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  #1  
Old 03-09-2017, 02:08 PM
MikeyDoubleDEE MikeyDoubleDEE is offline
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Default Ranger M5OD (M5R1) Issues

Hello,

First I'd like to start with the (hopefully) easily explained quirk about my truck's tranny. The shifter does not return to center from the left 1st / 2nd gear area. It does return to center just fine from the 5th / Rev area. Is there some sort of spring somewhere inside the tranny that "pulls" the shifter back to center? I'm not sure how that centering action works or what could be broken. I've found nothing online explaining what this could be. It's been this way since I bought the truck (used obviously)

Next, I'd like to state my primary as a "difficult shifting" problem that my truck has. I've done TONS of forum research but can't find anything conclusive. I will say, however, there are probably multiple little issues / inadequacies that are adding up to a rather substantial shifting problem. My 'symptoms' are as follows:

95% of the time, it's very difficult to shift into first gear from a dead stop.

Each gear once moving, has been increasingly difficult to get into the next gear...especially 3rd going into 4th. That's the worst gear transition by far.

The truck seems to shift quite nicely once first started up cold. The shifting issues seem to get worse as it warms up more and more. (which makes me hesitate to think I have a master / slave cylinder issue)

My clutch feels great. (Stiff pedal, and the engagement is nice and strong)

If I am trying to get the shifter into first from a dead stop, I have found that if I rev the engine a little, the shifter slides into first quite nicely upon the motor decel. I find this interesting, but I don't know of any culprits to shifting difficulty that could point to.

The shifting difficulty seems to have been getting worse over the winter months as I've been driving it...hence I'm more motivated than ever to get on top of it.



What I've done so far:

I've installed a new shifter bushing kit (In hopes to resolve the centering issue. The shifter feels much nicer now, but it did not help the centering coming from the left side 1st / 2nd area of motion)

I've replaced the transmission oil with a Synthetic ATF about 4 months ago. The shifting improved, but it definitely was not a large factor in the shifting difficulties.

I've bench bled my master cylinder to eliminate any theoretic air in the line; I cant be confident this made any noticeable improvement to the shifting issue.



Regarding the shifting difficulty, I can find several threads all over the place, but no one seems to have followed up with a success story. I've had 3 rangers now, and this is the 2nd one with this issue. And I want to get to the bottom of it! I'm guessing other people have conceded as I have with my previous ranger, as well as my current one so far, and have just lived with difficult shifting.



Theories I've read and my response to each:

Shifter fork wear - I don't feel this is much of an issue, because I can definitely feel each gear engage confidently. I don't feel that I am close to running out of shifter travel before finding the intended gear.

Throw-out bearing - I don't hear any noice of a bad bearing when the clutch is depressed. I don't think that this is a factor.

Slave and/or master Cylinder - I don't think this is a larger factor either since the vehicle does not want to creep forward while the clutch is depressed at a stop in 1st gear. I feel that the clutch is disengaging properly

Pressure plate weakness - I believe this could be a factor even though the clutch friction plate still engages snappily.

Any thoughts any one? I don't want to just start blindly replacing parts in order of probability, but it almost seems that's what I have to do. I'm hoping someone can attest to a success story with regard to some of my symptoms.


Best,
Mikey

'97 Ranger / 4 cyl / 5 speed manual / RWD / Ext Cab / Rust Free in WI
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Last edited by MikeyDoubleDEE; 03-09-2017 at 02:11 PM.
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  #2  
Old 03-09-2017, 03:10 PM
Kealel Kealel is offline
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Default Re: Ranger M5OD (M5R1) Issues

Not sure about the loose shifter but the tranny needs to come out... It's either your slave cylinder or throw out bearing.
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Old 03-09-2017, 03:49 PM
whiskeymike whiskeymike is offline
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Default Re: Ranger M5OD (M5R1) Issues

Even at their best, they aren't really a "positive" Feeling shifter. Always a little sluggish/mushy feeling, at least to me. Try pennzoil synchromesh, it's one of the thinner syncromesh fluids. A tad thicker than atf, but not too thick to get to the bearings. Most m5od's if not all I've driven don't drop right into 1st until you're almost stopped.

If you want to rule out a clutch issue, get the rear wheels of the ground and shift through the gears without letting the clutch out. Don't let the clutch out at all after starting.
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Old 03-10-2017, 10:26 AM
MikeyDoubleDEE MikeyDoubleDEE is offline
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Default Re: Ranger M5OD (M5R1) Issues

Thanks for chiming in guys.

I agree, I don't think the M5OD is a definite-engagement-feeling tranny even on the best day. But right now, it's pretty tough getting into gears.

The rear tires off the ground is a great suggestion to rule out a clutch issue! I'm assuming that I keep the clutch pushed in, and shift through each gear all while watching rear tire rotation speed. If the tires start spinning at different speeds with corresponding gear changes (with the clutch depressed), then I have some sort of clutch related problem. I like it. I'm going to try that when I get home.

Still hoping someone can provide some insight as to the stick centering thing I mentioned. I'm clueless on that one.

I'm not afraid of taking the tranny out, but when I do, I wanna have a game plan for the stick centering while I have it out. I also will be performing the steel plug swap (getting rid of the 3 rubber plugs).

Obviously when I drop the tranny, it would make sense to attempt to fix the stick centering, swap the clutch, slave cylinder, and throwout bearing.... but I don't wanna do all that if they're not needing replacement and not part of my issue(s) in the first place. It would be a substantial waste of $$. So I'm hoping to get some opinions or success stories from some members.

But I def will be trying the rear axle off the ground shifting test...that's a good suggestion. Thank you.
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Old 03-10-2017, 10:49 AM
whiskeymike whiskeymike is offline
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Default Re: Ranger M5OD (M5R1) Issues

Did it self center before the bushing replacement?
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:00 AM
MikeyDoubleDEE MikeyDoubleDEE is offline
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Default Re: Ranger M5OD (M5R1) Issues

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Originally Posted by whiskeymike View Post
Did it self center before the bushing replacement?
No it did not. It never centered from the left (1st / 2nd) area since I've owned the truck. But it always has centered fine coming from the right (5th / rev) area.

The busing replacement was a relatively blind attempt to restore the centering.

The centering isn't an issue that's causing mechanical problems. It's more or less just a super annoying quirk. It just doesn't feel right ya know?
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:27 AM
whiskeymike whiskeymike is offline
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Default Re: Ranger M5OD (M5R1) Issues

I can't remember exactly how it goes but the centering should be done with some springs in the shift rails.

The shift rail plugs can be done with the tranny in the truck. If your clutch is disengaging properly I wouldn't drop it off you're not worried about the centering. If you do need to drop it, id check out the top cover/shift rails for the centering issue.
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