By on June 12, 2020

Ford has weathered heavy criticism for moving bunk transmissions for some time. Normally, that conversation revolves around the PowerShift DSP6 (aka Getrag 6DCT250) installed in passenger cars with names beginning with the letter “F.”

The unit turned out to have a laundry list of problems and ultimately created a ruckus between management, engineers, and Ford’s legal team. Concerned that scrapping the dual-clutch automatic at the last minute would prove a costly decision in the midst of our last economic recession, the manufacturer ran with it — only to be confronted with annoyed consumers who felt the transmission wasn’t anywhere near up to par.

While the DSP6 is the unit that gets top billing for What Were They Thinking: The Movie, it wasn’t the only transmission prompting headaches in Dearborn. Another Getrag-sourced unit, the MT82 six-speed manual, is allegedly a sore sport for Mustang drivers. Owners of 2011-2019 model year Ford Mustangs are now suing the manufacturer for delivering what they claim is another faulty product. 

Problems with this unit are similar to those the the DSP6, with manual Mustang transmissions being faulted for a multitude of issues after leaving behind the Tremec units that previously graced the pony car. The alleged problems were outlined in a California lawsuit filed last year.

According to Automotive News, the civil suit has since been transitioned to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and now includes direct claims that Ford knowingly obscured problems almost immediately after introducing the MT82.

“The transmission is defective in its design, manufacturing, and or materials in that, among other problems, the transmission slips, jerks, clashes gears, and harshly engages; has premature internal wear, increased shift efforts, inability to drive, and eventually suffers a catastrophic failure,” states the lawsuit. “Ford repeatedly failed to disclose and actively concealed the defect from class members and the public and continues to market the class vehicles without disclosing the transmission defect.”

From Automotive News:

The lawsuit highlights a 2011 investigation into the MT82 transmissions by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. NHTSA found 364 complaints related to the gearbox but eventually closed the case after Ford took action to correct the problems, and it concluded there was “no unreasonable safety risk associated with the alleged defect.”

The plaintiffs include Brandon Lemons, who purchased a pre-owned 2014 Mustang GT in late 2018. He took the vehicle in for service in July 2019 complaining of a “grinding noise and a vibration through the shift knob.”

The problem has gone uncorrected.

The suit also states that Ford had issued seven special service messages and technical bulletins related to shifting issues and other defects. This again harkens back to the DSP6, which Ford repeatedly enacted various fixes for without ever issuing an official recall. In that case, the Blue Oval offered an extended warranty on affected models and eventually settled a class-action suit involving almost 2 million customers.

We’ve certainly heard fewer complaints regarding the Mustang, which doesn’t mean the criticisms aren’t to be taken seriously. As manuals are no longer in fashion with the general public, there are far fewer MT82 units on the road. Still, the complaints seem largely consistent — suggesting the components may be inferior and/or people don’t know how to drive stick well enough not to destroy the gearbox. With complaints streaming in as early as 2011 and Getrag parts having developed a reputation for sucking, the former seems the likely scenario. Still, there’s always a chance lawyers smelled blood/money in the water from the DSP6 and thought this was the best time to make a move.

Ford said it cannot comment on matters pending litigation.

 

[Image: Aisyaqilumaranas/Shutterstock]

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50 Comments on “Mustang Owners Sue Ford Over Transmission Troubles...”


  • avatar
    chris724

    “He took the vehicle in for service in July 2019 complaining of a ‘grinding noise and a vibration through the shift knob.\'”

    That’s pretty stupid.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    “Brandon Lemons”

    Seriously…. That’s a plaintiffs name?

    Perhaps it was a typo and you meant to say “brand-name lemons”??

  • avatar
    gasser

    This on a day when CNN reports Ford is recalling 2 MILLION cars because faulty door latches have the doors pop open when the vehicle is moving.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Ford’s CEO should mention to the board: “If we cannot design and produce reliable cars, let’s stop making them”

    Oh, wait.

    • 0 avatar
      Kendahl

      In this case, it’s, “If we cannot select a vendor that designs and produces reliable components, . . .” Sounds like a Getrag problem with Ford the secondary victim after its customers. Since I know nothing about the contracts between auto manufacturers and their parts suppliers, I have no idea how much Ford could recoup from Getrag if it loses this suit.

