Stiff Clutch After Long Drives - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 02-25-2010
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Stiff Clutch After Long Drives

Alright so here is the situation, I bought this 1986 Ranger (4 cylinder 5 speed 2wd). I use the truck for my commutes from school to home which is about 100 miles one way and it's primarily all highway miles so I'm sitting in top gear for over an hour.

Now onto the problem: After cruising in 5th for this long when I go to downshift my clutch pedal feels pretty stiff, a lot more so than when I first start driving and I was wondering if this was normal for it to have that much pressure behind it or what could cause this?

On a side note, I've never had a ford anything and the clutch pedal throw seems extremely short and it only engages the last 20% of the throw and I wanted to know if this is normal as well. Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 02-25-2010
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check your clutch master cylinder for the proper level of hydraulic fluid
if it is low ,, you probably have some air bubbles in the clutch hydraulic line
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Old 02-25-2010
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air bubbles should make it feel spongy as air compresses and liquids don't. i'm not to familair with clutch mechanisms on rangers especially an 86 but if it is hydraulic over mechanical what kinda weather you driving in cause if its snowy wet conditions it could just be cold oil or build up of road grime (snow, ice, mud) on the mechanical side
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Old 02-26-2010
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It has been cold but it doesn't seem to effect it if it is warm or cold outside and I've got a pretty bad power steering leak that has grimed up a lot of my components but I wouldn't think it is from that.

As far as fluid levels go all the reservoirs under the hood looked fine, brake fluid was a little low but nothing to worry about.

I guess I'm just going to change transmission and rear differential fluid early next week when I get her back home so I can knock out about everything at one time.

How would I go about checking the slave/master cylinders?
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Old 02-26-2010
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if you have a hydraulic clutch assembly
your clutch master cylinder shoulf be to the right of your brake booster

my old jeep cj was the same way.
it turned out to be the rear main seal would spit micro amounts of oil on the shaft and gum it up
and the throw out bearing would periodicly jam on the sludge/gum build-up
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Old 02-26-2010
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The fluid levels are all fine and I'll check the rear mains in the morning but for now what kind of fluid do I use? I was going to change it out but the only thing listed at the parts store was "ford manual transmission fluid" and I have no idea what that means haha. I have a haynes manual on the way but unfortunately it hasnt arrived yet.
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Old 02-26-2010
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i used 50 weight in my manual tranny in my jeep to help reduce the gear noise generated from the straight cut gears i don't see why you couldn't use it in a ford manual as well the only issue i had is at about -20 and below i the oil was pretty thick and it had to idle for approx 20 min before it didn't feel sluggish but that didn't matter as i let it idle longer to get heat in it as it was a pretty cold ride toi work in the morning if i didn't
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Old 03-03-2010
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Update, I changed the oil, transmission fluid, rear differential fluid, and power steering lines/ reservoir(not related to the problem).

Still the same problem........

After about 45 minutes of driving on the highway I shift into neutral hoping to feel a light clutch pedal but it's a strain to press it to the floor still. Also I never mentioned this but when it happens the clutch comes back out considerably slower than when it's cold.

Once again any help with this would be appreciated!
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