2011 Ford Mustang Long-Term Road Test - Maintenance

2011 Ford Mustang Long-Term Road Test

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Tranny Update

May 17, 2012


Some of you might remember the little contest I had going several months ago with our long lost friend bodyblue. Well, I've been missing his hijinks lately so I'd like to dedicate this post to him.

Anyhow, he and I had a running bet for months that the Mustang wouldn't make it to 20,000 miles with its clutch and tranny intact. He argued that all our burnouts would render it shiftless before the 20K milestone. I called him on it.

He lost that bet in grand fashion as I celebrated with more burnouts.

After that, further controversy ensued...

Some of you contended that although the transmission wasn't broken, it was certainly too noisy to bear. I countered with this video.

Today we're at 23,104 miles. I just drove the Mustang for the first time in months and the tranny sounds the same as it did at day one and at 20,000 miles.

I think it's durable. To celebrate, I'll do a burnout.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

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2011 Ford Mustang GT: Those Tires Show Up Yet?

April 24, 2012


The last time we saw our ailing 2011 Ford Mustang its blistered tires left the pony car stranded in our parking garage while we waited for new PS2s to arrive. There were three significant developments since the last update. The first was bad. The second was bad. Want to guess on the third?

The first is obvious by the picture above. Our sidewall bubbles finally ripened, spilling their contents into the atmosphere. If we ever considered nursing it to the tire shop in its frail condition with new tires in the trunk, that idea was out the window now. Time to dig out the floor jack.

The second setback had to do with shipping. There were wires, they were crossed and something was shipped someplace then back again. That's about all we knew until...

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2011 Ford Mustang 5.0: Waiting for PS2s

April 02, 2012


Our 2011 Ford Mustang is awfully lonely. She still sits, parked in our garage with blisters on the sidewalls of her Michelin Pilot Sport PS2s. We ordered up two replacement tires which have yet to arrive. The wait continues.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 22,810 miles

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Long Beach's $800 Pothole (or the return of The Great Potholio)

March 27, 2012


I neglected to tell you that on my way to Long Beach yesterday that I managed to find a ginormous pothole on the 710 freeway (highly traveled by trucks going to and from the Port of Los Angeles). After the "Bah-Boom,"I waited for that sinking feeling, a telltale pull to the left, a TPMS warning, or even a shudder, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary. I went to dinner and forgot about it. I drove home in the dark -- still nothing unusual. Fast forward to this morning: I leave home in the dark as well, but when I parked the Five-O at work and glanced at the front tire... wait for it... Holy Guacamole!

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2011 Ford Mustang GT: DIY Cabin Air Filter Swap

February 16, 2012


Looking for a simple DIY car project for this coming President's Day weekend? Maybe you should change your cabin air filter. It's easy, in most cases, and cheap.

I popped into my local Autozone and grabbed one for our 2011 Ford Mustang GT when I bought the oil and filter for Scott's oil change. I don't remember what I paid, but I think it was $9.99; that's their online price, in any case. Prices vary from car to car, but it's usually never much.

Before you go anywhere you need to find out if your car has a cabin air filter in the first place. Your owner's manual will clear this up, and the maintenance schedule will spell out the service interval.

Once you're at the store the how-to instructions should be in the box. Ask the guy or gal at the counter to let you peek inside to see what you're in for before you buy.

Here's why: My 2003 Honda Odyssey's first cabin air filter (CAF) change required some cutting of metal because the dash assembly apparently needed extra beef to survive the handling and transportation phase before vehicle assembly at the plant. Once the van was built the extra bit of metal framework that spanned below the glove box no longer served any purpose but, being invisible, it was left in. But it blocked access to the cabin air filter because the air box was apparently installed before the dash.

I had to cut this surplus piece away with tin snips (pretty easy if you know what "lefts"and "rights"are and have some in your toolbox), but even this process was fully described in the instructions that came in the box with the new CAF I bought at Pep Boys. All of this happened behind the glove box door, which I first had to remove with two screws. Subsequent changes will never again require this metal cutting step, though.

But that's rare. That's close to the upper limit of difficulty. The CAF in our Ford Mustang is mud simple. All I needed was your basic Phillips screw driver and a couple minutes. Scott Jacobs barely had time to take these pictures; it was over that fast.

