We’ve had our 2015 Mustang EcoBoost in our hands now for exactly a week. In that week, we’ve clocked a little less than 400 miles on the car. We’ve familiarized ourselves with the controls layout, and continue to find ways to push limits of the car.
While we’ve been enjoying the car immensely for the past week, we have one big gripe, and that’s the feel of the clutch pedal. While we like the low pedal effort the hydraulic system provides, the pedal itself feels numb. If I can switch to editorializing for just a minute, with few exceptions I’ve had a manual transmission equipped vehicle in my possession for nearly 20 years, since my first pickup truck at age 16. I knew how to drive a stick by the time I had my learner’s permit, thanks to summers working for a car dealer and moving cars on the lot. I’ve never had a clutch pedal that felt like this.
The problem is a notorious complaint among S550 owners, and we’re told among S197 owners as well. It’s incredibly difficult to “feel” the engagement and release on this clutch, and the result is often stuttering, jerking starts in first gear, and difficulty with second and third. It’s difficult to shift gears swiftly under power, simply because finding the two critical points necessary on the clutch pedal is nearly impossible.
Located on the clutch pedal, the assist spring is easily accessed.
Our solution came from HiPo Joe Charles, who recently purchased a 2015 Mustang GT for his wife. Charles had the same complaints as us, and we recently noticed a solution he posted on Facebook. The best part is, this solution seems to work, it’s absolutely free, and it takes about two minutes or less to perform in your driveway or garage.
Ford saw fit to install a clutch pedal spring on the S550 and S197 Mustangs. The clutch pedal spring assists in increasing pedal pressure at the top of pedal travel and assisting with pedal pressure below a point to make clutch engagement easier. The issue for more hardcore enthusiasts is that while this feels linear, and rather easy as far as pedal effort, it makes for a numb pedal. This might be fine for those looking to simply drive a Mustang as an appliance car, but for those of us who prefer a more traditional pedal feel, it’s rather unacceptable.
Left:We used a trim tool to pry the spring to the right -towards the brake pedal. Once it's off the perch it will fall out. Right: this is what's left, from the factory this perch is lubed with white lithium grease, be sure to wipe it away.
The clutch pedal spring can be removed on the S550 cars with the use of a large screwdriver, small prying tool, or even a pair of pliers. It’s easily accessed under the dash, with the seat moved all the way back, simply push the clutch pedal in with your left hand, and slide the lower spring perch off the clutch pedal with your tool of choice. The spring slides towards the brake pedal for removal. The spring will fall out in several pieces, it has a minor amount of pressure on it, but not enough to be harmful, so long as your face is not in the path of the spring.
Mission accomplished. Here’s the spring out of its position. We’ll set it aside, just in case we want it later for some reason.
Test driving the car after we found a much more predictable clutch pedal. There’s a minor increase in pedal effort, but nothing that warrants concern, and had we not driven the car with the spring, we’d never know the difference. Starts, and shifts are easier to execute, even backing up a steep parking lot incline or driveway is easier since we can now feel the clutch and slip it accordingly. (I’d had trouble with this setup in my steep driveway twice in a week, having stalled the car because I couldn’t feel the engagement point and meter it with the throttle in reverse).
The best part about this modification is that if you don’t like the feel, it’s easily undone, simply reinstalling the spring should only take a few minutes. This won’t void the warranty on the car, and for us improves the driving experience of our 2015 Mustang.