when i have to gear change: 1st 0-5mph. 2nd 5mph-10mph. 3rd 10mph-20mph. 4th 20mph-30mph. 5th 30mph+

The changes seem quick and then if i need to slow down to go around a corner i'm having to box gear from 5th -2nd which surely cant be right?!

Any help at all would be much appreciated, thank you!


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Personally I'd ignore the gear shift light. 5th gear at under 40mph seems wrong. 
I have a 2017 Fiesta 1.0l turbo and I never put it into 5th under 40mph as the car would labour and not have enough revs to keep it going. 
I use what I was taught years ago as a guide for shifting. 
1st gear upto 10mph, 2nd to 20mph, 3rd for 20-30mph, 4th for 30-40mph (depending on road type and hills) and 5th for 40 and above. 
3000rpm is about normal at 70mph for a 5 speed box. 
You can also listen to the engine sound as a guide to when to change gear. 
I'm sure many people here like me learned to drive way before rev counters and gear change icons were standard on cars. 

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Ignore the green light, it is at best useless and at worst dangerous to the engine as it causes it to labour at an rpm too low for the gear..


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Yes, I agree with Nick, 3,000 @ 70 would be about right for this type of car. It's basically a Fiat 500 under the skin.

(Edit: Found an old road test. This confirms the Ka does 22.1mph per 1,000rpm in 5th gear, so at 70mph it would be doing 3167rpm.)

Shift lights are not much use, though some seem better than others. Mine was suggesting I change up from 2nd to 5th the other day just as I was starting to climb a 1 in 4 hill! 

You can  block shift from 5th to 2nd provided you have slowed the car with the brake to a suitable speed at which it will safely accept 2nd - around 20mph, as Nick suggests. Better to stick to 3rd or 4th for driving in 30mph limits though, and use 5th on the open road.

Personally in both my own car and my wife's SEAT Mii (which has similar performance to your Ka) I drive in 3rd in 30 limits and 4th in a 40, it's easier to control your speed in a lower gear and avoid creeping over the limit.

Basically it's just a matter of getting used to the sound and feel of a particular car, which will come as you build your experience.





Edited by Eric Bloodaxe
Extra sentence on mph per 1,000 rpm
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  • 2 years later...

I’ve got a 2013 KA edge, and I’ve taken it on the motorway for the first time today. When I got it the gearbox had to be changed due to the mileage it had on it (70,000). When I do 70 my car sits at around 4000 revs and when I get past 65 mph my car beeps at me to shift up. At this point I’m already in fifth and only have five gears so I’m not quite sure where it wants me to shift up to?

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I would suspect that the replacement gearbox is the wrong specification for your engine. The gear ratios are too low causing the revs to be excessive.  I imagine your MPG is quite poor.

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23 minutes ago, unofix said:

I would suspect that the replacement gearbox is the wrong specification for your engine. 

As earlier post in this thread revs at indicated 70 should be around 3100-3200 so either the ratios are wrong or there is clutch slip.

This is the Fiat 500 based Ka so wonder if they slipped in a different used box from a Fiat or even Abarth version?

It sounds as if the car is only recently purchased so I'd be inclined to raise it with the seller.

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