How Ford Ranger Clutch Master Cylinder Works

by Derek Odom

The Reservoir

The reservoir on a Ford Ranger is the plastic bottle located on top the clutch master cylinder where the fluid is stored. It is almost always a clear material so that the fluid level can be seen without removing the cap. Sometimes the cap itself has a dipstick of sorts attached to it so that the proper amount of fluid may be added. On many Ford models, this unit is replaceable, which means that if the reservoir cracks, there is no need to purchase an entire clutch master cylinder.

The Plunger

The clutch master cylinder in your Ford contains a plunger. The plunger compresses the fluid when the pedal is depressed, causing the system to build up pressure. That pressure is routed through the lines of the clutch system and, ultimately, causes the clutch itself to move away from the flywheel, allowing the driver to shift the vehicle.

The Fluid

Clutch fluid has the same properties as brake fluid (in fact, most of the time they are interchangeable). It does not compress well like water would, and thus allows the movement of components such as the flywheel when the clutch pedal is depressed. The clutch fluid should be changed if it appears brown or smells burnt.

The Lines

The steel lines that route away from the clutch master cylinder normally end up going to a slave cylinder, which then routes the compression power to the actual clutch mechanism. If those lines become bent or otherwise damaged, the clutch may not operate properly. If you are losing clutch fluid but cannot figure out where, check the flared ends of the lines. Many times, the nuts can come slightly loose, allowing fluid to seep.


Clutch and brake fluid can damage paint. If you plan to work on the clutch master cylinder yourself, protect painted areas that may be near it. It does not take much fluid to damage the topcoat. Be advised that if you replace the clutch master cylinder, it is necessary to bleed the system in order to fully pressurize it.

About the Author

Derek Odom has freelanced since 2008 and is also an author of the macabre. He has been published on, and various other websites. Odom has an Associate of Arts in administration of justice.

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