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Old 01-15-2012
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: St. Augustine, FL
Posts: 2
Clutch Problems

Hi all. Newbie at this site. Been working on cars/trucks for years. Never had a Ford Ranger hydraulic slave to work on before though. Here is the scenario:

1998 Ford Ranger XL 4.0L 5 speed. Just bought it with 258,000 miles on it and the guy that had it kept in decent shape, but had original clutch.

Pulled tranny, replaced the clutch (pressure plate, friction disc, slave cylinder & throwout bearing, and pilot bearing). Only original part is master cylinder. System was driving decently when I bought last month but started acting up.

Here is my problem: been trying to bleed this darn thing to get the slave to disengage the clutch all the way. OMG what a PITA!!! I do have it disengaging but it seems to be hard shifting, more than I would expect is right. I can drive it around, then when I come home and park it after the test drive, it becomes increasingly more difficult to shift. Then if I let it sit for an hour or so, it shifts nicely the first few shifts, then reverts back to hard shifts.

I have done every possible combination of bleed techniques I could find from here and other forums.

What I am wondering is whether there is a difference in dimensions in the type of pressure plates? I can't imagine there would be but....

I have a close friend who works on big trucks, and he hates the self-adjusting style. Every street rod I ever built, I used non-self adjusting and they worked great, so I stuck with the non-self adjusting plate for the replacement.

Are the two types of plates different dimensions causing the slave to not engage as much as it should? Or is it more likely I still have some air trapped in the system leading to the difficult shifting and changing stiffness of the clutch pedal?


Last edited by scottscar54; 01-15-2012 at 01:15 PM. Reason: Updated information on the original post.
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Old 01-15-2012
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Upstate,NY
Posts: 2,598
The biggest problem bleeding these systems is from the angle of the master cylinder when mounted in the truck. The end with the actuating rod is mounted higher that the input/output lines , so there is always an air bubble in that end. Unless you un-mount the master and tip it with the rod down when bleeding , you'll never get all the air out.
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Old 01-15-2012
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: St. Augustine, FL
Posts: 2
OTRTech, thank you very much for your response.. I was wondering if that might be a problem. So I put the truck on my driveway which is a decent incline and drove it up on ramps on the incline. Got the master pretty close to level and it seems to be helping but will have to work the master out and get it tipped up so it is in fact releasing any air.

I have it working well enough that it is driving decenlty. I drove it about 25 miles, to Autozone, Lowes, then home. What I noticed is there seems to be about 1/4" at the bottom of the pedal when it is near the floor where if I don't give it that little extra oomph and get it all the way down, it is a little stiff. But... when I get it pushed in with that little extra oomph, it seems to translate to smooth shifts with no hangups.

Weird how maybe just .5mm of slave travel can make that much difference.

Got to love this system LOL.
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