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Replaced Clutch, car won't shift into gear

So I just put a new clutch in my 01 Mustang with the baby 3.8l engine and a 5 speed T5OD transmission. The car will shift through all gears fine when turned off, but when I start it in neutral and push the clutch in, it won’t shift into any gear. I can start it in first gear though with the clutch pedal in and it moves forward VERY slowly. The trans has enough fluid, and I already pulled up on the pedal to self adjust. Not exactly sure what else could be wrong. Thoughts and ideas and any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

Clutch disc installed backwards, or the clutch master cylinder is leaking internally and not disengaging the clutch.


You clutch definitely isn’t completely disengaging, so…This car still has a cable clutch so that eliminates the hydraulic part. @tester may have it right, reversed clutch disk. Or,

Maybe the clutch fork isn’t properly seated in the groove on the throwout bearing? I’ve knocked one off a few times installing the trans. I can usually get it back on without trans removal if you are lucky enough to have the room.

Maybe the parts store gave you the wrong throwout bearing? Too short to get full travel. Did you compare while they were both out?

This is on an 01 Mustang with the baby 3.8l and a T5OD tranny. I installed a new clutch and now when the car is on, it won’t shift into any gear. But I can start the car in gear and let go of the clutch and it moves forward just fine. I took everything back apart and checked the clutch plate and it is in there correctly. The clutch fork is completely on the little pivot ball. The throwout bearing is the same size and everything as the old one. I pulled up on the clutch pedal to self adjust. Still not going into gear when the car is on.

I have heard that I might have air in my clutch line. But this clutch is cable actuated, not hydraulic. I have no master cylinder. Like I said before, I already pulled up on the clutch to self adjust and still no luck.

What else could this be? So confused, any tips/tricks, diagrams, videos, anything is appreciated.

As Tester told you in your previous post, the clutch plate is i backwards.

It isn’t backwards. Like I said, I took the transmissiom back off and took the clutch off again to check for just this. It is on there correctly.

This happened to me once.

Remove the clutch disc and inspect the spline at the center.

I got a clutch disc where the spline was not machined straight thru but instead was machined at an angle. This then caused the clutch disc to sit at an angle when it was installed. That caused the clutch disc to be in constant contact with the flywheel and pressure plate.


Was the pilot bearing replaced? Was the transmission input sleeve inspected and lubricated? Was the rust proofing cleaned off the pressure plate before installation? Did you reset the clutch pedal/cable freeplay?

Your clutch is dragging. We can’t inspect it to see why? But your problem and all the causes I listed are common problems for DIY clutch replacement.

Have you checked to make sure the clutch disc slides freely on the mainshaft splines?

You are absolutely sure the disc is in the right way with the cushion springs facing the transmission and not the flywheel?

This is just a wild guess, but while you had the transmission out, did you check the pilot bearing/bushing that’s pressed into the crankshaft? Usually, this will give you more symptoms than you describe, like vibration when the clutch is depressed and the frequent need to replace the front transmission bearing. But it can cause the symptoms you describe… With the transmission shaft not perpendicular to the pressure plate, there is always a degree of contact between the clutch plate, the flywheel and the pressure plate, thus preventing a smooth shift or in severe cases, any shift at all.

The likelihood of this being the problem is somewhat remote, but if you have to pull the transmission again, it’s certainly worth the time it would take to inspect it. While it’s commonly called a pilot ‘bearing,’ it’s almost always an oil impregnated bushing, kind of bronze colored and pressed into the flywheel with an interference fit. If it’s loose, Loctite makes a compound made specifically for this problem… To fix bearings and other cylinders that are supposed to be an interference fit but for one reason or another have become a loose fit.

The pilot bearing was replaced. Input shaft was in good condition and lightly greased. The flywheel as well as the pressure plate was cleaned very well using brake parts cleaner. And I self adjusted the clutch as well as adjusted the clutch underneath the dash so now I have WAY too much clutch play. I can put the car in gear, start it, and let go of the clutch and it moves and feels perfect. So I think the clutch cable is in good condition and tightness.

Jack the car up and prop it safely and while someone cycles the clutch from fully released to fully depressed you can watch and feel the linkage at the bell housing from under the car to determine where the excess slack is.

I prefer resting the left wheels on old rims when getting under a car to check the clutch.

I’ve had the entire car raised up on 4 jack stands about 2 feet in the air. I can power shift it into gear if I raise the rpms enough. So now 3rd time pulling it all apart and back together, once again, everything is installed correctly, and everything is very clean. Flywheel, clutch plate, pressure plate, throw out bearing, clutch fork, all of it is in place. I am starting to think that my clutch line is stretched out? Maybe synchros in the tranny are shot? Any other ideas?

Another update; just completely disconnected the clutch cable and it will start in neutral, then I can shift it into first.

It sound like the clutch cable’s auto adjuster has failed.

Way too much free play means that depressing the clutch pedal isn’t moving the throwout bearing much to disengage the clutch . If the cable is tight enough , after a small amount of freeplay in the pedal the cable should start moving the throwout bearing fork .

So I took an extension and pryed on the clutch fork to try and engage the clutch while the car was running and I had someone in the car trying to put it in gear. It still wouldn’t go in when I pressed the clutch fork in as far as it would go. Power shifting it in gear seems to be my only option. Not sure what to do from here other than take it in to a transmission shop.

OK… Now we’re getting serious.

Did you compare your old pressure plate and throw out bearing to the replacement parts? Do you still have the old parts? Maybe the parts house still has the cores. Any way, the old and new parts need to be compared.

But if they all check out OK this may be needed

I actually did that this last time I took everything apart. I compared the new/old clutch plate, pressure plate, and throw out bearing and they all seem as if they are all the same size. I went online and compared the new clutch dimensions that I ordered online with ones that Napa, Oriellys, and Auto Zone all say would be compatible with my car and they are the same. I would be so upset at the seller for selling me a non compatible clutch but I can now guaruntee I have the correct one. I am looking at replacing both my clutch line and getting an aftermarket firewall adjuster now. But the thing is I can use a ratchet extension to depress the clutch fork completely down and it still won’t shift into gear. So even with a new clutch cable and adjuster, I don’t think it’s going to work but I will give it a shot.

New clutch cable is a no go…