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Removal of the Throwout Bearing on a Ford Ranger

by Ron Sardisco

Any vehicle with a manual transmission must have a way to disengage the gears while the driver operates the lever. This is most often accomplished by using a series of plates commonly called the clutch. The Ford Ranger clutch is operated by a hydraulic cylinder. One plate typically has a very strong spring to press the other against the flywheel attached to the rear of the engine crankshaft. In order to release the pressure between the plates, the clutch pedal operates a bearing that rides against the outer plate and effectively disconnects the transmission from the engine. This is called the throwout bearing.

Disconnect the negative cable from the battery. Use the floor jack and jack stands to raise the vehicle on a level, flat surface (use the wheel chocks if necessary). Shake the truck to make sure it is solidly supported. Set the stands again if necessary to make the vehicle stable. Raise the vehicle high enough to comfortably work underneath.

Place one floor jack under the oil pan, with a block of wood to protect it, to support the engine. Use the clutch coupling tool or a screwdriver to disconnect the special fitting on the line between the clutch hydraulic cylinder and the transmission. Use the other floor jack or the transmission jack to remove the transmission.

The throwout bearing is located inside the clutch-housing (sometimes called the bell-housing) on the front of the transmission. On a pre-1997 model, turn the assembly and press down until it releases from the actuating cylinder. 1997 and later models have a retaining ring that must be removed. Clean all surfaces thoroughly.

Inspect all components carefully. Given the time and expense of the procedures, it will be cost effective to replace the clutch plates, throwout bearing and actuating cylinder, unless they are in near new condition. If replacing the clutch, use the alignment tool to properly position the clutch plates before final tightening.

Use the lithium grease to lubricate the bearing and its carrier. Lubricate the bearing face where it contacts the pressure plate. Push the new bearing and carrier onto the actuating cylinder until it stops. Be sure to install the retaining ring if applicable. Reinstall the transmission.

Tips

  • Clean the undercarriage at the car wash to remove excess road grime and grease.
  • Specialty tools are available at most auto parts stores; some may be rented.

Warnings

  • Dust from the clutch components is hazardous, so use a liquid, such as brake cleaning fluid, to flush components and collect the residue in a container.
  • The high temperatures in the clutch dictate the use of lithium grease.
  • Never work under a vehicle supported only by a jack.

Items you will need

References

About the Author

After attending Pasadena City College as a business major, Ron Sardisco spent 35 years studying small business and organizational behavior. More than 20 years as a banker, 10 years as a small business owner and five years as a business adviser fuel his passion for writing and mentoring others. An award-winning photographer, he was also a contributing columnist to the "Antelope Valley Press."

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