Here is how the process goes for a 2011 Ford Mustang GT. Your mileage may vary.

Step One (above): Open the hood and remove the two plastic expando-screws, or whatever they call them, found at the base of the cowl on the passenger side. Unscrew and remove the screw, squeeze the base from below and pull it out as well.

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Oldham Oil Change

February 09, 2012


Yes, that's fearless leader Scott Oldham standing under our 2011 Ford Mustang GT with a wrench in his hand. Our Rotary lift and the prospect of not havng to roll around on the concrete and mess up one of his "meeting"shirts was enough to lure him out of the office for a little DIY routine maintenance.

Draining the oil was easy enough thanks to our new elevated drain pan with its own tank and wheels. But such fancy tools are not required. There's nothing particularly difficult about the Mustang from a basic driveway maintenance standpoint.

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Plain As Day

February 06, 2012


With an alert like this one from our longterm 2011 Ford Mustang GT, there's no "not knowing"when to change the oil. It lit up over the weekend and would only go away if you press the reset button. Smart design, and we'll get right on it.

On an unrelated note, I find the old school skinny font on the gauges a hoary retro touch that's too much on the cutesy side.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 20,549 miles.

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: New Rear Brakes

December 22, 2011

Mustang rear brakes.jpg

As suspected, our Mustang GT's rear brake pads were completely shot after some editor's vigorous run on Palomar Mountain Road. The right rears were down to the metal. Of note, I never really noticed before just how tiny the rear rotors/calipers look inside the 19-inch wheels.

Santa Monica Ford replaced the rear pads and resurfaced the rotors. They checked out the front pads, but there's still a good 50-60 percent left, they said.

The cost was $87.30 in parts and $115 for labor, totaling $210.38 with tax.

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 18,812 miles.

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2011 Ford Mustang: NHTSA Ends Safety Probe

December 20, 2011


That's our Mustang, speeding away from the the threat of a possible recall.

Or so says the Federal Government who suspended its safety probe into the reported transmission issue.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor

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2011 Ford Mustang GT: Oil Change and Tire Rotation

October 11, 2011


I had our Mustang serviced yesterday at Lithia Ford in Fresno, Calif. (where I live). Since the Mustang's service intervals are primarily based on the car's oil life monitor, the owner's manual lists maintenance items by the number of times you've had the car in for service. This was our Mustang's third oil change, and for this interval it was still just an oil change and tire rotation.

I debated a little on the tire rotation since we just recently put the new Michelin Pilot PS2s on. But in the end I figured it'd be best just to get the rotation matched to the normal schedule. The experience was generally pleasant, and the final cost was $55.53.

Also, as a public service announcement, remember that Edmunds still has Dealer Rating and Reviews. This is where you can write or read reviews about your sales and repair experiences at the dealerships in your area.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 15,635 miles

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2011 Ford Mustang GT: Added Another Quart

October 06, 2011


I checked our Mustang's oil yesterday and noticed it was slightly below the bottom fill line on the dipstick. I went ahead and added about three-quarters of a quart of 5W-20 to bring it up. Oddly, this was just a couple weeks after Scott added a previous quart of oil. It seems unlikely that it dropped down again so suddenly. So I asked Scott about it and he said it was hard to read the dipstick and he wanted to make sure he didn't overfill it. I agree on that point as the location of the front suspension brace makes it a little tricky to get the stick out and read it. So maybe the oil level was down even more from before.

Anyway, we should be good, though the timing is a bit ironic as just today the Mustang's in-car oil notification popped up; we're due for an oil change. So we'll be hitting up the dealership shortly.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2011 Ford Mustang GT: 15,000 Miles and Counting

October 03, 2011

Milestone_graphic.jpg mustang_15000.JPG

Our Mustang cleared 15,000 miles over the weekend. It would seem that we're right on track for getting around 20,000 miles. I also went back and looked at all of our prior posts. Nothing's broken or needed repair. Though we did have an early fuel issue, all we've had to do since that is bring it in for two schedule maintenance appointments (total cost: $97.45) and replace the tires. Also, Josh's bet on the transmission surviving 20,000 miles continues to stay in his favor.

(Thanks to everybody kindly reminding me about that first incident. I humbly stand corrected.)

