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What's that weird burning smell? Getting screwed by FoMoCo for a defective clutch!

This is a discussion on What's that weird burning smell? Getting screwed by FoMoCo for a defective clutch! within the Focus RS TroubleShooting forums, part of the Focus RS Garage category; Hmm this has me worried. I notice my car is smelly after I pull it into the garage sometimes after I've been getting on it. ...

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Thread: What's that weird burning smell? Getting screwed by FoMoCo for a defective clutch!

  1. #21
    RS Master rrPower's Avatar
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    Hmm this has me worried. I notice my car is smelly after I pull it into the garage sometimes after I've been getting on it. Driving roads aren't great around here, so it's only a few hard shifts/brake events at a time, but having never owned a true performance car before (or any new car from mile zero for that matter), I chalked it up to all the grippier friction compounds from the performance application, so nbd.

    Now I'm questioning all that. In unfortunately can't 100 percent rule out driver mod, as I've only got about 70k miles under my belt on a manual, but by a twist of fate, when my Mazda died, they had to drop the engine/transmission, so I got a sneak peek of my clutch after 65k miles of my usage habits. Everything looked uniform to me and there was certainly quite a bit of friction material left, without knowing what it looked like originally I'd have to guess it was about half way through its life. In my mind I shifted that car hard but not "abusively".

    My shift habits were basically this (and I've continued with the RS):
    -I never flat foot shift
    -I never ride the clutch (have a dead pedal for a reason)
    -I was usually heavy-ish on the throttle on takeoff, but the whole clutch event lasts about a second (this has actually changed a bit with the RS, as I've grown lazy and taken advantage of it's takeoff assist, so I typically apply little to no throttle at all on takeoff in the RS)
    -up shift events are probably "street-aggressive", but not "race-aggressive". I never wait for the revs to drop to the value appropriate for the next gear; as soon as the lever is in the next position I am getting back on the throttle/off the clutch. Whole thing takes about a second total (with a third to a half of that being clutch reengagement), and revs fall smoothly from the old gear to new with no stutters or hang-ups as the revs fall. In my mind this is aggressive, but still proper and not abusive by any means.
    -down shifts are always double clutched, and include heel-toe if necessary. I still don't always get the rev matching right, but I'm fairly proficient and tend to over rev rather than under rev my throttle blips as I perceive that to be better for the clutch. Clutch re-enagement is snappy but not abrupt, probably about a third of a second to reengage.

    So thoughts - driver mod or should I be taking this thing in to get looked at? If you answer driver mod, I've given you plenty of ammo so please point to a specific poor habit if you think there is one.
    cheeRS likes this.
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  2. #22
    RS Senior Member SurfCfl's Avatar
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    @FocusynRS here is my Ford customer service case number from when I had a similar issue. CAS-11643232

    Let me know if I can be of any more help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slider View Post
    I would throw a fit for sure if this happened to me.

    Can they not take the data the RDU collects to show that you weren't beating on the car?
    Not sure about that one, however I did ask if launch control data was recorded, and he said yes. I then told him that I had never used LC and he basically agreed with me. I then asked him if he looked at the tires for any signs of abuse, and he also agreed that the tires looked fine.
    SurfCfl likes this.

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  5. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by SurfCfl View Post
    @FocusynRS here is my Ford customer service case number from when I had a similar issue. CAS-11643232

    Let me know if I can be of any more help.
    Thanks man! I will be sure to refer to this when I talk to them and start sending some emails.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rrPower View Post
    Hmm this has me worried. I notice my car is smelly after I pull it into the garage sometimes after I've been getting on it. Driving roads aren't great around here, so it's only a few hard shifts/brake events at a time, but having never owned a true performance car before (or any new car from mile zero for that matter), I chalked it up to all the grippier friction compounds from the performance application, so nbd.

    Now I'm questioning all that. In unfortunately can't 100 percent rule out driver mod, as I've only got about 70k miles under my belt on a manual, but by a twist of fate, when my Mazda died, they had to drop the engine/transmission, so I got a sneak peek of my clutch after 65k miles of my usage habits. Everything looked uniform to me and there was certainly quite a bit of friction material left, without knowing what it looked like originally I'd have to guess it was about half way through its life. In my mind I shifted that car hard but not "abusively".

    My shift habits were basically this (and I've continued with the RS):
    -I never flat foot shift
    -I never ride the clutch (have a dead pedal for a reason)
    -I was usually heavy-ish on the throttle on takeoff, but the whole clutch event lasts about a second (this has actually changed a bit with the RS, as I've grown lazy and taken advantage of it's takeoff assist, so I typically apply little to no throttle at all on takeoff in the RS)
    -up shift events are probably "street-aggressive", but not "race-aggressive". I never wait for the revs to drop to the value appropriate for the next gear; as soon as the lever is in the next position I am getting back on the throttle/off the clutch. Whole thing takes about a second total (with a third to a half of that being clutch reengagement), and revs fall smoothly from the old gear to new with no stutters or hang-ups as the revs fall. In my mind this is aggressive, but still proper and not abusive by any means.
    -down shifts are always double clutched, and include heel-toe if necessary. I still don't always get the rev matching right, but I'm fairly proficient and tend to over rev rather than under rev my throttle blips as I perceive that to be better for the clutch. Clutch re-enagement is snappy but not abrupt, probably about a third of a second to reengage.

