Here's All Your Recent Mustang Driveline News

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth

The video above, which has been circulating through the Mustang community, shows what can happen when you pull the speed limiter from a stock Mustang V6 and run it to 135MPH: the driveshaft takes a hike and chews up everything around it. Obviously there are some compromises involved in delivering a 305-horsepower, rear-wheel-drive sporting car for the price of a loaded Chevrolet Cruze, and this is one of them.

On the plus side for Ford, the other famously fragile part of the current ‘Stang — the manual transmission fitted to all non-GT500 models — has just passed an NHTSA investigation with flying colors.

Of the three reported issues with Mustang manual transmissions — hard shifting, slow clutch re-engagement, and synchro grinding — Ford has released TSBs for the first two and is working on one for the third. The six-speed Tremec Getrag, which is apparently made in China, has been the subject of vociferous criticism since its release.

The NHTSA preliminary investigation into these problems has concluded with the statement that there is “no indication of loss of motive power or unreasonable safety risk associated with the alleged defect in the subject vehicles.” Although your humble author hasn’t seen any problems during multiple racetrack sessions in Mustangs with this transmissions, other people haven’t been so lucky. We will keep you posted on further developments.

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  • Jeffzekas Jeffzekas on Dec 23, 2011

    I remember how the door handles of my '58 VW lasted forever, whereas the door handles (plastic) constantly broke on our '68 VW van... my son's '68 Ford Galaxie had no problems with the gas gauge (even though it was over 40 years old) but my '96 Bronco gas gauge broke at 100,000 miles... and on and on... fact is, as my brother the engineer said, "In the old days, cars were designed with an indefinite life-span for parts-- now they are designed to wear out at prescribed intervals." Which is why there will continue to be lots of old trucks, still purring along, long after all the new Fords and Hyundais have gone to the crusher!

    • Rudiger Rudiger on Dec 23, 2011

      It's hard to say, "They don't build 'em like they used to" when the vast majority of modern cars don't seem to have much problem going well over a hundred thousand miles with little maintenance. Back in 'the good 'ole days', vehicles were almost universally shot by 50k miles (with some of the worst built/engineered barely able to make it into five figures). OTOH, I don't know how far a 305hp, V6 Mustangs will be able to make if the driveshafts are of such low quality, though.

  • FJ60LandCruiser FJ60LandCruiser on Dec 23, 2011

    So a Ford Mustang V6 (allegedly a "sports car") disintegrates at speed. My problem with all of this wasn't that it was some ridiculous 199mph top speed that can only be attained by regearing the car and several miles of lake bed, but that it happened at 140, a speed the car obviously can reach quite easily before it explodes into scrap. If you market something as a sports car, then it should be engineered like a sports car. Ford obviously knows its market and realizes that most Mustangs, especially those with a V6, will probably never see any performance applications besides one or two red light burnouts before the dental hygienist who bought one wishes she had spent the money on a pair of fake boobs. I'm guessing if I wanted to sleep on the couch for the rest of my life, and I tried the same stunt in the wife's WRX (a similarly priced vehicle but one intended for a market that appreciates bad weather handling and lateral g's), not a single part of the car would try to liberate itself and go running back to China.

  • Troyohchatter Troyohchatter on Dec 23, 2011

    To this day one can buy a small Toyota pickup of any year and do a V8 swap with no other modifications whatsoever. If the Mustang V6 has almost as much grunt as the previous gen's V8, the Ford had to underengineer the driveshaft at the request of a beancounter because there is no WAY this driveshaft came off of a previous gen GT. Anyone that owned a mid 90's anything from Ford would not be surprised by this "process" by where if Ford can save a half a penny per car by making a part just a wee little bit weaker and get away with it, they will. All of that being said, who's to say the dude that pulled the speed chip didn't also do some other modification to the driveline that caused the failure. I have a hard time believing that Ford would take the time to underengineer something as a driveshaft to something with "only" 315HP.

    • Pch101 Pch101 on Dec 23, 2011
      All of that being said, who’s to say the dude that pulled the speed chip didn’t also do some other modification to the driveline that caused the failure. Yep. Posters on this thread seem to enjoy holding rather strong opinions, even though none of them know what happened. That being said, I would be very careful about modifying or buying a modified car. That speed limiter may have been there for a good reason.
  • CJinSD CJinSD on Dec 23, 2011

    Ford still builds cars to Ford standards. People still defend them. Buy a Ford, get what you know you deserve.