      I question accusations that the manual transmission slips and jerks. Did they copy and paste from another suit about an automatic? The rest of the complaints are at least plausible.

      Brandon Lemons bought a used Mustang. There’s a good chance its previous owner spent four years driving it like he stole it.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @Kendahl – Ford sued International for their share of the problems related to the 6.0 Power Stroke so it does occur where the company goes after the supplier.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Yeah, Ford has to bite the bullet and take care of this. It’s Ford’s option to then seek damages from Getrag, but Ford didn’t sue International for the 6.0 disaster.

          But then Ford hasn’t paid for any of the 6.0s International supplied.

      • 0 avatar
        SSJeep

        Ford is absolutely and completely responsible if a vendor that they choose, Getrag or otherwise, provides a faulty component and Ford uses it in assembly. Years ago, auto manufacturers had inspectors and testers that spent all day taking apart vendor provided parts and measuring them to make sure they were in tolerance and at the proper hardness, etc. Now auto manufacturers rely on “vendor certification” and test few if any parts. Thats a huge miss and needs to be corrected.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          Many, many years ago, Ford made ALL its own parts, including steel from its own mills, fed with iron ore and coal from its own mines.

          It wasn’t that long ago that Ford made it’s own transmissions too. Streamlining of the auto industry has turned automakers into mostly assemblers of cars. They should at least be able to build their own basic drivetrains!

          • 0 avatar
            tomLU86

            Typically, the domestic carmakers do the following:

            The make some of the parts in their engines. They typically cast the blocks, then the heads. They send these to engine plants, where they combine them with purchased parts (like pistons, nuts, bolts) to manufacture engine.

            Transmissions follow a similar pattern as engines.

            US automakers make the stampings and sheetmetal in their stamping plants.

            They send these to assembly plants, where they weld them into bodies. They paint the bodies.

            On unibodies, they then add parts, virtually all sourced from suppliers, excecpt engines and trans (which have a lot of supplier parts).

            Even the frames are from suppliers (on trucks).

  • avatar
    slavuta

    GT w/MT was supposed to be my next car

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Challenger has a Tremec. That did not go unnoticed in my recent shopping.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      You should consider the supercharged ’03-04 Cobra Mustang instead. They have the 6-speed Tremec and overbuilt 4.6 DOHC.

      There’s 3 of them on Ebay right now with 20 to 50K miles, mint condition and under $25K asking.

      You can get an easy 500HP/500Tq with a pulley and tune, and it’s a smaller/lighter, last of the Foxes (platform).

      The GT500s have weak connecting-rods, which is likely another “class-action” Ford can look forward to.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        Rods weren’t too bad in the GT500 – they only really had a problem if you revved the engine past 6500 rpm. For most of my 09 GT500’s life it ran around with a 2.9 Whipple strapped to it and the car was rock solid. The only trouble I ever had with the car was a defective stock blower ( had a pinhole leak ) and the craptacular Bosch heat exchanger pump crapped the bed one summer otherwise I never had a problem nor did any of my buddies including a guy that thought compound boosting was a great idea with the stock heat exchanger routinely belching well over 200 degree discharge temps in the summer.

        The Boss rods were certainly better but I think most of the weak rod stuff were people who wouldn’t know anything about mean piston speeds even if you attached a book on the subject to an axe handle and parted their brains with it.

        The 5.4 and later 5.8 were really Detroit muscle in the best tradition. Lots of grunt from an idle up to its 6250 rpm redline ( if you left it stock ).

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          They’re asking real money for GT500s and most might feel guilty about driving one daily (into the ground) especially with near zero miles.

          I know the Cobras can take somewhat heavy modification, if that’s their deal, and or abuse, on and off the track. Probably the axle splines and CV joints are their weakest links.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        good advise

  • avatar
    raph

    Ford should have stuck with the Tremec but IIRC the notchy nature of the Tremec is something people in North America only really appreciate and the Getrag despite its crappy nature was a much smoother transmission.

    Personally I didn’t really like it in my ill-fated GT/PP1 and its 3.73 final drive.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      Count me as a Tremec supporter having owned 3 of them.

