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Long-term C-max tests: 75% transmission failure


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39 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   djc

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Posted 15 June 2016 - 01:03 PM

A government lab has been doing long-term tests of many EV cars including 4 2013 C-max.  They log all service and repairs.

Three out of the four have required transmission replacement between 90k and 116k miles, with an average cost of around $4000.

Other service has been negligible in comparison.  Here are selected data and link to the page of pdf's.

 

Long term repair experience with four 2013 C-max.

Advanced Vehicle Testing Activity - Idaho National Laboratory

https://avt.inl.gov/...2013-ford-c-max


VIN# 1FADP5AU1DL528698

116k replaced transmission    $3989
116k  replace right hub bearing   $252
127k  tires (first replaced 60k) and front-end alignment
130k repair window track

 

VIN# 1FADP5AU0DL535139

90k  replaced transmission   $4383
130k  replaced 3 tires

 

VIN# 1FADP5AU9DL535138

73k replaced 12V battery   $166
77k replaced 4 tires
77k  front end alignment
110k  serviced transmission
155k  replaced two tires


VIN# 1FADP5AU0DL532158

70k  replaced 3 tires
81k  replaced 12V battery
100k  serviced transmission
110k  replaced transmission  $3889
130k  replaced two tires and aligned front end
 


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#2 OFFLINE   Tree63

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Posted 15 June 2016 - 01:51 PM

Thanks djc.  Fusion Energi cars had a couple of transmission leaks but out of the 4 Fusion and C-Max models, only C-max Hybrid had transmission failures in 3 of 4 testers.

 

Wonder if the transmissions are same across Energi and Hybrid/Electric models?  Could C-max H have a "smaller" tranny that shows strain due to proportionally greater weight of vehicle?  Perhaps others can offer more depth with this.



#3 OFFLINE   Automate

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Posted 15 June 2016 - 07:07 PM

I have compiled a list of most of the eCVT failures that have been posted in the Fusion/Cmax Hybrid forums and there seems to be a pretty good mix of each.

http://fordfusionhyb...at-have-failed/

All the ones posted in the forums have occurred before 100k miles.

 

It would be upsetting to get a failure between when the 100K Hybrid warranty runs out and 116K.


Edited by Automate, 15 June 2016 - 07:08 PM.

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#4 OFFLINE   Kelleytoons

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 06:00 AM

So are we saying the tranny is covered until 80k?  (I think it's only California that extends the warranty to 100k for the hybrid systems.  I think I remember at least here in Florida it's not as long as that).  And that failure looks to be often at 90-100k?

 

If so, I'm okay with that.  While I intend to keep Maximis for many, many years, personally I don't put many miles on any vehicle (two years in and I'm at around 13k, which looks to give me another 10 years before I have to worry  -- I'm guessing I will DEFINITELY be in the market for something by then).  I realize that, literally, YMMV, and that this will not be good news for many, though.

 

On a less personal note, I wonder how hard these cars were driven.  Putting that many miles in only a few years means they must have been almost continuously in service (that's like 300 miles a day every single day for three years).  That MAY have had something to do with the failures..



#5 OFFLINE   scottwood2

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 07:53 AM

How does this compare to other vehicles? I have not looked at the site or list but is there an avg life for a transmission?  

 

$4k is a lot of money for a trans but i have heard of replacement cost up to $7k before for other vehicles. 

 

I know there was a heat issue with the trans.   Are the later year models running cooler? 



#6 OFFLINE   ptjones

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 08:24 AM

Hybrid Warranty  is 8yrs/ 100K and I had mine replaced at 98K mi. (No Charge) The problem seems to be HWY miles which in my case was 83%.  I have read there is a problem with a bearing in the trans that has been fixed on newer models. I have 35K mi. on my new trans. New Trans is $6K plus labor.  BTW FFH 2013 have the same problem and the Trans are the same. :)

 

Paul


Edited by ptjones, 16 June 2016 - 08:26 AM.

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#7 OFFLINE   djc

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 08:25 AM

I should have mentioned these are Energi's.  The Energi has different final gearing.  My understanding is that it can also deliver more electric HP / kwh to the wheels than the hybrid (Ford lists a "depletion mode" for the Energi only with higher kwh power).  Exactly what transmission differences are needed, if any, are not known to me.

 

The lab indicates some of the  the test conditions for these vehicles.  E.g. for the first of the four cars:  43% city,  57% highway.   Average temp: 80.7°    AC in use 92% of the time.   The last time I looked at the site I left with the impression the cars where physically in the Southwest, but on this visit I can't find where I got that.  So I guess they are in a hot deserty part of Idaho.

