I purchased a 1989 Jeep Comanche from my son for $600.00. I thought I was getting a good deal when he told me it only needed a battery. $1700.00 in parts later I am finding even more issues. Now the transmission is acting up. It is very hard to get it into gear. It has a hydrolic clutch - fluid is fine, etc. But when you start it, it is nearly impossible to put it in gear, and the truck seems to want to move some when you try to put it in 1st or reverse. It does make a grinding sound as well, but only when you try to shift at a dead stop. However, when the engine is off, it seems to shift into gear just fine. I have never worked on a transmission before. Is this the cluth assembly, or throw out bearing? Or maybe something else?

It sounds like the clutch master cylinder is leaking internally. When this happens, when the clutch pedal is depressed the leaking seals inside the master cylinder doesn’t allow hydraulic pressure to be produced to operate the slave cylinder. Thereby preventing the clutch from disengaging.

When a clutch master cylinder fails in this manner, it’s a good idea to replace the slave cylinder also. As it’s probably as worn as the master cylinder.


When was the oil in the transmission last changed? If you haven’t changed it, you might be driving around with the original transmission oil, in which case, the transmission is probably toast.

My Dad seems to think it could be the throw out bearing as well. Or a combination of all. Everything was fine, but it gradually got harder to put it in gear. I have been looking hard for leaks. I may just replace the clutch master cylinder in hopes of not having to drop the trans. Also - Dad said there was a nylon bushing connecting the clutch pedal to the armature for the clutch. Where can I buy new ones? I made sure the fluid was full, and have depressed the pedal over and over … I cannot find any leaks and the fluid lvl is not dropping.

re-read tester’s post. Leaking internally means that fluid is bypassing one of the o-rings and so the hydrolic pressure is not going to the slave cylinder by just sort of squirting around inside the master cylinder. Does this jeep have an adjustable rod between the slave and the clutch actuator arm? With the engine off, and the brake on, look under the vehicle at the actuator and see if the slave cylinder is working. If it is, then the transmission must come out to evaluate the pressure plate fingers which may be worn, or the folcrum ring which may be broken.

Pull out all the floor mats and carpet under the clutch pedal.

rubber floor … but thanks for the idea. I have been restoring this truck slowly, and I can assure you the flooring is not bunched up. There is some play in the peddal, so I will try the nylon bushing first. From there, replace the hydrolic master, and if that does not work, I will send it to have the trans rebuilt. I simply do not wish to get into trans work. I was in hopes this would be an easy fix. New brake lines, new brake system, new water pump, altenator, radiator, all new wiring - tons of stuff already done … And, it doesn’t help that I am one of those guys who has to have everything factory spec. Almost there LMAO Thanks guys!!

The Peugeot master/slave system is problematic and often causes dragging. But if it is thoroughly bled and the master is not by-passing it should not be the problem. Bleeding can be an aggravating chore. I have raised the front end up several feet off the floor while bleeding to ensure that no air is trapped in the front of the slave cylinder. Clutch plates can “bloom” and the soft swelling will cause the drag and the self-adjusting hydraulics won’t allow for the soft contact. Needless to say, if you replace the clutch use only a high quality part.

You are just throwing parts at the problem. It does not sound like the transmission is faulty, the symptoms are a faulty clutch actuation. We have detailed the possible causes, and you now need to trouble shoot to see which one it is. I already told you how to check the action of the master and slave. Test those first, and then do the recommended bleeding as per Rod Knox below. Only then do you need to go to the trouble to remove the tranny, and check the clutch components inside the bell housing.

The Comanche has the slave cylinder inside the bell housing so if you have to replace that it would require removing the transfer case and transmission. If you have to replace the slave cylinder, you might as well renew the clutch with a new disc and pressure plate; surface the flywheel; and replace the pilot bearing.

Thanks guys - for all your help. I did try some trouble-shooting last weekend, and today will try some more. I just had a quick question however. Should the clutch pedal have any play in it? As it is now, I have at least half to three quarters inch play before the pedal becomes firm. There are no pressure leaks, and the nylon bushing at the pedal connection seems fine. I am wondering if it isn’t just the hydrolic master that has gone out? If this is the case, it looks to be a fairly simple repair. If not, I am going to send it to the mechanic as I have never replaced such parts and do not - at this time - have the tools required. Thanks!