Gearchange worry

Car Mechanics (UK) - - Help! -

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.

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