SVT Focus clutch quandry

Greetings all,

I have a 2002 SVT Ford Focus that I have owned since new. It has a 170 HP twin-cam four-cylinder and a Tremec 6-speed manual transaxle, both unique to the SVT Focus. (SVT is the Special Vehicle Team, Ford’s factory hot rod department.)

At 119,000 miles I finally took it in to have the original clutch replaced. I took it to my regular mechanic, who has been servicing the car for years. They used an OEM kit from Ford, which included the clutch disc, flywheel, throwout bearing, and whatever other hardware was needed.

I picked up the car on Friday. They mentioned the throwout was squeaking at bit. They didn’t know why, but it seemed to be improving pretty quickly. They said if it was still squeaking in a week or so, I should bring it back and they’ll pull the transaxle back out.

Right now, on Sunday evening, the squeak is the least of my concerns.

When I tried to back it out the parking spot the shop, I stalled it. The clutch feel is totally the opposite of the original. From the day I bought it nine years ago, it clutch engagement was smooth as silk. The pedal felt exactly the same from the top of its travel to the floor and back again. Early on I tended to lug it, since I couldn’t feel when the clutch was starting to engage. I chalked that up to driver error.

Now the pedal feels wonky, easy at the top and stiff at the bottom. The pedal pushes up hard, and when the clutch starts to engage, it grabs like a rabid rottweiler. I start to lift my foot and BANG. It’s extremely difficult to modulate. I stalled it several more times over the weekend. I can pull away smoothly if I concentrate on it, but if I rely on instinct, there’s lots of jerking and head bobbing going into first and second. It’s like I never drove a stick shift in my life. It’s embarrassing and potentially hazardous. If the clutch was like this originally I never would have bought the car.

So what the hell went wrong? Is something way out of adjustment? Did they get wrong parts? Did they put something in backwards? Or are all of Ford’s replacement clutches like this?

Sorry for the long rambling question, but from day one I really loved this car. It was exquisitely engineered and a hell of a lot fun to drive. I always imagined I’d put 200K on it, but with a mysterious, intermittent rough-running condition and now this clutch fiasco, I’m seriously thinking about dumping it.

Your advise is very much appreciated.


Take it back. Sounds like something in the throwout bearing/clutch release system is binding up. It could explain the weird squeaks. Also, the mechanic felt something was not quite right, and has offered to pull the transaxle back out to try and fix it. Take him up on his offer, and tell him EVERYTHING you just told us. It really sounds like he wants it to be right for you, so let him try his best.

I must assume it’s the wrong clutch , unless they went to great lenths to get the correct SVT clutch.
It’s not in the Ford dealer parts catalog, only two five speeds listed , no 6 speed Getrag.
In the ford Motorsport catalog the ceramic clutch shown says ‘‘not for SVT’’.
A google search leads to and includes the dual-mass flywheel.

Take it back.
It’s an SVT and is NOT normal.
They or you must make a special effort to get the right parts.

This is an installer problem, not a Ford or Ford replacement parts issue.

What I would be concerned with is the apparent squeaking from the get-go issue and their releasing the car to you with the comment if it was still going on in a week they would pull it back out. My opinion is they should have pulled it right back out then and there before giving the car back to you.

Hopefully this will not degenerate into one of those "well, we got it back apart and found a bad X and now it’s going to cost X extra…"
Clarify this from the start.

Yeah I’d have to agree with the gents here… Something wasn’t right from the get go…with a nice clutch kit like you supplied all should be smooth as silk for your clutch engagement. It also sounds like they either didnt bleed the clutch slave and you have air in the hydraulic line or something mechanical is awry… Did you or they bleed the clutch slave/change the fluid? I’d try that first, but the squeaking is another issue entirely…when doe it squeak or make noise? When you push the clutch in? At idle?

DEFINITELY TAKE IT BACK…they didn’t do the job correctly methinks…as its such a straight forward and easy clutch replacement on this car… Something went awry and they knew this from the get go with their comments. That was the first clue…

MY GOD…if I ever took one of my cars to get a clutch and some service adviser tried to tell me something like this…I’d have a field day with them. They really wouldn’t know what hit em…being a mechanic tho…this is highly unlikely to happen, but man wouldn’t it be fun? LOL

Ok, a ford focus person here.

The engine is not anything that special. They put stronger internals (forged) into the engine and made it have higer compression. They also added a variable intake and a unit that varies the exhaust valves. Have you - its a major improvement over the standard ZETEC, but at its heart - its still a zetec. People steal the headers off these SVT’s for non SVT ZETEC’s all the time. Gives non SVT a good 8-10 horsepower - but mainly from removing the catalyic converter completely from the system.

