Clutch Won't Depress

1996 Ford Ranger 4-Cyl. 90,000 miles. 5 speed manual transmission. When the truck is driven 10-15 miles and heats up the clutch will seize in the up position. Once the engine is turned off then it can’t be turned back on because the clutch won’t depress. After the truck has completely cooled down the clutch and the transmission again work fine, as long as I keep any use under about 10 miles. I haven’t found a single shop or dealer that is familiar with my problem. Somebody must know. Thanks!!

My guess is that the problem is in the clutch hydraulics. Have you any manifold heat shields missing, or perhaps an exhaust leak, that might allow the slave cylinder or the hydraulic line to heat up?

Brake and clutch systems should withstand up to 2000psi. If the fluid is heated by the exhaust, it could be expanding to the point that it resists your foot’s pressure.

The heat could also be somehow affecting the slave cylinder in a way that causes it to bind.

In summary, look for
(1) an exhaust manifold leak,
(2) a missing heat shield, and perhaps
(3) a heat-affected slave cylinder.

For (1) look for carbon tracks and perhaps check things out with an infrared thermometer.
For (2), check out an exploded view exhaust drawing to see if there should be a heat shield that isn’t there. Any Ford dealer’s parts guy should be able to provide you with the drawing at no charge if you ask nicely.
For (3), use and infrared thermometer and have a friend operate the clutch now & again as the engine heats up. See if the slave cylinder begins to bind up when it reaches a specific temperature range.

The truck needs a new clutch kit.

The plastic throw out bearing has given up the ghost.



My whole life I’ve sat at stops with clutch pedal depressed and never had a throw out bearing failure.

My 85 Camry with 250K miles on it went to the junk yard with the original clutch. And the 95 Nissan pickup I now drive with 195K miles on it has the original clutch.

Another urban myth.


Is there a bleeder on the slave cylinder that you can access? If so, When the clutch is locked, open the bleeder and see if the pedal will move. Have someone hold the pedal down while you close the bleeder… Now at least you will have isolated the problem to the clutch arm and throw-out bearing…The tranny will have to be pulled…When you are in that far, do the complete clutch…If by some chance the pedal will not move with the bleeder open, the problem is in the clutch hose, master cylinder or under-dash linkage…

There is no clutch arm.

This is a hydraulically controlled throw out bearing mounted in the bell housing of the transmission.


Did you figure it out? I have the exact same truck with the exact same issue. Thanks