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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, as the title says i'm in need of a driver mod. Figure what better place to upgrade than here...

I'm a bit inactive/lurker as of late since I haven't really modded my car yet but this may change now that I have an excuse.

Some Background:

I'm 32, learned to drive stick on a ford ranger 4 cylinder pickup at 15, drove my college girlfriends stick mustang a bit my freshman/sophomore year and then largely forgot, because both times i was relatively disinterested in manuals since neither car had any real get up and go. I daily'd a 98 ford mustang (automatic) for almost 15 years and so when I got the ST I was self teaching, watching videos, hanging out with friends and family that could drive stick and thought I got a pretty good feel for it.

That being said, the clutch is now slipping at 43K miles (i bought it used at 33K). So either I'm being incredibly hard on it; teaching myself and my wife to drive stick has been really hard on it; or the previous owner was hard on it. In my experience my dad's clutches in all his trucks growing up never had an issue or a replacement. We had an F-350 for a decade and the ranger for nearly the same time.

I'm trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong. Am i riding the clutch too much? 1st gear is either an immediate 7 mph or it dies (has been since I got it) and so when in heavy traffic (everyday) I tend to ride the clutch in when coasting a few feet in stop and go, because if i fully engage in 1st im going to rear-end someone. Higher gears I have missed and revved in neutral twice but never got over 6K RPM before letting off the gas.

I cannot vouch for my wife's solo driving, but right before the clutch started slipping she told me my car and her had come toe an agreement, they hate each other and refuse to talk (this has been a little over a month now). I'm not blaming her (because let's be honest i'm not that stupid) but there may be a connection for the less faint of heart.

All this being said, what can i do to drive better? How should I approach stop and go traffic without wearing the clutch so much? Is handbrake Hill start worth learning in a vehicle that has hill start assist? When rowing gears on a on ramp should I be very purposeful about making sure the clutch is fully engaged before pressing gas, or is there a feathering that works here to ensure a smooth transition? I've never launched my car, however when it was new I liked the second gear wheel chirp so took it pretty hard a lot. Is this part of the problem? How can I avoid doing this in the future?

Thanks for any and all advice. Also, looking for a clutch and probably flywheel (trying to talk the wife into a south-bend stage 2 with an Mfactory LSD and Mountune RMM) My shop told me they could do all of those for labor cost of $825 (I think that's pretty good). If you have any advice or discounts on hardware and labor i'll take it too!
 

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2017 Ford Fusion Sport
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Hi all, as the title says i'm in need of a driver mod. Figure what better place to upgrade than here...

I'm a bit inactive/lurker as of late since I haven't really modded my car yet but this may change now that I have an excuse.

Some Background:

I'm 32, learned to drive stick on a ford ranger 4 cylinder pickup at 15, drove my college girlfriends stick mustang a bit my freshman/sophomore year and then largely forgot, because both times i was relatively disinterested in manuals since neither car had any real get up and go. I daily'd a 98 ford mustang (automatic) for almost 15 years and so when I got the ST I was self teaching, watching videos, hanging out with friends and family that could drive stick and thought I got a pretty good feel for it.

That being said, the clutch is now slipping at 43K miles (i bought it used at 33K). So either I'm being incredibly hard on it; teaching myself and my wife to drive stick has been really hard on it; or the previous owner was hard on it. In my experience my dad's clutches in all his trucks growing up never had an issue or a replacement. We had an F-350 for a decade and the ranger for nearly the same time.

I'm trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong. Am i riding the clutch too much? 1st gear is either an immediate 7 mph or it dies (has been since I got it) and so when in heavy traffic (everyday) I tend to ride the clutch in when coasting a few feet in stop and go, because if i fully engage in 1st im going to rear-end someone. Higher gears I have missed and revved in neutral twice but never got over 6K RPM before letting off the gas.

I cannot vouch for my wife's solo driving, but right before the clutch started slipping she told me my car and her had come toe an agreement, they hate each other and refuse to talk (this has been a little over a month now). I'm not blaming her (because let's be honest i'm not that stupid) but there may be a connection for the less faint of heart.

All this being said, what can i do to drive better? How should I approach stop and go traffic without wearing the clutch so much? Is handbrake Hill start worth learning in a vehicle that has hill start assist? When rowing gears on a on ramp should I be very purposeful about making sure the clutch is fully engaged before pressing gas, or is there a feathering that works here to ensure a smooth transition? I've never launched my car, however when it was new I liked the second gear wheel chirp so took it pretty hard a lot. Is this part of the problem? How can I avoid doing this in the future?

