Sunday, July 31, 2005

Got my truck over to Ford to get the clutch replaced on Friday. The friend from where I just worked my last day helped me out. He has a car trailer that he uses for a side job of dealing with pallets. Anyhow, when he arrived it was raining pretty good. My truck would only just barely move from the garage to the street. There is a slight down hill grade on the road so we parked his truck heading down hill hoping it would help. Man, we I tried to get it up the ramps onto the trailer, it wouldn't even climb the ramps. I was worried about trying to get a rolling start at it because the floor of the trailer is wood and slick from the rain.
I back up a bit and go for the ramps again and get part way up and the truck quits moving. I'm thinking "shit" its not going to go on. Two wheels are up on the floor and the back ones are still on the road. So I give it all it has left. The clutch is slipping like mad and smoke starts rolling out from the hood and from underneath. The rank smell of burning clutch is permeating the air and rolling up inside my cab stinking like hell. Finally, the old girl starts to creep up the rest of the way onto the trailer. I get off the gas just as the wheels are all on the floor of the trailer. I let her coast towards the front and my friend says to stop. He stands there looking at his trailer and truck with a concerned look on his face.

I get down for a look to. He has a F-150 and my truck is a 1992 Ford Ranger 4X4 king cab. My truck is heavier than we both thought and the front of his truck is raised quite high from the load. The trailer tongue is making the rear of his truck very close to the ground. But, he says to strap it down and we'll take it slow. He said that he's hauled other vehicles with no problem but mine is heavier than it looks.
Off we go, slowly to the dealership with no problems. When we get there, I still have to back it off the trailer down the skinny ramps. He watched for me as I put it in reverse. If I missed the ramp on either side, I'd be in a jam no doubt. Luckily the back tires were so close to the back of the trailer that it didn't take much clutch to get her moving down the ramp in the rain. "Phew weee" I was relieved to get it off without a problem and into a spot.

Now she is at the dealer awaiting her new clutch kit and I will have wheels again.

I had another Ranger 4 banger before and had around 160,000 miles on it when I got ready to replace the engine. The original clutch was still in great shape on it. My current one only has 110,ooo on it but because I have towed plenty of heavy loads with it for everybody; I wore it out pre-maturely. My current one has the 4.0 V6 and four wheeled drive.
Gosh, about eight years ago, I boiled the clutch fluid in it on the highway. I was hauling the biggest trailer that U-Haul had full of everything from a 2200 sf home inside the trailer and in back of the truck plus, stuff packed inside the truck. It was a trip over four hundred miles along the high-way. Out of habit, I put her into fifth gear going along at 70 mph for a couple of hours. I needed to pull over to a rest stop and went to down shift going down the ramp. I went for the clutch, and nothing. It went straight down to the floor. My brother in-law in the passenger seat started hollering "slow down. Why don't you down shift? Slow down." He was in a panic.

I told him that my clutch was gone and it won't go in gear. I eased on the brakes slowly and the weight of the load kept pushing on us hard. I could feel it just like someone was pushing us from behind. Not wanting to jack knife, I kept light pressure on the brakes, steadily increasing the pressure until we slowed finally to around ten mph. I then coasted into a long parking spot. Brother in-law ran for the bathroom.

I opened the hood to let everything cool down faster. We waited for about forty five minutes before the clutch came back. We went on our way with no problems but I kept it in fourth gear. Now I know why your not supposed to put a manual transmission into fifth on the highway when towing a load. People have always said not to but no-one ever seemed to know why. I DO. It will boil the hydraulic fluid and overheat the transmission.
After I get this new clutch in, I won't and will refuse to haul anything heavy again behind this truck. I have exceeded the capacity many times for others who had asked me to pull large heavy boats, house loads of stuff, trailers full of all kinds of things, and logs, what have you. My new clutch is costing me over six hundred dollars to replace not to mention being without wheels for a month and a half.

Its amazing to me though, that after that particular trip, the clutch and transmission didn't give me any problems for all this time. Its been a very dependable truck, never having left me stranded anywhere. I have had three Fords in my life so far and they have all been good vehicles.
My first Ford Ranger, 1984, 4 liter longbed, only had the factory defective valve guides in it. Other than that it was a great little truck. I wish that I could find it again. So many great memories with that truck that I bought brand new. I put it through hell and it never broke down on me but once.

I also had a 1966 Ford Galaxie with the 390, air conditioning and factory duals on it. I loved that car and it was all original and in great shape. Never treated it bad and took good care of it and kept it in a garage most everyday. Jeez do I wish that I still had it. The only reason that I sold it was because I needed to pay my taxes, and that's a different story.

Then I got my current Ranger brand new back in 1992. It has been extremely dependable and I just don't wish to get rid of it. I'll probably put a new engine in it when the time comes. But it still runs great like it did the first day I got it so it will probably be awhile before that happens. Might put a V8 in it then.

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