If you don't know, manual-swapping a third-generation Ford Focus is generally a good move. The automatic transmission installed in the car from the factory—actually a dual-clutch—is best at ensuring boats remain stationary, and little else. It's bad. This fact occurred to Reddit user "Desroad" and his friend "purpsoli," the former of whom currently owns the car. Their solution was a relatively straightforward manual swap, however when they were done, they decided to leave the automatic shifter in place. Or at least, the aesthetic parts of it.
Instead of ordering new components to make the swap look clean as a whistle, the duo left the automatic shifter, shifter boot, and surround in place. The mechanism was replaced by a manual shift linkage of course. The result speaks for itself. It's a manual Focus with an automatic shifter. Yes, that actually works.
The 2013 Focus Platinum was purchased by Desroad, and he put 120,000 kilometers on the car—he's Canadian—before he had enough of the infamous "Powershift" dual-clutch. "The driving feel is what a lot of people say, it studders and hesitates a lot on the 1st and 2nd gear," he told me. "I describe it like if it was someone who doesn't know how to drive manual is controlling my transmission."
The studdering and hesitation he's referring to are a result of design defects, defects bad enough for every single Focus equipped with the transmission to be the subject of multiple lawsuits. Desroad claims the car only left him stranded once, but he said he regretted buying the automatic Focus and decided to get the parts together to complete a manual swap. "We began the project in August (collecting all the parts needed from u-pull it yards and ordering some online), and actually did it in October, it's still not 100% finished, but I use the car daily."
The swap itself went very well. As Desroad points out, even automatic Focuses already have most of the stuff needed to accommodate the manual transmission, including a hole in the floor for a clutch pedal. "Overall in difficulty I'd give it a 6.5/10, I pretty much had nothing to cut or modify, except to add 2 wires to the PCM harness for the clutch pedal and reverse. Everything else is bolt-on."
It all came together in little over a week, but as the project came to a close, a realization was had. The automatic knob actually fit roughly over the manual shift mechanism. With little massaging, the entire setup worked. Desroad liked it so much that he decided to keep it. In a nutshell, he was surprised it was so easy and "found it funny looking." A good a reason as any.
You can see in the clip that the shifter gets pretty close to the sides of the boot during operation, but it all works smoothly despite this. So if you plan to manual swap a third-generation Focus anytime soon, save yourself the trouble of buying new interior parts. The automatic ones will do just fine, the internet will like it, and God forbid anyone tries to steal your car they won't have any idea what to do.
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