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 15,072 miles

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2011 Ford Mustang 5.0: A Quart Low

September 21, 2011


This morning I checked the oil level in our 5.0 Mustang. It was down a quart. The car has been driven 3,505 miles since its last oil change.

So I added a quart of 5W-20. It cost me $4.98 at the local 76 Station.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 14,475 miles

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Vehicle Health Report?

September 01, 2011

Vehicle Health 006-1600.jpg

While pairing my phone, I discovered a SYNC feature I hadn't seen before: Vehicle Health Report. Make the jump to see the underwhelming conclusion.

Run Report? Yes, please... I was really curious how this report would be delivered/displayed.

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2011 Ford Mustang 5.0: Possible Recall

August 08, 2011


(Photo by Kurt Niebuhr)

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking into consumer complaints alleging an inability to shift into gear on some 2011-2012 Ford Mustangs equipped with manual transmisisons. The investigation involves an estimated 26,000 Mustangs.

We have not experienced this issue with our vehicle.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Installing the PS2s

July 21, 2011


Our 2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0 is much happier now. Yesterday we finally got around to installing those Michelin Pilot Sport PS2s we picked up the other week. So what took us so long? A Mustang with worn rear tires is fun. We were enjoying ourselves.

The real challenge was persuading 4 tires to fit into the Mustang. Take a look...

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2011 Ford Mustang GT: Timely Transfusion

July 04, 2011


When the Mustang GT let us know to that its oil should be changed soon, we didn't make it wait. Ford of Santa Monica had a special that included an oil change, tire rotation and brake inspection for $48. As we are replacing the tires very soon -- we have them and just have to get them installed -- we told them to skip the tire rotation. As S.M. Ford is down the street from the office, we dropped off the car at 2:00 and picked it up at 5:00 (though it was ready before that).

The brakes checked out fine and, big surprise, they recommended that we get new tires. Overall, we were happy with the service as they were courteous and didn't try to sell us some kind of "dealer recommended service"rip when we dropped the car off. And am sure the 'stang is happy too with fresh oil coursing through its mighty, thundering 412-horsepower V8.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 10,970 miles

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Michelin Pilot Sport PS2s FTW

June 30, 2011


When we asked you what tires we should get for our Long Term 2011 Ford Mustang GT, we took your responses to heart. After some 10,000 miles of, uh...spirited, driving, our Pirellis are getting a little weak in the grip department and as we own this one, we have no obligation to stick with OEM tires. We did, however, want to stick with OEM fitment and that, sadly, meant no Pilot Super Sport.

We also seriously considered the Goodyear Eagle F1, the Continental ExtremeContact and the Sumitomo HTR Z IIIs. But something brought us back to the PS2s every time. Maybe it was test-driver Chris Walton in our ear going "ps2! ps2! ps2!"They were some of the most expensive of the bunch running $1,572 for the set from Tire Rack, but they are, as one commenter asked, the tires we'd buy for our own car. Decision made.

They've yet to be installed. We're still trying to figure out a proper sendoff for the old ones. Ideas?

Mike Magrath, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Needs New Earl

June 28, 2011


Yesterday "Engine Oil Change Soon"appeared on the Mustang's instrument panel. So we will. Probably this week. By the way, it has been about 5,000 miles since the 5.0's first oil change.

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: First 10,000 Miles

June 21, 2011

Milestone_graphic.jpg ford_mustang_10k_1600.jpg

We made it to 10,000 miles without blowing up our 2011 Ford Mustang GT. Regular maintenance and a topoff quart of oil were the only wallet shrinking items of note this far. And together they set us back less than $75. That's affordable fun. Well, technically we haven't paid for those new tires yet...

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 10,000 miles

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: A Quart Low

June 17, 2011


We checked the oil level on our 2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0 this morning. It read a full quart low. So we topped it off. This is the first time it's shown any evidence of oil consumption.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 9,878 miles

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: What Tires Should We Get Now?

June 09, 2011

GT tires.jpg

Our 2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0 currently wears Pirelli P-Zeros sized P255/40R19. But, as you know, they're a little tired and the car is just a little looser (read: more fun) than it used to be. So new tires are in our future, what should we get?

