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2001 Ford Focus Brake and transmission problem

Could my brake issue be related to my transmission problem? Neither are constant. Brake problem= sometimes the brake pedal feels hard, like there’s no power brakes (I drove a car once. …looong time ago. … that had no power brakes or steering) but it will kick in after a short distance. Transmission prob= seemingly unrelated, is a problem shifting from 1st to 2nd gear. This has happened maybe a 1/2 dozen times, the first time and mostly when in heavy commute traffic and when going between 1st and 2nd gear because of the slow commute speed, but also at other times when not in lengthy slow commutes. When it doesn’t shift, the odometer doesn’t work (shows only dashes) and an engine light comes on (the sprocket/gear looking one). Usually the transmission will eventually shift and the light goes off.

I read that the brake problem might be a vacuum hose problem? Something about a booster? Is this dangerous? or is it like having a car w/ no power brakes?

Going to have my transmission looked at this week. Read on another site about dropping valve seats on this year car. If there’s a major transmission problem, I’m wondering if it’s worth fixing? I just put $2k into it, timing belt, water pump, front and rears brakes, tires. Please advise! Thx! ps. 143,000 miles.

No power brake brake assist can be caused by a faulty vacume brake booster (sits behind the master cylinder), or a vacume leak in the system such as a faulty hose, etc. You will still have brakes but they will be without the assist and will require much more effort. This could be a problem in a panic situation so you should have it looked at. You can always go with a used booster instead of a new one.

The trans problem I think is separate. Some cars use a modulator valve which is vacume operated to shift but don’t know if yours does or not. But the fact that the speedometer goes blank at the same times suggests that it might be the vehicle speed sensor that is failing or has a bad connection. You have been having the trans fluid changed on a regular basis right? Every 30K. A pan drop not a flush.

Others will be along that know more about it, but I think you have stops at a couple different shops in your future.