dajoh_99

Mk7.5 Stiff Gearbox and Intermittent Cruise Control Fault

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Hi everyone,

I have a 63 reg 1.0 Ecoboost (125ps) Titanium petrol manual which I bought less than a month ago. The gearbox seemed absolutely fine when I test drove it but since collecting the vehicle after purchase it has never been quite right and is always stiff.

I took it to a local trusted garage for a vehicle health check and they recommended a few different repairs including a leaking Osf driveshaft seal which is currently leaking some gearbox oil. After my test drive and before collection, the dealership had an oil and filter service done so not sure if this was messed around with and not put back together correctly which caused the tear in the seal and as a result the stiffness of the gearbox due to the leaking oil?

Another theory is that the gear linkages need some lubrication and this is what was advised by the garage who work for the dealership after I took it back to the dealer complaining of the stiff gears. However, when sat stationary the gearbox feels much smoother and it is easy to shift between gears with both the clutch in and out. This is the case with the engine on, off, cold or warm. If it were the linkages I would assume that the stiffness would be there ALL the time, including when stationary.

This is what has lead me to believe there could be a fault with the clutch, as the stiffness can only be felt when driving. The box is particularly stiff shifting into 1st 2nd and 3rd when on the move, not as bad for 4th and 5th but still not perfect. Could it be that the clutch is not disengaging correctly?

My local garage reckoned that the clutch felt heavy but the dealerships garage said it was fine. Personally I'm not sure - it's a little heavy in traffic but not too unmanageable so maybe this is just what it's like. Can't remember for sure how the clutch compares to when I test drove it but I know for sure that the gears are stiffer.

Something else that I have only noticed in the past few days is that the cruise control will randomly disengage when active, maybe 1/10 of using it. It disengages in the same way that it would if any of the pedals are touched but my feet have been well away. Not sure if this is potentially linked to possible clutch issues, as the sensors might be picking up movement that shouldnt be there. A couple of times it has engaged but not to the speed that I was currently travelling at and has slowed to around 5mph less then remained constant.

I have a 12 month warranty which should cover the driveshaft seal leak and the other small repairs. Hopefully the cruise as well if there is an unrelated fault with it. However clutch won't be covered - was told by the dealer's garage that clutch was fine to them but I'm not convinced. I'd have a good level of comeback to the dealership as I notified them of the issues within a week of owning the vehicle and so was likely sold with the faults already there. Maybe they don't want to look at clutch right now when dealership might have to fork out for it and will just leave it until its too long after to expect them to get involved.

In any case, car is booked in for a weeks time at the dealerships garage to get seal and other repairs done and they said they would also lubricate gearbox. Worried that this will not fix the issue - just want the car to feel how it did on test drive!

Any advice about whether my clutch theory is sensible and any alternative diagnoses for the box or cruise would be much appreciated.

Finally I'm hesitant about continuing to drive the car in the meantime as I don't want to be doing further damage to the transmission. Any thoughts on this?

Many thanks, David

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If the garage has not asked you not to drive it, I would think it safe to do so. Takes three mechanics two minutes  on a ramp to test a clutch. One works the pedal. One holds a front wheel still and the third tries to spin the other front wheel which should spin freely. If not, the clutch is dragging. Often the result of a hydraulic fault which requires the gearbox to come off unfortunately.

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Thanks Tom for the reply. I will insist that they check this when I take it back. Two mechanics took it out for a drive when I was there the other day and they claimed that the gears didn't feel overly stiff to them and they had no trouble selecting any gears. Sure, you can physically move between and select all gears but it is by no means smooth or slick. I know it was perfect on the test drive and having driven other fiestas I have an idea of the 'benchmark' - the smoothness of the box is what sold me on getting a fiesta. Plus, there is a definite noticeable difference when sat stationary moving through the gears compared to when driving so not sure how they can say there is no real issue...

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It occurs to me that the driveshaft oil seal leak may have caused the gearbox oil level to fall enough to starve the internal selectors. I would have the level checked first. It is not done at service  so, as you don't know how long it has been leaking...

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Thanks, will ensure this is checked also. How easy is it to top up the level? I've read in some places that the tank is sealed and is supposed to last the lifetime of the car.

If it is down on oil am I potentially causing excess wear on the transmission by driving it?

Cheers

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Hard to tell if you cannot verify the level but it has a filler ( or how would you fill it in the first place?)

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Thanks Tom for your replies so far, they have been very helpful. If the stiffness is due to the oil leak, would it not also be noticeable when sat stationary as well as on the move?

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No because the gear selectors are not trying to move rotating parts under load. Don't over think this. Correct the thing that you know is wrong then observe the result.

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Thanks for explaining. I'm a car maintenance newbie so trying to learn as much as I can to avoid being ripped off at a garage. Fingers crossed the new seal and top up of oil will fix it when I take it in next week.

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Most garages are honest businesses, They are costly because it isn't a cheap business to operate. Tens of thousands in tooling, premises for Motor trade use are costly, insurance is expensive, legal and environmental compliance is onerous and firmly policed and the work is hard and heavy, dirty, regularly cold and wet, and often potentially dangerous. You never stop learning and modern cars are very complicated. You need to know about metals, engines  lubricants, glues, paints, sealants,plastics, filters gearboxes, braking systems, and an extensive range of computerised equipment that you will be expected to diagnose correctly in order to earn a living and a hundred things besides. Doing the job three times because you didn't get it right in the first place is not going to keep you in business.  If you want to learn about cars, learn how to do much of the work yourself rather than to avoid being ripped off but if you weren't a petrolhead by age six and took your bike to the shop to be fixed then you are too late so find a local garage with a good reputation (ask friends and colleagues,) and accept that these people are professionals and have a duty to their business to charge enough to stay in business. You'll often hear "They aren't the cheapest, but they do a good job." it is true, You can have three kinds of jobs done on a car: cheap jobs, good jobs and quick jobs but only any two of three.

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Just to update the thread on what happened - got driveshaft seal fixed and gearbox oil topped up. Garage also lubricated the gear linkages. The gearbox is better than it was and is quite slick between the gears but is still rather notchy when putting into the gears themselves. Guess this is just what it's like - anyone else feel the same about gearboxes on Fiesta EcoBoosts?

Cruise control fault is still present and radio buttons on other side of steering wheel have started playing up too. I think it's probably poor contacts so will spray all buttons with contact cleaner.

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