Ford F-150 Transmission Lawsuits
One of the most popular trucks on the market, the Ford F-150, is the subject of three class-action lawsuits affecting the 2017-2020 model years of the vehicle.
They allege that Ford Motor Company was well-aware of safety concerns with the new-generation 10-speed transmission yet continued to ship and sell these vehicles while failing to implement a complete recall.
Plaintiffs say that the F-150 transmission can cause “life-threatening” issues from “harsh shifting, jerking, hesitation, and slipped gears.”
Plaintiff Robert Marino (Marino, et al., v Ford Motor Company.) claims that the 10R80 10-speed automatic transmission in his newly leased Ford F-150 XLT made loud noises and exhibited power loss while shifting just two months after he acquired the car.
In Pennsylvania (Orndorff, et al., v. Ford Motor Company.), a plaintiff says that after 6,000 miles, his F-150 SuperCab was making clunking noises from the 10-speed transmission. He claims that he was told by the dealership that the gear slipping, and jerking was “normal” for cars with 10R80 transmissions.
Additionally, these lawsuits allege that some owners and lessees have even endured whiplash due to the erratic shifting and jerking of their Ford F-150 vehicles. In response to these safety concerns, Ford has only instituted a partial recall.
This is not the first time we’ve written about transmission problems that plague the Ford F-150 and other vehicles with 10-speed transmission, and we are guessing this will not be the last time either. Ford models featuring this new-generation transmission include:
- 2017-2021 Ford F-150
- 2017-2021 Ford F-150 Raptor
Ford has issued two technical service bulletins (TSBs), which are internal memos from the manufacturer to dealerships with the official procedure for resolving issues that are not in car manuals. Both bulletins confirm that the 10-speed transmission can produce delayed or harsh shifts.
Ford claims that this is the result of “adaptive transmission shift strategy,” which is intended for the car’s computer to learn the transmission’s parameters and improve shift quality.
When it is reset, the computer begins a “re-learning process” which they claim can affect shifts for days. The TSBs told technicians to reprogram the powertrain control modules.
The suits say, however, that Ford’s “adaptive transmission shift strategy” does nothing to fix the automatic transmission shifting issues in the F-150. In many cases, owners still had issues following these repairs.
Partial Dismissal of the Ford F-150 Lawsuits
One of these lawsuits was partially dismissed in November 2020 in the Illinois Supreme Court (O’Connor, et al., v. Ford Motor Company.). Ford filed a motion to dismiss the 10-speed transmission case and a federal judge agreed.
The automaker asserts that express and implied warranty claims don’t hold up in this case because the F-150 truck owner did not notify Ford of alleged breach of warranties prior to bringing their complaint to the court.
Additionally, the judge dismissed the claim that Ford engaged in deceptive trade practices, saying that the allegations were too “generalized.” The case will continue, however, because the judge did not dismiss all the claims.
The other lawsuits against Ford in both Massachusetts and Pennsylvania remain pending, so settlements are still possible. In 2020, Ford agreed to a $30 million cash settlement to reimburse owners of 2011-2016 Ford Fiesta and 2012-2016 Focus vehicles.
Prior to that settlement, Ford revealed that it had already spent $47.4 million on vehicle buybacks. Evidently, the automaker has had major mechanical troubles with vehicles across its lineup in recent years.
Ford Motor Company: A History of Transmission Problems
Ford has always claimed that every single one of its cars are “Built Ford Tough,” but how true is that of their transmission systems? Despite the Ford F-series being amongst the top-selling vehicles in America for four decades, it has not been immune to a host of recalls, complaints, and transmission issues.
In the last ten years, the auto manufacturer has had a series of transmission issues in several of its models, resulting in class action lawsuits and recalls across the world.
Beginning as early as 2012, class action lawsuits regarding Ford’s transmission issues have been filed in several courts within the United States, Australia, and Canada.
The Ford DPS6 Powershift transmission, for example, is well-known for its poor performance, particularly in the Ford Focus and the Ford Fiesta. Ford produced its own dual-clutch Powershift transmission to compete with BMW and Volkswagen in 2010. This transmission does not operate as well as a traditional automatic.
