1st/2nd Syncros going out? - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource

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Old 10-19-2014
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Plainfield, CT
Posts: 144
1st/2nd Syncros going out?

Hey everyone,

Well my 5-speed is deciding to really crap out on me lately. I had been wanting to swap out the Transmission for a T5 or similar so it feels more like a car and also since it has 292k on it but the truck has other plans now... The last few weeks the first and second gear are very hard to engage. I changed out the ATF and it helped some, but came right back. First gear is still a lot better but 2nd is getting worse. while at 2500 RPMs i usually shift to 2nd (I'm in no rush, motor sounds like it wants to die if i go to 3500 anyways) and it will NOT engage. I usually "baby" the gears until they slide it, but it won't do that anymore. Its almost like something is physically blocking it. I have to force it in to engage 2nd gear and only after reving to 3000. Once it goes in it isn't a great noise either. It isn't a loud grinding but more like a soft meshing noise. Basically if your truck is off and you just shift into gears like that, just louder.

Now even if the truck is off it doesn't slide into gear like butter. 4th, 5th and reverse are pretty smooth, 3rd is okay. 1st and 2nd take several times and then start to slide well. Now since nothing spinning that wouldn't be syncros, possible bearings for the slide rails and forks? I'm no master mechanic, just a DIY with major OCD and can't leave well enough alone but that's where I'm left at for a diagnosis. Either way the Trans has to be pulled off to inspect. Any input would be great.

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Old 10-20-2014
pearlkid9988's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Newnan Georgia
Posts: 828
Im no master mechanic either but if i had to guess with that mileage it probably a combo of worn synchros fighting you with worn bearings not keeping things in proper alignment like they used to. 292k is a lot of miles. Id definitely say if this is the first major issue with it you've definitely gotten your moneys worth out of the truck. But since you planned to upgrade the trans anyway id say go pull like a 4.0 or 5.0 or engine of choice with lower miles to swap in. At 292k its probably safe to say engine troubles probably aren't far behind your current issues. I think your best bet would be get a used low mileage engine/trans combo to drop in. For the money its probably a really good solution and most yards give warranties.
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Old 10-23-2014
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Plainfield, CT
Posts: 144
I did think about that option. But, I'd have to have someone help me do a swap. I don't have the means to do it. It wouldn't even be easier to put in a rebuilt M5oD with the equipment I have. I'm still deciding if I want to replace the transmission since the motor runs flawlessly. But I may be out of luck and have it crap out on me too.

I brought the truck to a buddy that rebuilds cars, motors, transmissions and he diagnosed the problem. He tested the transmission out for about 5 minutes. He believes the syncro's are working fine and the clutch is too. He thinks the problem lies with a particular bolt/spring that helps guide the shifter into place. He says this because the shifting is very notchy, but shifts okay otherwise. He also thinks the shift forks and rails are slightly worn, but not bad considering the mileage. Either way a tear down would be in order.

This is a difficult decision for me. I love my Ranger, I did a lot of work to it too. But I think as a daily driver I need something different. Its very driveable but becomes tiresome to slam it into gear. Because the Mazda transmission (I kept being told it was a Ford transmission...in a Ford Ranger) has lasted so long with ZERO issues I'm going to buy a new (2012-2015) Mazda 3 6-speed manual. Test drove a couple last night and love it. I will keep the Ranger to have a truck and someday drop a big V8/T5 into it. Depends though, I don't make a lot of money.
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