Drive a Newer Mustang? Transmission Replacement May Be Necessary
What's the Deal With the Mustang Transmission Lawsuit?
Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and moved to the Eastern District of Michigan, the Mustang transmission lawsuit has numerous factors that owners should understand. First of all, as mentioned, it specifically refers to the 6-speed manual GETRAG MT82 transmission (used for 2011-2017 models) and the MT82-D4 (which Ford switched to in 2018). These transmissions have been installed in every manual Mustang (and GT) from 2011 to 2019, taking the place of the 5-speed TREMEC models (which, when introduced, seemed like a genuine upgrade in terms of specs). As such, the lawsuit does not involve pre-2011 Mustangs, post-2019 Mustangs or any automatic models.
Furthermore, the lawsuit alleges that Ford has known about the Mustang transmission's problems since 2010, claiming that the company has issued technical service bulletins to dealerships with instructions on how to fix them. However, it further argues that these "fixes" don't actually solve any problems (more on that below). This implies that Ford has known all along that there were major issues with the Mustang transmission, alleging that the company may have tried to conceal it or sweep its issues under the rug.
Overall, the class-action lawsuit is looking for $5 million in damages related to the 2011-2019 Mustang transmission's problems. In the past, Ford has settled on a similar lawsuit regarding the PowerShift transmission for Fiesta and Focus models. However, as of this writing, Ford seems to be denying that any manufacturing defects are present, claiming any problems are due to normal wear and tear — nothing more.
For our part, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out — and how it impacts Mustang owners at large.
What are the 2011-2019 Mustang Transmission's Problems?
The Mustang transmission lawsuit alleges numerous issues. Overall, it claims that Mustang transmission's problems lead to increased shift efforts, an inability to drive properly and, eventually, terminal failure. The transmission is also said to:
- Clash gears
- Be notchy
Premature internal wear is another notable problem, along with delayed clutch re-engagement and issues with clutch assemblies, shift forks, shifter shafts and synchronizers. The lawsuit alleges that the MT82 and MT82-D4 were not intended to be Mustang transmissions — problems arise because they were designed for smaller vehicles with less horsepower; their synchronizers are not appropriately robust.
Furthermore, the filings indicate that Ford's so-called fixes to the problems don't actually resolve the defects — repairing or replacing specific parts leaves behind parts that are still problematic, and full Mustang transmission replacements from Ford simply replace one faulty transmission with another that has the same issues.
While this might sound like a mess, it's worth noting that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) previously investigated some of these potential Mustang transmission problems and found that they did not pose a safety risk. That doesn't mean that they aren't frustrating for owners, though.
Potential Transmission Upgrades to Fix the Problems (and Improve Your Mustang)
Obviously, we are in favor of every Mustang owner performing transmission upgrades. However, if you're affected by any of the problems this lawsuit addresses, you might need to do some upgrades to fix them — and keep your pony's resale value from plummeting. Since only manual models were affected, we're not focusing on automatic transmission performance upgrades.
What Transmission Upgrades Should You Make?
To take care of potential problems, you may want to do a total Mustang transmission replacement and get a clutch pack upgrade kit. Other parts that can improve your ride include:
- Modern diaphragm clutch
- Clutch fork
- Bellhousing adapter