Owners of the Shelby GT350 today opened a class-action lawsuit against Ford over transmissions and differentials that allegedly overheat at high speeds (especially during track use), sending the cars into limp mode. Sport mode is good. Track mode is good. But limp mode? Not good.
This all stems from the fact that base model and Tech Package-equipped 2016 Shelby GT350 Mustangs don’t come with transmission or differential coolers, something that owners have been complaining about for a while now.
Team Shelby Forum member Secundo complained about this issue in May of 2016:
I’m disappointed that any GT350 needs to be upgraded with coolers. Should not be the case as the GT350 is purpose-built for track use.
Secundo’s statement actually looks a lot like the basis of the new lawsuit, as the first sentence in law firm Hagens Berman’s class action filing reads:
Ford has sold these Shelby GT350 vehicles as track cars built to reach and sustain high speeds, but Ford has failed to disclose that the absence of a transmission and differential coolers can greatly diminish the vehicle’s reported track capabilities
The lawsuit alleges that owners of affected cars have been thrown into limp mode at high speeds, even when they’re not on the track due to high differential and trans temperatures. This limp mode drops the engine’s speed, and forces the vehicle down to a snail’s pace, potentially putting drivers and passengers “at risk of crash and injury.”
Ford, the law firm says, has essentially told owners “pay for a fix on your own dime,” a statement that echoes what this Team Shelby Forum member said last year:
I just got my Shelby GT350 owner’s supplement package( which has some nice stuff) and it has a pamphlet with track tips including that tech pkgd GT350's should be fitted with trans and diff coolers.
The law firm wants consumers to be reimbursed for the full price of the vehicle they thought was a “street-legal track car, capable of reaching and sustaining high speeds without failure.” The lawsuit also wants Ford to pay for the decline in vehicle value, punitive damages, and it wants an order “enjoining Ford’s deceptive marketing and sales acts and practices.”
The lawsuit doesn’t specify the conditions that send the vehicles into limp mode other than simply “high speeds.”
How high of speeds? What kind of accelerations? How long are the vehicles experiencing these speeds? Whether or not the conditions leading to this limp mode are considered “reasonable” for a track-oriented car is going to likely be the deciding factor in this case. We’ll see how it turns out.
I’ve reached out to Ford, and will update this post when I hear back.