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After adding transmission fluid to my 2003 Ford Focus 2.0L SE cause it was very low on fluid. I then restarted engine drove about haklf mile or so and it suddenly acted as if it slipped out of gear like in neutral while speed was around 40 mph which of course led to me comming to stop cause only getting rpms from gas pedal but no speed. PUlled over to inspect engine couldnt find any issues with naked eye except for what sounded like bolt falling to ground earlier when filled up trans fluid prior to this issue happening. went to restart engine after inspection but only sounded like starter was free spinning without actual flexplate engaging/cranking over noise.

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  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! What exactly is your question? Dec 10, 2023 at 12:35
  • i need to know if it might be transmission solenoid or if ring gear in flexplate broken or if starter solenoid/bendix broken i guess im noi ASE mech but am very aboive average backyard auto mech and i cant figure this out i usually swap out starter then good to go but did this 3 times with both starters and nothing no crank attempt at all like not engaging so guess just asking for opinions at this point on which route to take now plz
    – user80179
    Dec 10, 2023 at 16:28
  • With the starter out, it should be fairly easy to check the Bendix (what it's typically called) by trying to spin the starter manually via the gear. A Bendix is a one way clutch, so when you try to spin it it will spin the entire thing in one direction while just allowing the gear itself to turn without turning the starter armature. When you have the starter out, you should be able to check the ring gear for any damage. Dec 10, 2023 at 17:00
  • If the one-way clutch on the starter gear failed, starters sound like a jet engine whine because the clutch failed to engage; the starter motor runs away at high speed and the engine never cranks. If your starter is fine, remove spark plugs and try manually turning the engine by hand using a socket/extension on the crankshaft or use the starter. If the engine isn't seized, manually turning the engine should be easy. Using the starter should spin the engine fast (no compression).
    – F Dryer
    Dec 10, 2023 at 17:15
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    None of the above accounts for the car feeling like it's in neutral and revving with no effect on the car's motion. You heard a bolt falling off something. What if all the bolts that hold the flexplate to the crankshaft have come loose and fallen out? The trans may continue to hold the flexplate in approx right location but trans and engine won't be connected. Starter will spin trans only, not engine. Weird, bizarre, but not impossible. Remove starter, see if ring gear can be turned without turning the engine.
    – MTA
    Dec 10, 2023 at 17:43

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