By on September 15, 2010

TTAC commentator talkstoanimals writes:

Sajeev, I have a 2010 Mustang GT with the Track Pack that I love driving – when it works. The problem(s) is, after 6 months and just short of 5k miles, the car has had several driveline problems. First, the clutch failed and Ford replaced the pressure plate, clutch disc and slave cylinder – a fix that took two weeks to complete. A few days later the rear clutches in the differential failed and Ford replaced those – another two days out of service. Now, only 2 months after the first clutch work was completed, it’s pretty obvious that the clutch is failing again based on the way the gearbox resists clean engagement in almost every gear.

So my question is, WTF is wrong with the driveline in this car?

Since I suspect it will come up, here is some pertinent info. I bought the car new with only 11 miles on the odo. The car sees mixed city and highway use. I don’t abuse the clutch, drag race, do track days, or do burnouts (the PZeros are too expensive to destroy doing that). I learned to drive on a manual and have been driving them for 17 years. I’ve also been riding motorcycles for 10 years and have never had a clutch/driveline problem with any car or bike before. Ford has previously fixed the problems under warranty, but I’m getting pretty sick of seeing my dealer’s service dept. Any clues as to what is going on with this Mustang would be highly appreciated.

Sajeev answers:

Consider the fact that the Ford 8.8-inch differential is one strong-ass mother, sought after by people with Jeeps, Camaros and even Volvos (LINK: Also consider that the Tremec TR-3650 gearbox has a torque rating of 360 lb-ft and sports numerous satisfied customers in the light-duty drag racing arena.

I say the problem is at the dealer, before/during/after the sale. Unless you live in the Yukon Territory or a key supplier didn’t get a bailout, I can’t understand why it would take 2 weeks to replace a Tremec pressure plate, clutch disc and slave cylinder. And there’s simply no excuse for an 8.8” axle failure, given your driving habits. Perhaps the senior members of the B&B recall a certain thread on that made it to damn near every forum, entitled “It Was Waaaaaaaaaay Cool”.

Thanks to a mutual friend, I met the “way cool” lady behind the story. I also saw the (now out of warranty, heavily modified) car, though I didn’t see it’s Ford Lightning counterpart, both finished in Sonic Blue. Anyway, this hot-roddess took her Cobra to Northside Ford, and the Cobra service tech thrashed it. Then he bragged about doing the deed–with the cojones to list her vanity license plate–on Northside fired his ass: rumor has it he left San Antonio for to work at a dealership in Houston. If only everybody got what they deserved:

“Well, stangman96 you drove the wrong cobra, i know the lady that owns that cobra and she has seen this posting, i think all hell is going to break lose in your world! If I was her I would make sure you get fired! Next time you do something like this just keep it to your-self or at least get a diff screen name that does not show your in San Antonio!!!”

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46 Comments on “Piston Slap: Your Stang? “It Was Waaaaaaaaaay Cool!”...”

  • avatar

    This is why we can’t have nice things.

  • avatar

    “Ford…Quality that CAN be beat…by just about everyone.”
    Seriously though…it sounds like he got a lemon.  Be happy Ford is taking care of you…usually they say it’s your fault and refuse to fix your (their) problems.
    Fix it, sell it, and get a proper Camaro.

    • 0 avatar


      Challenger would suffice as well.

    • 0 avatar

      Cause we all know NOBODY has ever or ever will have an issue with a Camaro or a GM dealer. All these perfect vehicles and dealers explain GM’s ability to aviod bankruptcy…Oh, wait my mistake.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, this would never happen with GM.  Oh, wait, my experience with Saturn that ended 6 years ago has made me a life-long GM non-owner.  I have to admit that it only took them 8 days to replace the clutch and slave cylinder that failed while I was on vacation.  I won’t get into the other repairs made under warrantee or that they refused to make (problem, what problem?  we don’t see any problem) before I ditched that POS Saturn.

    • 0 avatar

      I guess we all have a short memory…new Camaros had driveshaft failures early on…now I’m just waiting for a stupid “Buy Japanese/European” comment.  Face it. ALL major makers have had some major issues at some time in the past…

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve owned 2 Trans Ams.  Both spent more time in the shop than I care to remember.  I’ve also owned 2 Mustang GTs, one which spent a lot of time autocrossing and some time doing HPDEs.  I only had the driver’s side window come out of alignment on the one I abused more.  Other than that, it was regular maintenance and zero troubles.  So YMMV.

