Ford 5 speed manual shift problem
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Thread: Ford 5 speed manual shift problem

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    Default Ford 5 speed manual shift problem

    OK, so the 4bt swap is on hold right now, but I have this problem with the 98 explorer 5 speed shifting. Hope someone here can point me in the right direction. It has 167K on it. I have a real problem getting it to go in gear sometimes, especially when its cold (cool - Texas mornings in july aren't that cold). Anyway, even when its hot, when I come to a stop, if I keep the clutch pedal engaged, I can shift to any gear with ease. But, if I let up on the clutch ( in neutral), then engage the clutch pedal again, its almost impossible (most times) to get it to go into any gear. If I pop the clutch to re-spin the gears, no help. Its like the all the gears are sitting there tooth-to-tooth, and nothing but the tooth. Thanks.

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    Clutch or hydraulics or both hi miles should be done..

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    Yes, it sounds like a dragging clutch. Possibly hydraulics cause the clutch not to fully disengage. It also could be a seizing pilot bearing. I have seen this overlooked way too many times. When you are at the point that you can actually shift into any gear with the pedal down, listen for any noises that appear or disappear when you dis and engage the clutch. If you hear a noise with the pedal in, it is very possible it could just be the pilot bearing. Thus turning the input shaft making it hard to get into gear. The noise also could be the release bearing but will unlikely cause a hard to get in gear situation.
    1951 Ford F3, Ford F-450 Dually Frame, 453T DD, 10 speed fuller

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    Had my mechanic rebuild the front end and on the test drive had him test the shifting problem I'd been telling him about. BTW, while under the vehicle, I ask if he would look at the clutch thru the inspection plate while I worked the clutch. He couldn't see the clutch, but the pressure plate and hydraulics worked OK. What he was able to demonstrate was that you need to wait several seconds after you depress the clutch, before trying to put it in gear, then you eliminate what feels like a hard stop you're up against. Its like you have to let the internals in the transmission spin down before trying to engage a gear. Is this worn synchro clutches. Would like to understand how, if this is the problem, that it feels like a hard stop, instead of just letting you grind the gears like it didn't have any synchro clutches.
    One thing, tho, is that I backed out of a parking space, and it was like it was hung up in reverse. Had to let out on the clutch a time or two to get it out of gear. What I don't understand is how plain wear can cause it to not be consistent. Just trying to picture what's going on inside the gear box. Any ideas? Thanks guys!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ugene View Post
    Had my mechanic rebuild the front end and on the test drive had him test the shifting problem I'd been telling him about. BTW, while under the vehicle, I ask if he would look at the clutch thru the inspection plate while I worked the clutch. He couldn't see the clutch, but the pressure plate and hydraulics worked OK. What he was able to demonstrate was that you need to wait several seconds after you depress the clutch, before trying to put it in gear, then you eliminate what feels like a hard stop you're up against. Its like you have to let the internals in the transmission spin down before trying to engage a gear. Is this worn synchro clutches. Would like to understand how, if this is the problem, that it feels like a hard stop, instead of just letting you grind the gears like it didn't have any synchro clutches.
    One thing, tho, is that I backed out of a parking space, and it was like it was hung up in reverse. Had to let out on the clutch a time or two to get it out of gear. What I don't understand is how plain wear can cause it to not be consistent. Just trying to picture what's going on inside the gear box. Any ideas? Thanks guys!!
    Your explorer has an M5R1 built by Mazda. The 4.0 version is a little undersize for what it's expected to do. The miles you have on your Explorer are right inline with the high life expectancy of one of these if it has the 4.0. The 4.0 transmissions are usually rough inside. It's unusual not to replace the input and cluster for deformed gear teeth.

    I agree with clutch hydraulics or worn pressure plate as the likely cause, but something else to look at, and relatively simple to check, is the shifter pivot seat bushings. Pull the shifter boots and pull the shifter out by removing the 3 small bolts holding the seal plate on the top plate. There should be some spring washers and one upper and one lower plastic pivot seats in there.

    These seem to last around 50K miles before they deteriorate and need replacing. They are very cheap and easy to replace. Makes worlds of difference in how the Mazda transmissions shift when these are in good shape VS non-existent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 69rambler View Post

    I agree with clutch hydraulics or worn pressure plate as the likely cause, but something else to look at, and relatively simple to check, is the shifter pivot seat bushings. Pull the shifter boots and pull the shifter out by removing the 3 small bolts holding the seal plate on the top plate. There should be some spring washers and one upper and one lower plastic pivot seats in there.

    These seem to last around 50K miles before they deteriorate and need replacing. They are very cheap and easy to replace. Makes worlds of difference in how the Mazda transmissions shift when these are in good shape VS non-existent.
    I got around to changing the clutch master cyl. This helps in that the clutch no longer tries to engage while I'm sitting at a light with my foot on the clutch. However, at times, I'll have it in low and can't get it out of gear w/o shutting off the engine; the engine is not loading up like the clutch is trying to enage, it just wont come out of gear. At other times, I can't get into low w/o going to some other gear first, usually reverse is the only gear I can get. Once, I couldn't get in any gear. I shut off the engine and was was able to move the gear shift around into any gear.
    Guess I'll go after the pivot seats next.