Thanks for any and all advice. Also, looking for a clutch and probably flywheel (trying to talk the wife into a south-bend stage 2 with an Mfactory LSD and Mountune RMM) My shop told me they could do all of those for labor cost of $825 (I think that's pretty good). If you have any advice or discounts on hardware and labor i'll take it too!
I'll start by saying it shouldn't be dying already...but if it is then either you ride it constantly, she rides it constantly, or the previous owner did something stupid like attempted a burnout and burned the hell out of the clutch instead...which I've seen plenty of times. In stop and go traffic behind school busses every single morning how I handle it is...if the traffic isn't coming to a complete stop then I leave it in 1st and it "crawls" by itself without any gas at all at 6 mph and will NOT stall unless you hit the brakes. I'll leave a few car lengths between me and the person in front of me. If it is traffic which stops often then I'll simply come up behind the person, put it into neutral and sit there holding the brake until we move again to save my left leg from getting tired. If not, then I'll hold the clutch in the whole time and leave it in gear. Once it's time to inch forward I give it like 1400rpm of gas and let it out just enough to get it going and then I either drift 6mph again or I push it back in and coast. No use in using the clutch if you aren't going anywhere. Riding it in order to go under 6mph is way less efficient than just letting it out a second and coasting a few feet then letting it out a little more. Teach yourself not to ride it. If it really is going and you're positive (google how to test clutch failure) then it'll need replaced. That's inevitable.

Edit: As far as your wife, get in with her on the weekend and watch her. That's literally my advice lol. My girlfriend has been taught but I would never expect her to know how to properly describe the procedure of how she does it, I'd rather just watch her. Does she rest her foot on the clutch pedal? Do you? This hurts clutches. Only touch the pedal when you are shifting. Does she ride it a long time? My one friend drove my car last year right after I first got it..she rode the clutch from the stop light almost a quarter mile and goes "wow it's so smooth I just now had to let the clutch out the rest of the way" and I was like WHAT??!

OH AND HERE IS A BIG ONE I FORGOT: Do you still have your clutch support spring? Some people take it out...which means the clutch is slightly sagging/resting and "engaging" and will wear it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I still have the clutch support spring installed. There were some funky things going on with the car when i bought it though, so i have no real idea as to how hard it was driven. Tires were almost entirely bald at around 30k and the fog lights looked as if they had shorted, the problem wasn't identified and then someone cam in with scissors and gnawed off both sides of the wire to the passenger side fog light. It was cut once at the "Y" at the driver side and again at the passenger side but both cuts looked like a kid with plastic scissors tried to do it.

As for resting on the clutch I stay off of it when stopped, unless its fully depressed and i'm in first about to go. I'll let it ride in first at 6 and see if it cuts out on me again it did once when i first got it but I haven't had the faith to try again. It shakes pretty hard when dragging down to 6 mph though like the idle is going to die. I'll check at lunch. Sounds like I just need to be ok with not riding bumpers and just allow for some space. The only time i ride it is at start for about 2 seconds or less or when in dense traffic trying to feather when we are tight like i described. Seems patience would go a long way.

As for my opinion on the clutch slipping: it is doing two things, first wide open throttle in third and up (and now second as of yesterday) is causing RPM to increase quickly with little to no acceleration for about three seconds. RPMs then go back to "normal" when it catches and speed increases. Secondly, when WOT and engaged in a gear or switching there can be a high pitched vibration that lasts for about 1/2 a second when it starts to slip. One of my colleagues said he had never heard that before in a bad clutch but all other symptoms point to a clutch issue.

The weird part is that there is no burning clutch smell, fluids look topped off and fine, not oil leakage from what I can tell but I have not taken the belly pan off. I thought maybe it was a tension pulley or belt but that doesn't make a lot of sense does it? is there anything else that would fit some of these symptoms?
 

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2017 Ford Fusion Sport
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I still have the clutch support spring installed. There were some funky things going on with the car when i bought it though, so i have no real idea as to how hard it was driven. Tires were almost entirely bald at around 30k and the fog lights looked as if they had shorted, the problem wasn't identified and then someone cam in with scissors and gnawed off both sides of the wire to the passenger side fog light. It was cut once at the "Y" at the driver side and again at the passenger side but both cuts looked like a kid with plastic scissors tried to do it.

