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Old 05-18-2008, 01:59 AM   #1
Trotti
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Default Can't shift into any gear

I have a 2000 Ford Ranger XLT 2wd 3.0 Liter with a 5sp manual and 85k miles. I've been hearing a noise of some sort that just started today (or I just noticed it today because it was the first day warm enough to have the windows down). I noticed that I was having a harder time than normal shifting into gears and all of the sudden I couldn't shift into anything, I was stuck in neutral.

I pushed and tried all the gears and it would not go into any. As I would push the stick to go into first, I could feel the truck pulling as if it was barely in gear or something, but it wouldn't go in. The clutch seemed fine. I let the truck roll a bit and pushed a bit harder, it slipped into gear and was fine until I stopped again. Had to get out and push this time but it would shift with effort.

Left it in 2nd the whole way home. Get there and park...then nothing. It goes into every gear without effort, smooth as ever before. Any noise I had heard seems to be gone, smooth as a top. When the noise was still there, I would only hear it when stopped, it would go away when I started moving.

Sorry to throw such a mess of facts out there, I'm just not sure what may be helpful for diagnosis. Any ideas?
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Old 05-18-2008, 09:48 AM   #2
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Does it shift with the engine off?

It sounds like the clutch isn't releasing.

Driving the vehicle by the transmission's blocking rings was a bad idea.
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Old 05-18-2008, 10:29 AM   #3
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If the clutch hangs up like it's not releasing and then goes back to pretty much normal behavior, the likely culprit is either the pilot bearing or the clutch disc starting to come apart.

The transmission needs to be pulled to check everything out.
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Old 05-19-2008, 12:06 AM   #4
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Check the fluid for the slave cylinder and to see if it was leaking there. I think the fords have a hydraulic one if i'm not mistakin. I know when my one truck was like that it was just starting to leak fluid right at the little slave cylinder for the clutch. Something to check out anyways. It only cost 50 bucks but it saves you taking a transmission out if thats what it is.
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Old 05-19-2008, 11:01 AM   #5
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It's really not helpful to post advice when you don't know. Changing a slave will NOT save pulling the transmission and they cost significantly more than $50.

And when they leak, loss of fluid is rather easily checked for.
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1990 VW Jetta GL, 1.8L 8V gasoline engine, manual transmission, painted in oxidized red paint and ponderosa pine sap, unknown mileage.

1991 Exploder, 4.0L, M5OD-R1 manual transmission, electronic BW1354 transfer case, 3.54 gears, 31 inch tires, icky two-tone blue paint with little clear coat, 230K miles.

1972 Chevy C-10, 250 I-6, SM465 (2WD) four-on-the-floor, 3.73 gears in a GM 12-bolt, puke green with a white cab. The "4 wheeled trash can," with x70K miles. x is probably 2.
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Old 05-19-2008, 12:11 PM   #6
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Default cant shift into any gear

I have the exact same problem, but I haven't heard any noise. Normal shifting, and then out of nowhere I can't get into first(or any other gear). As I tried to force it into first it started rolling forward as if it was partially in gear. It's never made a grinding noise, never slipped out of gear, and it shifted normally for two days afterwards. When it wouldn't go into gear again, I shut off the engine, and still couldn't shift. Clutch fluid is full, never been low. I called two repair shops. One was sure it was a bad synchro and the other said it was the clutch. 145,000 miles. Any advice? Thanks.
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Old 05-19-2008, 02:51 PM   #7
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Pointguard, it sounds like your clutch slave or master cylinder has gone out.
Slave cylinder requires transmission removal to replace, Master does not. Slaves fail more frequently (use the Search feature). The whole system can be troublesome to bleed out the air.
At that mileage, a new clutch and pressure plate is wise, since you have to remove the transmission to replace the slave (most likely).

One thing I did realize lately: Many of you Ranger stick shifters NEVER check your transmission fluid levels. I'm buying a pristine 93 S-cab 2.3L today for $500 for that very reason (tranny is toast @ 130k). The 93 Reg cab 2.3L I picked up two weeks ago had 1/2 quart in its tranny (@ 268k).

So, I'm on the hunt for not one, but TWO MO5DR1 trannys to bolt onto 2.3's. I haven't pulled a transmission since 1976, no bull. NOT looking forward to it. TWICE.
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Old 05-20-2008, 02:57 AM   #8
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A bad synchro usually makes a whine, in my experience anyway, and is more consistant than you describe. Had a synchro out in my Spitfire and it was impossible to downshift smoothly into first. No prob at a lite, once you're stopped, it shifts right in, but it just didn't wanna go into first while it as rolling. At 145k, I'd be expecting to do the clutch soon. I think my clutch kit ran about $135? a new slave runs about $110, wouldn't hurt to change it while the tranny's out, some folks think it's advisable. No one told me that when I did my trans (pre-internet), so I guess I'll be findin out if the rumors about used slave failures is true. I'da paid $110 to avoid future downtime.

Hey Earl....I'd betcha fewer people check their differential lube....

Makg.."Driving the vehicle by the transmission's blocking rings was a bad idea." I'm not familiar with blocking rings..explanation please?
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Old 05-20-2008, 10:18 AM   #9
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Blocking rings are part of your synchros. If your clutch is not releasing and you try to cram the transmission into gear, the tendancy for the truck to start creeping forward is the blocking ring desperately trying to do its job and getting burned up in the process.

For those who do not know, the synchros are clever little devices to bring your transmission guts to the right speed before allowing the shift collar teeth to strike eachother. The blocking ring gets its name because it blocks the shift collar movement until everything's close enough. It's what keeps you from catching reverse when rolling forward. You can spot a failed blocking ring because the transmission will make a grinding noise every time you shift into that gear unless you double-clutch well.

Rule of thumb: if the problem affects only one gear, or some gears and not others, it's a problem in the transmission. If the problem affects every single gear, the problem is somewhere else in the drivetrain; in the case of not being able to shift, the clutch is the culprit.

Other rule of thumb: if the problem is a come-and-go type of problem, bleeding will not help. The linkage will not recover all on its own if it leaks out fluid and sucks in air.

Other, other rule of thumb: if you plan to throw parts at the problem, or everyone you know tells you to throw parts at it, take it to a shop. Chances are you'll spend more money and waste more time throwing parts.
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Old 07-26-2010, 12:50 AM   #10
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Default

I recently (2 months ago) got a used 2006 2.3L Duratec Ranger with 110k miles (LOVE IT!) But I noticed every now and then after stopping something similar; like the transmission had something blocking the shifter from entering the gear-- almost like the clutch wasn't pressed. I did notice that I NEVER had the problem while moving, it moved as normal (no this isn't my first manual tran. vehicle). What solved the problem for me was simply down-shifting to 1st while slowing down and leaving it in gear. Even if I shut it off and shift to reverse when I re-start I have no issues. I've checked for leaking fluid very often and have seen none. My engine compartment is still pristine (bought from a dealer so it was wiped down very well).

My thinking was possibly a throwout bearing-- but I am by no means a mechanic. I seriously doubt my issue is the clutch as the transmission operates as normal 90% of the time and when it doesn't op. norm. there is no between, it flat out will not go into 1st 2nd or 3rd. Thankfully when this has happened I was on a slight incline and was able to let the truck roll until it decided to op. norm. again.

Hope this helps, if anyone finds a solution I'd love to hear it.
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