Clutch installation problems

, I have a 1998 Ford Ranger, 2.5, 2 wheel drive, manual transmission vehicle and I’m having quite the issue installing my clutch kit I recently purchased. I have the right parts and reinstalled the old dowel pins, followed the directions and I ran into an issue with the flywheel and the pressure plate. When my bolts are tight I have a ≈1/8" gap between the flywheel and the pressure plate. My clutch disk is fairly loose so that’s not holding it back. I did not replace the original flywheel as it didn’t appear to be significantly worn down. I thought that maybe it was just binding up on the dowel pins so I tightened some bolts past torque in effort to maybe free up the issue but one of my bolts sheared off. Just looking for some helpful nudge in the right direction here in regards to the pressure plate/flywheel issue because I have not even the slightest clue as to what’s holding this up and creating the gap. Hope somebody can help me out here.
Thank you in advance.


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The clutch disk isn’t mounted backwards?


No sir, the high side is toward the pressure plate as well as the
inscription “flywheel side” is in the correct direction.

do you have the old part to compare to? Are there any differences in the parts (other than worn friction disk)?

Do you have the alignment tool to keep the friction disk centered?

Was anything done with the flywheel?


It’s going to be difficult to figure it out via internet advice, beyond the ideas already posted above. If I had that problem I’d start by removing all the new stuff, and reinstalling the old clutch parts and see if they still fit and allow the pressure plate to set firmly on the flywheel surface.

I will definitely hit it with the caliper tomorrow and get some dimensions
versus the old one tomorrow. And try to fit the old one back on. Those are
some really good ideas. I definitely just needed a fresh start after
breaking that bolt off. I’ll let you guys know how it goes in the morning

And nothing was done with the flywheel besides a good scrub with very fine
steel wool in effort to get rid of a little surface rust. I couldn’t feel
virtually any wear at all so I decided to keep it. I’ll end up taking it
off to remove that bolt though

Some pressure plates have a few inserts installed that have to be removed before installation. Way old days here and most didn’t have them. Are the pressure plate fingers poking out or in? They should be out. Some things are made wrong. Be careful if you pull out on the fingers; they might spring outward fast enough to cut you. You may have the wrong part.

I posted some bad info above. Those inserts would have helped install the clutch, not hurt. Fingers? It doesn’t matter where they are, there is no pressure plate spring which would snap a bolt. Wrong part or defective pressure plate is still possible as well as the ever-problematic foreign object. I bet you will tell us what was wrong.

So. If the engine is running there are no unusual noises and the vehicle has absolutely no change when depressing and releasing the clutch pedal with the shift lever in gear? If so I would suggest closely inspecting and comparing the original throw out bearing assembly and the new one and if they are identical open the slave cylinder bleeder to see if the pressure plate takes hold.

So I know it’s been awhile but I got caught up in other honey doos. But
anyway I managed to put a couple washers on the pressure plate bolts. When
I do that, the pressure plate cranks down flush with the flywheel. Now
brings the question of if the factory bolts need to be cut down or
"washered" due to them bottoming out or if the flywheel and clutch plate
are supposed to have a gap? I’d hate to get it all together and not work
with all the headaches I’ve had over the whole thing.

Wow! It was the bolts. It’s an “oh well” moment. The other bolts must not have been threaded far enough or the holes were too shallow. The old pressure plate may have been thicker too. Oh well.

Right? I kind of suspected that after hitting it with the caliper. Sure
makes a man feel stupid!

Can I assume that the pressure plate bolts that were too long were not the bolts that you removed?

Oddly enough they are the same ones that I removed from the original.
That’s why I’m stumped. Maybe the factory clutch disk was thicker than the
oem? Sure beats me.

Suggest you get someone who has done this job before to take a look at the actual parts you are using before you put it all back together again. YOu may have an incorrect part that is causing the problem. I wouldn’t try to fix this by installing washers; even if that method results in regaining proper clutch function, the washers spinning round like that might cause an imbalance and resulting vibration.

I would also strongly recommend getting the situation straightened out rather than shimming up the bolts holding the pressure plate to the flywheel.

It is not recommend to reuse the original bolts. There is a lot of shear force being applied to these small bolts. The entire power of the engine is transferred to the wheels via these small bolts.

Is it also possible that these bolts are torque to yield? These bolts are designed to stretch when torqued down.

One more comment. If shimming the bolts were necessary, did you shim all the bolts with the same number of washers? At a minimum I would make sure that these washers are all uniform and use the same number otherwise it could create a vibration due to the rotating assemble being out of balance. Also make sure that all the bolts are the same size. It may not seem like much weight but since these bolts are a good 6" from the center of the rotation, that weight will be magnified. Its like adding an extra wheel weight to your tires.

Yes, @Propane_Car, the washers could cause an imbalance and also they would result in the bolt threads being in the pressure plate flange and although there are hardened steel dowels in the flywheel to take a great deal of the torque load the shimming will result in a likelihood of failure for several reasons.