    So thoughts - driver mod or should I be taking this thing in to get looked at? If you answer driver mod, I've given you plenty of ammo so please point to a specific poor habit if you think there is one.
    It sounds like most of the things you are doing are beyond what the average driver would do, which IMO is a good thing and should save on clutch wear.

    If you can easily reproduce these smells by hard driving, then I think it is worth taking it in.
    boksburgboy likes this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NitroBlueFTW View Post
    Smells like Victory!
    I've only actually used launch control a handful of times..


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  8. #27
    RS Master rrPower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FocusynRS View Post
    It sounds like most of the things you are doing are beyond what the average driver would do, which IMO is a good thing and should save on clutch wear.

    If you can easily reproduce these smells by hard driving, then I think it is worth taking it in.
    Thanks for the reply, I'm thinking the same thing just need to find a time to get it in.

    Also sorry to hear about your issue. My immediate (selfish) reaction after reading your post was to worry about my own car, but I seriously hope Ford steps up and does the right thing for you.

    While I might lack tens of years of driving experience, I did manage to successfully get a new clutch under warranty for my buddy's Jetta GLI after only 20k miles - it was a huge uphill battle with the warranty department, but eventually we won so stick to your guns and hopefully things will work out. Of course part of the pressure plate was actually broken in that case, and somehow they "didn't notice", but still, I've got hope for your situation.
    On order: FW RS2 with Forged Wheels

  9. #28
    RS Senior Member SurfCfl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rrPower View Post
    Hmm this has me worried. I notice my car is smelly after I pull it into the garage sometimes after I've been getting on it. Driving roads aren't great around here, so it's only a few hard shifts/brake events at a time, but having never owned a true performance car before (or any new car from mile zero for that matter), I chalked it up to all the grippier friction compounds from the performance application, so nbd.

    Now I'm questioning all that. In unfortunately can't 100 percent rule out driver mod, as I've only got about 70k miles under my belt on a manual, but by a twist of fate, when my Mazda died, they had to drop the engine/transmission, so I got a sneak peek of my clutch after 65k miles of my usage habits. Everything looked uniform to me and there was certainly quite a bit of friction material left, without knowing what it looked like originally I'd have to guess it was about half way through its life. In my mind I shifted that car hard but not "abusively".

    My shift habits were basically this (and I've continued with the RS):
    -I never flat foot shift
    -I never ride the clutch (have a dead pedal for a reason)
    -I was usually heavy-ish on the throttle on takeoff, but the whole clutch event lasts about a second (this has actually changed a bit with the RS, as I've grown lazy and taken advantage of it's takeoff assist, so I typically apply little to no throttle at all on takeoff in the RS)
    -up shift events are probably "street-aggressive", but not "race-aggressive". I never wait for the revs to drop to the value appropriate for the next gear; as soon as the lever is in the next position I am getting back on the throttle/off the clutch. Whole thing takes about a second total (with a third to a half of that being clutch reengagement), and revs fall smoothly from the old gear to new with no stutters or hang-ups as the revs fall. In my mind this is aggressive, but still proper and not abusive by any means.
    -down shifts are always double clutched, and include heel-toe if necessary. I still don't always get the rev matching right, but I'm fairly proficient and tend to over rev rather than under rev my throttle blips as I perceive that to be better for the clutch. Clutch re-enagement is snappy but not abrupt, probably about a third of a second to reengage.

    So thoughts - driver mod or should I be taking this thing in to get looked at? If you answer driver mod, I've given you plenty of ammo so please point to a specific poor habit if you think there is one.
    From reading this thread you probably know I had the same issue as the OP. So I'm familiar with the smell in question. The RS will make other smells that are similar to the burnt clutch smell but noticeably different. You're probably smelling the rear brakes. I've found that the rear brakes stink really bad after breaking at high speeds. Next time your RS is stinking up the garage, bend down and smell the rear wheels. I think you'll find the source of that stink.

  10. #29
    RS Master rrPower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SurfCfl View Post
    From reading this thread you probably know I had the same issue as the OP. So I'm familiar with the smell in question. The RS will make other smells that are similar to the burnt clutch smell but noticeably different. You're probably smelling the rear brakes. I've found that the rear brakes stink really bad after breaking at high speeds. Next time your RS is stinking up the garage, bend down and smell the rear wheels. I think you'll find the source of that stink.
    Ahh thanks that's super helpful, I'll take a sniff next time I try to replicate it.

    I suppose I do owe myself a bit more effort into isolating the source of the smell before I bring it in.
    SurfCfl likes this.
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  11. #30
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    I have the same clutch smell after backing into my garage. 1300 miles.

    Next time I drive it, I'll make sure it's not the brake pads.

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