Ford Mustang

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Auto Defects > Ford

March 2001

Dear Mustang/Probe Owner:

Thank you for contacting the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) about your 1984-later Mustang or Probe. CAS has received hundreds of complaints concerning engine and transmission troubles, peeling paint, fires, stalling, and unintended acceleration.

After its redesign in 1994, the Mustang went from a car plagued with many problems to one with fewer problems on Consumer Reports' frequency of repair ratings. Although the Probe generally rated well, Ford dropped it after 1997. A common and expensive defect is peeling paint on 1985-92 models. Ford attempted to cover up paint problems by buying off aggressive consumers under a secret warranty and ignoring consumers who didn't complain loudly. CAS petitioned the Federal Trade Commission and every state attorney general in 1994 to take action on Ford's peeling paint secret warranty. In 1987, Ford recalled about 500,000 1986-87 Mustangs for faulty fuel line couplings that caused engine compartment fires. In 1996, Ford recalled 2 million 1988-93 Mustangs for defective ignition switches that started dash fires but refused to recall 1983-87 models with the same ignition switch. In 1988, CAS sought a recall for stalling at highway speeds of Mustangs with 3.8 and 5.0L engines but Ford avoided a recall even though it knew ignition modules mounted on the distributor overheated and caused the stalling. Ford continued this design through at least 1994. The 3.8L engine also has a bad head gasket that costs $1,000 to replace and $4,000 if the engine goes. Ford extended the warranty to 7 years or 100,000 miles on 1994-95 models but refused to extend the warranty on 1988-93 models with the same failure prone head gasket.

The Probe's biggest problems relate to body integrity--door and window fits that lead to squeaks, rattles, and wind/water leaks. Ford has issued nine TSBs that specifically pertain to water leaks, interior glass fogging, and tail lamp condensation. Some Probe owners report up to two inches of water in their cars after washes or thunderstorms. An expensive water defect that affects Probes is premature muffler and exhaust rust.

You'll find more information on these and other Mustang/Probe defects below and what you can do about them plus a complaint box. Your information will help us build a strong case against Ford as we fight for action on Taurus/Sable defects.

We need you to support the Center for Auto Safety in our fight for consumer rights and against poorly designed and unsafe cars. Your contribution is tax-deductible which entitles you to our quarterly newsletter, Lemon Times. Please submit the membership form along with your contribution and complaint. If you contribute $35 or more, we will send you the current edition of The Ultimate Car Book, by Jack Gillis.

Sincerely,

Clarence M. Ditlow
Executive Director

MUSTANG & PROBE FACT SHEET
Ford Technical Service Bulletin numbers are in parentheses.

Driveability/Engine: Head gasket, 1994-95 Mustang with 3.8L 7yr/100,000 warranty 00M10)]Oil contaminated with coolant, 3.8/4.2L 1996-98 (99-20-7); Fuel pump relay 1983-90 Mustang (90-18-3); High idle 1988-90 Mustang (90-21-5); EGR vacuum leak 1987-90 Mustang (91-4-9); Thrust bearing & crankshaft failure 1982-90 Mustang (91-4-10); Camshaft core plug leaks 1990-91 Probe with 3.0L (91-7-8); Knock 1990-91 Probe (91-9-8); Rough idle 1989-91 Probe with 2.2L (91-11-3); No start & corroded wiring connector 1989-91 Probe (91-16-6); Hard cold start, hesitates, & stalls 1984-90 Mustang (91-25-7); Timing belt warbling 1985-92 Mustang (92-5-11); FEAD (front end accessory belt) problems 1994-95 Mustang with 5.0L, 1996-98 with 4.6L (96-15-9, 98-20-18); Hard or no start 1993-94 Probe (95-5-8); Metallic "ticking" from hydraulic lash adjusters 1993-94 Probe (94-12-7); "Drone" from #1 engine mount 1993-94 Probe (94-12-8); Engine compartment rattle during stop-&-go acceleration 1994-95 Probe (95-15-5).

