Play in clutch and no fluid! | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations
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Play in clutch and no fluid!

CougarX

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On my way to work this morning my clutch started acting funny, the top 3 or 4 inches became more or less dead. A couple minutes later it got worse and I had to push the clutch pretty much to the floor to be able to shift. I made it to work alright (after killing it a couple times) and when I got here I checked the clutch fluid. The clutch fluid was empty!

Now, this is the first clutch I've ever owned and I have a basic understanding of how they work but have never had to troubleshoot one. I have found from searching here and other forums this morning that the play in the top of the clutch is a common problem on explorers and rangers because of air in the lines, but i havn't found anything on actually losing clutch fluid or finding an empty resevoir.

I havn't done anything to it yet, I'm gonna have one of the guys here take me to get some brake fluid for the clutch at lunch and see what happens. I didn't notice any obvious leaks under the truck when I stopped but I didn't get under it and crawl around either.

Anyone have any ideas or ever have this happen to them before?
 



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Rick

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Either your slave or your master cylinder croaked... Check the master cylinder first for any leaks. That one is relatively easy to replace. To replace the slave you must pull the tranny :(
 






CougarX

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Rick

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No... not for a truck with low miles. That's for sure.

I had a slave go bad on my '93 after probably 90,000 miles.
 






CougarX

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Ok, went outside on lunch break and didn't get anything accomplished. Had a buddy take me to get brake fluid and filled the clutch resevoir back up. Didn't help at all.

Now I'm stuck in the parking lot, I can't shift into any gear with the engine running. I can shift fine with the engine off. If i start the engine with it in gear it wants to pull just a little bit when the clutch is pressed to the floor. I really don't think I can get home in 2nd and I'm not sure if i trust it to or not, there are too many places that i have to stop and start (lights, signs, hills) and with 35s and 3.73s 2nd gear isn't for anything under 15mph.

Anyone have any ideas, quick fixes, anything? I don't see any fluid anywhere so does that mean it is probably the slave cylinder? How and where do I bleed the clutch cylinder and can it be done somewhat easily in a parking lot?
 






Rick

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On the drivers side of the tranny there is an access hole to the bellhousing where the hydraulic line from the master leads to. The bleeder screw is there. It looks just like a brake bleeder screw. I hate to say it, but in most cases bleeding won't work at this point.

Here is the procedure for bleeding: http://www.explorer4x4.com/bleed.pdf
 






CougarX

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Is it possible that the fluid was low to begin with and had a small leak and finally just got to air and now there is air in the line? Or do they generally leak none or leak all? Does this sound like the master or slave cylinder or could it really be either? Anyway for me to check?

Sorry about all the questions, this is the first experience I've had with a clutch and I want to know my options as well as have an idea of what I'm talking about so that when I get it fixed I don't get screwed.
 






Rick

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They normally don't lose fluid at all. The level lowers as the clutch wears.
 






RangerX

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It wouldn't hurt to try bleeding it. Here's a quote from 410Fortune on clutch bleeding: "Whoever depresses the pedal have them do it slowly and to the floor like 3 times. Hold it, then you just barely open the bleeder with the wrench.
The slave is a pain because you cant really catch the fluid or use a jar to keep air from going back in.
So just barely open it, let fluid out slowly, then close.
Then release the pedal, do this 5-10 times."

If this came on suddenly, like it sounds you're saying, inspect the fluid line going from the clutch master down to the tranny. Maybe it somehow got cut or burned, causing a leak?

When you filled the resevoir at lunch, was it a little low, or totally empty?
 






CougarX

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It was totally empty, but I don't know how full it was before either. I just bought the truck last week and I've never had a stick so I never thought to check it. Do you think it just slowly leaked out and finally sucked air today so thats why it went all at once? I refilled it at lunch and sat there and worked the clutch for a while and the level didn't seem to go down and i could see no obvious leaks from the bottom so I don't think it's the line.

I filled it up at lunch today and then managed to get it home tonight. It seems like there is still air in it but it does work, just has some play at the top and starts to grab sooner when you let off the clutch. It didn't get any worse on the drive home though, so maybe that is a good sign. Hopefully it is a small leak and I can bleed it and just keep a watch on the fluid for a while. Once I'm back home I can work on it myself and save $400.

I'm going to check it in the morning and see how much fluid is in it after my 15 mile drive home last night. I have no way to bleed it myself cause I know no one here in St. Louis other then a couple guys at work that know nothing about cars. (I just moved here a couple months ago).

Anymore ideas would be great, really don't want to put a slave cylinder in it if thats not it! :p
 






RangerX

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Bleeding is pretty simple, the other guy only needs to know how to push and hold down the pedal. ;) You'll be under the truck opening and closing the bleeder screw. Maybe have a third guy to watch the fluid level in the res, and top off when needed.
Good luck! :thumbsup:
 






gavin

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have you tried double-clutching at all?
When my tranny itself was dying on my Bronco2, I had to double-clutch to shift gears without *too much* grinding.
 






ashleyroachclip

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use a stick to hold the pedal down after you pump it up yourself .
I've had to do this many times myself over the years , as rick said these systems are designed so as the clutch wears , the fluid level will drop .
I bought my ranger with 185K there was no fluid in the resivour , I added ,and have had no trouble since ,and I am now a 235K
 






savage120

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haha, just a quick question, where is this resivor at? I have a 91 5 speed ex.
 






RangerX

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It's mounted on the firewall, driver's side. It's a plastic cylinder with a black cap. It's a little bigger than a film canister.
 






savage120

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haha I was wondering what the hell that thing was.
now I know
 






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