Ford PowerShift transmission

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The Ford PowerShift was a beleaguered six-speed dual clutch semi-automatic transmission produced by the Ford Motor Company.[1] The Ford PowerShift gearboxes were built by Getrag Ford Transmissions, a joint-venture with Getrag.[2] PowerShift improves fuel efficiency by as much as 10 percent when compared to a conventional automatic transmission.[1]

The operation of a dual clutch transmission is analogous to two traditional manual transmissions, each with its own clutch, operating in parallel and alternating shifts. The Ford unit is a six-speed with one clutch acting on first, third and fifth gears, and the other used for second, fourth, sixth, and reverse gears. As first gear is engaged, the 2-4-6-R clutch is disengaged and the second gear cogs are engaged. At the appropriate time, the 1-3-5 clutch is disengaged and the 2-4-6-R clutch is engaged. While in second gear, the other side shifts from first to third. The process is repeated with none of the efficiency loss normally associated with torque converters and, in theory, provides quick smooth shifts.

The PowerShift gearbox was developed jointly by Ford, Getrag, and Luk and was first introduced in Europe. Other manufacturers of dual-clutch transmissions such as Volkswagen and Volvo use wet-clutch technology.[3][4] However, the new PowerShift gearbox used in the Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus used dry clutches and electric motor/solenoid actuation.[2] The transmission proved problematic even before it was released, with all installed units exhibiting failure behavior such as slipping or surging during launches, poor shift quality, and uncommanded shifts into neutral resulting in loss of power. Investigations have revealed that Ford's engineers and management were aware of the transmission problems before and after launching, and knew that the transmission was not capable of achieving an acceptable operation, yet chose to release the transmission anyway. Production workers have stated that cars with this transmission exhibited problems on their first drive off of the production line.[5]

Applications[edit]

Ford

Faulty operation[edit]

Ford has faced class action lawsuits and fraud investigations in the United States,[7] Australia[8] and Canada[9] over the PowerShift gearbox as being defective and potentially dangerous in the Ford Focus, Ford Fiesta and Ford EcoSport. The lawsuits allege that vehicles equipped with the PowerShift gearbox "continue to experience the transmission defect, including, but not limited to, bucking, kicking, jerking, harsh engagement, and delayed acceleration and lurching." U.S. courts tentatively approved a settlement of the U.S. lawsuit on April 25, 2017.[10]\

Ford has claimed that the defects were caused by either a faulty throw out bearing or input shaft and rear main seals that leak fluid onto the clutch causing it to slip. Ford has released fixes of the seals and updated clutch kits, but transmissions that have been repaired are still having repeated issues. There were also issues with the Transmission Control Module such as faulty connector pins, shifter motors failing, and a poorly connected main ground wire due to paint on threads or an incorrect bolt being used during assembly. These transmissions were still installed into Focus and Fiesta until Ford ceased production of them.

However, subsequent journalistic investigations conducted after the Focus and Fiesta models were discontinued has revealed that Ford engineers and executives were aware of the problems before and after release of it, with developmental engineers even stating in company e-mails that there was "no driveable calibration" of the transmission, and with pre-production test engineers having to pull over out of traffic due to the transmission shifting into neutral. However, Ford has repeatedly denied systematic problems even to their own dealerships, instead directing them to replace the transmission over and over even though it was never truly fixed.[5]

Ford Thailand agreed to buy back about 200 Ford Fiesta and Focus models with faulty PowerShift transmissions.[11] Ford Brazil extended the warranty of the transmission to 10 years or 240.000km. Ford USA extended the warranty of the transmission to 7 years or 100,000 miles depending on the model year of the vehicle. Ford Australia has had a $AU10,000,000 fine imposed on it by the Australian Federal Court for unconscionable conduct relating to the transmission problems and poor handling of customer complaints[12] Ford is now under a US Department of Justice fraud inquiry to determine if the company was aware of a defect that it knew to be unrepairable, or if it may have misled customers and safety regulators.[13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Verve, Focus, Kuka featured at 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show, 2007-09-10.
  2. ^ a b Ford starts production of six-speed dual clutch PowerShift transmission, 2010-03-29
  3. ^ Volvo's answer to DSG goes by the name PowerShift, 2008-01-11
  4. ^ Ford officially announces dual clutch PowerShift gearbox for 2010, 2009-01-21
  5. ^ a b Ford workers break their silence on faulty transmissions: 'Everybody knew', 2019-12-05
  6. ^ Ford Fiesta Fordvehicles.com
  7. ^ https://topclassactions.com/lawsuit-settlements/lawsuit-news/52510-ford-hit-with-class-action-over-fiesta-focus-transmission-defect/
  8. ^ http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-18/ford-faces-class-action-over-powershift-automatic-transmission/7425098/
  9. ^ https://windsorstar.com/business/local-business/local-woman-joins-class-action-suit-against-ford/
  10. ^ "Consumer Class Action Lawsuit Against Ford | Ford Focus and Fiesta Powershift Transmission Settlement". fordpowershiftlawsuit.com. Retrieved 2017-08-02.
  11. ^ http://www.chiangraitimes.com/ford-thailand-to-agrees-to-buy-back-faulty-focus-and-fiestas.html
  12. ^ https://www.theage.com.au/business/consumer-affairs/ford-ordered-to-pay-10-million-fine-for-unconscionable-conduct-20180426-p4zbrc.html
  13. ^ Ford faces DoJ investigation over Focus, Fiesta transmission problems, 2019-12-05

External links[edit]