98 Ranger unusual clutch problem please help!! | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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98 Ranger unusual clutch problem please help!!


Well-Known Member
February 17, 2005
Reaction score
City, State
Mississauga, ON
Year, Model & Trim Level
'98 B3000 4X4
Hopefully this will be read by someone who has experienced something similar or has enough insight to offer some assistance. I'll put the sequence of events in point form for easy reference:

1. I bought this truck (98 Mazda B3000/Ranger 3.0L 4WD 5Spd) 2 years ago
2. This truck had just received a new clutch from Autozone
3. For two years, the clutch seemed unusually stiff, but I chalked it up to being a truck....my left leg is twice as stiff as the right now...LOL
4. Earlier this year, I started having a hard time engaging low gears and it would often grind
5. Things got horrible worse and last weekend, I would have to shut the engine down to be able to shift the truck in 1st and take off, beyond that I would shift without the clutch
6. I took it in for a clutch master replacement, thinking that if my slave had gone bad, it would have leaked
7. The mechanic replaced the clutch master and called me to tell me that the new master had blown the slave because it was weak
8. Not wanting to pay them to pull the tranny, I did it at a friend's shop
9. At that time, I noticed that the release bearing was shot as well
10. I bought an aftermarket slave, which didn't have a release bearing, but it had a plastic spacer with bellows over the return spring. The whole setup was very unusual, so I only used the slave cylinder portion and the old return spring with the new release bearing
11. After hours of bleeding, there was no clutch actuation to speak of and the pedal continues to be soft.
12. Not knowing what to do, we decided to put yet another new clutch master in
13. The new clutch master still did nothing and hours of different bleeding techniques, starting with gravity bleeding and finishing with conventional slow or fast pumping until the fluid coming out was beyond perfect
14. At this point, the theory is that the pressure plate took a set and the slave is at its end of the stroke. This is where we're stumped. What the heck is going on? The pressure plate fingers stick out significantly and everything appears normal. If you wedge a screwdriver between the release bearing and the pressure plate, the clutch pedal seems to get some pressure.

Has anyone encountered a situation where the slave appears to be at the end of its stroke? What the heck was up with that slave that I got from the parts place which appeared to have a plastic spacer in place of the release bearing? The auto parts supplier up here in Canada is quite reputable and the product appeared identical to what came off the truck, except for the plastic spacer. The part number and other numbers on it matched the old one to a tee. I really need help on this one, as I'm at wit's end. I have sunk so much money into this problem and I'm having a hard time understanding why this is such an issue. I've done countless clutches, including all kinds of hydraulic clutch system service and have never encountered this....any thoughts?

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I am not sure what you mean by; the new slave cylinder had a plastic spacer instead of a release bearing. I do know that a plastic spacer does not replace a release bearing. I suspect that may be where at least a part of your problem lies. It may be that you need to you a release bearing with the plastic spacer.

When I do my clutch, I plan to buy a throw out bearing with the release bearing included.

The old slave cylinder came out with a large return spring and a release bearing at the top, all held in place with a Smalley flat wire circlip. The replacement slave looked identical, except for the fact that it had a rubber boot/bellows over a shorter return spring and the component that would have been the release bearing on the old assembly was a simple plastic spacer. It appeared that the release bearing would need to go over this plastic spacer, which would have completed the assembly to make it look somewhat like what came off the truck. I went back to the auto parts place and they confirmed that I had the right part. Ironically, the part had the exact same numbers molded into it as what came off the truck. I hacked away at this spacer and replaced it with an OE release bearing, but it hardly makes sense. As of today, I have some pedal travel but the friction point is quite low....which takes me back to 4 weeks ago which is how the problem started in the first place.....almost $1000 later. I'm not sure what the normal throw is on the slave cylinder but it seems I'm out of travel....pressure plate took a set? The fingers still stick out quite a bit and they're uniformly positioned. I'm going nuts with this truck.....bleeding the air out completely appears to require the intervention of a higher power.

So I figured out what the problem is. It finally broke to the point where it was obvious. I had noticed that I lost 1/2 of my clutch pedal travel a little while ago and got under there to see if maybe the problem might have been air in the system. To my surprise, the clutch pedal casting was broken at the pivot lug. There is a pin that goes through this pivot point which holds both the clutch pedal and brake pedal. Needless to say, the whole assembly swings up every time you step on the clutch. The brake pedal loses some travel too, but not as much. It's only a matter of time before that side goes and I'll be without brakes. I really need to thank Ford for yet another unbelievably stupid design with potentially deadly consequences. So much force goes through there and there is such a small amount of aluminum at that pivot point. This is mind boggling!