Bridgestone Potenza RE050?
Continental ContiSportContact 2?
Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT?
Goodyear Eagle F1?
Eagle F1 GS-D3?
Pilot Sport PS2? (My vote here.)
More Pirellis?
A set of Sumitomo HTRZ IIIs like on our old M3?

Something else? No promises, but make your case in the comments and we'll consider.

Mike Magrath, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Dealer Oil Underfill?

April 06, 2011


Our 2011 Ford Mustang GT went in for routine maintenance yesterday. Shortly thereafter we read a reply to the post warning, "Be sure to check your dipstick as it has been pretty common for dealerships to underfill the 5.0, which requires 8 quarts of oil. Apparently, they're used to the 6 quarts the 4.6 required."

We were a little concerned, so we popped the hood.

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2011 Ford Mustang GT: First Service

April 05, 2011

Mustang Service.jpg

As you'll remember, on my way back from my trip to Monterey our 2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0 flashed that it needed an oil change, and now.

Well, that change came as soon as I was back in LA. I dropped the 'Stang off at Santa Monica Ford (without an appointment) and two hours later I got a call saying the car was full of all vital and non-vital fluids -- and washed.

$29.31 in labor, $4.39 in parts, $15.40 worth of oil and 0.45 to the tax man and we were out $49.95. Not cheap, but not outrageous. Plus, they don't try to up sell or otherwise con you into crazy services. I like this place.

Also, while I was there, I found something I want...we totally should've bought that color.

Mike Magrath, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com @ 5,713 miles

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2011 Ford Mustang GT: Service Due

April 03, 2011

oil change mustang.jpg

There's nothing to bring you back to reality from a long drive like an oil change reminder. This one happened at just about the halfway point on the way back from Monterey. Damn. It was such a relaxing drive. Oil level was fine, so driving it back home wasn't an immediate issue.

This reminder pops up on each start-up and requires multiple button presses to disable. At least then you've got no excuse for forgetting.

Mike Magrath, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Lugnut Disaster

March 15, 2011


Some things just don't play well together. Cats and dogs. Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote. And as our 2011 Ford Mustang GT found out, impact wrenches and wheel lock keys. Want to see why?

Our story began harmless enough. We caught a nail with the front tire of our Mustang. It was a slow leaker near the center of the tread, an easy repair. But easy turned complicated when I handed the keys over to the tire shop guy. I forgot the Mustang had wheel locks.

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2011 Ford Mustang GT: *sigh*

January 25, 2011


So I guess this is part four.

Never mind how I came to drive our 2011 Mustang GT home, just know that while I was on my way to work I saw the above message about fifteen minutes into my trip. Seeing the message, I paused. I turned the radio off, steadied the throttle and listened for a hiccup. A car can have a lot of problems that can go undetected for a few minutes, miles or months but an issue with fuel will get your attention immediately.

As I wasn't sputtering to a stop or bursting in to flames, I reached for the RESET button located to the left of the steering wheel and cleared the message from the display. When the message failed to reappear after 30 seconds, I whacked the throttle to the floor and tached it out through two gears.

I continued on my way to work.

Not more than ten minutes after I arrived at work, not the least bit on fire, Dan Edmunds was downstairs with a scan gauge in hand, ready to diagnose the Mustang.

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2011 Ford Mustang GT: TSB in AZ, Part 3

January 19, 2011

11 Mustang GT 001.jpg

"JDP, how would you like to take an all-expenses paid trip to Phoenix?"Seeing that I was already in sunny SoCal, I was a bit suspect at Executive Editor Michael Jordan's question. (I didn't yet know about the Mustang GT saga). He clarified: "Our new Mustang GT is at a Ford dealer over there and needs to be picked up."

It would be a quick, one-day deal. Fly in, take a taxi to the Ford dealer, hop into the new 'stang and aim it west for 400 miles. Well, we were talking about the new GT 5.0. The pick up could've been in Hades and I would've jumped on it.

As you've already read, MJ had logged only about 600 miles on the odo when the new pony lost its giddyup. A faulty fuel pump system was to blame, and our new GT was taken to Earnhardt Ford (no relation to the racers) where the TSB for this glitch was tended to. When I arrived at the dealership the friendly service advisor told me the car was all set.