    • 0 avatar

      Except for maybe Ferrari and Lamborghini, I see this as a problem for anyone with a halo sports car.  Mustang, Camaro, Challenger, GTI, MazdaSpeed, R8, AMG, M-series…whatever.
      Unless you know the tech working on your car or check for rubber bits behind the drive wheels, you may never know.

  • avatar

    That is ridiculous, and I know ridiculous warranty repair (ex-VW owner).  Let them fix it and when it happens again, lemon law that sucker and don’t look back.  Unless they can show you what actually caused the problem, instead of seemingly just throwing parts at it, there is no reason to believe that the issue won’t crop up again.

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed.  I had a VW that was a near-lemon, and a Honda that was.  Get the free work, but make sure the same problem crops 3x up within a year’s time and remains unfixed.  So far, this one doesn’t qualify.
      You could also try a different dealer.

  • avatar

    If you wish to keep the car you have three options.
    1. Do it yourself.
    2. Make sure you see the replacement parts, and the differential lube, before they are replaced.
    3. Do it yourself.
    This is pretty weird.

  • avatar

    Have you checked your drivetrain mounts (engine, trans., etc…)? That, combined with the fresh clutches should make the thing feel brand new.
    Also, it’s hard to imagine this happening without some major abuse, and I’d concur with those above that this most likely happened at the dealer. This is unprovable. You should check for tire residue in the wheel arches and obviously check out your wheel condition before and after visits.
    Personally, I’d be scared to keep the car and the dealer both after all this.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve been thinking the same thing w/r/t the mounts and looked them over myself – all seemed normal.  But I’ll have the new dealer look at that more closely.

      I also had the same thoughts about dealer employee hooning (I actually had concocted in my fevered mind some scenario wherein they were using it for street drags) and looked at the tire wear and wheel arches when I got it back after the first repair – doesn’t look they were doing anything along those lines.

    • 0 avatar

      How about drivetrain alignment or a manufacturing defect in the diff as the original cause? The factory can send out damaged diffs (I’ve seen that), and alignment might not be so obvious without a specific check. Aftermarket diffs can have very specific break in periods but I’m not sure if that applies at all to OEM stuff.
      Good luck,

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    So something in front of the driveshaft failed, then something in back of the driveshaft failed, now something in front of the driveshaft is going bad…
    I would guess that your local dealer is not very good at diagnosing problems.

  • avatar

    I’m not sure what state you’re in, but you should Google your states Lemon Law.  Make them give you a new car as soon as you qualify.

  • avatar

    The best advice I can give you is go Lemon Law on this car right away.  Today or tomorrow at the latest.
    This hits close to home…my cousin’s numbers matching 340 Barracuda had it’s engine blown my some mechanics doing brakestands.  Sigh.

  • avatar

    Yes lemon law it then go back and get a 2011 5.0 from another dealer

  • avatar

    When you say  these components have failed, can you provide a little additional information?

    1) What happened to the clutch? Did the lining fail? The disc develop excessive run- out?? The springs fail? What about the pilot bearing, was it OK?
    2) Was the pressure plate / throw-out bearing replacement merely the dealer throwing new parts at the problem or was there an additional failure with one/both of these parts?
    3) What happened to the clutch pack in your rear? What exactly caused the failure of these parts? How was this diagnosed? That is an unusual item to experience a failure after only 5,000 miles of wear.
    4) Has anyone inspected the drive line mounts, drive line alignment or your drive-shaft balance? Your universals? Your transmission? Your flywheel?

    Just some thoughts I would have if it was my ‘stang.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Kluttz

      You wouldn’t have to think about any of those things if you had bought an Accord coupe.  And the Accord V-6 is probably quicker.  For a much longer time without repairs.

    • 0 avatar

      haha, now I understand you’re trolling a bit, but this made me laugh. I’m about to go walk my dogs right by my neighbours Honda V-6…which is currently on automatic transmission #3. Just last week I helped my little sister check out her Honda’s rear brakes, which mysteriously need replacing waaaaay too often (service tech admitted it was design, even if Honda didn’t). Now I love our little Honda Fit, I’m not a hater, but there’s no silver bullet for buying a reliable car, nor is there actually a manufacturer who builds to a much higher standard than anyone else, not anymore.

