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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had my car for a few months now and something I have noticed over that time is how different shifting from 1st to 2nd is compared to going through the rest of the gears. Not that there is a mechanical issue like difficulty putting it into gear or anything, but I just struggle with finding that sweet spot with the clutch with that shift. To me it just feels like it bites at a different point than the rest of the gears and that's what throws me off, it just ends up being a very jerky shift. Has anyone else experienced this? I remember coming across a YouTube video about a mod that apparently made the shifting more linear, maybe that is what the guy was referring to in that video but I cannot seem to find it again.
 

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I've had my car for a few months now and something I have noticed over that time is how different shifting from 1st to 2nd is compared to going through the rest of the gears. Not that there is a mechanical issue like difficulty putting it into gear or anything, but I just struggle with finding that sweet spot with the clutch with that shift. To me it just feels like it bites at a different point than the rest of the gears and that's what throws me off, it just ends up being a very jerky shift. Has anyone else experienced this? I remember coming across a YouTube video about a mod that apparently made the shifting more linear, maybe that is what the guy was referring to in that video but I cannot seem to find it again.
Well people like replacing the clutch pedal spring for a softer one, which lightens the pedal. Also switching to a SS braided clutch line lightens the pedal too, thats if Ford is still putting that crappy inline restriction in the OEM softline.

Personally I kept the OEM spring and changed everything else, lol. The SS braided line was a noticeable difference and left my clutch buttery smooth and easy to depress. This was on an aftermarket clutch and LWFW though,and I have every shifter mod possible, plus a few tricks, and upgraded synchros with an LSD. So I have a little bit of a different set-up then what you are working with. Lmao
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well people like replacing the clutch pedal spring for a softer one, which lightens the pedal. Also switching to a SS braided clutch line lightens the pedal too, thats if Ford is still putting that crappy inline restriction in the OEM softline.

Personally I kept the OEM spring and changed everything else, lol. The SS braided line was a noticeable difference and left my clutch buttery smooth and easy to depress. This was on an aftermarket clutch and LWFW though,and I have every shifter mod possible, plus a few tricks, and upgraded synchros with an LSD. So I have a little bit of a different set-up then what you are working with. Lmao
Hmm. I wouldn't say the pedal is heavy or anything, it is not difficult in anyway to depress, it is extremely easy. By "lighten the pedal" do you mean reduce the force of the push-back when letting out the clutch? That might be more in-line with what I'm experiencing. I can easily depress the clutch, easily shift from 1st into 2nd, but when letting out the clutch I cannot seem to get it to re-engage smoothly. To me, it seems that sweet spot in which it re-engages with that 1st-2nd shift is at a different point in the clutch pedal travel than the other shifts. Maybe it is pushing back harder, I don't know. But that inconsistency is what throws me off and causes me to produce a hard shift. As if I'm in a different car for that particular shift, trying to gauge how sensitive the clutch let-out is. To compare, my '09 Escape is a 5-speed manual and I do not have that same discrepancy, every shift feels consistent.
 

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Hmm. I wouldn't say the pedal is heavy or anything, it is not difficult in anyway to depress, it is extremely easy. By "lighten the pedal" do you mean reduce the force of the push-back when letting out the clutch? That might be more in-line with what I'm experiencing. I can easily depress the clutch, easily shift from 1st into 2nd, but when letting out the clutch I cannot seem to get it to re-engage smoothly. To me, it seems that sweet spot in which it re-engages with that 1st-2nd shift is at a different point in the clutch pedal travel than the other shifts. Maybe it is pushing back harder, I don't know. But that inconsistency is what throws me off and causes me to produce a hard shift. As if I'm in a different car for that particular shift, trying to gauge how sensitive the clutch let-out is. To compare, my '09 Escape is a 5-speed manual and I do not have that same discrepancy, every shift feels consistent.
Yeah the clutch spring is what moves the pedal back, and moves the attached master cylinder piston. The Clutch MC has no spring for return, the clutch pedal spring is also the MC return spring, which has a weird pivot spot that changes speed kinda fast. That could be what you are dealing with. Steeda sells a spring on a perch as an assembly, it is easy to swap, and may help you out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah the clutch spring is what moves the pedal back, and moves the attached master cylinder piston. The Clutch MC has no spring for return, the clutch pedal spring is also the MC return spring, which has a weird pivot spot that changes speed kinda fast. That could be what you are dealing with. Steeda sells a spring on a perch as an assembly, it is easy to swap, and may help you out.
I'll check that out, thanks.

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Well people like replacing the clutch pedal spring for a softer one, which lightens the pedal. Also switching to a SS braided clutch line lightens the pedal too, thats if Ford is still putting that crappy inline restriction in the OEM softline.

Personally I kept the OEM spring and changed everything else, lol. The SS braided line was a noticeable difference and left my clutch buttery smooth and easy to depress. This was on an aftermarket clutch and LWFW though,and I have every shifter mod possible, plus a few tricks, and upgraded synchros with an LSD. So I have a little bit of a different set-up then what you are working with. Lmao
Duece, how difficult was that SS Braided clutch line install? what vendor sells it?
 

