HELP - tranny problems! Strange rattling and very HOT to touch - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 04-17-2006
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HELP - tranny problems! Strange rattling and very HOT to touch

I'm pretty new to Rangers, so perhaps this is all just normal (but I doubt it!). I have a '97 4x4 extended cab ranger with the 3.0 engine and a manual 5-speed transmission (M5OD-R1, I think) with about 120,000 miles. As far as I know, it has the original cluth in it (bought it used at ~95,000 miles).

I've had the truck for about a year, and in the time I have noticed an increasingly strong rattle from under the car whenever my revs hit 2200-2500 (both in neutral and with the transmission engaged). Above or below that range and the rattle disappears. I thought it might be a loose heat shield on one of the cat converters, so I got some big worm/hose clamps and snugged them up tight - made no difference. I had a friend rev the engine while I crawled underneath, and it sounds like the rattle (which is now significant) is coming from directly inside the transmission, although it's hard to know for sure. Is this common; any way to find out more difinitively what is causing this noise?

Also, I noticed yesterday that after driving on the highway for a few hours (where I keep the engine around 2000 RPMs most of the time) and then ~10 minutes on city streets getting to my house, the transmission was very hot - so hot that I could only touch it for a moment to avoid a burn. Is this normal? Should I check the fluid level? If it needs more, how to you get the fluid up to the FILL hole without dropping the tranny? Is there a cheap pump of some sort for this? What is the best fuild to use (I imagine there is some debate about this...).

Finally, I am having strange noises surronding the clutch. When I press the clutch to the floor, I hear a slight/intermittent metal scraping sound that comes and goes every few seconds. Also, as I depress the clutch I hear a faint rattle/warble (different than the one above) at the point where the clutch engages. This happens maybe 20% of the time when shifting into first from a stop (does not happen moving to any other gears); there isn't any noticeable slipping in any of the gears once engaged.

Am I totally screwed? Any suggestions about where ot geta good deal on a new M50D?

Thanks for any input!

-Aaron
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Old 04-18-2006
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I dunno about the noises. Trannies are hot often. Also, go to www.car-parts.com or junkyards around you. The trannies shouldnt be that expensive.
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Old 04-18-2006
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Well, as soon as I got home I decided to check and replace the fluid. When I opened the FILL hole, a small amount of fluid came out, so I don't think it was very low, but I decided to reaplace it anyway.

When I took out the DRAIN screw, it was covered in metal shavings. My guess is that this hasn't been open since 1997, so I don't know if this is normal or not. I took a pic which you can see below:



The stuff that drained out of the tranny was very dark and looked like dirty motor oil...not red at all, and full of something silt-like! Any chance it was gear oil and not ATF? Smelled kinda finky...

Anyway, after replacing the fluid I took it for a spin and everything seemed about the same. The tranny stayed noticably cooler, but I still heard the "warble" shifting into 1st from a stop, and the intermittent grinding with the clutch depressed. Oh well.

Since I will probably drain and check the fluid again ina few hundred miles, which fluid would you guys suggest using in a situation like this? As far as I know, the standard specs call for anything DEXRON III/MERCON compatible. Some guy at AutoZone suggested using anything Type F, while another told me to get synthetic gear lube! I went with Valvoline MaxLife ATF this time around, but if there's a primo fluid that might actually extend the life of this tranny, I'd love to know about it.
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Old 04-18-2006
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welp, shavings in the pan i believe is normal. the milky crap might be ur clutches wearing out, u got any kind of slippage? also, i think tranny fluid is suppoed to be changed every 50k miles or so
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Old 04-18-2006
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i was under the impression that metal shavings in the pan are NOT normal?
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Old 04-18-2006
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Pilot or throwout bearing for the clutch noises. I had to replace them on mine to get rid of similar noises.
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Old 04-18-2006
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Yeah some metal shavings in the pan are normal, thats why they have the magnet on the end to catch all of them...When i had my car i had the same "warble" noises....and one day sitting at a red light in gear my car just jumped forward and my clutch blew out....stuck to the floor...my slave cylinder and throw out bearing froze up, and i said screw it and drove it home, so i had to replace my whole clutch...