  • avatar

    You sound like you’re already halfway to the Lemon Law, which around here states that the car must be out of service for something like 30 days in its first year.
    At the rate your dealership works, all you’ll need is a brake job and an oil change to use up the remaining two weeks ;D

  • avatar

    You could try talking with the dealership owner. If that doesn’t work find another dealer and let someone at Ford Motor Company know about these issues. Should have some contact info in your owners manual. Make sure you have the paperwork from every repair. I hope all turns out well for you.

  • avatar

    You might have a lemon law case, but be warned it is a long process filled with lots of paperwork.  If you like the car, try taking it to a different dealer to have it worked on.  Your Ford factory warranty covers repairs at any Ford dealership, and it sounds like the one you have taken it to just can’t seem to figure out what is actually happening.  Try getting it fixed at your next closest Ford store.

    • 0 avatar

      My lemon law case started with a simple online application, followed with copies of every repair record – it really wasn’t that bad.
      After the first few trips to the dealer (for a variety of problems on a new Honda), I started keeping a spreadsheet with dates, mileage, and notes of what happened.  It grew to be 26 lines long, and included every phone conversation, etc.  Such records are essential for your case, but the dealer also has to provide their records on the situation.
      If you really like the car, go to another dealer.  But if you want resolution, stick with this dealer and hasten the day you can file a lemon claim.
      By the way, simply demanding a replacement car won’t work.  Honda dug its heels in and dragged me out for 20 months.  My car was in the shop for its second service visit when I made the first car payment, and by the second month I was asking for a new car.  No matter – all they offered me was an extended warranty for free, which I took in the unlikely event I kept this miserable car.
      Ultimately, they settled the case with a small payment to me, and I traded the car immediately.  A replacement or refund only happens if the problem is safety-related, or the car won’t function.  This may apply to you.

  • avatar

    OP, have you checked the clutch master cylinder fluid level?  A low level could cause the symptoms you describe because the clutch will not disengage completely.  Perhaps the slave cylinder replacement was done sloppily and resulted in a leak.

  • avatar

    Sometimes just the threat of a lemon law claim will get a dealer off its ass.  I bought a VW GTI brand new in 1995 that developed a serious drivetrain vibration after only 200 miles.  The dealer threw parts at it, then replaced the entire transmission, to no avail.  I had an attorney draft a strongly-worded letter and I was in the VW district manager’s office 5 days later, completing a full buy-back.  Don’t be put off by the notion of a long, drawn-out process.  Your sanity – and wallet – are worth it.

    Plus you really wanted a 2011 5.0 anyway.

  • avatar

    Boy does this sound way familiar! A long time a go, I had a ’92 Mustang LX 5.0 convertible. I had nothing but trouble with the car, including drive-line problems though nothing in that department actually gave it up. I filed a lemon-law claim against Ford via the State of Florida’s lemon law and Ford bought back the car. Of course they pro-rate what they give you so it’s not the panacea that it seems.

    Most lemon-law claims require that you try to get the offending problem fixed three times (mine was brakes) and if that doesn’t work then there is a good chance your claim will be honored. It varies form state to state though, so you should check it out.

    If you’re not at the trip point for the lemon-law, I’d try a new dealership. That’s what I did ultimately and even though that didn’t work in my case, I’d still recommend it.

  • avatar

    If they can’t fix it,  Lemon law it and try the 5.0.

  • avatar

    Some helpful reading for anyone simple(Silvy) enough to seriously believe a Camaro is better built than the new Mustang:

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Kluttz

      That is really scary.  I now feel like I should find cover when I see one of those abominations coming toward me…it either won’t stop, turn, or go, or it will rattle me to death with a “clanging” rear suspension that takes the dealership 8 days or so to find.  Wow, I mean, what is it with these people?   Go get a Honda!!  Or do they all just have more dollars than sense?  YES.
      This does, however, look like it’s right on par for GM quality and their dealerships’ ineptitude.

