I have a 2001 ford focus. It is a manual shift. It seems like during low rpm operation, below 2000 the speedometer will jump up to 40 to 50 and then go back down. Once you get above 2000 it seems to do alright. None of the other gauges move and when it does this it seems like it cuts out or loses power for a second. The only thing that has changed recently was a new batter was put in the car.
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Sounds like you have a bad seal in your transmission. Its not terribly hard to fix, but unfortunately it is time consuming because the transmission must be removed. If you have the DOHC (Zetec) engine then it might be worth fixing. If you have the SOHC engine...don't bother. Sell it for parts; a good SOHC engine can fetch as much as $1,200.
I HAD A FORD FOCUS AND THE PROBLEM WAS A MANIFOLD VACCUM LEAK AT THE HOSE THAT CONNECTS PCV VALVE TO INTAKE MANIFOLD. THIS HOSE CAN GET SATURATED WITH OIL AND COLLAPSE AND TEAR CAUSING A NO IDLE AND SHAKING CONDITION. IF THE CAR IS AN AUTOMATIC IT WILL HAVE TROUBLE SHIFTING BECAUSE OF INCORRECT RPM SIGNAL TO TRANS. CONTROL. ALL IS DUE TO VACCUM LEAK. ONE WAY TO FIND LEAK IS TO USE A SOLUTION OF DISH DETERGENT AND WATER IN A SPRAY BOTTLE AND SPRAY AREA AROUND AND BELOW THROTTLE BODY BELOW AIR CLEANER ASSY. ALSO LOOK FOR HOSE THAT ATTACHES AT MANIFOLD BELOW THROTTLE BODY AND BRANCHES OFF TO PCV VALVE SHOULD BE A "T" GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!!
there was a 10 year unlimited mileage warranty on 2000 focus for this issue, but not sure if 2001 was included. The internal filters in the fuel pump clog and starve the pump. New stlye filters went into prodction but not sure if all of 2001 had the new design.
Check the exhaust manifold gasket. I have a 2003 SVT Focus I had a problem with it loping at low RPMs. I had a free flow exhaust system. When I bought a new exhaust manifold I replaced the gasket and the problem went away.