Updated: Jan 1
This article relates to both Ford Powershift DCT450 MPS6 and DCT250 DPS6 gearboxes that suffer from various issues. If you are reading this, then you have probably seen the dreaded dashboard message, " Transmission Limited Function". This article answers, what is Ford Powershift? Powershift transmissions and their faults as well as repair options for the Ford Powershift and Volvo models.
What Is Ford Powershift?
The Powershift transmission was designed and developed by Getrag transmissions, now known as Magna PT. This particular model of the dual clutch gearbox is used by four different manufacturers which included Ford, Volvo, Dodge and Chrysler.
In the Ford and Volvo applications of this transmission, the unit is commonly referred to as Powershift.
For those who have not heard of a dual clutch transmission before, the concept is pretty simple. A manual gearbox has one clutch, which is connected to an input shaft that goes into the gearbox. When this single clutch is disengaged you disconnect the power from the engine to the gearbox, this allows you to change to the desired gear.
With a dual clutch transmission, one clutch controls the engagement of odd gears and the other clutch controls the even gears. This is achieved by having one input shaft inside another.
The main benefit of this design is that is allows you to have one gear engaged, say 1st, and also have 2nd gear engaged but with the clutch open. This means the time between switching gears can happen extremely fast as it only requires one clutch to open and the other engage.
Powershift Transmissions | Variations
Powershift transmissions are split into two main systems:
Wet Clutch, including - 6DCT450 - MPS6. Fitted to all models with engines 2000cc and over.
Dry Clutch, including - 6DCT250 - DPS6. Generally fitted to all models with engines under 2000cc.
The 6DCT450 wet clutch system and the 6DCT250 dry clutch system are the two most common models on the UK market.
So what's the difference?
The 6DCT250 dry clutch system uses a conventional style dry clutch that you would see on a normal manual car. The clutch unit comprises of two friction discs each connected to one of the input shafts, which each control either the odd gear or even gears.
Compared to the 6DCT250 system, the wet clutch Powershift gearbox uses an automatic transmission style clutch setup. This consists of several friction and steel discs combined together in a stack. Each clutch, which are referred to as K1 & K2 in this setup up, are submerged in oil, which is the same fluid as used by the rest of the gearbox. It is for this reason that it is crucial that a full system strip down, clean and rebuild is required including mechatronic unit.
Powershift Fault | General Symptoms
Harsh/Banging Into 1st & Reverse Gear.
Delayed Selection of 1st & Reverse Gear.
Clutch Slipping/ Vehicle Speed Not Increasing On Acceleration.
Jolting Motion On Gear Changes.
Transmission Malfunction Service Now Warning Light On Dashboard.
Please note you may experience some, but not all of the listed faults depending on the level of damage internally.
Ford Powershift Problems | 6DCT450
Requires strip down of transmission, clean and replacement of clutch.
Clutch failure is the most common issue we deal with on this version of the Powershift transmission. It can be caused by a few different issues, from general wear and tear, oil contamination or faulty mechatronic operation.
As mentioned previously, the clutches are referred to as K1 and K2 on this particular design, just like an automatic transmission.
As the K1 & K2 clutches break down, as well as the torsion springs & plastic retainers, the loose debris circulates through the box. Some of this is caught by the magnet and two filters. However, as we have consistently seen, some of the material makes its way into the mechatronic unit.
This is why the transmission must be fully stripped, cleaned and reconditioned as the debris will damage the delicate components within the mechatronic unit.
When the clutch pack is wearing down, the driver will experience rough gear changes and a banging, when selecting 1st or reverse, or sometimes in the higher gears.
If the driver continues to use their vehicle when the clutches and torsion dampening springs have worn down, it can result in damage to the clutch drum housing. The picture below shows were the torsion springs have worn or broken and dug into the housing of the clutch assembly. This component cannot be repaired or bought separately and requires a new complete clutch/drum unit, which increases the cost of repairs.
Pictured below is the broken torsion dampening spring that wears down and eventually breaks, resulting in clutch drum damage. This can be avoided by having your Powershift gearbox repaired at the early stages of wear, when the gear change issues are mild, and the engagement knock/bang is light. This is one of the most common issues we see with the Ford/Volo Powershift transmission.
Although it is possible for the mechatronic on the 6DCT450 unit to fail independently, we find that almost every time this unit experiences issues when the clutch pack has worn down and releases excessive debris into the gearbox.
It is vital to check for debris when replacing this item as we have seen units last less than 1500 miles and then need replacing again due to not repairing the primary issue. Shift solenoid D performance - stuck on/off is a very common fault code, this can also be shown multiple times with different letters for the different solenoids.
When repairing your Powershift gearbox, we would always recommend fully stripping the transmission and replacing the clutch as the debris from the unit will drastically reduce the lifespan of any other components replaced.
