Back in August we reported that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was opening an investigation into the 2011+ Mustang’s Getrag MT82 6-speed manual transmission.
Since the car’s introduction with the new transmission, owners have reported a variety of issues including binding gears, difficulty engaging in shifts and excessive noise and vibration. At the time Ford stated that they would “fully cooperate with the government as they review this matter.” Now Ford has issued an official response to the NHTSA investigation with a report detailing their investigation into the Mustang’s transmission problems, the problems discovered, and the actions taken to rectify the issues. While the report is quite extensive, we’ve broken down the basics of for you. The basics of Ford’s response to NHTSA investigation of the Mustang’s MT82 transmission: Ford was aware of the problems via direct communication from customers and monitoring of online forums Approximately three percent of transmissions were affected Ford investigated a variety of issues and found issues with cold shifting, the clutch plate bolt, clutch stayout, and 5th gear synchronization (detailed below) Each of the problems was addressed (detailed below) Many other factors resulted in the reporting of problems, including driver effect, the skip-shift feature, the influence of online forums, vehicle modifications and abuse. None of the issues caused a safety risk Ford has no plans for modifications related to the Mustang or the MT-82 6-speed manual transmission in the next 120 days Introduction Summary Concurrent with the launch of these new powertrains, Ford undertook aggressive monitoring of customer feedback, not only being sent directly to Ford, but also through customer comments in a wide variety of forums such as social media and various Mustang enthusiast forums. Through these varied sources of information, Ford became aware of a range of customer observations pertaining to the new 6-speed transmission. These ranged from reports that the gear shift was “stiff”, that shift efforts were higher than expected when changing gears, to reports of “grinding or notchiness” while completing a gear shift. Although reports associated with shift quality concerns appear to affect a low percentage (approximately three percent) of the vehicles equipped with the MT82 transmission, Ford nevertheless undertook steps to understand the causes of these concerns and to implement improvement actions where appropriate. Ford introduced new engines and transmissions for the 2011 model year to continue meeting higher ustomer expectations for vehicle performance while improving fuel economy. While some customers have expressed satisfaction concerns related to shift quality in these vehicles, analysis of the reports included in the response and a thorough understanding of the design and manufacture of these transmissions and shift controls show that the conditions observed by those customers does not result in an inability to shift into gear or in loss of motive power while driving, and, accordingly, there is no risk to safety associated with the manual transmissions in these vehicles. Summary of Problems and Solutions from Ford Cold Shifting Problems: Approximately 44 percent of the reports indicated higher than expected shift efforts in “cold” ambient temperatures when the vehicle is first started. The MT-82 6-speed transmission was launched with thicker (higher viscosity) transmission fluid than was used previously to address a gear noise issue identified during development. Ford determined that the customer complaints of increased shift effort may have resulted from this higher viscosity fluid and ambient temperatures at or below 60 degrees F. Solution: While these initial “cold” shift efforts may be higher than the driver may have previously experienced, analysis found that the vehicles can be shifted into any desired gear without excessive effort. Nevertheless, Ford worked directly with dealers and customers in an effort to resolve individual concerns and manage the trade-off between the shift efforts and potential noise concerns. Ford subsequently issued TSB 11-3-18 informing technicians to use a lower viscosity fluid, which has appeared to have alleviated the concerns of customers who are not satisfied with “cold” shift efforts.
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