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Clank sound at start

Whenever I accelerate from a stop I hear a loud clank. It won’t happen if I very slowly push the gas and accelerate at a slower rate.

It’s in the first second of acceleration and then no problems once I’m moving.

Maybe related- the transmission kind of lags a little in changing between 2nd and 3rd. It revs up a lot higher then changes.

What’s gong on?

It’s a 6 cylinder '96 Ranger XL

I suspect that you have at least two different problems with this truck.

The clank is likely to be a badly worn u-joint in the driveshaft.
If a u-joint is defective, as I suspect, I hope that you replace it before you drop the driveshaft on the highway.

If the front u-joint is the problem, think “pole-vault” if you want to know what happens when the driveshaft drops to the pavement. If the rear u-joint fails, you will just hear a loud dragging noise as the vehicle comes to a halt.

As to the transmission, those symptoms are…not good.
I assume that you have already checked the level, color, and odor of the trans fluid, but you did not tell us what you found when you pulled the dipstick.

If you found dark colored or burnt-smelling fluid, then you have to begin to think about whether the book value of the truck warrants spending money on a rebuilt transmission. If you merely found a low fluid level, then you need to have the source of the trans leak investigated. Either way, the value of the truck may not warrant repairing it.

The noise you hear might be from a broken motor mount. To find out, with the engine running, place the transmission in drive. With your left foot firmly on the brake pedal, give the throttle a quick blip. If you hear the noise, it’s probably a broken motor mount.


Thank you. I’m getting it check out asap. How much do you think it’ll cost to get the u-joint replaced? As for the transmission fluid, I had it checked recently and I wasn’t told there was any problem. I looked at it today. It was a reddish color and I didn’t notice any peculiar smell.
I bought the truck for 1800 and I just wanted something that would last me a couple years, so I’m only interested in maintaining it so it runs safely and reliably for that time.

Thanks as well. I tried it and no sound. I guess that means it the u-joint or are there other possibilities?

I found a mechanic with good reviews here on the Car Talk website and ended up going to the guy next door without realizing it until I drove away. I even looked out the window of the place and saw the shop I was supposed to be in and thought to myself, “wow, this is a big operation. They have two buildings.” The waiting room was covered in Huskers memorabilia. I just thought the owner was obsessed with that team and he is, but the shop is named Husker Auto repair. I wonder if the mechanic saw the name and directions to the other shop in my truck.

It turns out to be something worn out in the transmission and it needs to be rebuilt. I guess I’ll just have to get as much as I can out of it before it gives out. At least I won’t be spontaneously flying on the highway. Thanks again.

You may also have a broken transmission mount (or motor mount as someone else said) as well as transmission problems.