What's that weird burning smell? Getting screwed by FoMoCo for a defective clutch!
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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; Hey now, Long time, first time. I realize this is a hell of a way to introduce myself, but I hope that this post will ...

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

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

    Hey now,

    Long time, first time. I realize this is a hell of a way to introduce myself, but I hope that this post will be helpful in some way to other members who experience similar issues.

    Been driving a stick for over 40 years, modified every car I have ever owned, handy with a wrench and do all of my own maintenance/installs. Still own an MS3 GenWon with many boltons and an Accessport. 85K miles and going strong.

    I purchased my 2017 FW FoRS in late December. Build date of late October. Upon driving home from the dealer, I noticed a very strong burning smell after parking in the garage. I attributed this to cosmoline burning off and plastic parts outgassing, and chalked it up as normal.

    As time went one, the smell diminished, but never went away completely. I always noticed it after driving the car hard. I live near the Santa Cruz mountains, so I would take it out to play every now and then in between the rains we had this winter, but for the most part half of its 3000 miles were highway miles made on a trip out to Arizona.

    Fast forward to two weeks ago. As I pulled into a parking lot, the clutch pedal sinks to the floor and stays there. I was able to pull it up with my foot but notice a bit of a shudder/groaning noise during takeoff, so I take it in to the dealer. They tried bleeding the clutch, which did not resolve the shudder, so the next thought was to replace the slave cylinder. Since they have to drop the tranny in order to access the slave cylinder they find that the clutch is gone. As in exploded gone.

    So, one would think with the vehicle being practically new with only 3000 miles that this would be covered by Ford. No dice. They claim everything was in spec and it will not be covered as it is considered a wear and tear item. They could find no evidence of the slave cylinder leaking.

    Again, I have been driving sticks for over 40 years. Can heel/toe and rev match on downshifts no problem. 85K miles on a highly modified MS3 with original clutch, and all of my previous cars have been manuals with no clutch issues. I don't baby my cars but I don't abuse them either. No hard launches or using launch control ever, just spirited driving.

    Obviously, the burning smell can now be attributed to the accelerated clutch wear. I never noticed the clutch slipping during WOT, otherwise I would have taken it in immediately. I've talked to some knowledgeable people who operate repair shops and they can't make any sense of it either.

    My local dealership has been quite nice through the entire process, and for the last few weeks I have been driving around in a decent loaner. The bombshell is a very expensive repair bill. I'm not sure of the exact total yet, but I expect it will be somewhere north of $3K to replace the clutch and flywheel. The labor on these cars to do something as simple as a clutch is a doozy. I did open a case with Ford, and apparently this is their final decision.

    So I'm just putting this out as a cautionary tale, that if you notice any strange smells emanating from your vehicle after driving it like it was designed to be driven, please take it in to the dealer. I hope you have better luck than I have had.

    BTW, I do love this car. It drives like a dream, and I love the tech, especially coming from a stone-age car like the MS3. Not as fast in a straight line, though, but that can be remedied fairly easily. Just disappointed with FoMoCo for not standing behind their product.

    Here are some pics of the clutch and flywheel.
    Attached Images Attached Images    

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    Sorry, seems like something that should have been covered. The dealer should have fought harder for you.

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    That's crazy. I've seen guys who do nothing but race their cars and the clutch/flywheel didn't look that bad. Clearly there is something going on there. One of the guys at mustang6g had a similar experience. I can't remember for sure, but think he was SOL on ford covering it under warranty. Clutches are tough, because unless there is something obvious, like a crack in the flywheel, manufacturers always seem to go with the wear and tear answer. I agree, @Focus112 , would have been nice if the place where you dropped 40k would have gone to bat for you a little more. All I can suggest is don't give up. Keep asking for the next supervisor in line, you may eventually get someone sympathetic to your cause and get some reimbursement. (You could always ask them to send the parts to Ford for analysis, but not sure that would help with a cooked clutch.)
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    The image of the clutch disc is boggling.

    Why does it look like the rivits that hold on the friction material stand above(proud) the friction material? Maybe it's an illusion caused by the photography.

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    I would think for a clutch to have that much wear in 3000 miles, it must've been slipping slightly all of the time. The heat just killed it. It was probably never fully contacting the flywheel.

    It should be seriously looked at by Ford to at least find out why it died so quickly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NitroBlueFTW View Post
    The image of the clutch disc is boggling.

    Why does it look like the rivits that hold on the friction material stand above(proud) the friction material? Maybe it's an illusion caused by the photography.
    I dont think there is any friction material left... Looks like bare metal

    But then why arent the rivets ground down flush? I agree. Confusing.
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    Boggling, I agree.

    Plus the disc wear doesn't really match the flywheel and pressure plate wear. Unless the photos are misleading.

    I'd get ford to look at those parts.

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    I notice a smell after driving it hard every time. 1300 miles now. I does not smell like the traditional clutch smell but like brakes and something else. Would not even think of bringing it in for this, but reconsidering after reading this post.
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    3300 miles and with a few hard steps on the gas pedal I get a strong smell, I'm getting worried.

    I might take it to the dealer just to get the record open in case of a sudden failure.
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    Nah I wouldn't stress unless your clutch is slipping or feels odd.

    Our cars are stinky. Between the brake vectoring tossing out their dust and our exhaust bits glowing, we build up some interesting odors.

    More so if pulled inside after a drive. At least that's my experience.
    fourZero likes this.

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