 

As I remember there was a problem with C-max in taxi service, acknowledged by Ford, and a change was made to the transmission at some point.   However this parts site

 

http://www.quirkpart...CFQYuaQodP_8GaQ

 

shows the same transmission (at $4178) as fitting all C-max energi, and both Fusion hybrid and Fusion Energi, from 2013-2016.

 

Another site currently has a low miles used transmission for half that - there should be more of those as the years go by.


Edited by djc, 16 June 2016 - 09:17 AM.


#8 OFFLINE   fbov

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 11:08 AM

The Energi has an aux tranny pump that's outside the transmission. 

 

I'm of the opinion that, while the 2013 PCM update (13B07) was aimed at mileage, the annual updates since then (14E02, 15E03) are for reliability. After 14E02, I noticed that when the ICE starts cold, all motive power comes from the battery for 15-30 sec. Charge level doesn't matter, a depleted battery is still the only thing that gets me to the top of our hill, ICE running continuously, but not putting any torque to the wheels. That sounds like a reliability change, to allow more warmer oil to get to important places. But I'm speculating as to the motivation...

 

Have fun,

Frank, who's not worried about his 2012-era tranny.


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#9 OFFLINE   obob

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 11:52 AM

How does this compare to other vehicles? I have not looked at the site or list but is there an avg life for a transmission?  

 

$4k is a lot of money for a trans but i have heard of replacement cost up to $7k before for other vehicles. 

 

I know there was a heat issue with the trans.   Are the later year models running cooler? 

 

The fix was done in late 2013 so you are in good shape.  



#10 OFFLINE   raadsel

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 02:02 PM

Hybrid Warranty  is 8yrs/ 100K and I had mine replaced at 98K mi. (No Charge) The problem seems to be HWY miles which in my case was 83%.  I have read there is a problem with a bearing in the trans that has been fixed on newer models. I have 35K mi. on my new trans. New Trans is $6K plus labor.  BTW FFH 2013 have the same problem and the Trans are the same. :)

 

Paul

 

Except the government test vehicles seem to disprove the idea that it is caused by highway miles. From what I've read, these cars have been used to transfer court documents around the Phoenix Metro area, so these cars don't have a lot of pure highway miles. I suspect that the idea that it is caused by highway miles has more to do with most cars with transmission problems, because they typically have put in a large number of miles in a few years, have mostly done highway miles. Of course, this might point to heat being the factor in the transmissions -- that driving a large number of miles per day in Phoenix (with their heat) puts the same type of strain on an engine as driving long distance on a highway.

 

It would be interesting if we could find a taxi service that has used the C-Max and what their experience has been.


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#11 OFFLINE   obob

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 03:36 PM

 

 

It would be interesting if we could find a taxi service that has used the C-Max and what their experience has been.

 

The first transmission problem I recall being posted here was from a taxi guy from Arizona.  

 

Added later:  http://fordcmaxhybri...hl=transmission

http://fordcmaxhybri...-bearing-noise/

 

Just to repeat, people with 2014 and later have a corrected design.  (and some late model year 2013's)


Edited by obob, 17 June 2016 - 12:12 PM.


#12 OFFLINE   MaxHeadroom

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Posted 17 June 2016 - 12:52 PM

.Just to repeat, people with 2014 and later have a corrected design.  (and some late model year 2013's)

What was the fix?  Root cause?   Sometimes Ford won't tell us, yet have you heard what's different post-2013?



#13 OFFLINE   obob

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Posted 17 June 2016 - 02:04 PM

What was the fix?  Root cause?   Sometimes Ford won't tell us, yet have you heard what's different post-2013?

 

http://fordcmaxhybri...-noise/?p=34987

 

SSM 44252 - Hybrids In Taxi Service - HF35 Transmission Bearing Noise
Some 2013 C-MAX Hybrid and 2013-2014 Fusion Hybrid vehicles operating in taxi service may exhibit a metal-on-metal scraping-type sound from the transmission. This noise will be present in all gear ranges including neutral when the vehicle is moving, but will not be present when the vehicle is stationary or in park. The current transmission assembly (7000) service parts incorporate design improvements to enhance durability under the unique operating conditions of taxi service.

 

That's what I used to infer that there is a fix.  So I infer a transmission assembly (7000) or later has a fix.