      I’m not quite sure what people expect from a transmission hooked to an engine like this. Smoothness is not high on my list of needs, but then again I am American.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Exactly. It is a bit notchy, but it is stout. The Dodge had a little restrictor delay valve in the line designed to slow engagement and avoid shock. Taking it out made it feel better, especially when cold.

        but yeah, I’ll take a little notchy over getting rebuilt and hoping for a class action settlement.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Ford parting with Tremec might have had something to do with its parent company, KUO Group. A stock analyst friend has them as a high-debt, high risk stock, due to declining cash flow and increasing debt service, with a debt level that exceeds assets.

      For a stockholder, that usually means they’ll need to address the debt with additional equity from new stock issues, diluting the value of existing stock. What that means for a company like Ford contracting their auto parts division for a major component, I don’t know.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Typical Ford. Big Al’s legacy of zero quality in the name of profits strikes again.

    And anyone that would buy a HEMI powered vehicle and not get the ZF 8-Speed is well…stupid. You deserve to drive a Mustang with a garbage manual. Lets pass up on the best transmission sold today for one that makes the car worse. Brilliant.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Screw the auto. It may be faster down a track, but I would prefer to feel involved with operating the car. But why would you care…Something tells me you are scouring you pull it yards for 97 Saturn SL1 parts.

      Automatics belong in Hyundai Crossovers driven by dudes in sweatpants. Some of us haven’t given up on life yet.

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        Yeah what does Tim Kuniskis know right?

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          Why do I care what an auto exec thinks about my preference for changing gears? They build the car with the options I want, I write them a check. Beyond that I’m not sure what the relationship is. People have known for some time an auto could shift faster that a manual. Yet many folks still want manuals. It is simply more fun to many of us.

          I did think the 8 speed was well matched to the scat pack I drove, but I still wanted the stick.

          And what did you say you drove? As someone who is clearly stupid for getting his Hemi hooked to a Tremec, Inquiring minds want to know. All we really know from your posting is that whoever drove off with your wife at some point was clearly in a Ford.

          • 0 avatar
            EBFlex

            “And what did you say you drove? As someone who is clearly stupid for getting his Hemi hooked to a Tremec, Inquiring minds want to know.”

            You must have problems reading as I never stated what I drive.

            And despite it being none of your business, I’ll tell you:

            2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee High Altitude with the HEMI.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Oh, I’m thinking about one of those for the wife to take the kids to band practice and soccer, etc.

          • 0 avatar
            EBFlex

            “Oh, I’m thinking about one of those for the wife to take the kids to band practice and soccer, etc.“

            Perfect! I use it to tow my MasterCraft

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            “You must have problems reading as I never stated what I drive.”

            Sure you did. You said it was black, right. You said your neighbor has a silver ford edge. You even told us your boat is a 2005 ProStar 197.

          • 0 avatar
            EBFlex

            “Sure you did. You said it was black, right. You said your neighbor has a silver ford edge. You even told us your boat is a 2005 ProStar 197.”

            Show me where I said any of that in this thread?

            Man. You must really be obsessed with me to just make things up like that.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            @mattiedfromcg: I guess you didn’t. My bad.

      • 0 avatar

        I agreed with this until I met a few autoboxes that were faster than I could shift, and I used to own a 125cc MX bike. I’ve a manual and autobox in the driveway, and while if I had a choice I’d have two manuals, the 9 speed Benz trans with AMG tune and shift paddles does combine the best of control when you want it and no input when you don’t

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Outside of early 2000s SMG abominations and certain CVTs I’ll nearly always prefer an automatic transmission but the people still going for manuals these days are 95% doing it for personal enjoyment which I don’t see why anyone would have a problem with.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        There are some excellent dual clutches out there. The Audis I drove would be an example. Additionally shifting with those beautiful paddles in an Alfa Giulia would be perfectly OK with me. But I got a Challenger and as good as the Auto was (and no doubt faster), I couldn’t see not rowing my own via a pistol grip in that car. Yes, I know it is slower. Who cares.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    How does a manufacturer build a bad manual transmission? They must have done some serious cost cutting.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I had a Mitsubishi sourced 5 doped in a Bronco II that wore out twice over the life of a vehicle.