Are you talking about that plate under the dash that the pedals swing from?
Cuz that's what was cracked, and finally broke on my F250, and I thought it was a bad slave causing the hard shift. Damn plate is just pot metal! :rolleyes:

Sounds like the same thing. Mine is made of die cast aluminum. I went through two masters and a slave cylinder because of it....you'd think two mechanics would have been enough to figure out what the real problem was. If it wasn't winter and if I wasn't in the middle of a move, I would have figured it out myself.

Well, I thought I'd post some more progress and the final solution. Last week, I had to take a trip and needed to get this thing fixed. I took the bracket off and had it professionally welded. The welder said it did not weld properly and the weld was quite porous. It must have been some kind of magnesium alloy....don't know, don't care....the whole design was garbage to begin with. It lasted just over a week and the weld came straight off. Good thing I wasn't too far from home and I had defeated the clutch switch so I was able to start it in gear and make my way home in 1st.

Not that it matters much, but just for comparison purposes, I spent $40 on getting it welded, drilled and reamed. Had I contacted the dealer, I would have realized how cheap the replacement was. My cost on it was $60, including the pedals!!! That must have been Ford's way of subsidizing this garbage and potentially dangerous design, which might have kept a recall at bay.

I thought I'd include photos of the old and new bracket. Notice the reinforcement ribs that were added in the trouble area.


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What is that part number!?~

Do you know the part number of the casting pictures that you posted. I am having the exact same problem. My dad gave me his ranger if i'd replace the clutch, and that damn piece just broke off! And i'm pretty sure the clutch doesnt even need replaced because he said that his issue was that he had to hold his foot under the brake to press the clutch in, and now it just finally snapped with barely any pressure. It would be a huge help if you could identify that part number for me!

I just got this part, $94 in DC. Part number K863G was stamped on the part but 6L5Z*2455*BB Pedal Asy is on the invoice. BTW I had to buy a new master cylinder because I broke the clip, didn't know how to remove the rod without breaking the clip. Hope this help.

Good info EJ, thanks. Welcome to the forum!

rd_turbo and EJ.Kirby, do you have links to where you bought the pedal assembly? My dealer says 6L5Z2455BB is for 2003^. You guys have 98s, I have a 93. All listings I find online don't give application years, just part number and price.

My 99 ranger seems to be having the same problem. The past day my clutch pedal goes down when you hit the brakes, and the brake pedal goes down when you hit the clutch.
I can't see any damage to the pedal assembly while lying down on the floor board. Guess I'll take it off and check it out.
Great thread. I hope it fixes my problem.

I know, old post. but can someone verify that the 2003 pedal Assy will fit the older models. 95 etc?? Thanks, John

I don't think this part breaking too unusual.
I've got the same issue now in my '97 Explorer Sport.
I'm hoping the pedal assembly Part # 6L5z2455bb listed above will work for my Explorer. I'll be ordering it off amazon.com. The parts look identical, except for the crack on mine and extra ribs on the new one. Everything I've found says that it's for 2006 to 2011 ranger though. Looks like a couple people have fit it into '98 Rangers. I just can't find any info on it being used for Explorers.
I'll hopefully start a how-to thread once it's installed (if it goes in that is).

If anybody know it will or won't work please let me know ASAP.

I have enough confirmation that it will work in my '97 Explorer.
Nick26 used the same assembly in his '98 Explorer in his 5.0L 5-speed conversion thread.
He also did a very brief install write up on page 3 of the same thread.

I'll call the local dealer tomorrow morning to find out what it costs.
The cheapest I've seen it is on OneStopFordOEM.com. It's only $80.43 shipped, but I've never heard of them and there's not even an item name or description, just the part number, so I'm a little leery.
Next cheapest is on Amazon for $102.80 shipped.

I contacted my local Ford dealer to check the price of a new clutch and brake pedal assembly for a '97 Explorer. He told me it would be $147 and that he'd have to order it. I asked him what the part number was and he verified it was 6L5z2455bb as recomended above. I ended up order it from amazon for $102. It'll be here Wednesday, so hopefully I can get back to driving without worrying about my clutch pedal breaking.

Are you doing the repair yourself?

By Jove,, I think I may of found the problem with My sons B4000,, everything has been replaced clutch , pressure plate,, master slave, and no way in heck will it release, gonna have to check this out.

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If it's a diaphragm type clutch it's critical that all the fingers do not get pushed past parallel with the mounting bolts. On some of my race cars that had this style pressure plate i would put a block under the clutch peddle when slamming gears just for that reason. Just a thought.