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Clutch pedal issue

mdiiorio

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Sep 24, 2020
Messages
24
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Location
Atlanta
Vehicle Year
2004
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Transmission
Manual
Hello,
I have a 2004 Ford Ranger FX4 4.0L and think I might have a bad slave cylinder, but I just want some more info from someone who knows more than me. I’ve noticed that my clutch pedal feels very loose, and seems to only give resistance once it is already half way pressed down to the floor. It also used to grab relatively high, now it grabs almost immediately after letting it off the floor. The first half of travel is so easy I can press it with my pinky finger, and it seems like all of the engagement happens from the halfway down to the floor. In addition to this, it is no longer shifting smooth and is becoming more and more of a challenge to get into gear, and sometimes doesn’t even want to go into first or reverse.

It slides in and out of gear perfect when the truck is off. I also checked the clutch fluid and it is still filled to the step like it is supposed to be. I was certain I would have a leak but it doesn’t appear so based on what I can see, but it doesn’t necessarily mean one isn’t there. It is also worth noting that this problem is intermittent, the clutch travel situation seems to be the same, but there are days, even weeks when it shifts perfectly and drives great. Any ideas? Thanks in advance!
 


rhekman

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Aug 6, 2011
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Location
Lakes Country, Minnesota, USA
Vehicle Year
1995
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
2"
Hello,
I have a 2004 Ford Ranger FX4 4.0L and think I might have a bad slave cylinder, but I just want some more info from someone who knows more than me. I’ve noticed that my clutch pedal feels very loose, and seems to only give resistance once it is already half way pressed down to the floor. It also used to grab relatively high, now it grabs almost immediately after letting it off the floor. The first half of travel is so easy I can press it with my pinky finger, and it seems like all of the engagement happens from the halfway down to the floor. In addition to this, it is no longer shifting smooth and is becoming more and more of a challenge to get into gear, and sometimes doesn’t even want to go into first or reverse.

It slides in and out of gear perfect when the truck is off. I also checked the clutch fluid and it is still filled to the step like it is supposed to be. I was certain I would have a leak but it doesn’t appear so based on what I can see, but it doesn’t necessarily mean one isn’t there. It is also worth noting that this problem is intermittent, the clutch travel situation seems to be the same, but there are days, even weeks when it shifts perfectly and drives great. Any ideas? Thanks in advance!
That definitely sounds like a clutch system leak, but it could be either the clutch master, or the slave. If there's little to no resistance at the start of pedal travel, there's definitely air in the system.
I've replaced both slave and master cylinders in ALL my Rangers (multiple times, unfortunately), and the symptom in shift feel is the same either way. From what you describe, I'd be more suspicious of the master, since it could gulp air in the cab without showing a change in fluid level in the reservoir.

The slave is more likely the culprit if you don't see leaks, or hear squeaks in the cab coming from under the dash when pressing the pedal. The slave i also located in a more hostile environment. Sadly replacing the slave cylinder involves removing the transmission (and skid plates, and transfer case, and exhaust).

I would try bleeding the system (there's a tech article and tons of forum posts on how) and watching carefully for leaks, while listening for weird sounds or rough spots. If pedal feel improves easily, with only 2-3 bleeding cycles, then the slave is likely the issue. If it takes much longer, or requires removing and bench bleeding the master, then that's the problem.

If you don't mind firing the parts cannon, Rock Auto has a complete clutch kit with master, slave, & reservoir prefilled for $110.
 

mdiiorio

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Messages
24
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Location
Atlanta
Vehicle Year
2004
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Transmission
Manual
That definitely sounds like a clutch system leak, but it could be either the clutch master, or the slave. If there's little to no resistance at the start of pedal travel, there's definitely air in the system.
I've replaced both slave and master cylinders in ALL my Rangers (multiple times, unfortunately), and the symptom in shift feel is the same either way. From what you describe, I'd be more suspicious of the master, since it could gulp air in the cab without showing a change in fluid level in the reservoir.

The slave is more likely the culprit if you don't see leaks, or hear squeaks in the cab coming from under the dash when pressing the pedal. The slave i also located in a more hostile environment. Sadly replacing the slave cylinder involves removing the transmission (and skid plates, and transfer case, and exhaust).

I would try bleeding the system (there's a tech article and tons of forum posts on how) and watching carefully for leaks, while listening for weird sounds or rough spots. If pedal feel improves easily, with only 2-3 bleeding cycles, then the slave is likely the issue. If it takes much longer, or requires removing and bench bleeding the master, then that's the problem.

If you don't mind firing the parts cannon, Rock Auto has a complete clutch kit with master, slave, & reservoir prefilled for $110.
Thank you so much! I will look into the master and start there, as it is much easier to access than the slave.
 

mdiiorio

New Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2020
Messages
24
Reaction score
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Location
Atlanta
Vehicle Year
2004
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Transmission
Manual
Update: I bled the system and immediately saw that the master cylinder was leaking. I put it back in and the clutch pedal feels a little more firm but but still has the same amount of play beginning travel. It shifts a little better now too, but to get it back to normal I’m going to need a new master cylinder. Much easier than pulling the transmission!

thanks again
 

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