Patrick Rall's picture

Ford Mustang under gov’t investigation for transmission problems

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched a preliminary investigation to examine reported shifting problems in 2011 and 2012 Ford Mustangs powered by the 5.0L V8 and backed by the new 6-speed manual transmission – a problem that could result in a recall of the new Mustang should a defect be discovered by the Federal agency.
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The NHTSA opened their investigation after receiving 32 complaints about the 2011 and 2012 Ford Mustang having shifting issues in models equipped with the new 6-speed manual transmission. Depending on what the government’s safety regulator finds during their studies, Ford may be faced with a recall to address these issues should a defect be discovered. In total, roughly 26,000 Mustangs from the 2011 and 2012 model year are affected by this investigation.

Since the incredible new 2011 Ford Mustang GT stormed onto the scene with a new 412 horsepower 5.0L V8 and a 6-speed Getrag transmission the mighty Mustang has received rave reviews from owners and writers alike. However, there have been regular grumblings on various internet communities like MustangForums.com about how these 2011 Mustang’s with the 6-speed manual were experiencing a variety of problems with the new transmission. These issues included excessive noise from the transmission and, worst of all, the inability to shift from or to certain gears at high rpm. As more and more of these upset owners came forward, surprisingly little was done but relief may be in sight as the NHTSA has stepped in – opening a preliminary investigation to see if there is a defect in the 2011 and 2012 Ford Mustang.

I had a chance to speak with MustangForums.com member Shane McGlaun, who is the proud owner of a 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302, #0333. Shane has owned several Mustangs (including 2012 Boss 302 #0001!) and has never experienced the problem before but during a recent track day session, he found that his high performance Mustang was having problems getting from 3rd to 4th gear at high rpm. He attributed the problem to the Texas heat combined with the added abuse of the track day (although the 2012 Boss 302 is built to race) and didn’t think much of it until he found that under normal driving circumstances on the open road, his Mustang was still having problems getting from 3rd to 4th gear. He has also run into instances where he will depress the clutch to shift and the pedal won’t return from the floor – both of which are regular issues in those Mustangs experiencing the problems that have spurred the NHTSA investigation. The only “fix” that Shane has found is to let the engine speed (rpm) drop until the clutch pedal kicks back out or in the case of the transmission not wanting to go into 4th gear, Shane has found that shifting into 6th and then going to another gear works. However, with a brand new sports car most people don’t want to have to figure out ways to get into gear…and they shouldn’t have to.

The video below is in-car footage taken by Shane McGlaun in his 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 #0333. It is great fun to watch and listen to the new Boss 302 in action but around the 7:30 mark, as Shane rockets down the straightaway and attempts to shift from 3rd to 4th gear, the transmission does not oblige and Shane is forced to shift into 6th gear. If you listen carefully, you can hear the sweet roar of the Boss 302 engine as the engine speed climbs and then radically drops as the inability to get into 4th gear sends Shane going for 6th.

While not everyone takes their Mustang to the track, think about merging into 70mph traffic on the highway and as you go to shift from 3rd gear to 4th gear easing into traffic…the car will not go into 4th gear. Now you have other traffic running up on you from behind and you’re in a car that won’t go into gear and because of that – it won’t pick up speed. That presents a very clear safety risk so the NHTSA is looking in to the problem to see if there is cause for a recall of manually shifted 2011 and 2012 Ford Mustangs. Luckily, there have been no reports of accidents or injuries stemming from this problem but reports indicate that several of the 32 complaints that caused the investigation alleged that it almost caused an accident.

TorqueNews.com will continue covering this – bringing you news as it becomes available!

Other Ford News:
Lincoln booms for Ford in July 2011
The Camaro outsells the Mustang, Challenger, 370Z in July 2011
Ford finishes 1 2 3 at X Games 17 RallyCross
Ford to stick with Fusion for 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series