Electrical/Instruments: Heater output & thermostat open 1992-94 Mustang (93-24-8); Speedometer noisy & erratic display 1985-91 Mustang (91-8-18); Temperature gauge low or erratic 1992-94 Mustang (95-13-2); Instrument cluster warning lights dimly lit 1992-93 Mustang (93-24-10); Radio "distortion" & "poor reception" 1994-95 Mustang with 5.0L (95-9-3); Wiper arms slow down or stop intermittently 1992-93 Mustang (93-21-6); Inaccurate fuel level reading when full, 95-96 Probe (96-4-5); Fuel gauge inaccurate after replacement of fuel pump or sender 1993-95 Probe (95-21-6); Headlamp door cycles open & closed 1993-95 Probe (95-14-3); Front radio speakers inoperative 1993-94 Probe (94-11-6); Switch slow to return in left turns 1993-95 Probe (95-9-4).

Paint & Water Defects: Peeling & contamination 1985-92 Mustang & 1989-92 Probe (91-18-1); Rough texture &/or orange/rust dots 1992-97 Probe & 1992-00 Mustang (92-6-4, 99-12-10); Rough texture & ferrous metal contamination with acid rain discoloration or etching 1992-97 Mustang, Probe(95-6-1); Exterior clearcoat "microchecking", hazing, or peeling 1992-93 Mustang, Probe (93-8-4); Interior window fogging 1989-90 Probe (90-5-2) & 1989-91 Probe (91-17-3); Front door leaks 1989-90 Probe (90-22-2); Tail lamp condensation 1990-91 Probe (91-11-10); Water in wiring connectors 1989-91 Probe (91-16-6); A/C leaks water into passenger compartment 1989-91 Probe (92-4-5); Water leaks into MLP/TR sensor causing shift &/or engagement concerns 1994-95 Mustang (96-3-13); Front door glass leaks, 1993-97 Probe (96-2-1, 97-19-1). For more information on peeling paint, go to Ford Paint.

Ride/Performance: "Buzz/rattle" due to loose catalyst or muffler heat shields 1992-99 Mustang, Probe (94-7-10, 98-20-10); Roughness on braking 1992-95 Mustang, Probe (95-6-2); Front disc "thump/clank" on braking 1994-95 Mustang (94-23-5); Rear brake "squeak" 1994-95 Mustang (95-6-3); Rubbing noise under car 1994-95 Mustang (95-17-5); Loose exhaust 1985-90 Mustang & 1989-90 Probe (90-13-7); Steering drift 1988-91 Probe (91-24-6); Shudder on acceleration & braking, lack of center feel, premature front tire wear, & vehicle wander 1992-93 Mustang (93-13-2); "Chatter" in tight turns after extended highway driving 1992-96 Mustang (96-12-9);"Clunk/knock" from steering on turning 1993-94 Probe (94-9-4); Steering wheel off center 1993-95 Probe (95-24-1); "Rattle/squeak" from sliding roof area 1993-95 Probe (95-25-1); Door glass wind noise 1993-96 Probe (96-2-1); Silicone contaminates exhaust gas oxygen sensor 1992-94 Probe (93-23-6); "Whistle" in idle & gearshift in "Park" 1994-96 Probe (96-8-8); Special noise, vibration, harshness TSB 1995-99 Mustang, 1995-97 Probe (99-11-1); Rear wheel road noise 1997-99 Mustang (99-10-1).