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    Also these Madza trannys have crappy shift forks, the fingers wear down and I've had one wear completely off on a M5R2. I'm guessing the 1-2 shift is the worst? I have to rev match on that shift in my 91 Explorer with the trans out of my 01, the original trans did the same thing. I'm no tranny expert but I'm assuming accelerated synchro wear is a result.

    Very cheap and easy to replace the forks though, just remove the tranny tunnel access panel, pop off the top cover and take it to a bench for tear down.

    I've heard it said that they wear bad from resting your hand on the shifter while driving.
    Last edited by damarble; 11-06-2012 at 11:47 PM.

    1990 Ford F250 SCSB on RCLB frame, 4x4, ZF5, 7.3L IDI, 37s - D60 swap next
    1998 Ford F150 SCSB, 4x2, M5R2 - ex-4.2L, 4BD1T swap in progress



    The difference between 65 and 75 MPH is 7 seconds per mile. Slow down and save fuel.

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    Today another symptom. After releasing the clutch at a light, pedal full down, it wouldn't come out of first gear. Testing the pedal I could tell it wasn't fully released, it was too near the point of lugging the engine, but not at the nomal engagement point (about an inch further up). I was thinking I was going to have to shut it off to get it out of gear. So I tried something different, I raced the engine and it released and came out of gear.
    It also has this unusual sound when you first crank it up until it warms up. Its synchronous with the engine revolutions and sounds like a ching, ching, ching, ...
    once per revolution and sounds like its coming from behind the engine. Its like a large washer that's loose and gets tinged every revolution of the engine. I think it needs to be looked at for sure.

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    Clutch. Probably a shot spring.
    69 Bronco 4bt/IC/HE221, NP435/203/205, 3.54 D60s OX locker F and Detroit R, military H1 beadlocks and 38" rubber
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    I'll second redhedbronco on the clutch issue. However it sounds like the rest of your components are pretty worn too given the age and milage, particularly synchros. But I'd bet if you do,the clutch she'll run for a while longer and ease most of your problems.

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    Finally figured it out. A couple days ago, I was trying to put it in (non-synchronized) reverse. When it finally went in, just as it was going in, it clipped 4-5 teeth on the gear before going in. This means the input shaft was being driven. It was then that it clicked inside my head. You see, the clutch engages just fine, at the right pedal height, etc., and its always repeatable that way. And releases there too. But sometimes it would be hard to get out of, or into gear, unless you shut the engine off. And there is this light sound coming out of that area that matches the engine rpm. So, what I've concluded is that its the bearing in the flywheel that's going bad and trying to seize up. As this bearing goes bad, it begins to drive the input shaft to the transmission, even with the clutch released. If the transmission is in neutral, it spins the input shaft, and this make it hard to put into gear. (Is there a mechanism to prevent the shifter working if the input shaft is being driven, and its in neutral?). If you shut off the engine, you can put it in gear, and then re-crank and get going. If its in gear and the bearing seizes, the engine is connected directly to the driveshaft, regardless of the position of the clutch. With it in neutral and your trying to put it in gear, the synchros will attempt to spin up the input shaft to match the gear you're going to. But, with the bearing seizing up, they have to fight the bearing in order to spin the input shaft up to the right speed, and when the bearing gets bad enough, its wins, and shifting becomes difficult.
    Its scheduled for the operating table sometime in the near future. No medical insurance, so I'll have to pay out of pocket.

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    Its not uncommon for the pilot bearing to "go bad" in these trucks... My '94 Ex is having the exact same problem right now. What happens is:
    The pilot bearing is a roller bearing, when the grease dries up, and the bearing no longer rolls freely.

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    Update. Well, apparently the pilot bearing spit out 3 or four ball/rollers after hitting HARD spots and after that it must have freed up the front end of the shaft because the synchronizers are back and shifting is no longer a problem. However, a wierd symptom has shown up: while stopped at a light, with clutch (which engages/disengages at the correct point) fully depressed and the xmission shifted into 1st gear, sometimes, the synchros start spinning up really fast. going to neutral stops this and trying to go back in gear restarts it. Can't see how that happens mechanically. Just passing this along...
    Replacement is on hold do to having to replace the intake gaskets to fix the lean mixture codes and the check engine light so I could get it safety checked again.

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    These trans are notorious for issues. If you are 2wd the '05-up Mustang 5 speed from the 4.0 is a nice upgrade, since it sounds like you have numerous internal things going on now.
    Taking my toys and heading to another sandbox.

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    Thanks for the info. Wish I'd a known. The replacement is on the shelf awaiting $$ and a slot in my mech's schedule.

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