5.0 Coyote Common Problems
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4 Most Common Ford Mustang GT Coyote 5.0 Engine Problems

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Zach is a founder of 8020 Media and TuningPro. He’s been repairing, upgrading, tuning, and writing about cars & engines for over a decade. Zach has written over 400 automotive articles and continues to be a lead writer for TuningPro. His passion, experience, and deep technical knowledge make him a go-to resource for readers looking to take their car to the next level.

The 5.0L Coyote engine is a part of Ford’s modular engine series found in 2011-present F150 and Mustang GT models. While the Coyote engine has undergone several updates some common problems remain similar across all Coyote engines. However, overall these are reliable engines. Therefore, it may not be completely fair to chalk these up as truly common problems. Regardless, in this guide we discuss a few of the most common problems and concerns with the Ford 5.0 Coyote engines.

5.0 Coyote Common Problems

Common 5.0 Coyote Engine Problems

  • Engine Tick
  • Automatic Transmission
  • Oil Pan & Oil Pan Gasket
  • Interior Rattling

Moving on, the four most common Coyote 5.0 problems you may hear about include engine tick, auto trans problems, oil pan gasket leaks, and interior rattling. Automatic transmission issues are well documented and discussed across many Ford models. Oil pan and oil pan gaskets may partly be speculation, but there’s good reason for it making the list.

1) “Type Writer” Engine Tick

This isn’t fun to talk, write, or think about so bear with us. First, there seem to be different variations of engine tick. Ford engines have long experienced ticking noises. Often, it seems this doesn’t have any real or noticeable impacts on engine longevity. Some Ford engines tick most of their lives, but still live to see 200,000+ miles. However, it’s a bit of a unique discussion on the 2018+ Coyote 5.0 engines. Why 2018+ Gen 3 Coyote examples? Let’s discuss a few important changes that came to the 2018 engines.

  • Direct injection (DI)
  • Plasma arc cylinder liner

Are Direct Injectors to Blame?

These are only a few of the updates for 2018 model Mustang GT’s. However, they both may help explain why engine ticking noises are so commonly discussed on these models. The injectors in DI engines are well known to make audible clicking sounds. Coming from the BMW crowd, we’re very familiar with injector clicking and it’s completely normal. However, when the N54 was newer it wasn’t hard to find forum threads asking why their engine was ticking. Often times it was simply the injectors, but people weren’t used to the sounds since it was new technology for BMW gasoline engines at the time.

There seems to be more going on than just direct injectors on the 2018 Coyotes. Though, there may be people who think their Mustang GT has a ticking sound, but it’s really just the normal direct injector clicking. That’s the point we’re trying to make. Direct injection isn’t to blame for true engine tick. However, some may be misdiagnosing normal direct injection sounds as engine ticks. Thereby, potentially blowing this issue out of proportion (which the internet can easily do on it’s own even without the assistance of noisy injectors).

Is Piston Slap to Blame for the Ticking?

Unfortunately, this seems like the most probable culprit. The Gen 3 Coyote engine uses plasma arc cylinder liners. It’s possible this liner is causing minor clearance issues which ultimately lead to the piston lightly slapping up against the cylinder wall. Some owners have had their engines replaced due to scoring on the cylinder walls, which would support this theory. If this is the case, then there could be cause for concerns as these engines reach 100,000+ miles. Piston slap could slowly chip away at the cylinder walls and eventually result in cylinders dropping some compression. That’s just one of many internal problems that piston slap may cause in the long-term.

However, too many questions still remain. Why do some older Gen 1 and Gen 2 5.0 Coyote engines have the same ticking problems? Does that mean it’s something other than piston slap? Or is piston slap still to blame but it doesn’t have anything to do with the plasma liners? Will we see more premature engine failures as more and more 5.0 coyote powered Mustang GT’s surpass 100,000 miles?

5.0 Coyote Type Writer Tick Summary

Ford did acknowledge the ticking and made a bulletin for it. However, they failed to address the underlying questions. Ford stated it’s normal which only raises more questions. If it’s normal then why do some engines experience ticking while a majority of others don’t? The whole situation is kind of messy and there aren’t any definite answers. Nonetheless, we believe the issues aren’t as common as the internet may lead you to believe.

