Persistent dragging clutch issue - 2001 Turbo Ranger


Sevensecondsuv

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Hi all. I'm working on a 2001 Ranger that I turbocharged last year. For background, it's the 2.5L block with a 1997 2.3 crank and pistons/rods out of a turbocoupe. Anyways, I've got an issue with the clutch disengaging that I just can't figure out.

Current configuration:
Luk Flywheel for 95-2001 4 cylinder
Centerforce Dual Friction clutch for 95+ 3.0L part # DF975975 (only difference between 2.3/2.5 and 3.0 clutches is 8.875" vs 9.125" disc, using the 3.0L disc offers increased torque capacity which is a necessity for the turbo engine)
New Luk slave cylinder
New Sachs (stickers indicate it was actually ZF) master cylinder and line

The clutch worked great when I first finished the turbo swap. Then over the course of the last year it started getting hard to shift into gear from stop. This was the classic symptom of a failing master, so I installed a new master and bench bled the master/line and then gravity bled once it was connected to the slave in the truck. This didn't help at all. After that I replaced the slave cylinder (for the second time). After that it shifted great about 15 times and then reverted to the old problem. Since then I also replaced the master and line again (pre-filled this time). Again, I bench bled, connected to the slave in the truck, bled with the master inverted, and then finished with a gravity bleed. Pedal is 100% firm indicating no air in the system. Still the clutch drags though. It's also odd that the "grab" point is the typical 1.5" from top of pedal travel. However the remaining 5" of pedal travel does not stop the dragging.

So at this point I believe I've cleared the hydraulics. My next test will be to measure actual slave cyl travel and compare it to my 2011 2.3L Ranger. If that passes I guess it's time to drop the trans and tear into the clutch itself. This is disappointing given the centerforce is a $400 clutch.

Anyone have any other ideas?
 


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Denisefwd93

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Pilot bearing? small item, often causes big problems
 

Sevensecondsuv

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Pilot bearing? small item, often causes big problems
Could be. I installed a new one when I put the whole thing together. It's not making any of the noises a failing pilot bearing usually makes. Won't know for sure until I drop the trans and remove the clutch.
 

bobbywalter

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sounds like the pressure plate is too stout.

are you getting full stroke on the master.?.?


i assume your having true drag and its not a shitty input or geartrain since you managed to turbo it.


...with it properly jacked and racked try to increase the stroke on the master to see if it completely knocks out power to the wheels.


i would consider a speedway or wilwood setup to run the slave...or make yours adjustable. i have done it in the past....use baby turn buckles ect.


the t5 is better suited to this task... it can be built a bit stouter but getting the ranger master to work with a hydro t5 slave can be an issue..


then its back to rod adjustments...at least with the t5 you can do it at both ends to dial it in.
 

Sevensecondsuv

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Not sure what you mean by full stroke on the master. I have full pedal travel (and therefore full master stroke). The clutch pedal and engagement feels completely normal with release occuring near the top of the pedal. It's just that it obviously won't completely release enough to get it into gear from a stop.

The trans worked fine prior to the turbo swap - and worked fine for a while afterwards too.

Also, I know the older hydraulics are a bit different, but I ran the same clutch in my 1990 turbo ranger without issue.

The first order of business is compare slave travel with my factory 2011. That will rule out anything in the hydraulic system.
 

bobbywalter

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the power of the centerforce may be enough to squeeze the stock plastic master in the right conditions.. i have not seen it on the rangers but have on the 150 with hd pp...the metal body style aftermarket master units cured it.



i have also blown/squeezed by internal slaves apart enough it dropped fluid from wrong volume master......and fawked up the pp...


if your clutch is actually dragging after a few applications from a fresh bleed i would say your having a hydraulic travel issue.

a physical issue with a improperly setup fly/pp/disk combo usually behaves differently....


and a roached pilot like mentioned earlier will do this as well.
 

Sevensecondsuv

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Ok I hear you. One of the masters I tried did have an aluminum body (Brute Power brand I think?). Same problem as the plastic masters.

If the plastic slave is stretching instead of extending I should be able to see that when I measure travel.

I'll also measure absolute travel on the old master sitting on my bench and then make sure the pedal isn't leaving any on the table as installed in the truck.

I've looked at the aftermarket masters. Those look near impossible to attach to a stock ranger pedal or firewall. I'm really hoping I don't have to go there.
 
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bobbywalter

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before ordering anything i would pull the trans and have a good look at the pilot and input surfaces.


and make sure your firewall is not moving
 

Sevensecondsuv

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On the 95+ trucks, the master is mounted directly to the pedal bracket. So firewall flexing/cracking isn't an issue.

Also, the slave cylinder I've got in there now is a Perfection/Brute Power/Carquest brand that has a solid aluminum body. So I doubt the slave is flexing.

I should also add that I've seen zero evidence of an external fluid leak on anything.
 

Sevensecondsuv

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Ok. I took some travel measurements:

Master cylinder on workbench:
1.500" travel max

Master cylinder travel as installed in 2001 turbo Ranger:
1.250", limited by rubber bumper on clutch pedal bracket

Master cylinder travel in 2011 Ranger (properly functioning factory parts at 51,XXX miles):
1.250", limited by rubber bumper on clutch pedal bracket

Slave cylinder travel in 2001 turbo Ranger:
0.375"

Slave cylinder travel in 2011 Ranger (again, factory parts that function great):
0.375"


So I learned two things. First, the turbo Ranger produces the exact same travel as the 2011 factory parts. So I can conclude it's not a lack of travel issue. Second, it appears Ford designed things to not use the last 1/4" of travel available in the master. As a last resort, I could make the rod 1/4" longer and see what happens.

I think it's time to drop the trans.
 

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Sevensecondsuv

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I dropped the trans and removed the clutch. The pilot bearing looks fine, although maybe seated a little deep.

The flywheel looks good.

The input shaft looks good, although it could definitely use a little lube on the splines.

The disc (which is a standard Exedy 3.0L part number - thanks for marking that up 500% there centerforce :annoyed: ) is definitely worn on the pressure plate side but pretty new looking on the flywheel side. The steel "frame" of the disc seems warped to the point that the friction material is slightly loose on it.

The pressure plate definitely got hot - see pics. Otherwise I can't find anything wrong with it.

I'm going to just get a new clutch, replace the pilot bearing, and polish and lube the splines on the input shaft. Maybe a new flywheel too if I can't get a good reading of runout while it's still bolted to the engine. Anyone want to recommend a clutch that will hold 300+ ft-lbs and isn't just marked-up Exedy stuff like the centerforce? Those sprung-hub 6-puck ceramic ones on ebay for $110 look like Spec stage 3 knockoffs and I've read good things about the Ranger application. It's not like the $400 centerforce held up any better....

















 

Sevensecondsuv

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Well I ordered one of the cheapo ebay "stage 3 ceramic" kits. I figure one of four things will happen: 1) it'll work great, 2) it'll slip like mad, 3) it'll eat the flywheel in a couple months, or 4) it explode during a 6000 rpm shift and take my leg off with it. Let's hope for #1.
 

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i would get a new pressure plate and run that clutch. whats the tob feel like?
 

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The TO bearing is nearly new as it was installed with the new slave cyl I put in there a couple months ago. It feels perfect.

The clutch kit I ordered comes with a new PP and a sprung hub 6 puck ceramic disc.
 


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