SureTrack Community Fix: Shift Your Focus

Real Fixes from Mitchell 1’s SureTrack® expert information resource are documented issues from actual shop repair orders and community discussions. Read on to see how SureTrack can help you correct issues that are not easily diagnosed using OEM information alone. SureTrack is available at no additional cost in our ProDemand product.

Nothing ruins your day more than hopping in your car to go somewhere and you just can’t get it in gear. SureTrack community member bighaic had a 2003 Ford Focus that wouldn’t go into gear when running. They posed the question to the community, and with the help of fellow community member powerstroketech and others, they were able to resolve the issue quickly.

The following Community Fix summarizes the interaction between members of the community that led to the solution.

2003 Ford Focus LX 2.3L

Manual transmission won’t go into gear when engine is running, replaced clutch.

Customer states that transmission will not go into gear while running.

Diagnostic Steps Performed/Parts Replaced
Checked operation of manual transmission and it will not go into gear while running. It will shift into every gear except reverse when not running. Can’t get it into reverse at all, running or not. Checked fluid level and it is correct. Pulled rubber boot off slave cylinder and could see the clutch slave cylinder moving the forks on the pressure plate. It feels like it has a clutch but won’t go into any gear. I am wondering if I have a clutch and/or transmission problem.

Best Answer from Community Member powerstroketech
You should absolutely be able to get the transmission to shift into reverse with the engine off. If I remember correctly you must pull upward on the shifter in order to get this transmission into reverse. So, there could be something in the shifter mechanism not allowing reverse engagement. It definitely sounds like you have a clutch issue, but the clutch issue has nothing to do with no reverse engagement with the engine off.

Removed the clutch and found the springs in the clutch disc broken.

Replaced clutch and vehicle is operating as it should.

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About the Author

Nick Taylor

Nick Taylor is the SureTrack Community Administrator and a Senior Applications Specialist at Mitchell 1 with over 25 years of experience with electronic repair data systems. Nick previously worked in the automotive dismantling and engine rebuilding industries.