5.0 Coyotes ticking could potentially have serious implications down the road if it’s piston slap. In our experience, engine tick isn’t normal and typically indicates some sort of issue. However, we don’t believe it should scare anyone away from buying a Mustang GT. At the same time, we believe it’s something prospective owners should be aware of. Sorry for the long winded topic, but we’ll speed things up on the next topics.

2) Transmission Issues

We’re sorry, but Ford automatic transmissions suck. They’ve never really had a good reputation when it comes to transmissions. Simply google “Ford transmission problems”, “Ford transmission recall”, “Ford transmission settlement”, etc. You’re not going to find promising results. They will, however, mostly be geared (no pun intended) towards Fiesta and Focus models. Regardless, Ford transmission problems are extensive and the 5.0 Coyote is no exception.

While certain Mustang GT automatic transmission may hold up better than others none of them are trouble free. We’re mostly focused on the automatics here, but it’s important to note the manuals aren’t without problems. The previous manual transmissions were well respected prior to 2011 year models. MT82 manual transmissions mated to the Coyote 5.0 haven’t done quite as well.

Unfortunately, none of the Mustang GT’s are exempt from potential transmission issues. However, the real focus is on the 2018+ 10r80 10 speed automatic transmission. We don’t want this post to be only negative and – as with all car problems – the 10r80 problems are likely blown out of proportion. So we’ll start with the good. The 10r80 is a solid transmission overall. In our opinion, 10 gears is a little overkill but it does a great job of keeping the 5.0 Coyote in its power band. It’s also a quick, crisp transmission. However, there have been some issues and complaints so far. As with the MT82, the 10r80 also has some lawsuits floating around.

10r80 Transmission Problem Symptoms

  • Clunking sounds
  • Jerky shifts
  • Missing gears
  • Hanging gears / slow shifts

Clunking or unusual sounds from the transmission, jerky shifts, missing gears, hanging gears, and/or slow shifts may indicate an issue with the 10r80. However, it’s not all bad. Some owners resolved their issues by having the dealership reset the power-train control module (PCM). That indicates certain transmission issues may be software related. On the other hand, clunking or unusual sounds from the transmission typically point to an actual mechanic issue. It makes sense that in most cases if you’re hearing clunking there is something wrong with physical components.

Transmission Replacement

Fortunately, most Coyote 5.0 engines coupled to the 10r80 transmission should still be under warranty. Of course, power-train modifications such as tunes, bolt-ons, etc could void your warranty. If you’re experiencing issues with your transmission the dealership will likely first try resetting the PCM. That appears to be the solution for some. However, if that doesn’t solve the issue then you may need a new transmission or the existing transmission rebuilt.

Hopefully any faulty transmissions are sorted out under warranty periods. It’s still something to pay attention to as these 10 speed Mustang GT’s age. If these issues are figured out under warranty then it could lead to expensive repair bills down the road.

3) Oil Pan & Oil Pan Gasket

Alright, we promised we would speed things up a bit so this section will be quick. Oil pan and oil pan gasket issues may be speculation. However, it’s important to note 2018+ Coyote 5.0 models receive a plastic oil pan. This isn’t any sort of formal test, but the video below gives a good idea.

As you can see from the video the plastic oil pan actually holds up fairly well. It’s likely a non-issue for most; unless you’re constantly bottoming the car out. Although, plastic does expand when hot which could potentially affect the gasket and it’s ability to properly seal the oil pan over time. Additionally, Ford had used plastic oil pans in the past that were problematic.

Another consideration based on our own experience in cold climates with snow and ice. Our ’07 335i has a plastic under-body panel that surely doesn’t rival the thickness or durability of the 5.0 oil pan. However, it’s still a pretty thick, sturdy under-body panel. Well, after years of driving in Colorado the panel was completely torn to shreds. You get the bigger trucks that drop chunks of ice off their wheel wells that ping their way under the car. Also, potholes from icy condition and lumps of ice built up do not help.

