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Class-Action Lawsuit: Says Ford Mustangs Have Bad Transmissions

A class-action lawsuit was filed today accusing Ford of selling Mustangs with bad transmissions. This applies to 2011-2019 Mustangs with MT82 or MT82-D4 manual transmissions. The plaintiffs say transmission defects cause Mustangs to slip, clash gears, jerk, and engage harshly. This leads to premature wear and ultimately transmission failure.

Owners say repeated trips to dealerships cost them money. The expenses include repeated issues with shift forks, shift shafts, synchronizers, and clutch assemblies.  They also claim that once transmissions are replaced the replacements are as defective as the one replaced. This causes the owners to go through the same routine of dealership visits, parts replacements, and ultimately another transmission failure.

The lawsuit says in 2011 Ford changed to Chinese-made Getrag transmissions

The 2011 Ford Mustang pictured in Kona Blue boasted of advanced technologies at the time of its release
2011 Mustang GT⎹ Ford

One interesting aspect of the lawsuit is that in previous Mustangs Ford used both Tremec and Borg Warner manual transmissions. But in 2011 Ford changed to Chinese-made Getrag transmissions as a cost-saving measure. The Getrag MT82 and MT82-D4 transmissions are the focus of this class action lawsuit.

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The lawsuit says that both transmissions were originally developed for smaller Ford vehicles that had less power. With the extra horsepower Mustangs have the suit says the synchronizers can’t handle the extra horsepower. Eventually, the synchronizers fail because they can’t spin up the shaft to engage the gears in a reasonable amount of time. 

Since 2010 there have been a number of Service Bulletins and Service Messages

Black-with-gold-stripes 2016 Shelby GT-H Mustang, front 3/4-view
2016 Shelby GT-H Mustang | Ford

The lawsuit claims that Ford has known about the transmission failures at least since 2010 because of a series of Technical Service Bulletins being released. Also, Special Service Messages have also been issued for the transmission.

The bulletins and messages associated with the transmissions include TSB 10-19-4, TSB 11-3-18, SSM 26614, TSB 18-2083, TSB 18-2175, TSB 18-2267. 

Ford instructed dealer technicians to drain and refill transmission oil, replace the 3rd/4th shift forks, the countershaft 3rd gears, and the 3rd/4th gear synchronizer hubs and sleeves. Ford has also recommended that dealer technicians replace the gear shift levers, replace the clutch pedal position switches, and replace the brackets holding them.

It also recommends replacing the main shaft 2nd gears, and 1st/2nd gear synchronizer hubs and sleeves. Other than the case there isn’t much else left to replace.

A federal investigation into transmission complaints was filed in 2011

Black-with-gold-stripes 2019 Shelby GT-H Mustang and white-with-gold-stripes Mustang convertible face the sunset
2019 Shelby GT-H Mustang and Mustang convertible | Shelby American

In 2011 there was a federal investigation into the manual transmission problems by the NHTSA. This was precipitated by over 350 owner complaints about the Mustang transmissions. It specifically called out shifting problems, especially in cold weather. 

Ford made some changes prompting the NHTSA to close the investigation. Its findings were, “there is no indication of loss of motive power or unreasonable safety risk associated with the alleged defect in subject vehicles.” Ford says the transmissions are not defective. It says the cause of the failures is extra “wear and tear” associated with manual transmissions. 

Owners and lessees say the transmission issues have resulted in a loss of value and that both groups are put in danger when they drive an affected Mustang. The class-action lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Central District of California.