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Surprised this hasnt been said yet. Personally (and I think generally?) first many miles on my ST involved awkward shifting. You just notice it more in the lower gears. I installed the Steeda replacement clutch spring, really truly made a noticeable different, but more towards finding the grab point easier. I might be biased but I am pretty sure I have gotten good at smoothly driving the Focus ST over time, just takes time, your experience sounds perfectly normal to me anyways. One other thought do not be afraid to run first gear up to 5000rpm, I know it seems high but probably the smoothest place to shift from first, I find anyhow.

In general my point is I am pretty sure the pros agree the Focus ST is a bet of an odd ball manual that takes adjusting.
 

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Duece, how difficult was that SS Braided clutch line install? what vendor sells it?
I think it was JPC that makes it. Its an easy install. Just make sure to retrieve all the o-rings and other seals from the OEM fittings. Also dont lose any of the locking wire keeper guys from the quick fittings. I missed an oem seal and it was a **** show, lol.

If you sort through my build thread I think I have better information there.
 
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One other thought do not be afraid to run first gear up to 5000rpm, I know it seems high but probably the smoothest place to shift from first, I find anyhow.
I semi-agree with this. I've been shifting 1-2 and 2-3 around 2000rpms strictly for fuel economy (I do almost all city driving) but that 1-2 is hard to find the bite point like the OP states. I recently discovered if I shift 1-2 up around 3500rpms it is much smoother but I hate doing it because of fuel economy so I've just been practicing more down at the 2k mark and just trying to get smoother at it.

Also, I'll have to check out the steeda spring/perch assy. I'm not so much interested in the clutch return feel but my OEM spring squeaks like no other haha. I've sprayed a dry graphite lubricant on it twice now but after 1000 miles the squeak comes back!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I semi-agree with this. I've been shifting 1-2 and 2-3 around 2000rpms strictly for fuel economy (I do almost all city driving) but that 1-2 is hard to find the bite point like the OP states. I recently discovered if I shift 1-2 up around 3500rpms it is much smoother but I hate doing it because of fuel economy so I've just been practicing more down at the 2k mark and just trying to get smoother at it.

Also, I'll have to check out the steeda spring/perch assy. I'm not so much interested in the clutch return feel but my OEM spring squeaks like no other haha. I've sprayed a dry graphite lubricant on it twice now but after 1000 miles the squeak comes back!
I just ordered the spring (without the perch) from Steeda. The spring and perch assembly is $85 when the spring is only $20 so I figured since it is not my daily driver, I would take my chances with just changing the spring and be careful with the perch when doing so. The perch included is the factory perch so there is no upside quality-wise, they've just included it to help prevent breaking the perch if you are only changing the spring. Unlike you, most of my driving is highway so I'm not really making that 1st-2nd shift often and therefore it always seems foreign to me, I never get a chance to get used to it. On top of that my Focus is not my daily driver, my manual Escape is. So I'm having to re-adjust to the Focus shifting in general, and especially that 1st-2nd shift. I have noticed that squeak as well but it hasn't really bothered me at all, very subtle. I'll lubricate it when I replace the spring but like I said, it doesn't really bother me much. Maybe your's is more pronounced, then I can see it being rather annoying.
 

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I just ordered the spring (without the perch) from Steeda. The spring and perch assembly is $85 when the spring is only $20 so I figured since it is not my daily driver, I would take my chances with just changing the spring and be careful with the perch when doing so. The perch included is the factory perch so there is no upside quality-wise, they've just included it to help prevent breaking the perch if you are only changing the spring. Unlike you, most of my driving is highway so I'm not really making that 1st-2nd shift often and therefore it always seems foreign to me, I never get a chance to get used to it. On top of that my Focus is not my daily driver, my manual Escape is. So I'm having to re-adjust to the Focus shifting in general, and especially that 1st-2nd shift. I have noticed that squeak as well but it hasn't really bothered me at all, very subtle. I'll lubricate it when I replace the spring but like I said, it doesn't really bother me much. Maybe your's is more pronounced, then I can see it being rather annoying.
Oh yes, it's very annoying. And since I drive mostly city I'm constantly in and out on the clutch and it annoys the crap out of me haha. I would definitely use a dry lube on it, since it's in a dirty/dusty environment down by your feet you don't want something oily on their making dirt stick to it.
I've gotten fairly good at 1-2 but this is my first manual car (I learned driving off the dealership lot by myself) and I'm at about 4k miles so I'm still perfecting it. I find myself constantly adjusting how I am shifting trying to find the perfect way to do it.

And thank you, I'll check out just the spring since the perch is the same as OEM.
 
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I just installed the clutch soring last week after a year of driving the OEM spring. It is a noticable difference. As others have said finding the bite is much easier. Shifting well is an art and can take months and months to get it smooth. Mechanically, driving manual is the same for every car, but how each car shifts, feels, and drives is different. The clutch spring will help. Note for install: Pull straight up on the perch. It will come apart, just takes some might.
 
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