Below is a picture of a control valve which sits inside the mechatronic unit. As you can see it is heavily scored which will cause it to stick or jam inside the valve body. When this happens you will notice erratic transmission behaviour, such as, delayed gear changes, harsh bang when selecting drive or reverse and complete loss of drive.
Requires strip down of transmission, clean and replacement of bearings.
This isn't a fault we see very often but one that is easy to diagnose. The input shaft bearing on some Powershift transmissions wear down prematurely compared to the others within the unit. This fault manifests itself into and audible whine when driving in certain gears and then spools down when the opposing gear shaft is selected. We have found replacing this bearing independently has no negative effects on the reliability of the rest of the transmission, however a visual inspection of the clutch pack is always recommended with the Powershift gearbox.
Selector Fork Wear:
Requires strip down of transmission, clean and replacement selector fork.
This issue doesn't appear to often but can cause loss of gears, normally 3rd and 4th. It is usually accompanied by a fault code that notes the transmission has lost or does not know the position of the selector at fault. This fault can sometimes be prevented by inspecting the selector when the transmission is being stripped for other rectification work.
Ford Powershift Problems | 6DCT250
Requires strip down of transmission, clean and replacement of clutch.
This is issue is very common, not only because this is essentially the same as a manual clutch and will have an average lifespan of between 70k - 120k miles, but also because this transmission suffers with a fault relating to the input shaft seals leaking. This fault is known to Ford and unfortunately results in the transmission oil leaking from the gearbox onto the dual clutch pack, causing them to slip and an accelerated rate of degradation.
This requires a replacement clutch pack as well as a newer version of both input shaft seals in the gearbox.
Requires replacement of one or both clutch actuators.
This fault can be accompanied by several different fault codes including, clutch actuator B performance. These types of fault codes require some investigation work as they can also be triggered by a faulty TCU or break/damage to the wiring harness. As the clutch actuators are identical one way to isolate a faulty actuator is to swap one with another, this should swap the codes from A to B or vice versa.
Gearbox Wiring Harness
Requires replacement wiring harness.
This is not one we see too often however over time, damage in the gearbox wiring harness can appear and cause several fault codes to show for other components. This is applies especially for fault codes relating to clutch actuator performance or operation.
Another issue we see is the connector for the TCU can be damaged if the plug is not fully seated before the cam-lock system to secure it is engage. This issue is easily diagnosed as it will create new fault codes after prior repair work is carried out.
Requires replacement TCU.
Replacement TCU's on this model aren't rare but one that doesn't come up too often at our workshop. These are often replaced due to fault codes pointing to an issue with the unit, however the same fault code persists after replacement.
Bad batteries and wiring harness issues often cause fault codes relating to faulty TCU's, so this is an area that requires thorough investigation before replacing parts.
Vehicle Models Affected
Ford Focus Powershift '08 onwards
Ford C-MAX Powershift '08 onwards
Ford Mondeo Powershift '08 onwards
Ford S-MAX Powershift '08 onwards
Ford Galaxy Powershift '08 onwards
Ford Kuga Powershift '08 onwards
Ford Tourneo Connect Powershift '08 onwards
Volvo S40 Powershift '08 onwards
Volvo V50 Powershift '08 onwards
Volvo C30 Powershift '08 onwards
Volvo V70 Powershift '09 onwards
Volvo S80 Powershift '10 onwards
Volvo S60 Powershift '11 onwards
Volvo V60 Powershift '11 onwards
Volvo V40 Powershift '13 onwards
Ford B-MAX Powershift '11 onwards
Ford EcoSport Powershift '13 onwards
Ford Fiesta Powershift '12 onwards
Ford Focus Powershift '12 onwards
Pricing & Additional Info
For pricing on our workshop services please visit here.
You can read about the action taken in America over the Ford Powershift gearbox here.
If you think your vehicle might be suffering from this fault and as with all gearbox issues, it is best to get it looked at straight away as it could save the customer substantial amounts on their repair bill.
Eco Torque offer an initial electronic diagnostic service with our main dealer equivalent machine. This shows us live data from the gearbox as well as a report for the customer to see the fault codes within the Powershift unit. This essential first step is £90 including VAT and takes around 1 hour to complete.
All of our Powershift repairs or recons come with a 24 Month 24'000 Mile Warranty.
We also offer 0% finance through Omni Capital Finance to spread the cost of the repair bill.
Eco Torque can also provide courtesy cars* as well as recovery* of your vehicle.
Contact Eco Torque Today:
Tel: 01462 835335 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Eco Torque Ltd
Unit 1A Portland Industrial Estate
Disclaimer: Our assessment of how common faults are with certain aspects of this transmission, are based on the work we have carried out over time and the percentage between each type of job. This is not an official statistical value of the manufacturer's transmission range.