5.0 Coyote Mustang GT Problems & Reliability
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 will discuss a few of the most common problems and concerns with the 2011+ Coyote engines.
Common 5.0 Coyote Problems
- Engine Tick
- Automatic Transmission
- Oil Pan & Oil Pan Gasket
- Interior Rattling
Again, Ford’s 5.0 Coyote is a reliable engine overall. Some may say we’re nitpicking these common problems. We feel it’s important to note: just because we list these common problems does not mean you’re going to run into them. We want to discuss the most common problems, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they affect a majority of Mustang GT’s. Additionally, reliability is a tough thing to discuss. Some of it comes down to how the car is maintained, driven, etc. Some of it simply comes down to the luck of the draw.
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. The engine tick is kind of a loaded discussion, so let’s leave it at that for now. We’ll dive in below. 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. Finally, this is really supposed to be a guide about common engine problems. However, many owners mention or complain about interior rattling so we figured it was worth a quick discussion at the end. There also isn’t much else to discuss engine problem wise. Good start for the 5.0 Coyote.
1) 5.0 Coyote “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 5.0 Coyote 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) 5.0 Coyote 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.
10r80 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) 5.0 Coyote 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) 5.0 Interior Rattling Problems
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.
5.0 Coyote Common Problems & Reliability Summary
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!