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Old 08-06-2013, 01:22 PM   #1
03-246
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2012 GT500 4-5 Shift Problem...need help before warranty expires in May 2014!

During open track/DE type events I experience a lockout of 5th gear (the inability to shift from 4th gear to 5th gear) under heard acceleration and at speeds in excess of 100+ mph. I can shift from 4th gear to 6th gear and then back into 5th gear, but not directly from 4th gear to 5th gear. The remote style shifters in the 2012 GT500 leads to very numb and inaccurate shits due to the rubber bushings…probably installed at the factory to reduce noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). Assuming the shifting issue was not the Tremec 6060 transmission but a binding shifter due to the heavy engine torque/large amount of movement in the flexible rubber bushings in the factory installed shifter, I attempted to rectify the problem by having an upgraded Barton shifter installed. During my last event at VIR I experienced the same problem, even with the upgraded shifter. I discussed the problem with an SVT engineer at the VIR event (there giving demo rides) and he just rolled his eyes and said he knew about the problem and suggested that I “just deal with it” and “the last thing you want a dealership to do is crack the transmission case open, as it will open a can or worms and likely lead to other problems down the line.” Needless to say I left the 3-day event very disappointed with the performance of my new Shelby and just assumed there’s nothing that can be done.


At the recommendation of a friend that happens to work at a local high performance Ford dealership, I called SVT to talk further about this problem. I spoke with Ralph Arning with the Ford Customer Service Division Mustang PVT/Launch Team at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant. Ralph explained that the problem was not with the shifter (although he agreed that the factory shifter was terrible) or the Tremec transmission, but with the clutch. In 2009 and prior GT500’s Ford used a smaller racing style Valeo unit which was changed in 2010 – 2012 to a larger 11” twin-disk clutch to accommodate the higher horsepower and torque. The larger clutch was very accommodating to the driver, but with more rotating mass and a low clutch reserve (only 30 – 40 mm), under heavy acceleration and higher speeds, you can’t get a clean release of the clutch due to a dragging block out. Ralph indicated the only true fix to the problem is to increase the clutch reserve by swapping out the clutch, slave cylinder and master cylinder from a 2013-2014 GT500 – a repair costs of approximately $3,000….and one that would NOT be covered under warranty….obviously NOT the answer I was looking for. Since the transmission/clutch/shifter all work fine at normal highway speeds, as far as Ford is concerned, there’s no problem and the car performs as it was intended to perform…on the street.

My GT500 only has 5,200 miles and spends most of its time during local cruise events and car shows. I’ve only been to the track on two occasions, both at VIR, and both with me leaving the track disappointed by my cars performance. How can Ford/SVT build supercars … now with over 650 horsepower and capable of speeds in excess of 200mph … equipped with track pack enhancements like differential and transmissions coolers, and say that this car is a street car and is not intended for track use…especially when they demo their cars on the track and brag about their outstanding track performance and handling characteristics? Seems a little misleading to me.

Anyone experience a similar problem? Anyone have any suggestions on what to do next?
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:26 AM   #2
mcquik
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Sorry to hear of your experience David, but I have heard this same complaint from others on the 4-5 shift. I have a friend that owns a 2013 GT500, and his clutch went out at less than 5,000 miles, and it took the dealer ship 6 weeks to get the car back. They told him that Ford had the clutch on back order. When he got the car back, the shifts were not smooth at all, and he was very frustrated, especially after driving my 2007 GT500, which is smooth as glass with a barton shifter.
He does not track his car at all, and was so tired of the rental car, that he decided to live with it, but he is not a happy camper.

I am like you, I think Ford needs to address this clutch issue PRONTO.
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