Five minutes later I was outta there. I fueled up right before hitting the 10 Interstate -- love the capless fuel filler. After turning right onto the vacant on-ramp, I leaned on it, taking it to about 4500 rpm on each of the 1-2, 2-3 and 3-4 upshifts, windows halfway down so I could enjoy the crisp, urgent bellow of the exhaust. No, I didn't light 'em up at the mouth of the on-ramp nor chirp the tires on the subsequent upshifts. The 5.0 had less than 700 miles on it and even though there's no official break-in procedure, I don't believe in driving a car hard (hence the non-redline upshifts) until the engine's components have gotten to know each other a bit better.

I soon had a companion for the trip -- rain, which stayed with me nearly all the way to L.A. But apart from 8 miles of stop-and-go traffic just outside Phoenix where the 10 went from two lanes to one, it was easy cruising. A fairly quiet cabin, supportive seats, satellite radio and a Bluetooth connection helped pass the miles -- all that was missing were heated seats (though they're optional).

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: TSB in AZ, Part 2

January 18, 2011


It was like one of those refugee flights, as if the helicopter had lifted off the rooftop just as everything went bad on the ground.

That's how you feel when you abandon a car and fly away on an airplane. The last time it happened with me was in La Paz, when we parked a bunch of cars in a trailer park near the airport because the roads north to the U.S. had been flooded.

At least this time we didn't hit a steer, throw a dented hood into the bushes and drown an engine in a flooded ravine. Instead the 2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0 was parked safely in the service bay of Earnhardt Ford in Chandler, Arizona. When the proper part arrived, it would be on the road again, but that would be days from now and I couldn't be waiting around.

As you remember, I arrived in Phoenix on a flatbed tow truck after running the Mustang out of gas. The Mustang tried to warn me, but there was a certain failure to communicate on behalf of both parties. And when I did try to give it some gas, the capless fuel filler thwarted me.

Ford Roadside Assistance tow the car for free to Earnhardt Ford, but naturally you won't find any friendly service people waiting for you on a Saturday night. I check by telephone with the service department first thing on Monday morning and then show up in person to describe the circumstances of our breakdown. (Good thing I had someone with whom to stay and a car to borrow besides.) To me, things look promising for a quick repair, since this is a holiday week and there are few other cars in for service.

Three hours later the service writer from Earnhardt Ford calls with the diagnosis. As always, there is good news and bad news. The good news is, the replacement of the fuel pump module would solve the problem and the service could be completed in about an hour. But the bad news is, the part has to be shipped from the nearest Ford parts depot and even emergency service can't get it here until Thursday.

Right away, I start checking the flight schedules to Los Angeles.

Once I escaped from Phoenix on Southwest Airlines, Earnhardt Ford kept me on top of the situation, much to its credit. It emailed me a copy of the paperwork acknowledging the car's entry into the service department. It promised me that the car would be cleaned and readied whenever I was prepared to pick it up. And most important, it forwarded me a copy of the work order, which is how I learned of TSB 10-21-3.

This technical service bulletin (TSB) distributed by Ford to its dealers warns of an issue in both Ford Mustang V6 and V8 models in which the fuel gauge indicator drops from approximately half-full to empty. The TSB precisely describes the behavior that we experienced in our Mustang GT 5.0. The fuel gauge dropping from half or a quarter full. The inability to get more than 7 to 10 gallons into the 15-gallon tank.

As the TSB notes, the Mustang has a saddle-bag-style fuel tank that straddles the driveshaft. There is an electric fuel pump and a fuel-level sensor on the driver side of the fuel tank. There is a fuel pick-up and fuel-level sensor on the passenger side of the tank. The system picks up fuel first from the passenger side and then from the driver side. The fuel level sensors read the fuel levels on both sides and the two values are averaged for display. When the system reads a large difference between the fuel-level sensors, the fuel level indicator goes to empty and the on-board message center wars of limited range.

In the electrical confusion, the pick-up system fails to switch from the passenger side of the tank to the driver side of the tank. As result, the darn thing runs out of gas.

The 2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0 pulled through and did live again. It's in the Edmunds garage in Santa Monica right now. But there are a few things that we'll be pursuing. What kind of fault frequency must be found before a TSB becomes a recall? Is Ford's policy in this regard different from that of other manufacturers? This TSB 10-21-3 was posted by Ford on October 19, 2010. Should we have been aware of this issue? Should our dealership have been aware of this before we took delivery of the car? And what about the whole capless fuel filler thing?

