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Slave not engaging for several seconds


Well-Known Member
March 9, 2008
Reaction score
City, State
Hayden, ID
Year, Model & Trim Level
92 Explorer Sport
I recently replaced my clutch, machined the flywheel, and replaced the slave and master cylinders. now it definately shifts better, has more getup and whatnot. However, when sitting at a dead stop, it is a pain in the ass to put it into first gear or reverse for about 5 seconds after pressing the clutch. Could this be air in my system? maybe a bad slave? i do NOT want to drop the tranny again, i would be reluctant to try 2 bleed that system again, but if i must...


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what would a slave sticking entail exactly?

Did you bench bleed the master cyl before installation? If not, a few good bleeding sessions will probably solve the problem.

It's also possible a lack of lube on the input shaft the clutch slides on is causing some sticking, as it wears in it will usually get smoother.

It's possible it is a bad slave, too. They just NEVER let the clutch fully release, making some or all gears hard to shift into. If nothing fixes it, theres really nothing left to do but drop it again, and try another slave. You can usually take the original one back for an exchange or refund, and most good parts stores have a lifetime warranty on the slave cyls anyway.

Anime makes good points. I would trying bleeding again, even several times, just because it's the easiest of your options.

Maybe your new slave didn't have grease on the shaft the throwout bearing slides on... or is that what you're talking about, Anime?

Where did you buy the new slave from? I've heard bad things about parts store slaves.

i bought the slave online, can't remember where. I think clutch city. And it DID have grease on it, i didn't add any more than it came with tho....

I did not bench bleed it (i'm an idiot) i ended up having 2 pull the master cyl off the firewall, invert it and let the bubbles rise out of the reservoir. I probably didn't get them all out. I know that i have the slave bled well tho. I did it for like an hour, wasted a BUNCH of fluid.

I would try bleeding a few times a day for quite a few days before resorting to another teardown. Even with a bad slave, bleeding makes a difference.

The slave/throwout bearing slides on the same shaft, but the clutch itself slides on the teeth of the shaft, giving it a LOT more surface area, and making it prone to sticking/binding until the teeth of the new clutch disc wear similar to the teeth on the shaft. Having enough lube helps, but a clutch disc that's a good fit will take awhile to break in.

Some parts store slaves are good, I had a Napa one that went 50,000 before giving problems, but the next Napa replacement was bad. I think going with Motorcraft is worth it if you'd rather have 100,000+ between tranny drops.

well i took it to ford, and they said i did it perfectly, and that the 20/1000" that was machined from the flywheel won't make any difference. They claim that there is no air in the lines.

I'm stumped. It's still screwed up, It feels like the synchros are toast, but they were fine before i did this. Would the fact that I have no front driveshaft make much difference? I'll be putting one on as soon as i get a chance to pick up a yolk for the front end of it

also it dies when i have the clutch to the floor and i put it into first... idk what that's all about...