The Ford Mustang, one of the few affordable performance cars still available with a manual transmission, started taking heat in 2011 due to the poor performance of its six-speed manual transmission. That year, NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation conducted an evaluation of customer complaints, which concluded there was “no unreasonable safety risk associated with the alleged defect.” Then, in 2019, it got legal: Gregorio, et al., v. Ford Motor Company seeks restitution for 2011-2019 Mustang owners with the MT82 and MT82-D4 six-speed manual transmissions. The class-action suit is now on the docket in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
NHTSA’s investigation of 364 reports concerned the MT82’s shift effort when cold, sticky clutches at higher engine rpm, loosening clutch bolts (early production vehicles) and grinding/synchro issues. NHTSA stated most complaints were from the cold shift effort (allegedly remedied with a revised fluid) while Ford addressed the sticky clutch issue with a new pedal assembly. What really set the internet on fire, however, was the MT82’s alleged lack of durability in gear changes. Oh, and its country of origin: China.
Hot-button sociopolitical issues aside, the MT82’s synchronizers were allegedly not tough enough to handle the Coyote V-8 in the Mustang GT, but EcoBoost and V-6 models are not specifically excluded from the lawsuit, either. (Shelbys are excluded, as they use Tremec transmissions.) Ford made extensive changes in 2018 with the release of the new MT82-D4: the details are listed below, but newer technical service bulletins (TSB 18-2267 and 18-2175) suggest the problem persisted.
Several reports on the suit indicate that Ford denies any defect with the transmission, attributing customer issues to basic wear and tear. Ford’s MT82 is in similar crosshairs in Europe, amidst customer complaints concerning Land Rover Defenders and Ford Transits with the transmission.