Get a different head gasket to lower that compression a little, and I see a supercharger in your future. A lucky find of a SVT powerworks mayber? Maybe a turbo - cause those superchargers are hard to come by. 250+ horsepower from a car that small is a heck of a good time. And still getting better than 26MPG average (well, I do a lot of around town…) is also great with these small, 250+ horespower cars.

Good car though. Keep it - it will be a classic one day. Kinda like the mustangs little brother.

Tremec? I havent heard of a TREMEC for a ford focus. Tremec for a mustang - maybe. Getrag MTX-285? MTX75? I think you have a Getrag. Its a nice 6 speed - and I would kill for one. Mainly because there is a helextical limited slip differential AVALIBLE - though I dont believe focus ever came with one. Heck, if this one proves dead - go get one of the Getrag 285’s out of a mini cooper. I am pretty sure they are 2 sensors off of being exactly the same (so be sure to save the sensors from your transmission) - only they come with that limited slip from the factory. It will be like 4 wheel drive in the winter.

Make sure you got your transmission right. Make sure your mechanic got it right as well. I think a mechanic would order correct parts, but wierder stuff has happened.

Other than that - bleed the clutch. Air bubbles make things feel wierd.

Also - check the clutch to make sure there is fluid in the clutch master cylnder resivore. if its empty - there is part of the problem.

Have him bleed the clutch in front of you - then take it for a drive around the block. If that doesnt fix it - all I have to say is “oh noes for you”. Get back with more info.

A straaaange post indeedy my brother… LOL However I do agree with your clutch bleeding…in fact I said the same.

Y’all were right about it being a Getrag. I don’t know how I got the name Tremec in my head. I’ll try and get it back to the shop tomorrow. I guess I knew I had to take it back, I just needed somebody to tell me that.

I thought about a Jackson Racing supercharger back when it was new, but it wasn’t in the budget. I did install a billet aluminum throttle body from Focus Central. Peak horsepower only went up 3 to 5, but it fattened up the torque curve, and made a noticable improvement in throttle response at lower RPM’s.

Thanks a lot for the advice.


Ken Green gave you the best advise…These are low production, high-performance parts…Verify they installed the correct clutch kit…Check the part numbers on their invoice…

Just food for thought but maybe this squeak could be related to a pilot bearing. These are usually not part of a clutch kit but should always be replaced IMO.
Maybe the bearing was jostled a bit much during the stabbing of the transmission back into place and this led to the bearing being disturbed in some way; maybe by shoving or twisting it a bit. A screwed up pilot bearing also cause clutch feel and shifting problems, all depending.

I’m not saying this is the problem; only suggesting the possibility. No matter, the shop should never have called and said it’s ready to go until it was ready to go beyond all doubt.

I test drove a 2004 today and it had a clutch put it 20,000 miles.The clutch was so stiff I almost broke the clutch pedal when I got back in my car.besides that it was a pretty fun little car.

Although I am not familiar with the peculiarities of the clutch in this vehicle the problem is one that I have encountered when there was a miss match of throw out bearings and pressure plates. Does the clutch use a fork to operate the throw out?

A throwout bearing/pressure plate mismatch would definitely cause some major unpleasant issues…esp if the diameter of the throwout bearing was the wrong size for the pressure plate springs…that would be a disaster…but why would any of this be if the OP handed the mechanics a full blown Ford kit? Who knows I guess…Hate to start suspecting the parts involved when a kit was used…HOPE it was the right kit and not one that was “close enough” Jeez… You have to take this back asap and have them really get into the whys of whats going on.


When the clutch kit for an SVT was searched the result was a kit including a flywheel. That throws a whole new question mark into the pile. Also the throw out bearing was attached to a peugeot style slave cylinder that had a flange that appeared to require mounting to the front bearing housing.

BTW, the site seemed to have lost me today but here I am.

I pulled out the receipt from the repair, and it specifies the kit included a new clutch disc, pressure plate, flywheel, bearings and slave cylinder. For bit it seemed like squeak was going away or gone (it can be hard to tell with Dylan cranked up), but this morning on the way to work I was pulling up to a stop sign, stepped on the clutch, and it sounded like I stepped on a cat’s tail. Maybe two or three at once. We’re talkin’ LOUD. It only did that once, but that’s enough. I actually was a little relieved, since the transaxle HAS to come back out, no two ways about it.

Between work and the holiday this week was pretty tight, but I hope to drop it off first thing Monday. In the meantime I’m going to try and get the correct part number from Ford. Then hopefully I can confirm if, as some have suggested, the correct clutch kit is no longer available from Ford. That would mean their supplier either just happened to have an NOS kit on the shelf, or they sent them the wrong kit. I’ll also check out Ken’s lead and see what Focussport has available.

Thanks again for all the help, and I’ll let you know what happens.


Please do…And good luck…