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Manual transmission hard to shift when engine is on


sebastian323

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My 1996 Ford Ranger 4x4 Manual (M5OD-R1) is easy to shift when the car is turned off. However, when the car is running it is very difficult to shift. Sometimes in order to get the car into first, I have to go into reverse, then engage first gear.
I am guessing the problem is in the clutch hydraulic system, probably air in the lines. What do you guys think. Truck has 160k miles on it.


EDIT 2024: TURNS OUT IT WAS THE SLAVE CYLINDER
 
Last edited:


dmb2613

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clutch/hydraulic problem when does the clutch start engaging when letting the peddle out?
 

Eddo Rogue

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1st to reverse is normal, reverse doesnt have a synchro, so it will grind otherwse with using 1st to get thngs spinning. Speaking of which you might have worn synchros.
 

Bgunner

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Unless the hydraulic system has been opened there should be no air in that system. Has the hydraulic system been opened or parts replaced recently?

It sounds to me like the clutch is not disengaging fully so slave cylinder, clutch master cylinder may have started to go.
 

19Walt93

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A worn disc would cause that,too.
 

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A bad pilot bearing can cause it too.
 

sebastian323

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Unless the hydraulic system has been opened there should be no air in that system. Has the hydraulic system been opened or parts replaced recently?

It sounds to me like the clutch is not disengaging fully so slave cylinder, clutch master cylinder may have started to go.
so my first line of attack should be to check that the clutch has the correct travel/behavior through the observation window ? It sounds like the transmission may have to come down to inspect the clutch disc, pilot bearing , etc.
 

Roert42

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Pop the cap on the resovoir, if it’s low there is a leak somewhere, and if it’s real low there is probably air in the master.
 

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Pop the cap on the resovoir, if it’s low there is a leak somewhere, and if it’s real low there is probably air in the master.
This.
Be aware there is a black rubber diaphragm that can get sucked to the bottom of the reservoir and if you put in more fluid nothing will happen to make the clutch work....
 

sebastian323

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The other day i put the truck in 4LOW and after returning to 2High, the gears became noticeably easier to shift. Its not perfect ,but much better. perhaps the 4wd selector was not engaged all the way.
 

Bgunner

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The transfer case is a separate gear box so it shouldn't of made a difference in the transmission shifting. Odd indeed.
 

sebastian323

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I had the slave cylinder, clutch, and pressure plate replaced and the shifting is MUCH better. !st still pops into place, but the it engages MUCH more easily. At this point it is porbably damage done to the transmission itself (synchros,etc) from driving on the bad slave cylinder.
 

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I had the slave cylinder, clutch, and pressure plate replaced and the shifting is MUCH better. !st still pops into place, but the it engages MUCH more easily. At this point it is porbably damage done to the transmission itself (synchros,etc) from driving on the bad slave cylinder.
Have you changed the transmission fluid yet? If not, that might cure some, if not all the rough shifting. Only use actual Mercon V. The aftermarket stuff is not the same and shifts rough not long after it’s put in. Mercon V is good for 30,000 miles or so before it needs to be changed again. Get some new crush washers from the dealer too. You can reuse the old ones a time or two but I wouldn’t do more than that and if the fluid has never been changed, the OG washers are probably junk.
 

sebastian323

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Have you changed the transmission fluid yet? If not, that might cure some, if not all the rough shifting. Only use actual Mercon V. The aftermarket stuff is not the same and shifts rough not long after it’s put in. Mercon V is good for 30,000 miles or so before it needs to be changed again. Get some new crush washers from the dealer too. You can reuse the old ones a time or two but I wouldn’t do more than that and if the fluid has never been changed, the OG washers are probably junk.
I used the Mercon V replica made by Valvoline to drain and fill the manual trans about 10k miles ago. I can try Mercon V I order online from Ford. I am surprised a slightly different formulation affects performance that much in a manual transmission.
 

Eddo Rogue

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4WD
Total Lift
skyjacker front leveling kit
Tire Size
31-10.50R15
My credo
Crossed threads are tight threads.
I ran type F in mine once...shifted like crap. I think its Dex3 in there now. Shifts nice.
 

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