Rocky
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Old 04-18-2006
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The shavings while not exactly normal arent necessarily an indication of transmission failure.. Use atf, I would use the cheapest advance auto brand or whatever that meets
mercon spec.
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Old 04-19-2006
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A guide to clutch replacement

A lot of people have been pointing me towards the throwout and/or pilot bearings as the probable cause for the clutch noises. Given that I am fairly ambitious about trying new things, is it reasonable to expect that I could get a clutch kit (any suggestions?) and replace the clutch myself, having never done it before? Do most kits come with both a throwout and pilot bearing, or no? Should I replce the flywheel while I'm in there, too? Up 'til now, the most complicated thing I have done personally is new brakes. I'm good with following direction, though. Are there any good step-by-step guides for clutch replacement on the Ranger (with pics)?

Thanks,
Aaron
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Old 04-19-2006
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Spec clutch is the way to go :)

I wouldn't worry too much about the shavings on it. Mine was like that at 10K miles when I did a fluid change on the axles and trans.
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Old 04-19-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aweiss2k
A lot of people have been pointing me towards the throwout and/or pilot bearings as the probable cause for the clutch noises. Given that I am fairly ambitious about trying new things, is it reasonable to expect that I could get a clutch kit (any suggestions?) and replace the clutch myself, having never done it before? Do most kits come with both a throwout and pilot bearing, or no? Should I replce the flywheel while I'm in there, too? Up 'til now, the most complicated thing I have done personally is new brakes. I'm good with following direction, though. Are there any good step-by-step guides for clutch replacement on the Ranger (with pics)?

Thanks,
Aaron
It can be a DIY job, but take it slow and check, check, and check again while you're going to make sure you do it right. Pick up a Chilton's or Haynes manual for your truck and it will help you out TONS!
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Old 04-19-2006
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What is *this* about?

while poking around under the truck today, waiting for the last of the fluid to drain from the transfer case, I botcied something very odd with the front of the tranny, that might explain the vibration rattle I hear at 2400RPM.

There is a flat pieceof sheet metal that appears to cover the front of the transmission, and mine appears to have separated from the main tranny body. Should those empty screw holes have screws in them???? Even if this sheet were screwed on firmly, there would still be an opening in the bottom of the tranny...is there supposed ot be a boot in there or something? It seems like mud or anything splashing could just get right in there...





Also, I noticed that a rubber gasket (or something) on the driver's side of the tranny appears ot have been torn fairly recently (I can't believe I missed this before).



What is this for, and what do I look up to geta replacement??

Thanks!

Last edited by aweiss2k; 04-19-2006 at 08:09 PM.
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Old 04-19-2006
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that rubber boot is a cover to see inside your bellhousing to look at the clutch... if you have the clutch replaced make sure thet you get the flywheel resurfaced at the same time... and as far as the tranny fluid goes make sure you use atf of some kind... i use amsoil in mine and i really like it
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Old 04-21-2006
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Thanks for the feedback. I dug out a bolt and washer that fits in the hole on that loose sheet metal, and after screwing it in tight so that the sheet is flush with the bell housing...SUCCESS! No more rattling at 2400RPM! So sweet.

Now, if only replacing the clutch was so easy! I'm gonna get a clutch kit (probably LUK) and a slave cylinder and pay my neighbor (an ex GM mechanic with a tranny jack) to do the job with me.

Now the only noises I hear are:

1. With the clutch pushed to the floor, I hear an intermittent grinding/scraping.

2. When I dpress the clutch going into 1st from a stop I hear a "warble" sound as the clutch engages.

I'm hoping these will go away with new a new clutch...

Last edited by aweiss2k; 04-21-2006 at 09:43 AM.
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