  • avatar

    Is there another dealer nearby?  As stated, Mustang drivelines are considered to be pretty darn tough.  I suspect a faulty repair and would try another dealer if possible.  Personally, i wouldn’t trust the local Ford dealer in our town with an oil change based on my wife’s experience with them while we were dating.

  • avatar

    All good advice – AND keep a paper trail as well to verify dates and repairs, in case your database gets “lost” out in cyberspace somewhere! Hope things work out for you.

  • avatar

    Well, I suspect that the duration of the repair was related to availability of parts to the dealer since you have a new model.  These days, it seems that nobody stocks anything at any level in the supply chain (thanks JIT), my local Pontigone/Buick/GMC dealer didn’t even stock a PCV valve grommet for a 3800 motor which half of the cars they serviced had (had to order the part out of warehouse 200 miles away, and I’m in Seattle!!!).

    I agree with the above poster – you need to get very, very involved in determine exactly what is failing and what the dealer is doing about it.  They may not have found the root-cause issue which will result in ongoing premature failures.  This of course may be more difficult since the car is still under warranty.

  • avatar

    Has anyone considered that the dealer knows exactly what they are doing and is intentionally screwing the car to get warranty $ (I mean isn’t that one of the biggest forms of income for a new car dealer)?

    • 0 avatar

      That suggestion is extremely nefarious. Given the fact that a FACTORY repair is audited by Ford directly through it’s repair program, I don’t see a dealer staying business very long if they are doing that to their customers, as well as the customers being pissed off and going to either another dealer or worst yet, another manufacturer.
      Though, hearing about dealer mechanics taking out customer cars out for a romp isn’t anything new or unheard of. I knew a few guys back in the 80’s who did that and were promptly fired from their jobs for doing said stupid “stunts”. I would suggest to the dealership that the repairs are becoming excessive and request an audit of repairs from the dealership itself so you know what’s being repaired/replaced. Also, a week long to repair those parts is highly unsatisfactory: sounds like the mechanic might be “milking” the time to get paid since the bays aren’t very full these days at MOST dealerships.
      Good luck to either decision you do to keep getting the problems repaired.

  • avatar

    @ TR4 – I have checked the level and it’s normal.  I have not bled the system though, so I will look into that.

  • avatar

    Thanks everyone for the tips. FWIW, here are answers to some of the more common suggestions:

    I’m still short of the lemon law in VA, which requires 30 days out of service withing a year (currently I’m at 19 days) OR 3 visits for he same problem (2 visits for clutch and 1 visit for the diff.)  In truth, I like the car and the way it’s optioned, so the lemon law is not my preferred method of dealing with things.  But I will go that route if it comes to it.

    Since writing to Sajeev I have also switched to a new dealer that I like muuuuch better.  They’re prompt and seemed to know what they were doing when they diagnosed ad replaced the diff clutches.

    I’ll definitely look into bleeding the system and also look at the drivetrain mounts.

  • avatar

    Anyone know if these things have dual-mass flywheels? If so, the “dual mass” portion could be bad.

    If not that, then I’d be curious as to what the dealer did when they replaced the clutch – did they resurface the flywheel? Lots of modern vehicles have flywheels with a slightly convex finish to the friction surface – it’s basically impossible to replicate at your typical machine shop, so it’s either lightly scuff the surface with a 3M pad or replace the flywheel.

  • avatar

    Example #19,734,923 of why you don’t buy the first model year of a redesigned car. it doesn’t matter if it’s a Ford or a Ferrari: The first model year is for sadists who prefer seeing their supercool new whip that they were the first on the block to have on a lift back at the dealership instead of parked in their driveway.

    Early adoption is fo’ suckas.

  • avatar

    Consider having a top-notch auto body shop, dealer owned or otherwise, check frame and drivetrain alignment.

  • avatar

    “WTF is wrong with the driveline in this car?”

    It was probably assembled by the circus monkeys that assembled my Explorer’s drivetrain.

    “I say the problem is at the dealer, before/during/after the sale. Unless you live in the Yukon Territory or a key supplier didn’t get a bailout, I can’t understand why it would take 2 weeks to replace…”

    It took my dealer in MI 5 weeks to get a rebuilt transmission for mine. And then they told me the warranty would only pay for two weeks of the five weeks of rental car!

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