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Comments

My 2012 Mustang GT has simuliar problems shifting between gears at mid range rpm. It takes a couple of trys to get it into a gear. Feels like the linkage binds up. I noticed after haveing the car for a few days that the shift pattern is not a straight up and down as most manual shifts. You need to pull slightly to the left for first and second and push away slightly for fifth and sixth. Also have experienced when shifting into first gear I have accidently put it in reverse. The detent for going into reverse doesn't work all the time to keep someone from shifting into reverse when trying to just to into first. I am sure the person in the vehicle behind me must think I am crazy when my reverse lights come on at a stop light or stop sign. Most serious problems are the binding between gears when in the mid ranage RPMs and putting the car in reverse when trying to shift into first.
This is a Real concern & problem - I have a 2011 5.0 GT and the clutch & trans blew..NOT from my driving either. Ford recongnized the problem & installed a brand new clutch/trans. Now less than 3 wks later...SAME problem. Now, i'll have to lay my new car up AGAIN for them to re repair. It is Not acceptable to spend $30,000.00 on a brand new Mustang that is a LEMON ! ...FORD...FIX THIS PROBLEM ASAP !!!!
I commented before about this . So what is Ford going to do about this Tranny ?
Ok, this all starts on 09-21-11, the day I bought my 2011 Ford Mustang 5.0 GT 6-speed from Mac Haik's Southway Ford, in San Antonio, TX. I am 32 years old and have been an auto technician (mechanic) for 14 years. I know I over paid for the car, after everything the total cost was $42,590.72 with 12892 miles, but it is the car I had always wanted. On 10-05-11 my clutch pedal stayed on to the floor, leaving me without a clutch. This was not a big problem for me, because I can drive the car with or without a clutch. It just gets really complicated when you have to come to a complete stop. When I got home, I jacked the car up to see what happened. I pulled the dust cover plate off to check if I had blown the hydraulic hose or the slave cylinder. What I found, was that my clutch had exploded. So, I then had the car towed to the dealership. I figured this would not be a problem; one, I have a warranty, and two, I had just bought the car. After a day or two, the dealer tells me, that they had pulled my transmission and found the clutch had normal wear and tear, and that the clutch was not covered under the warranty. I replied with, “I just bought the car”. The dealership and I talked back and forth, getting nowhere. So then, I went up to the dealership, and asked if my car was put back together, and they said yes. I then asked, “You put my car back together with a bad clutch?” The service manager said, “No, we removed the dust cover and inspected it.” I just smiled. First they had told me they pulled the transmission, but they did not; and second, I had removed the dust cover and put it in the trunk, so I knew they did not remove it or inspect the car. I took the car and drove it home. At the house, I pulled the transmission and found that the clutch pressure plate dial pins had broken off and the pressure plate was loose. I took pictures and went back to the dealership, where we then worked out a deal; they would pay for half of any clutch I wanted. I was worried about my transmission was hurt, since I had to drive it twice without a clutch, and how bad the pressure plate and clutch looked, so I wanted to buy a good clutch, to prevent this from happening again. I found and bought a DFX Centerforce clutch, put my car back together and picked up my check from the dealership. I made a copy of the check and the check stub, before cashing it. After my car was running great, I wanted nothing else to do with Southway Ford. As time went by, my transmission got harder and harder to shift; but, there was no way, I was going to go back to the dealership where I had gotten lied to and ripped off the first time. On 04-13-12, my little brother bought the same car, but a 2012, he got his at Bluebonnet Ford, in New Braunfels, TX. He tells them my story and they told him, I should take my car to them. Three days later, his transmission looses 5th gear, so we both took Bluebonnet Ford our cars. They were fantastic; they rebuilt my transmission for free under warranty. The car felt great, but as time went by 4th gear started to get hard and when the car would go over 4,200 RPM’s the check engine light would flash with random multiple miss fire codes. This was frustrating, the clutch was finally broken in and I couldn’t play with my car with the check engine light on. I did some research, and found out that my crank sensor needs a relearn procedure every time the clutch is changed. I called the Bluebonnet Ford, and told them what I had found out, the service rider told me to take my car in along with $20 and that he would get one of the techs to do it. While on my way there, my 4th gear blew and the transmission started to make all kinds of noises. The car still has and shifts well in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 6th gear. I dropped the car off at the dealership, and was told it would take about three days for them to get to my car. Today, 09-21-12, the service rider calls me and says, they can’t warranty the transmission. I asked why they had warranted it out the first time, but could not this time. His response to me was, “The transmission is a total loss but if you were to buy one, it will have a new warranty.” I said, “Let me talk to a service manager”. The service rider responded, “The manager has all ready left for the day and went on vacation for a week, he will be back the following week.” I replied, “So you want me to buy a “new” transmission, so I can have a warranty… because it is going to break… when I already have a warranty on this transmission?” He replied, “I can try a few more things, and I will let you know on Monday what I can do.” The stress that this whole situation has caused me is not worth the car. I don’t know what to do. I can just move on and buy a Tremec T-56 Magnum, or I can continue to fight with Ford to do the right thing. This is just not right! Am I wrong for wanting to get my car fixed under warranty?
I have a 2013 mustang gt with the 6 speed manual tranmission also, and I have also seen the issue of not being able to shift from 3rd gear to 4th gear at high rpm. Dont think that the 2013s do not have the issue THEY DO. I think ford should really review this issue and address it it properly. Look at the gt500s the transmission is american made and I have not heard no complaints on that one. So WHY NOT REPLACE WITH THE SAME TRANSMISSION AS THE GT500
This is a very real problem. The other day I lost the ability to get my 2011 Sherrod SSVT-500 Mustang into any gear! I almost had an accident! I have owned 6 mustangs and never replaced anything more than brakes, tires and batteries. I only have 10,000 miles on my car. The dealer is telling me that it will be a week before I will get my car back That my clutch is totaled. I guess they going to the moon for the parts... Please tell me how it takes a week....this is Ford not Ferrari for goodness sakes! What is going on with my beloved Ford? Concerned..
Third owner of 2012 GT with 23k. We are expereinced drivers with standard transmissons and cannot go from first to second. We also feel like the linkage is binding. Have also gone into R trying to go to 1st. At first, we thought we just needed to get acqauinted with our new toy, but continue to have problems! Not merely operator malfunction. It is a real problem.
I have a 2013 Boss 302 bought new end of 2012. I can't get into 3rd gear at high RPMs. I mentioned it to the dealer early on and they brushed it off. It's getting worse. I only recently thought to check to see if others were having issues. I'll be going back to the dealer asap. Any new news on a recall?
I own a 2012 gt 5.0 manual transmission. I have been having problems for years shifting from 1st to 2nd and 2nd to 3rd at high rpms. I thought it was my after market short throw shifter but after replacing with a Hurst shifter the problem still exists. I cant drive my mustang the way I expect I should be able to.

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