Ah, questions, questions.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 591 miles

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: TSB in AZ, Part 1

January 14, 2011


With only a couple hundred miles showing on the Mustang GT's odometer, some serious break-in miles were required before we could take the car to the test track. So I set a course for Phoenix, hoping for a quick 800-mile weekend roundtrip to help the Mustang's bits get used to one another.

I made it to Phoenix, but had to make the last 30 miles in the cab of a tow truck.

The first sign of trouble came in Riverside. One moment the fuel gauge shows a half tank remaining and I'm figuring to make a fuel stop near Palm Springs as usual. The next moment, the fuel gauge plummets to almost zero and the distance-to-empty indicator shows only a handful of miles.

With 281.8 miles showing on the Mustang's odometer and 135.5 miles on the tripmeter, we're able to get only 7.883 gallons go into the Mustang's tank. Looks like some electronic gremlins have come along for a ride. Maybe it's the fuel sender? Was the tank actually full when I picked up the car from the parking garage in Santa Monica? A vast majority of new vehicles are typically delivered with some kind of problem, so I don't panic. A car is still a miracle of production quality compared to anything electronic, not to mention something like a new house (apparently we've learned more in 100 years of making automobiles than we've learned in 200 years of making balloon-frame houses).

So with the fuel gauge once again indicating full, I continue to Phoenix.

And then when I reach the Arizona border, the fuel gauge is registering a half tank again when it crashes to zero and the DTE indicator warns of limited range. Just to be safe, I stop for gas again right there on the other side of the Colorado River. With 451.2 miles showing on the Mustang's odometer and 169.4 miles on the tripmeter, I'm able to get only 4.959 gallons into the Mustang's tank, and I have to trigger the pump a little bit at a time during the whole refill in order to make the tank swallow the fuel. Finally the tank burps a little gas out of the capless fuel filler and onto the Mustang's fender so I reckon the tank is brimming.

Clearly seems like a fuel gauge issue to me, so I figure that I'll keep driving the Mustang on the tripmeter just the way I used to ride my Yamaha RD400F. My destination in Phoenix is less than 200 miles away, so I reckon to make it easy without a gas stop.

The fuel gauge crashes again as it hits the half-tank mark in Litchfield on the western side of Phoenix, but with the knowledge that there's plenty of fuel on board, I just kept going. And then in the fast lane of the wide, wide array of lanes on Interstate 10 heading toward the freeway interchange in downtown Phoenix, the Mustang runs out of gas. I know the feeling from past history in endurance racing, so I wriggle the car back and forth to slosh the remaining fuel toward the pickup, but no dice. I'm lucky to get across the traffic to a wide gravel area on an exit ramp.

No worries, this is what your AAA card is for, right? A guy in a service truck shows up within 30 minutes, then I hand over some cash to pay for the fuel, and he goes around to the gas cap filler to pour it in.

Except the AAA guy can't get the spout of his plastic gas can into the Mustang's capless fuel-filler neck. A metal flap within an inch or so of the Mustang's filler opening won't swing aside to admit the spout. The AAA guy looks at me and I look at him and then we both scratch our heads. Maybe we're doing something wrong? This capless fuel-filler thing is relatively new, after all. He replies that his service truck is a Ford F-250 with a capless filler. We walk over to his truck and find that the flapper in the truck's fuel-filler neck swings out of the way free and easy.

Well, maybe the Mustang thinks it's upside-down and has shut down the fuel pump and closed up the fuel system. The owner's manual tells us that you can reset the fuel-pump cutout by just switching on the ignition. We try it. Engine runs but no luck with fuel filler.

The next call goes out to Ford Roadside Assistance, which tracks down the source of our cell phone call and dispatches a tow truck. It's a free tow to the nearest Ford Dealership. The tow truck guys are smart and ask what kind of Mustang I'm driving, since they're concerned about the car's ground clearance with their dolley-type tow rig, so they end up sending a flat bed just in case.

Really, it all seemed like a good idea at the time. We'll continue with the second installment next week.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 591 miles

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