The Ford F-Series pickup trucks have been the best-selling pickups in the US for the past forty-two years. The complaint for this class action, however, alleges that the 10R80 ten-speed automatic transmission in 2017-2020 Ford F-150 trucks is defective and can pose safety issues.
The class for this action is all persons in Massachusetts who formerly or currently own or lease a 2017 to 2020 model year Ford F-150 truck with a 10R80 ten-speed automatic transmission.
In its marketing materials, Ford touts the ten-speed transmission, saying, “Compared with the 6-speed, the 10-speed delivers improved overall performance, with enhanced acceleration at the low and mid ranges of the power band.” It also says that “the innovative 10-speed automatic transmission with SelectShift® capability helps deliver higher average power for acceleration—improving responsiveness and performance.”
However, the complaint claims that this ignores a major problem with the transmission, and that Ford has issued three previous recalls for the truck. One, it says, was for the F-150’s six-speed transmission: “In that recall approximately 1.48 million F-150 trucks had a defect that can cause the truck to unexpectedly downshift into first gear causing accidents and injury to drivers.”
According to the complaint, the problems with the ten-speed transmission are similar. One aspect of the problem seems to be a loud clunking noise when the driver starts the vehicle. “Other drivers complain that their transmissions slip gears, jerk, and/or shift roughly.”
As reported in a posting at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “a vehicle lost all power while accelerating through an intersection and the transmission failed to shift up or down. In another complaint, an F-150 would repeatedly stay stuck in the same gear, making the truck inoperable for several hours at a time.”
In fact, the complaint alleges that “drivers have reported whiplash due to harsh shifting.”
Ford is aware that the problem exists; the complaint says it has issued at least two Technical Service Bulletins on the problem. However, “Ford advised that issues were normal and did not offer to repair or replace transmissions.”
Although Ford offers extended warranty coverage for powertrain components, including the transmission, it will not repair or replace the transmission under the warranty. The TSBs suggest reprogramming the powertrain control module. The complaint alleges that “Ford’s ‘adaptive transmission strategy’ fails to remedy the shifting problem…” This was the solution offered to the plaintiff in this case, and it failed to correct the problem.