What's the story on Ranger Transmissions?? - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


Drivetrain Tech General discussion of drivetrain for the Ford Ranger.

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Old 07-25-2007
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What's the story on Ranger Transmissions??

I've been reading through some really cool tranny and engine swap posts on here and it occured to me that I don't really have a good understanding of the late model Ranger transmission.

What I mean is, what are the pros and cons - for instance, I have the Mazda 5-spd in my '07 Level II and I had it before in an '02 Ranger FX4 as well. I never had any problems in my '02 but I didn't do any towing either. I may do more towing with my '07 so, what is the weak link? I have heard it has a good clutch, but really? Are there different kinds of manual tranies used in the late model Rangers? I just don't know how these babies take hard but legitimate use.

Any input from the long term Ranger folks? On the manual and auto trannies would be great.
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Old 07-25-2007
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The Mazda M5ODR1-HD is a decent transmission although not what I would consider "world class". Its worst problem is not the transmission itself but the slave cylinder for the clutch. It is garbage.

The reason why the manual is rated to tow less is not because the transmission and/or clutch is weak. It is because, all things being equal otherwise, a manual cannot launch from a stop as well as an automatic, especially uphill.
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Old 07-25-2007
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What should I anticipate with the slave? I think I had read a thread or two a while back discussing the slave cylinder and I vaguely recall (though I don't want this to be right) that it was a royal PITA to fix/replace/deal with when it went. How come such a POS and are there upgrades for it?
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Old 07-25-2007
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Some people get 100,000+ out of a Ranger slave and replace it when the clutch wears out. Mine blew up one morning without any warning symptoms at 17,000 miles from new. When it happens, you are on foot.

It's cheesy plastic and there are no upgrades as far as I know. Replacing it requires removal of the Y-pipe, driveshafts, transfer case and transmission.
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Old 07-25-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwenzing
It's cheesy plastic and there are no upgrades as far as I know.
I saw different brands here:
http://www.autopartsauthority.com/pa...pcat=true&my=1

Is it still the same crap?
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Old 07-25-2007
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I don't know. I've asked before but never found anyone who could point me toward any brand that's known to be better than the OE part.
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Old 07-25-2007
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Mine is going out but I'm selling so I guess I will just replace it with stock. I had the clutch replaced not to long ago but I had no idea the slave cylinder was a problem at the time or else I would have replaced it while the tranny was out.
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Old 07-25-2007
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Just to clarify, a slave cylinder that is going bad would cause the clutch not to fully disengage. Right?
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Old 07-25-2007
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im not looking forward to mine going out

and yes, and far as i know, not disengage at all...
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Old 07-25-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 99ranger4x4
im not looking forward to mine going out

and yes, and far as i know, not disengage at all...
My truck likes to not let me into gear sometimes and if it is in gear with the clutch all the way in and I try to take it out of gear, it feels and sounds like engine torque is is being relieved. Also if sometimes if I have it gear with the clutch in, my truck starts to roll when I let go of the brake.
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Old 07-25-2007
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yea, theyve used the M5OD since 89ish in these trucks and they are still virtually the same transmission. As long as you dont run the tranny low on fluid they do a very good job and standing up to most of the abuse they can be given. They rate the manuals lower for towing because of needing to slip the clutch on startup and different driver ability. If you overheat and glaze the clutch while starting out with a load because you slip it too much Ford doesnt want to have to replace it just because you slipped the clutch too much and glazed it over by pulling too much of a load. If you are good with a clutch you can pull just as much as the autos can, just be careful of slipping the clutch too much.

Most of the issues I've had with slave cylinders have been after offroading because of the mud and silt getting into the bellhousing and ruining the seal on the slave causing it to leak. If you get used to pulling the tranny its actually really easy to replace the slave, you dont even have to fully remove the tranny, you can just slip it back about 8 inchs to get your hand into the bellhousing with a small ratchet and unbolt the two bolts and then bolt in the new slave and slip it all back foward again.

The issues the autos have are from overheating and not having a good line pressure allowing the bands to slip too much between gears. The newer 5R55E is quite a lot better, ok a TON better than the old A4LD auto they used to use. Installing a shift kit and taking care of the fluid and making sure its at the right level and changing it out regularly and properly is a good way to fix any of the issues in the 5R55E. Keeping the auto tranny from overheating will keep it alive much longer than normal also.
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Old 07-25-2007
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I have a 5 speed transmission and I just put a new clutch in it and I see no reason why I couldn't pull the same load as an auto. I know when I fill the back with soil or mulch or something I have no problems taking off. You can feel the weight but it doesn't slip anymore.
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Old 07-25-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaGGer
I see no reason why I couldn't pull the same load as an auto.
Ford bases the Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) on several factors but, for manual transmission Rangers, it is the clutch that limits the maximum rating. One of Ford's acceptance criteria says that the powertrain must be capable of launching the vehicle from a stop on a very steep uphill grade (20%) at the maximum loaded truck/trailer weight (GCWR).

Launching on a uphill with an automatic is relatively easy because the torque converter multiplies the engine torque by roughly a factor of 2 during the initial movement from rest. By contrast, a manual transmission vehicle throws away part of the torque as heat while slipping the clutch during initial launch. That's why the GCWR of a manual is so much lower than an automatic.

Obviously, the less the chance that you will need to start on an uphill, the less problem you will have with a manual. If I know for sure that I will be towing only on the flat, then I know I can "cheat" on the GCWR with a manual truck.
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Old 07-26-2007
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It seems as though al lot of towing substantial weight with a manual trans all comes back to some common sense and being an experienced driver of vehicles with a manual - and probably some driving strategy for not getting trapped at a stop on a steep up-hill grade. I've been driving a manual every since I got my license and have been around old tractors and farm equipment having a basic manual trans all my life, so I think I will probably just be careful and not limit my self to the 2700 or 3000 GCWR as listed in the Ranger information.

Totally theoretical, but would be nice, is if you could some how start out in 4-Low and then get 'er back into 2WD once moving - why hasn't some one thought of that?? Like I said, a nice theoretical idea.....

Actually, what is the recommended top speed in 4-low? Reason I ask is, take this scenario - one is stuck on a steep up-hill grade and the grade is only maybe a half mile to a mile long, in town, where you wouldn't exceed maybe 30 miles an hour anyway. If the occasion arose, could you just drive it up such a hill in 4-low, then once at the top pull off and get it back into 2WD? Seems like a lot of hassle and impracticle, but it's a "what if" situation - had to ask I guess.
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Old 07-26-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onebluemcm
Totally theoretical, but would be nice, is if you could some how start out in 4-Low and then get 'er back into 2WD once moving - why hasn't some one thought of that?? Like I said, a nice theoretical idea.....
Actually, that was my backup plan if I ever got into that situation. Generally speaking, it's a very bad idea to engage 4WD on dry pavement. However, if your tire diameters are perfectly matched and if you drive perfectly straight, it shouldn't hurt to drive in 4LO for a short distance to get you out of trouble.

Shifting on the fly from 4LO to 2HI is not possible with a factory Ranger electric transfer case because it is interlocked. You can do it with a manual transmission/manual case if you know how to double clutch.
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