85 Ranger,Will not engage gears? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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85 Ranger,Will not engage gears?


New Member
August 2, 2014
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Year, Model & Trim Level
85 Ford Ranger
Hello folks.I would appreciate any info regarding transmission/transfer case/clutch on a recently purchased Ford Ranger.Ill explain the best I can.The truck was gifted to a teenage girl by her grandfather,she owned it 2 weeks,truck supposedly ran well,then suddenly stopped moving.Someone told her she needed a new clutch,and she decided to sell vs.fix. So this is where I came in.Had the truck towed to the house and started going through the checklist.The clutch feels fine to me.I checked the fluids clutch/trans.Although a little dirty,they were full.The shifter(manual) goes through all the gears no problem.I removed shifter from transfer case and inspected.No broken parts or anything obvious.When the shifter is in the neutral position,I am able to turn the drive shaft by hand(level ground) It seems as though its still in gear as it engages the differential.The truck starts and runs fine,just doesn't move.Nor does it feel like clutch/gears are engaging when the motor is running.My thoughts are that the girl didn't know how to drive a stick shift and forced/broke something.Any ideas?Truck has 97,000 miles and looks as though it has been maintained.Is it possible that the truck can be in gear yet I am able to run the truck without any movement?Its my understanding that you are supposed to engage the clutch in order for it to run,this is not the case.Truck starts without having to depress the clutch? Argghhhh....

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Welcome to the forum!

Since no one else chimed in, I'll throw in a guess. Sounds to me like the transfer case is in neutral. I see you mentioned that you took the t-case shifter off, so you must have checked where neutral is on it?

To make sure the clutch is actually disengaging put it in first gear with the engine off. Now hold the clutch down and see if you can roll it down hill.
But first check his suggestion ^

Thanks for your replies.Rangerx,I did inspect the case,however I wasn't quite sure what I was looking for.I was mainly looking for something obviously broken,or out of place,not moving or jammed up.Would you please tell me what I should be looking for,how it could be stuck in neutral,What can I do to remedy this.And yes it does seem to be stuck in neutral,(rolls freely with or without the clutch depressed.Thanks

Well, all I was thinking was that the stick was between 2hi and 4hi, assuming it is a manual case. I don't know 80's Rangers, but I'm just guessing it's not a push button controlled t-case.

I figured from your description, " teenage girl...she owned it 2 weeks,truck supposedly ran well,then suddenly stopped moving"
that she unknowingly put it into neutral. I like to go with the simplest explanation first.

Is this truck a 4X4, cause you can't look inside the 4x4 transfer case.

Well, then it does not have a transfer case, only a transmission. and everything I said is not applicable.

You are going to have to get the wheels off the ground and get under it while running to do some tests. That's best done with a lift. If you have to do it on stands, be extremely careful, have lots of backups, and be very gentle engaging the wheels and keep the speed very low.

Put it in what you think is in gear. Is the driveshaft turning? If so, the problem is in the rear differential. If not, move upstream. Look through the inspection ports. If the clutch is engaging and turning the input shaft, the problem is in the transmission. If not and the flywheel is turning, it's in the clutch. If the flywheel isn't turning, you are in trouble (probably a broken crank).

I'd guess it is probably a broken clutch pressure plate. It's quite possible for a previous driver to burn up a clutch in a couple weeks, but it would be pretty hard to break much more than that unless there is a lot more to the story.