Ford Ranger Transmission Questions

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The Ford Ranger light-duty pickup truck comes with either a standard or automatic transmission. The standard five-speed transmission uses a clutch pedal and stick shift to change gears. The automatic four-speed changes gear sequentially as you accelerate, slow down or haul a heavy load. There are components common to both Ranger transmissions. Questions may arise about your Ranger's gearbox, clutch, transmission fluid and mechanical linkages.

Standard Transmission Fluid

  • A standard five-speed transmission on the Ford Ranger uses gears sealed in the transmission case. Located under the truck right behind the engine, the transmission case contains the gear train connecting the drive shaft to the engine. Rarely, though, does the transmission fluid need to be added the same way oil or power accessory fluid might be at regular intervals.

Automatic Transmission Clutch

  • The four-speed automatic transmission on the Ford Ranger has a clutch similar to the clutch on the standard transmission with clutch plates engaging and disengaging to allow gear changes. The difference is a foot pedal operated directly by the driver actuates the standard transmission. The automatic transmission clutch, however, is activated by the car's transmission when the engine reaches certain revolutions per minute (RPM) levels. Large gears drive the Ford Ranger at slow speeds and gears are smaller at higher speeds. When the RPMs go up the clutch engages and frees the drive gear and then activates the next smaller gear. When the truck slows the gear changes go from smaller to large gears.

Clutch

  • The clutch is an assembly of plates that press together and transmit engine power to the transmission. A clutch's lifespan is determined by the work the clutch does, the driver's habits and the quality of the particular clutch in a particular automobile. Hard gear changes up and down the range of the transmission, however, will wear a clutch's pressure plates quicker than driving with a little more restraint. Also, down shifting to slow the Ranger or when driving down steep grades will wear on the clutch.

Transmission Rebuild

  • Your Ranger may at some point need a transmission rebuild. This involves pulling the transmission from beneath the truck and replacing the individual gears. Rebuilds are needed when the gear teeth (the grooved serrated edge of a gear) begin to wear. When this happens the gears cannot engage completely and the transmission will begin to slip. Ford Ranger transmissions are very sturdy and designed to last hundreds of thousands of miles. Always get more than one opinion before paying for extensive transmission work.

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References

  • Ford Ranger Pick-Ups,1993-2005 (Haynes Repair Manual); Chilton; 2005
  • Ford Ranger and Bronco II Automotive Repair Manual : 1983-1992 2Wd and 4Wd Models With a Gasoline Engine Automotive Repair Manual (Haynes Automotive; John Haynes; 1989
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