Tranny/Clutch issues with 2003 2.3L Ranger - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


Drivetrain Tech General discussion of drivetrain for the Ford Ranger.

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  #1  
Old 04-12-2014
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Tranny/Clutch issues with 2003 2.3L Ranger

I purchased my ranger with 60k miles on it in 2007. It always was a bit hard to get in to first gear. It kept getting worse and by about 95k miles (2011) I finally put a jack under the rear the get the wheels off of the ground, and when I pushed in the clutch and tried to put it in gear, the wheels would really spin. So I knew the clutch wasn't completely disengaging. So I put a new clutch, pressure plate and slave cylinder and and all was well. I never knew what the problem was with the old clutch and slave. Everything looked fine when I took it out so I didn't expect it to fix the problem, so I just figured the slave wasn't quit extending far enough to disengage the clutch.

Today I drove somewhere and on the way home (1 hour drive on the interstate with no shifting) I get off at my exit and I can't get the tranny to go in to any gear. I finally slipped in to third and I made it home. At speed I could shift up fairly smoothly, but when slow or stopped it would not shift go in to any gear. I checked the reservoir and it is filled with DOT3. I then checked the tranny fluid level and it was fine too. I took the inspection plate off on the tranny and when the clutch pedal is being pushed in, the slave cylinder seems to be working fine. Also, the clutch pedal feels the same, and I see no evidence of leaking on the master, hoses, or slave. I put the rear up on jack stands and sure enough, when I try to put in in any gear the wheels take off.

Since the clutch and slave are fairly new (less than 2.5 years and 25k miles) I would assume they are probably ok. Could it be the master? How can I make sure? I plan on bleeding it tomorrow, but if the fluid is not low, I have read that indicates clutch or pressure plate. Or maybe a pilot bearing? I am very easy on clutches and have driven more than a few cars over 160k miles on the same clutch. Actually, I have never worn one out, just had a clutch plate spring break once.
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Old 04-13-2014
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A little more info...Today I measured the travel of the throwout bearing when the clutch pedal is pressed and it is 5/16". I haven't seen that number in a Ford manual, but I did see a video on youtube by "Perfection Clutch" and they claim 5/16" is perfect for a bled master/slave. Also, I get the car in gear, push the clutch in, then start the car and it will lurch forward slightly, then not move any more. So that leads me to believe it is definitely some sort of clutch drag. So I am thinking it has to be one of these:

1) seized pilot bearing
2) damaged pressure plate
3) clutch plate is warped or has a broken spring
4) warped flywheel

All of these (except for the flywheel are new Luk products installed in 2011 about 25000 miles ago.
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Old 04-13-2014
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Yes, pilot bearing needs to be changed with the clutch, if worn it will continue spinning transmission input shaft causing hard shifting into lower gears and at a stop.

Did you use a self adjusting pressure plate with the new clutch?
That was stock.

Regular pressure plates can be used but clutch will be hard to disengage when new, pedal will need to be down to the floor + 1/2", lol, but it will get better after a month or so of clutch disc wear, at 25k miles I wouldn't think this would be the problem.

If self adjusting was used, were the 3 springs around the fingers all the way compressed, I have seen these sold without being set, need a hydraulic press to set them.

The way a clutch works is pretty simple.
Transmission has an input shaft with a set of gears, clutch disengages input shaft from the flywheel/engine RPM.
Pilot bearing allows input shaft and flywheel to have different RPMs while clutch is in.
Transmission output shaft is connected to the rear wheels/drive line with its own set of gears and can not be disconnected.

So the goal of the clutch is to complete disengage the input shaft from the engine rotation so the input shaft can match output shaft speed via the gears meshing.
Hardest match is when output shaft is 0 rotation, you are stopped, this means input shaft must go from 750rpms(engine idle) to 0 RPMs to match output shaft.
Shifting into 3rd or 4th gear is easier because of the gear ratio but input shaft still needs to go to 0 RPMs.