Transmission: 1990-91 Mustang - Ford replaced Borg-Warner T5 Overdrive Manual Transmission (90-24-10); Delayed 2-3 upshift 1989-90 Probe (90-10-10 & 90-16-6) & 1997-99 Mustang with 4R70W (99-18-5); Forward clutch failure 1989-90 Mustang (91-16-12); Hesitation or stall during acceleration & deceleration, rough idle, & engine coolant does not reach normal operating temperature 1992-93 Mustang (93-24-8); Intermittent torque loss with 3-4 upshift 1994-95 Mustang (95-5-15); A/T fluid collects on main control cover 1994-97 Probe (97-5-9, 96-14-10, 99-24-9); Clutch pedal vibration 1995-98 Mustang (98-22-2); A/T fluid leak at radiator 1997-99 Mustang (99-4-6); Erratic or prolonged 1-2 shift 1995-97 Mustang (97-11-11); Vibration or shudder under light acceleration above 35 mph in 3rd or 4th 1994-95 Mustang (95-23-4), 1995-97 Mustang (98-8-7; Buzz in reverse, click & vibration on right turns 1994-97 Probe with 2.0L (97-2-9); Harsh shift, engagement 1995-97 Probe with CD4E (97-4-6, 96-26-14).

Other: Wheel corrosion 1984-90 Mustang (90-13-2) & 1989-90 Probe (90-19-8); Wipers will not retract 1990-91 Probe (91-12-8); Shoulder belt locks too easily 1990-92 Probe (92-11-4); Interior door handle breaks 1992-94 C (93-12-5); Heated backlite inoperative & terminal separates from glass or grid breaks 1992-94 Mustang, Probe (93-26-1); "Pop" or "snap" while door glass cycled 1995-96 Probe (96-17-1); Front window runs out of track 1995-98 Mustang ((98-25-3); Hydraulic lifts may not support hatch with spoiler/wing 1993-94 Probe (94-19-3); Door locks inoperative at freezing temperatures 1993-94 (94-8-6); P/locks inoperative 1993-94 Probe (94-16-8); Fuel pump noise in radio 1993-99 Mustang, Probe (98-7-3, 99-12-9); A/C compressor failure 1995-97 Mustang (97-10-5); A/C musty, mildew odors 1992-98 Mustang, Probe ( 98-6-7, 99-19-5); A/C chemical odor 1989-91 Probe (91-15-5); Blower motor chirp or squeak 1993-97 Mustang (97-25-5); Poor convertible boot fit 1995-00 Mustang (99-22-5); Axle shaft leak, new CV joints 1993-97 Probe (96-25-16).

MAJOR RECALLS
Copies of recalls may be obtained by calling NHTSA's Technical Reference Division at 202-366-2768.

Airbags: 2,740 1996 Probe - Wrong sunvisor airbag label (96V-090).

Brakes: 14,008 1985 Mustang/Capri - Power brake boosters (85V-068): 434,000 1994-01 Mustang - Park brake fails to hold (00V-349).

Electrical: 54,000 1994 Mustang - Seat wiring harness fire (95V-062); 1,000,000+ 1988-93 Mustang - Ignition switch dash fire (96V-071).

Engine: 10,000+ 1984 Mustang/Capri & 2,900 1990 Probe & 50,000+ 1997-99 Mustang- Throttle sticks (84V-119, 89V-159, 99V-062); 5,700 1997 Probe - Timing belt tensioner breaks (98V-206.002).

Fuel Fires: 500,000+ 1986-87 Mustang - Fuel line coupling (87V-139): 4,100 5.0L 1993 Mustang & 8,000 1998 Mustang - Fuel rail leaks (93V-159 & 97V-216).

Seatbelt: 7,700 1991 Probe GL & 5,000+ 1999-00 Mustang- Seat belt retractors (91V-016, 99V-250); 306,000 1984-85 Mustang/Capri - Front seat belt deteriorates (92V-063); 224,000 1989-92 Probe - Motorized belt jams (96V-172).

Steering: 1,300 1995 Mustang - Tie rod ball studs fracture (95V-134).

Transmission: 6,800 1991 Mustang - Park disengagement or no park position (91V-048).

Other: 3,700 1993 Probe - Liftgate supports fail (93V-058); 25,000+ 1994-96 Mustang - Hood panel flies up (97V-180).

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