In most twin-clutch transmissions, the clutch packs are submerged in hydraulic fluid, making gear changes smooth while also extending the life of the clutch.
Unlike their German counterparts, Ford went with a dry clutch design, which has caused its cars to vibrate violently or slip into neutral while in motion.
Ford somehow gets away with saying that this is not a safety issue. They claim that because safety features such as anti-lock brakes and power steering are still functional, then issues with the dry clutch do not affect driver safety.
After several complaints arose about the DPS6 Powershift, the automaker released updated fixes and part numbers to address only minor concerns. One of these fixes included brand new seals that kept hydraulic fluid from seeping onto the clutches which causes the transmission to malfunction.
Ford did almost everything except address the main problem, which was the poorly designed transmissions. In 2019, internal Ford documents published by the Detroit Free Press proved that Ford knew about the defects in their transmission design before they even started building and selling these vehicles.
Instead of producing new designs, the automaker decided to begin assembling the DPS6 anyway. The documents also show that Ford essentially told dealerships to act like everything was normal whenever they received complaints from consumers.
Ford 10R80 10-Speed Automatic Transmission
Ford first introduced the 10-speed gearbox in the 2017 Ford F-150.
The Ford F-150 10R80 automatic transmission developed jointly between Ford Motor Company and its historic rival, General Motors can be found in the Ford Expedition, Ford Mustang, Ford Ranger, Lincoln Navigator and abroad, the Ford Everest. Ford began receiving complaints about the 10-speed transmission shortly after its release.
Customers claim that the transmissions on their new vehicles would switch gears erratically and jerk violently. Some owners and lessees say that these aggressive shifts can even give the car’s occupants whiplash.
All of the current lawsuits involving the 10R80 transmission claim that the auto giant knew about the potential risk and danger that its new transmission could pose for consumers yet chose to sell them anyway.
The Detroit-based automaker issued two technical service bulletins in 2018. This first TSB told dealerships and service-providers to reprogram the control module when customers complained of rough operation of their 10-speed transmission.
Ford has implemented other solutions for problems with the 10-speed transmission including updated clips for the shift cable, replacement of parts in certain models, and extended warranties. But despite these short-term fixes, Ford’s transmission problems have not yet come to a halt.
Which Ford vehicles are having transmission problems?
Aside from the Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus, the automaker’s most recent transmission issues involve their 10-speed automatic transmission, which has been used in 2017 and newer F-150 trucks and full-size SUVS such as the Lincoln Navigator and the Ford Expedition.
Ford has announced one recall in the past due to safety concerns with the transmission, however, the automaker has not issued a full transmission recall. The active recall is for a clip that locks the gearshift cable into the transmission.
Ford does not appear to believe that erratic shifting behavior is widespread enough to issue a full recall on the 10-speed transmission. For now, the automaker is repairing the issues under warranty as well as extending warranties on transmission systems for owners and lessees who have these problems.
Is the Ford F-150 10-speed transmission reliable?
The Ford 10-speed transmission is not reliable. There have been numerous complaints from owners and lessees since its release in 2017, with some saying that their transmission problems began at just 10 miles.
If you own a Ford F-150 or another affected vehicle with 10-speed transmission, pay close attention to your car when shifting gears.
If you experience any issues while the vehicle is still under warranty, you should check to see if you can extend your warranty from Ford so that any future issues can be fixed at no cost to you. This can also aid you in qualifying for a lemon law case.
Contact Us Today!
If you have taken in your F-150 or any other affected Ford model for numerous repairs under warranty, your car may be a lemon and you may qualify for a refund or cash recompense and payment of your attorney’s fees.
As you can see, Ford owners have been dealing with various transmission issues in their cars for the past ten years and have received little recourse from Ford.
With the lawsuit in Illinois dismissed, you can maximize your potential recovery with a lemon law claim instead. Do not get stuck with a car with defects that could put you or those you love in danger.
Connect with one of our experts to receive a free, quick, and confidential case evaluation today to see if you qualify. Contacting The Lemon Law Experts is your first step in getting the compensation you deserve.