Totally unrelated to the 5.0 coyote oil pan, but the point is repeated abuse could cause issues. One rock, one big pothole, one chunk of ice, etc isn’t going to do severe damage. However, years of abuse may take a toll on the plastic oil pan.

4) Interior Rattling Problems

Mustang GT Interior

Again, we’ll be quick especially since this is far off topic from discussing engine/power-train issues. However, it’s good news because it means there’s really not much else to discuss reliability wise with the 5.0 Coyote. There’s also not too much to discuss with Mustang GT’s and interior rattling. It’s one of those things you just have to listen for closely and track down where the rattle is coming from.

Depending on the exact cause of the rattle there may be different solutions. You may need to use some ingenuity to solve the rattling. Some opt to slide foam, cardboard, etc behind panels that are rattling. Otherwise, it could be a simple bolt or screw loose. It’s a little frustrating when new cars start rattling so quickly. However, most cars develop interior rattles during their lives and some owners choose to simply live with it.

Overall 5.0 Coyote Reliability

All things considered, the 2011+ Mustang GT 5.0 Coyote engine is reliable and does not suffer many common problems. Look out for engine ticking noises, but understand you may be hearing the direct injection systems. Those with actual ticking issues may suffer in longevity if something is severely enough wrong to cause internal damage. It’s a possible issue, but it’s definitely been overblown. Ford doesn’t have the best reputation with transmissions and none of the Mustang GT’s are exempt from possible issues. Again, transmission failures aren’t are common as some may lead you to believe. The plastic oil pan gasket was an interesting change on 2018+ models, but issues are purely speculation.

Finally, we threw in interior rattles since many run into this. We were also out of things to write about actual 5.0 Coyote power-train problems. We feel it’s important to add one final note though. All cars and engines are prone to various failures. Some 5.0 Coyote reliability comes down to maintenance, how the car is driven, how it’s modified, etc. Other times it can simply be the luck of the draw. Nonetheless, the 5.0 Coyote powered Mustang GT is a stout engine from both a performance and reliability perspective.

What’s been your experience with the 5.0 Coyote? Feel free to leave a comment and let us know!

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15 Comments

  1. I have a 2019 GT|CS 23k miles currently sitting at Sunrise Ford which was originally at Citrus Ford. The noise I’m experiencing is observed, multiple noises. I here ticking, pinging, rattle. While idling at a slight Rev between 900-2,000RPM…along side driving between 1st-5th gear under 3,000RPM or even driving in or out of a parking structure.

  2. Still fighting everyone saying it’s normal…it’s irritating and very annoying to hear so much text responses. Typical untrained, unprepared employees of a company refusing to acknowledge an issue waiting for it’s warranty to expire for the customer to pick up the tab.

  3. My 5.0 GT will on occasion not start. It is not the battery(new battery) ,not the safety switch on the clutch petal(replaced), not the starter(starts with a jump start directly to the starter). Once it starts it will go for days without failing. I have had it at a Ford dealership for a week and they do not know what the problem is. They say until it fails again they can not test it further as they will not start it first. There must be another modulator switch? that fails. The engine is cold when it will not start. It is not dependable. Has anyone encountered a similar problem and had it solved?

    1. I’m having the same issue. Apparently there was a recall and I’m not sure if was an American recall or Canadian. I bought my 2019 Mustang GT used and have been driving it since late March as a cruiser and not a daily driver. I think before I put it away for the winter I will take it to my local dealer and have them look at this issue as well the BBQ starter tick coming from the bottom end of my engine. This should be interesting to hear what the dealer says about these 2 issues. I will keep you posted.

