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1997 Ranger clutch disengagement problems

Mark Stanfield

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1997 Ford Ranger XLT 2WD
Hey guys, new to this board

My son and I are wrenching on a 1997 Ranger I-4 5 speed. Tranny won't go into gear; grinds and hard to push shift lever. We have:
  1. Replaced clutch, pressure plate, master cyl, slave cyl
  2. Bought a pre-bled line; master, line and check valve came as a kit. Didn't work. Tried to re-bleed (using Perfection Clutch method)...all seems bled
  3. Clutch seems to move pressure plate about 3/4 of an inch
  4. Didn't re-surface the flywheel; no cracks
  5. Last time we pulled the tranny I noticed a "hot/shiny" spot on the pressure plate and flywheel; not sure why. Checked the clutch disc to see if bent...it is not bent
  6. Can a warped pressure plate or flywheel cause tranny to grind and not go into gear?
I hate to give up an take to a shop....I'm kinda stubborn that way

Any ideas?
 



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RangerX

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One possibility that I had before is worn bushings and/or cracked/broken bracket on the pedal assembly. The play from either will use up enough of the total clutch pedal rod travel to not have enough travel left to disengage the clutch.

Welcome to the forum!
 






410Fortune

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Air in the master cylinder
3/4" travel is NOT enough
Pre bled or not, there is VERY likely a tiny air bubble trapped in the master, it is a flaw in the design
There are two methods for removing this air bubble:

A MUST watch


Faster but messy can be:


I have fixed many Ranger based trucks with new clutch jobs this way over the years, I have purchased trucks that were sold due to this air bubble, when I first had my BII 20+ years ago I re did my clutch 3 times in a week and after 5 months of fighting to get 1st gear (3 diff transmissions) I converted to an automatic. Years later I would learn about this bubble

Every time I do a clutch (maybe 3-5x a year on average) I buy new hydraulics and use only LUK master and slave cylinders. Prebled is okay but do not expect them to get this bubble
It takes me 5 minutes to prepare a brand new master cylinder for service because I do like the second video and pull the plunger out until the brake fluid is at the top, then re install. No bench bleeding required, no air can be trapped with this method.
Then it takes about 3 or 4 careful turns on the slave cylinder bleeder and you have 100% clutch travel
Warning: cheap slave cylinders and throw out bearings are a HUGE problem with these trucks, they can leak within weeks of service = you are removing trans again

Air gets trapped at the top of the master cylinder pushrod and no amount of bleeding (or bench bleeding at the clutch hydraulics factory) will remove
Air bubble the size of a pea or smaller trapped here can cause your clutch to not travel far enough

Let us know how this turns out!
 






Mark Stanfield

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1997 Ford Ranger XLT 2WD
Thanks very much for your reply!

If not 3/4", then what is the required travel distance?
Not sure I understand the "3 or 4 careful turns"; is this opening the bleeder 3-4 revolutions or bleeding the system 3-4 times?
 






410Fortune

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"If not 3/4", then what is the required travel distance?"

Watch video #1

"is this opening the bleeder 3-4 revolutions or bleeding the system 3-4 times?"

Many people will put 2 full bottles of brake fluid through the slave cylinder convinced that more bleeding will solve the issue. What I am saying is there is only about a teaspoon of fluid in the actual slave cylinder and it only really takes 3-4 turns on the bleeder to remove all the air. I say "careful" turns because it is really easy to open the screw too far or too long. All that is needed is a quick open and close of that screw, 3 or 4 times and you SHOULD have a full clutch pedal. If you do not then you need to revisit the master cylinder.
My helper will pump the pedal 5 times and hold it, then I open the bleeder quickly and close. Thanks to the crappy location of the bleed screw it is damn near impossible to install the wrench and a catch can/self bleeder bottle so I use gloves and rags to catch all the brake fluid.
 






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