Edited by obob, 17 June 2016 - 02:08 PM.

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#14 OFFLINE   cmax-nynj

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Posted 18 June 2016 - 07:57 AM

I was surprised they didn't get the transmission replaced under the 8yr/100K warranty when it failed below 100K.

 

The long term VW TDI reports show consistent AC and other failures too.  Even the Long term Prius is not trouble-free either.


Edited by cmax-nynj, 18 June 2016 - 08:02 AM.


#15 OFFLINE   obob

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Posted 18 June 2016 - 11:23 AM

A government lab has been doing long-term tests of many EV cars including 4 2013 C-max.  They log all service and repairs.

Three out of the four have required transmission replacement between 90k and 116k miles, with an average cost of around $4000.

Other service has been negligible in comparison.  Here are selected data and link to the page of pdf's.

 

Advanced Vehicle Testing Activity - Idaho National Laboratory

https://avt.inl.gov/...2013-ford-c-max
 

 

There are some pretty exhaustive stats.  This study was HUGE.

 

Some that caught my interest.

 

Fuel mileage by speed, (40-50 is the sweet spot, low to mid 30's above eighty, Low speed mileage was low probably because air cond on.)

Fuel mileage by month - winter is higher - no air conditioning.

 

Average fuel economy was in the mid to high 30's (reflecting the cars were not babied)


Edited by obob, 18 June 2016 - 02:42 PM.

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#16 OFFLINE   Kelleytoons

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Posted 18 June 2016 - 04:35 PM

Not "babied" and not driven particularly well (didn't someone say less than half of the miles were highway?  Heck, my lifetime is in the 40's and I rarely drive without A/C).

 

No wonder the trannys failed.


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#17 OFFLINE   cmax-nynj

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Posted 18 June 2016 - 07:10 PM

There are lots of retiring 2013 CMax SE yellow cabs in NYC with apprx. 150K mi.  The fleet owners or drivers could provide durability information if we can identify them.



#18 OFFLINE   obob

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Posted 19 June 2016 - 01:34 AM

Not "babied" and not driven particularly well (didn't someone say less than half of the miles were highway?  Heck, my lifetime is in the 40's and I rarely drive without A/C).

 

No wonder the trannys failed.

 

AC in 100+ degree temps may be quite a draw of power per minute.

 

Miles driven were mostly highway.  Minutes driven were kind of evenly split.

 

https://avt.inl.gov/...brid2158HEV.pdf

https://avt.inl.gov/...brid5138HEV.pdf

https://avt.inl.gov/...brid5139HEV.pdf

https://avt.inl.gov/...brid8698HEV.pdf

 

It gets hot in Phoenix: https://www.currentr...nth-average.php

 

I may have been too quick to say the cars were not babied.  A lot of time was in the 0-10 mph range.  If there was just sitting in the car in park, that kills mileage.


Edited by obob, 19 June 2016 - 01:49 AM.

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#19 OFFLINE   Plus 3 Golfer

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Posted 19 June 2016 - 06:26 AM

AC in 100+ degree temps may be quite a draw of power per minute.

 

Not really as much as you think.  I've posted AC power draws in posts before in Phoenix.  IIRC, after a few minutes of high draw to initially cool the cabin, the draw is generally around 250 W - 300 W even in 100+ temps. 

 

Humidity in Phoenix is very low compared to areas such as around the Gulf coast and southeast Atlantic coast.  The heat capacity of humid air is significantly more than dry air. You can look at the enthalpy of the water vapor in moist air vs dry air.  It takes energy to remove the latent heat of the water vapor when cooling moist air.  So, climates with high humidity and higher temperatures may require more energy to reach and maintain a comfortable, conditioned cabin than in Phoenix.  Also, I doubt this has anything to do with the transmission failures.

 

I've also monitored TFT in Phoenix during 100+ days.  IIRC, it correlates with ECT and ambient temperature which it should since the transmission cooler is below the engine radiator.   It's too bad that TFT wasn't monitored in the test vehicles as increasing / high TFT could be a predictor of transmission failure.   IIRC, ptjones experienced very high TFT before his failure.


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#20 OFFLINE   ptjones

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Posted 19 June 2016 - 11:02 AM

This is true, temperature did start going up 6-10kmi. before IIRC the Trans started to make noise. ;)  Trans temp(TFT) is mostly effected be outside temps and to a lesser degree WT after all ICE and Trans are Aluminum and they are bolted together. :)

 

Paul








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