So as you have surmised the input shaft is still spinning even with clutch pedal in, and it has some torque applied since it has to be forced into gear with clutch in, and wheels spin if jacked up with clutch in.
Wore pilot bearing can cause input shaft torque.

Syncro-mesh are "plastic" pre-gears, they slow down or speed up the input shaft when you push shifter into a gear, because they are "plastic" there is little noise, reverse has no syncro, these prevent the grinding and double clutching that used to be "normal" for manual transmissions.
If you notice increased grinding when shifting into reverse when stopped, you are having input shaft disengagement issues.

Last edited by RonD; 04-13-2014 at 11:50 AM.
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Old 04-13-2014
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The pilot bearing, throwout bearing, clutch plate and pressure plate were all changed in 2011 with the OEM/stock pressure plate so it was self adjusting. I do seem to remember setting those three springs before the install. I was thinking pilot bearing, but the fact that it worked perfectly fine and then suddenly stopped working is leading me to believe something broke on the pressure plate or clutch plate. Regardless, I am fairly confident the transmission is ok and since I am getting enough movement out of the slave cylinder I think it is time to start removing the transmission again. Thanks.
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Old 04-13-2014
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Well I got the tranny out. The clutch and plate are like new. The pilot bearing fell out in pieces. I am pleased that I found the problem, but I am troubled that the bearing only lasted 25,000 miles. Is there something I could have done wrong when I was installing it that caused this?
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Old 04-14-2014
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Could have broke when installing/mating the input shaft on last installation, when reinstalling trans make sure bell housing and engine slide together, you should NEVER have to tighten the bolts to get them to mate, should slide together snug without forcing.
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Old 04-15-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonD View Post
Could have broke when installing/mating the input shaft on last installation, when reinstalling trans make sure bell housing and engine slide together, you should NEVER have to tighten the bolts to get them to mate, should slide together snug without forcing.
I remember it took a few tries, but ultimately it slid in smoothly when I installed it.

While I have the transmission out I am replacing all of the stuff that is on the back of the engine and requires tranny removal to get to.

1) Engine Coolant Overflow hose KM4720 (the ones that runs from the coolant reservoir, behind the exhaust manifold, then around the back of the engine, then has a T that runs up to the EGR and then continues on to the thermostat)

2) Engine Coolant bypass KM4556. Hose that goes from thermostat housing to the water outlet connector at the rear of the engine

3) EGR and Gasket

Is there anything else that I am not thinking of? If the clutch plate, and pressure plate look good, should I go back with the same ones since it is only 25k miles? How about the throwout bearing? It and the slave only have 25k miles as well. I have read some say to replace the rear main, but that would probably be quite a bit more work and it isn't leaking at all now.
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Old 04-15-2014
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Yes, throwout bearing
I know people who have used same slave for two clutch changes, but also seen slaves that barely last one clutch, so toss up really.

Could do the rear main seal but have to pull the flywheel for that, at 95k you could probably wait until next clutch change
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Old 04-21-2014
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So was going to re-use my slave but was replacing the throwout bearing. So I removed the slave to make it easier to get that retainer ring off and I noticed some fluid on the bottom of the slave. Not a lot, but enough that I wouldn't risk putting it back in there. I got the clutch kit 3 years ago from Clutch City. They sell the original equipment Luk clutches and they claim the slave is OE as well, made by FTE. I have read online somewhere that those are re-manufactured Ford. I was just surprised that it was leaking so soon. Also, the throwout bearing had a rough spot in it when I would turn it. I was looking on Rock Auto and found several other brands. Who makes the best one? They have

Sachs
AMS
Dorman
AC Delco
Valeo
Wagner
Exedy

I was planning on getting the Wagner. I is the most expensive and I am familiar with the brand. Just wondering what experiences everyone else has had. Thanks.

Last edited by lemmy; 04-21-2014 at 08:08 AM.
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