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Clutch or tranny problem

I have a 97 ford explorer,5-speed. worked great until one day it stuck in first and billowed out white smoke. when i got it out of first it wouldent move, it just reved and no grars engaged. i can put it into gears with out pushing in the clutch pedal and pull it out of gear (weird). but not beeing able to move is a problem! So i like to think of myself as car savy, and figure i can replace a clutch, but if i need to get a rebuilt transmission, it might be more than the car is worth. So what to you think clutch or transmission.

Well either way your tranny has to come out but I’d say from the cloud of white smoke that your clutch just expired dramatically.

You don’t mention any interesting sound effects when this occurred which would indicate a tranny problem but it is possible that a shifter fork has failed. When this occurs it’s possible to select 2 gears at the same time, the vehicle will stop dead due to the conflicting mechanical instructions within the tranny - total clutch destruction is usually a by-product of this problem.

I’d pull the tranny for inspection, you can hand test the tranny while it’s out.

When it billowed out white smokes was there any noise? Did pieces of debris fall out underneath the car? Any fluid puddles?

Sounds like the clutch is shot for starters. I quess white smoke could be caused by friction and heat burning off friction material, metal, or something. If you can’t move no way to tell about transmission. If you get it up on a lift you can see if the rear wheels and drive shaft move. If they do then the transmission isn’t locked up. If this is a 4WD the transfer case could be involved too.

no noise when it smoked up. and no spilt fluids or parts. i tryed to turn the axle with my hands and it doesnt move, does the rear wheels need to be off the ground?

But i also had the radio blairing iam sure (so hard to say), how long would it make the noise, when it smoked up i parked it and checked it out. but than it went into reverse and than into first gear (with no noise), and thats when it stuck in first, when i finaly pulled it out, it only reved.

Tell us much more about this attempt to turn the “axel” are you really talking about the driveshaft? If this “cloud” you saw was burning clutch friction material there would be a definite smell like overheating brakes.

In my experience clutch"explosions" are not usually accompained by smoke,just a lot of noise.

Did the smoke come out the tailpipe? I hope you did not blow the transmission in half and the smoke was gear oil on the exaust.

Clutch material when overheated is amine (or fish like in odor)…this needs eyeson exam.

We must eat different types of fish.

I have spun a coupleof clutches on cars and the material is nitrogenous and when how the best descriptor I have is rotten fishy odor, or amine like…I don['t recommend eating fish that smells like this.

especially if your wife cooks it like mine does!!!..Amine is a similiar nitrogen compound related to the formation of ammonia, which is what rotting fish can smell like.