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2002 Ranger clutch hydraulic problems...air?

My 2002 Ranger lost it’s hydraulic fluid in June. The mechanics (dealership) replaced the slave and when the problem persisted replaced the master cylinder. The clutch pedal was soft after this and they bled the lines a few times with no change. In November we opened up the master cylinder at home to see if there was trapped air. Clutch worked great after that, but within 2 weeks was soft again. Drove it up to Tahoe for the weekend and couldn’t disengage at all up there. Fine when I was back at sea level. Took it back to the dealership to investigate, but they keep telling me there is no air in the lines and that they think the problem is the pressure plate. Clutch is 75K miles, but on first inpsection they said that the clutch and pressure plate were fine. I know they bled out the master cylinder because they had to replace the retaining clip this last time. Clutch was great for again for a week and now it’s getting soft again.



Is it air? Could it possibly be the pressure plate? I think that the dealership did their job wrong, but can’t really prove it…am I being narrow minded?

Never tried this. Press pedal slowly, hold down for twenty seconds, then let the pedal come up fast, but don’t do it by sliding your foot off the pedal and letting it slam. Try it a few times on a downhill grade and a few times on an uphill. You never know. Sometimes the air gets trapped in the S shaped part of the vertical section of the metal line.

Are you going to do any work yourself? If yes try this,its pretty simple,with the top of the resivoir off open the bleeder on the slave cylinder and just let it flow,no pumping involved, do this for half a resivoir,tighten bleeder,refill resivoir,check it out.

I have a 97 Isuzu that had the same problem. I replaced the master, slave, and throw out bearing. I bought the parts from a local auto store for $80 only to find out the line between the master/slave had a bad fitting (probably the root cause of the failure). Of course, the line/fitting assembly only came with the master/slave kit from the dealer and I ended up paying $100 more. If the line or the fittings are damaged, fluid may leak out every time you press the clutch and air may leak in every time you let off the clutch.

I’m kind of old school and still bleed everything with a coffee can and a friend stepping on breaks so I have never used an automatic bleader like a dealer would have. I would venture to say any machine probably does not push and pull fluid in the same manner as depressing the clutch.

Did that. No results. Didn’t get the air out until we opened the master cylinder inside the cab. The cylinder sits as a high spot in the system. Sounds like you do think it’s air though. My options seem to be 1)open the master cylinder every few months and bleed out the air or 2)find the leak.

Can I assume that when the master and slave cylinder were repalced by the dealership that this line/fitting was also replaced?

I haven’t seen how the slave cylinder sits, but can this line be replaced without pulling the transmission?

I am losing no fluid. Reservoir is still full.

In difficult circumstances you will need to apply some postive pressure (by means of very low pressure air) to get the fluid flowing. A cover that fits the top of the resivoir with a fitting so you can slightly pressurize the resivoir. One very popular way to damage the fittings on the line between the master and the slave is called cross-threading.

Since the transmission has to be removed to replace the slave cylinder I have to really question why this truck did not get a new clutch assembly at the time.
Whether a part is fine (in this case the clutch) can sometimes be a judgement call and some judgements can be a bit off-base if you know what I mean.

However, I’m of the opinion the pressure plate is not the problem and have to agree that cross-threading a fitting or something like that would more than likely be the cause.

And just being curious here. Is there any free play in the clutch pedal? The master cylinder push rod not wedged tightly between the pedal and cylinder piston, etc.?

No free play in the pedal although I suspect my culprit to be the line or the master cylinder.

I have to admit the non-replacement of the clutch kid is sort off my fault sort off the dealerships fault. I didn’t specify and they didn’t ask. That’s what I get for going to the dealership.

Alright, so my plan of action is to re-replace the master and line to slave if I don’t have to take out the transmission. If that doesn’t fix the problem I guess I’ll have to re-replace the slave. And clutch kit. Expensive way too learn a lesson.