Air in hydraulic clutch lines?
I have a 1996 Ranger w/ 4.0 OHV and manual transmission. I've never had any issues with the clutch, although I must admit that I do not do regular maintenance on it, one of those items that seems to get overlooked. I have had issues with the transmission, when shifting to reverse right after starting the engine it would sometimes grind but still go in gear. I assumed this was fairly normal as reverse is not synchronized.
My issues arose a few days ago when it absolutely would not go into reverse and shifts were becoming difficult. I countered this by double clutching and rev matching as best I could so as to not have to force it into gear. Later that day the clutch pedal became incredibly soft and began engaging near the floor, it used to engage much further out. I checked the fluid and the reservoir was empty. Over the past few days it has become nearly impossible to put it into gear while not moving.
So, I must have a leak somewhere and air in my lines. I have checked the master cylinder and don't see any apparent leak and have yet to check the lines and the slave.
What is puzzling is that the engine does not stall or lurch or anything when in gear at a stand still. I would think that if the clutch is only barely disengaging it would cause these problems. The clutch doesn't and never has shown signs of slipping, burning, etc. Can anyone explain to me how this is possible?