As for resting on the clutch I stay off of it when stopped, unless its fully depressed and i'm in first about to go. I'll let it ride in first at 6 and see if it cuts out on me again it did once when i first got it but I haven't had the faith to try again. It shakes pretty hard when dragging down to 6 mph though like the idle is going to die. I'll check at lunch. Sounds like I just need to be ok with not riding bumpers and just allow for some space. The only time i ride it is at start for about 2 seconds or less or when in dense traffic trying to feather when we are tight like i described. Seems patience would go a long way.

As for my opinion on the clutch slipping: it is doing two things, first wide open throttle in third and up (and now second as of yesterday) is causing RPM to increase quickly with little to no acceleration for about three seconds. RPMs then go back to "normal" when it catches and speed increases. Secondly, when WOT and engaged in a gear or switching there can be a high pitched vibration that lasts for about 1/2 a second when it starts to slip. One of my colleagues said he had never heard that before in a bad clutch but all other symptoms point to a clutch issue.

The weird part is that there is no burning clutch smell, fluids look topped off and fine, not oil leakage from what I can tell but I have not taken the belly pan off. I thought maybe it was a tension pulley or belt but that doesn't make a lot of sense does it? is there anything else that would fit some of these symptoms?
@Duece McCracken you're pretty versed in this area man, you got any idea to help him out? It sounds odd...and definitely sounds like the clutch is damaged, but something else might be causing it.
 

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In stop and go traffic, I'll give very little gas and then release the clutch pedal then let go of the accelerator pedal. The car will roll on it's own. I don't care to get cut off by other drivers, I don't tailgate because I don't want to constantly have to abruptly stop after starting to roll.

Seems to me, you're very conscious of how to NOT abuse your clutch. 10k miles driving with your way of thinking, I think it's either your girlfriend who unintentionally damaged the clutch or the previous owner. Sorry you have to pay to get that fixed so early in your ST ownership.
 
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Sadly my experience has been that first gear total engagement crawling is 5 mph, I've had very little trouble in stop-and-go traffic, as I generally wait and give myself a large birth before I begin to move the vehicle and if people want to cut me off I just deal with it that's the price I have to pay for having a manual transmission in this day and age.

Given your description, I suspect the previous owner abused the clutch.
 

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Sounds like clutch abuse from previous owner. OEM clutch is good to about 400 ft/lbs wh/trq, and practically 100k miles.

I didnt smoke one with all my mods and terrible driving habits.

Like previously mentioned, you need to co-pilot and find out wtf is going on.

Besides that, maybe you can find a local ST owner to do a ride with, and make sure you are legit as well.

Third party over the internet diagnosing is always my least favorite.
 
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@Mithosi, I'm in the OKC area if you want to meet up and take my '16 ST2 for a spin and compare. I'm only at 9,500 miles on mine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the input guys, Trapster i sent you a private message. Put an order in for a SouthBend Clutch with an Mfactory LSD and Mountune RMM. So begins the build! looking to move to FMIC and Accesport by Mountune (bundle) as soon as i get the clutch broken in. Anything else I should consider on the long list (probably won't go big turbo). Does catless downpipe actually increase gains? what else would boost WHP?
 

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Mithosi, I am a little confused. It says "need driver mod", does that mean you need to fix the nut behind the wheel?
Your background said, <<so when I got the ST I was self teaching, watching videos, hanging out with friends and family that could drive stick and thought I got a pretty good feel for it.>>
If you are that unfamiliar, or at least you think so, my suggestion is, do what you need to do to keep the car in good running shape. Like Deuce said, the stock clutch should be good for 100k, and at what $200, not very expensive to replace, yeah if someone does it for you its an $800 job, but there you go.
I then suggest you go to a driving school, where you use your own car, heck, just go to a couple of local autox events ($50), anyone there would be glad to help, and point out things you are doing wrong, if any. Have your wife go too. Its really fun. Everyone wants to go all out and race their car, Track Day Track Day Track Day. Yeah, anyway, see what your car can do pushed to the limits at 40mph, and how you handle it. You would be hard pressed to do anything to your car. Wrecking is not going to happen. You might hit a cone, as a matter of fact, you will hit a cone, that's ok. You will learn to go slow is to go fast, and the footwork involved.
 
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