Ford Mustang Paint Bubbled – Aluminum Panel Corrosion TSB

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DennisB - Summary: Paint bubbling on Ford Mustang’s is a common issue. At first glance the bubbled or blistered area looks like rust bubbling the paint, but wait this hood is aluminum!

Click on the image to the left too see a larger view. Aluminum cannot rust, but it can corrode. Corrosion under the factory paint causing paint to bubble is a very common issue. There’s even a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) about this. The Ford Mustang is not the only vehicle affected either. The TSB includes Ford Explorer, Taurus, Expedition, Lincoln Navigator, Mercury Sable and more. Outside the 3 year 36,000 mile warranty, Ford owners are left to pay for this repair themselves. It does make Ford owner’s question their loyalty to Ford on their next new car purchase though.

Below is what the TSB # 06-25-15 has to say regarding the cause and the way to prevent this from happening again when the panel is repainted.

2000-2007 Crown Victoria, Taurus
2005-2006 Ford GT
2005-2007 Mustang
2000-2003 Ranger
2000-2007 Expedition
2002-2007 Explorer
2004-2007 F-150
2007 Explorer Sport TracLINCOLN:
2000-2006 Lincoln LS
2000-2007 Town Car, Navigator

2000-2007 Grand Marquis, Sable

This article supersedes TSB 04-25-1 to update the vehicle model years. ISSUE:

Some vehicles may exhibit a bubbling or blistering under the paint on aluminum body parts. This is due to iron contamination of the aluminum panel.

This TSB provides service tips and procedures, outlining methods to properly prepare and protect aluminum body parts from cross contamination.

Ford’s Scientific Research Laboratory has performed a number of tests on vehicle body parts returned for corrosion related concerns. Testing has revealed that the aluminum corrosion was caused by iron particles working their way into the aluminum body part, prior to it being painted. SERVICE TIPS AND PROCEDURE

When repairing a vehicle for corrosion or collision damage, it is essential that extreme care be taken to cover and protect all aluminum parts to prevent cross metal contamination. Areas in a shop where metal work is performed should be sectioned off, using at the very least curtain walls, to prevent metal dust migration. Cross contamination can also occur through the use of metal working tools (hammers, dolly’s, picks, grinding wheels, etc.). Tools used for aluminum repairs should be kept separate, and not used to repair other metals. Wire brushes used on aluminum should be made of stainless steel.


  1. Corrosion should be removed by blasting. Use an aggressive blasting material, such as acrylic (salt grain size).
  2. Use a DA sander with 180 grit paper backed abrasive. Only sand and featheredge the damaged area.
  3. Mix and apply Ford approved epoxy primer, per the manufacturer’s label instructions. Bake at 140° F (60° C), or use an infra-red lamp for curing.
  4. If necessary, mix and apply two-part polyester filler to a slight over crown. Allow polyester filler to cure 20-30 minutes, or mix and apply spray polyester filler two-three (2-3) coats as necessary. Allow to cure per manufacturer’s label instructions.
  5. Hand-sand the repair area with 80 grit sand paper to remove excess filler.
  6. Finish-sand the repair area with 400 grit sand paper.
  7. Mix and apply Ford approved primer/surfacer per manufacturer’s label instructions. Bake at 140° F (60° C) or use infra-red lamp for curing.
  8. Sand the primer/surfacer with 400-600 grit to level the surface.
  9. The next two steps are wet-on-wet. Mix and apply to hiding Ford recommended basecoat material per manufacturer’s label instructions. Allow to flash.
  10. Mix and apply two (2) coats (2 mils minimum) of Ford approved clearcoat per manufacturer’s label instructions. Allow flash time. Finish bake at 140° F (60° C).

10 thoughts on “Ford Mustang Paint Bubbled – Aluminum Panel Corrosion TSB

  1. Ford Motor Company’s paint expert (a Ford employee) has also authored a study that has been published concerning factory paint pretreatment systems.

    The study reveals the specific paint defects that occur within Ford’s factories.

    Rust is listed as a contaminant within Ford’s factories paint pretreatment systems.

  2. Rust will certainly cause the paint to bubble or blister. If there’s rust in the aluminum it would definitely have to be from something foreign, since aluminum does NOT rust (it will corrode). Corrosion or rust will cause the paint to bubble. It just shouldn’t happen on a newer car with a factory paint job.

  3. I would like to know why there is a tsb covering 2005-2006 gts and 2005 2007mustangs but not a 2008 gt. I am on my second hood and now this one is bubbling up . Fords rust through policy says it must be rusted through for them to cover it. I think ford engineers did not test these hoods in states that use salt. The worst part for me ford denied my claim but fix prior years under that tsb. I will never ever buy a ford product again . Having an issue with your product is one thing not standing behind it is b.s.

  4. This has happened to my 05 mustang and my 10 mustang. Both hoods had to be repainted or replaced. From what I know, epoxy primer is wrong! Supposed to use etching primer on aluminum. If ford knows about the problem, why do they continue to do things wrong?

  5. Guy, I understand that some changes in production cost a lot of money. But, to fix this issue shouldn’t cost them much. This leads you to think they are OK with the issue because of additional hood sales and/or repainting once these cars are out of warranty. Perplexing to say the least.

  6. I have the same bubbling problem on the rear lift gate of my 2010 Expedition. Based on the TSB, and the comments made above, it must be a failure in Ford’s panel prep process, since it is ongoing and continuous since 2000.

  7. I have a 2012 Mustang GT. Noticedthat the tip of my hood is starting to bubble. Will be at my dealer this week. Will discuss with them.

  8. Richard, I thought Ford would have had this problem addressed by now. Just heard recently that Ford is going to an ALL aluminum cab with the F150 saving about 700 pounds of weight. This is going to really help the gas mileage on these trucks. However, if they can’t get paint to stick on a Mustang hood, why would they think the paint will stick on even more panels on the F150? I’m curious to see how this all shakes out.

  9. I have a 2011 GT Candy Red. The paint is bubbling on the as well. It is out of warrinty, and Ford will not fix it. I have bought my last Ford.

  10. Dave I understand the frustration. However, each car manufacturer has their flaws. If you don’t believe it, just Google any type of car you can think of followed by problems (fill in the blank) _________ problems. There are even websites with domain names that include the make and the word problems…

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