hard to shift in gears - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


Drivetrain Tech General discussion of drivetrain for the Ford Ranger.

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Old 02-26-2014
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hard to shift in gears

Hello everyone I am new to owning a ranger looking to get some help in trying to figure out whats wrong with it. Its hard to go into first gear and then 2-4 are harder to get into then usual. Also when I go to put it into reverse it grinds. I didn't have these issues when I bought the car a few months ago but after I replaced the fuel sending unit and did some rear suspension work the problem occured. I also don't have the 5th gear or overdrive gear it goes into that gear but just free spins like it in neutral, but I bought the truck knowing that that gear didn't work. Once again just seeing if anyone might know what's wrong with it. Thank you very much. I have a 1994 ranger 4x4 extended cab
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Old 02-26-2014
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You will need to pull the transmission and either rebuild it or replace it.

'94 4.0l will have a Mazda M50D-R1 manual transmission

The OD gear is the issue, hard shift with engine off would be as well.
Hard shift with engine running is most likely the clutch and/or clutch slave, and you need to pretty much pull the trans to replace that so.........pull the trans.

The M5OD-R1 was used on these Ranger so used M5OD transmissions are fairly easy to find:
1988 & Up 4-Cylinder Rangers
1988-1992 2.9L 2WD Rangers
1991-2000 4.0L Ranger
1991 - Up 3.0L Ranger

They were also used on some Ford full-size trucks

There are 3 rubber plugs on the top of this trans that should be replaced when you rebuild or replaced on a used one, there are brass plugs available now, the rubber plugs would leak.
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Old 02-26-2014
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Thank you and it is only when the engine is running that its hard to shift. I do appreciate the help
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Old 02-26-2014
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Then that is most likely the slave is not disengaging the clutch enough so input shaft is still spinning under a little power, so you have to force it to slow down by pushing/pulling harder on the stick shift this also wears out the syncro "gears".
Reverse has no syncro "gear" so it will grind if input shaft is still spinning.

There is a clutch fluid reservoir under the hood next to the Brake booster, make sure it isn't empty.

The clutch slave on the Rangers is ON the input shaft, so the engine and trans have to be separated to get to it, at that point the drive shaft is disconnected, the trans mount is off, the shifter is off, so...............

Drop the trans out and fix the OD.
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Old 02-26-2014
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Id a free with the above statement if you already have one bad gear odds are the others will soon follow because its likely there are metal shavings floating around from the bad gear. Most yards will sell you a used one for a good price when i did my five speed swap it had 49000 miles and i paid $500 for it with 1 year warranty. if you already have to drop it to do slave it would be wise to go ahead and fix it its not fun to drop it more than necessary because its a bit of work and there are no guarantees how long the remaining gears will last.
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