Four months ago, I bought a Ford Focus 1.6 diesel with 49,000 miles from a large secondhand car sales company. It has a couple of problems, the first being that the starter motor is playing up – the RAC agrees with me, but the company cannot find a fault. The other problem is that I'm sometimes unable to change down from third to second. There is no noise, but it feels as if the gear lever is pressed against a solid bar. Once again, the garage where I bought the vehicle say they cannot find a problem and can only suggest that I push fully down on the clutch. My thought on this problem is that the linkages could be the cause. John Whitlam
I would agree that it is most likely the adjustment of the gearchange cables that is the cause of the poor selection from third to second. The fact that you have no problems selecting gear when moving off or during other changes rules out the problem being due to clutch operation.
You do not mention the year of your Focus, but given that it had 49,000 miles on it, I am assuming it is a post-2010 model. There were two gearboxes fitted to this model – either the MTX75 or the B5/IB5. Although the gearchange rods are in different positions, the adjustment procedure is the same for both: ensure the gearlever is centralised, then locate the adjustment tab on the selector cable at the gearbox end; on the MTX75, this will be at the rear of the gearbox, and on the B5/IB5 it will be located under a cover at the front of the gearbox. Pull up the tab to release the lock on the cable and manually select fourth gear using the external lever on the gearbox. After removing the gearlever gate inside the vehicle, place the gearlever into the fourth gear position and lock it in place by using a 4mm rod (a drillbit will do the job) in the cut-out and aperture on the gear selector. Now the adjustment tab can be pushed back into position, locking the cable in place. The gear selection should now be set. As you have just recently bought the vehicle and this problem has been present since you have owned it, I would expect the supplying garage to carry out this work for you.
There is also the possibility that the gearbox or gearchange cables are worn, but this is rare and I would expect this to affect all changes of gear.