Ford PowerShift transmission

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The Ford PowerShift is a six- or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, produced by the Ford Motor Company.[1] The older Ford PowerShift gearboxes were built by Getrag Ford Transmissions, a joint-venture with Getrag, however it is unknown who exactly makes the newer 7-speed models.[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 reverse, first, third, and fifth gears, and the other used for second, fourth, sixth gears. As the first gear is engaged, the 2-4-6 clutch is disengaged and the second gear cogs are engaged. At the appropriate time, the R-1-3-5 clutch is disengaged and the 2-4-6 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 older 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]

Some versions of the PowerShift transmission, including the 6DCT250 DPS6 version used in the Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus, used dry clutches and electric motor/solenoid actuation.[2]

Applications[edit]

Ford

Ford has since stopped using the PowerShift transmission. Most vehicles which used the PowerShift transmission have either been discontinued or use a different type of transmission in newer models.

Faulty operation[edit]

The use of cheaper, lighter and simpler dry clutch packs in lower-end models of the transmission ultimately led to the demise of the PowerShift name.

The gearboxes with dry clutch packs were used in the Fiesta, Focus and EcoSport. Dry clutches are designed to be used in manual transmissions, and are known to have very peculiar engagement properties, unlike wet (oil-bathed) clutches which are much smoother in operation, and have a higher tolerance for slipping the clutches as they have better heat dissipation. This all makes wet clutches better suited for use in DCTs, and thus Ford experienced problems with models of the transmission which used dry clutch packs.

Ford has faced class-action lawsuits and fraud investigations in the United States,[6] Australia[7] and Canada[8] 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.[9]

Ford has claimed that the defects were caused by either a faulty throwout bearing or input shaft and rear main seals that leak fluid onto the clutch causing it to slip even while supposedly fully engaged. Ford has released fixes of the seals and updated clutch kits, but transmissions that have been repaired are still having repeated issues.[citation needed] 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 introduced newer models to replace them.

However, subsequent journalistic investigations conducted after the Focus and Fiesta models were succeeded, has revealed that Ford engineers and executives were aware of the problems before and after the 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. These were mainly caused by the clutch pack overheating, and the control module instructing clutches to disengage in order to prevent further damage; however faulty control modules may also exhibit such behaviour. However, Ford has repeatedly denied systemic problems even to their own dealerships, instead directing them to replace the transmission over and over even though it was never truly fixed.[10]

Ford Thailand agreed to buy back about 200 Ford Fiesta and Focus models with faulty PowerShift transmissions.[11][unreliable source] Ford Brazil extended the warranty of the transmission to 10 years or 240.000 km. 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[when?] under a US Department of Justice fraud inquiry to determine if the company was aware of a defect that it knew to be irreparable, 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. ^ Ford Fiesta Fordvehicles.com
  6. ^ "Ford Hit with Class Action over Fiesta, Focus Transmission Defect". 25 March 2015.
  7. ^ "Ford faces class action over potentially dangerous transmission". ABC News. 18 May 2016.
  8. ^ "Local woman joins class-action suit against Ford".
  9. ^ "Consumer Class Action Lawsuit Against Ford | Ford Focus and Fiesta Powershift Transmission Settlement". fordpowershiftlawsuit.com. Retrieved 2017-08-02.
  10. ^ Ford workers break their silence on faulty transmissions: 'Everybody knew', 2019-12-05
  11. ^ "Home - Chiang Rai Times - CTN News". 23 February 2022.
  12. ^ "Ford ordered to pay $10 million fine for 'unconscionable conduct'". 26 April 2018.
  13. ^ Ford faces DoJ investigation over Focus, Fiesta transmission problems, 2019-12-05

External links[edit]