      The fact that they put the Tremec in any version with more power tells you they are probably right up against the rating of that trans with little safety margin.

      It is a Mustang. It will be driven hard. A manual one Ford should know will be driven hard. They made a bad decision here

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        Jeff: The Getrag was built in China. There’s your answer, it’s right on the window sticker.

        Art: I’ve been saying this for years! The Shelby’s always got the Tremec, it was only the cheapskates driving the Boss and GT cars that got the Chinese transmission.

        I realize we can’t avoid Chinese parts in a car these days, but I’ve seen too much corner cutting over there to trust them with putting together major powertrain components. I wouldn’t buy an EV with a Chinese battery either, should I ever arrive at that point.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          The transmission being made in China does not automatically (no pun intended) mean that the unit has to be a POS. China will build to a high quality standard but that costs more than a unit designed/built to a lower price point. Ford of the past 10 years seems to have thrown all quality concerns in the dumpster in the quest for quick profits – a classic American business approach. They hoovered up some extra profit only to throw it away on warranty claims, lawsuits, bad press, and some of the worst reliability ratings in the US. About what one would expect from a company run by a low-end office furniture manufacturer. Ford would have been better getting somebody from Herman-Miller…

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            Yes, it’s true China can build you good products if you’re willing to go to the extra effort and cost of looking over their shoulder while they do it. With the context of this being Ford, short-term profits are the order of the day, so don’t expect quality.

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      It’s Ford. They’ve taken cost cutting to the next level. Having to ship thousands of vehicles to another factory immediately after being built because they require extensive repair tells you all you need to know about Ford and their cost cutting principals.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        For all of my hate at that Mitsubishi 5 speed, it and a failed CV joint on the drive shaft (Yes, it was like a foot long and actually had FWD style CV joints) were all that ever failed on that truck and it was owned by my family from new to over 350,000 miles and was still on the road after that. Admittedly we were lucky given the reputation of the heads on the 2.9 V6, but it was a solid and reliable rig.

  • avatar
    Crosley

    Not one mention of this transmission being made in China?

    Are we really going to keep pretending this offers consumers good value to keep shoveling ChiCom junk down our throats?

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @TMA1–Yes I know the transmission is built in China but Ford is using it and is responsible for it. Manual transmissions have been on cars ever since the beginning and are not that complicated. I want to like Ford especially since they are coming out with a compact pickup in a few years and I want a compact pickup. I have owned 3 Ford products in the past with only 1 being a piece of junk and the other 2 being really good. I also realize as you brought up that it is hard to buy anything without at least has Chinese components and many are made in China. I also realize that the new Ford compact truck will most likely be made in Mexico but regardless Ford needs to own up to any defects in their own products and the same can be said for Nissan, GM, FCA, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      …”I want to like Ford…”

      Forget Ford. Buy based on, or cherrypick the model, researching it up and down, or you’ll find you really have to one to blame (or sue) but yourself.

      Using the Harbor Freight equivalent of manual transmissions was a bad call, or anything made of Chinesium that could extend your stopping distance, shorten your lifespan, or lessen the quality of life, even by just being stranded waiting for AAA.

      If I was really into the current MT82 Mustang GT and the price was right, I’d probably chance it. I know a lot of complaints are normally overblown and I did own a 5.7 Olds diesel and powerstroke 6.0 without any issues. Except in knew exactly what I was getting into and plenty warned me against it.

      The Tremec conversion is a ‘thing’, all it takes is money. It’s a bit more noisy and notchy than the MT82, and you should starts with 3.73s or 4.10s, or add that to the bill.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    I own/daily drive a Mustang V6 with the MT82 transmission. Isn’t my favorite manual? No but it’s not that bad either. No issues 2 years in but my car only had 34k miles on the clock, starting with 26k.

    I can engage 1st smoothly, do some really nice launches or roll out as slow as I want without any jerking. If you’re really on the go pedal, however, it is sometimes hard to get into second gear. There are some aftermarket fixes available (which I haven’t done) that, according to the sites I belong to, does improve the trans for better racing/performance.

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