M5OD Clutch Release Bearing Replacement Hint... | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations
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M5OD Clutch Release Bearing Replacement Hint...

W.C. Legere

February 9, 2018
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City, State
Murphysboro, Il
Year, Model & Trim Level
1996 Ford Explorer Sport
I just learned something about the hydraulic clutch system on my 96 Sport 5 speed manual and thought I would share it with everyone else. I'm sure there are those of you out there that already know this but if you run into the same situation I did this will help. A little over 3 years ago I bought this cheap because the trans was hung in reverse. It was a cheap fix but while I had the tranny out I decided to go ahead and replace the clutch, pressure plate and release bearing and have the flywheel machined due to the mileage (over 200K). It ran fine up until last week when the release bearing seized up. Went to step on the clutch pedal and it bent! So... after tearing the thrans out again I put the new release bearing in along with a new clutch master and reservoir. The mistake I made was not bench bleeding the whole system together BEFORE I installed it in the vehicle. With the quick connect between the master and the slave cylinder it allows the system to remain charged with fluid and prevents much air from getting into the system during assembly as long as fluid remains in the reservoir. So...after getting it all put back together I had no clutch pedal at all. Due to the air in the system it simply would not work. We tried bleeding the system for 2 hours with no results. The solution came to me as I was pulling the clutch master out for the 3rd time. Because the master is pointing in an upward position relative to the clutch pedal push rod air was getting trapped in the master and no amount of bleeding could get it out. By pulling the master back out and holding it upside down below the reservoir we were able at that point to gravity bleed all the air out and then the system worked fine. So... moral of the story is - If any of you encounter this same issue look to the clutch master cylinder for the problem.


Elite Explorer
June 21, 2013
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City, State
Western Ma.
Year, Model & Trim Level
97 Sport 4wd 4.0 ohv 5spd
I learned that the hard way too!
Poor design if you ask me. Plus it's plastic :eek:


Truck Season!!
Staff member
August 3, 2000
Reaction score
City, State
Year, Model & Trim Level
B2 "Slightly" Modified
well done learning this on your own!!
Thanks for sharing!

Its a well known issue has caused ALOT of people and shops much frustration over the years (MYSELF INCLUDED)
Lucky for us we live in the information age and now you can simply watch a couple of Youtube videos and then consider yourself a master of the ranger hydraulic clutch system!!
I used to run an add on craigslist offering my help in bleeding these systems...people are always paying to have a new clutch installed often along with a new 5 speed transmission too, only to find out they cannot get 1st or reverse easily....many transmission shops do not know how to fix this, they just keep throwing new parts at it.... I fixed quite a few trucks for $100-150
One kid was so excited after I fixed his truck he sent me a Christmas card!!
I personally gave up on a 5 speed in my BII years ago and converted to automatic, years later I would learn why I could never get the 5 speed to work...a tiny pea sized air bubble.
Now with Youtube anyone can DIY!!