    2. I had that problem, it was a wire issue where the short alternator wire freyed in a plastic wire harness, you’d never find it, because it rubs against the engine and then a dead short… went through countless batteries and alternators until I took her to a mechanic that had a an electronics background and fix it within 5 minutes of me bringing her in…

    3. Open the fuse box under the hood. Find the relay for the ECM. Change it out. It costs about $15.00. Thank me later.

  4. I own a 2016 Mustang GT Premium. Manual Transmission. It has almost every performance upgrade available. I bought it in 2020 used when it had 11,000 miles on it. It’s in the shop now – they’re trying to figure out WHY I failed my recent emissions test !! I rather suspect the Genesis of this situation is when the shop disconnected the battery six months ago to test it. NOW the car doesn’t know WHO I am. !! ( I AM YOUR FATHER !! ) I was CLUELESS about ANY problems until the Tech at the emissions testing joint told me that, “The car wasn’t ready to be tested.” Additionally, I do not have ANY acoustic ticking problems with the engine .. . and the MT82 transmission IS clunky at times, but MOSTLY due to MY sloppy shifting .. .

  5. So you say all of these mustangs suffer transmission issues. What about the 6r80 automatic in the 17 and under? Main reason I went with a 17 was because out of the 3 options, that was the most dependable. Thoughts on those?

  6. 2018 f150 5.0 72,000 miles excessive oil consumption rough idle hard engine knock and engine light. Cookeville Ford says long block needed 13k parts and labor! Truck always had oil changed on service intervals and never abused. If this is Ford quality I’m done with Ford! Buyer beware!

  7. I have a 2021 Mustang GT,10 spd. That transmission is the biggest P.O.S they ever built. Won’t shift properly, if at all. Paddle shifters are useless. This car has 4700 miles on it. Been back to dealership but they don’t have a clue [Cloniger Ford]. If anybody is involved in a class action lawsuit against Ford on this transmission call me–704-500-7002. This transmission is JUNK!!.

  8. I have a 2019 GT PREM MUSTANG WITH 9000 MILES IN THE SHOP WITH A #5 broken piston and Stock Cats burnt
    Out it has A ROUSH SUPER CHARGER SET ON ROUSHS SETTINGS AND NO OTHER MODS HAS ANY ONE ELSE EXPERIENCED THIS PROBLEM ..???? Ed

    1. Hi Ed,

      Sorry to hear about the engine damage. We wrote an exhaustive guide on 5.0 Coyote superchargers and covered this topic a little bit.

      The 5.0 Coyote is a stout engine but there are certainly others who have run into serious internal engine issues and damage with superchargers. It’s uncommon under the 700whp mark but there is always the risk when adding boost and significant power gains. Things just go wrong sometimes.

      It seems you had some underlying issue if the cats were also burnt out. For one, leaving the factory catalytic converters in place with a supercharger creates a lot of back-pressure which isn’t healthy for the engine. More heat, more exhaust gas reversion, etc. The cat being burnt out may also suggest leaking injector(s), AFR issues, misfires, or other air/fuel delivery problems.

      A broken piston is often due to engine knock. Sounds like you were running 91/93 octane pump gas, or something of the like based on the fact you have no other mods. Your 5.0 Coyote was probably running lean and with poor quality fueling that’s a recipe for disaster.

      Again, sorry to hear about the unfortunate luck. If you decide to rebuild and keep the GT going then I suggest you consider additional mods like high-flow cats or cat deletes, higher quality fueling, custom tuning, etc. These mods should go a long way in keeping the 5.0 happy with boost.

      Best Regards,
      Zach

  9. HELP: my 2017 GT premium needs an intake manifold. The Ford dealership did a diagnostic and because it’s under an extended warranty “they” need to do the work on it. It’s in NH. I live in Florida. They said they will pay for the rental cars but only AFTER my car is shipped to me. No one has an intake manifold. There is no ETA. It’s been there for over a month. Any suggestions? The rental cars are costing me so much money my credit card will not last. It’s bringing down my credit score, creating STRESS, just pulling me down.

    1. Its now 2023, and Ford will NEVER have replacemant intake manifolds for ANY 2015-17 Coyote engines. I have had nothing but problems with mine. I am 66 years old. I am looking for a Toyota tundra pickup now, I will NEVER own another Ford pickup no matter how pretty they are outside, inside everything comes from Mexico or CHINA, which all they make is JUNK as far as I’m concerned.

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