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LBS Tech
LBS Tech, Ford Auto Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 296
Experience:  Ford Senior Master Tecnician,ASE Master Tech and L1 Certified, Ford Certified Diesel Tech
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My 89 F150, 4 spd, hydraulic clutch, pedal does not

Resolved Question:

My '89 F150, 4 spd, hydraulic clutch, pedal does not come all the way up. I replaced the clutch, bled the line (multiple times) and replaced the slave cylinder. It doesn't start engaging until the pedal is pushed half way in and then its not enough to allow for shifting. please advise
Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Ford
Expert:  LBS Tech replied 10 years ago.

Thank you for your question. You need to bench bleed the clutch master cylinder,

Article No. 90-16-7


LIGHT TRUCK:1984-90 BRONCO, F-150, F-250, F-350 1988-90 F SUPER DUTY
ISSUE:Incomplete clutch release and/or hydraulic fluid leaking into the cab from the clutch master cylinder may be caused by the reinforcement plate on the clutch master cylinder separating from the dash panel. The separation of the reinforcement plate reduces the clutch master cylinder pushrod travel. Reinforcement plate separation can also cause deflection of the clutch master cylinder that results in a misalignment of the pushrod to the clutch master cylinder. Misalignment causes the "O" ring in front of the secondary seal to leak hydraulic fluid.


ACTION:Inspect the truck and, if necessary, use the following service procedure to install a reinforcement kit.
.If the truck is a 1988 or later model, confirm that the starter interlock switch operates (the engine can be started) with the clutch pedal at least 0.5" (12.7 mm) from the floor.


2.Test drive the truck and check for good clutch release. There should be no grinding of the gears, particularly when shifting from neutral to reverse gear.


3.If the truck passes these tests, go to the Small Reinforcement Installation Procedure Section of this article.


4.If either of the above conditions are not met, check the hydraulic system for air. Refer to the Suggested Bleeding Procedure at the end of this article.


5.Test drive the truck and check for improved clutch release.
6.If there is no improvement, proceed as follows:


a.Remove the clutch master cylinder pushrod from the release lever pin on the release lever.
Figure 1
b.Make sure the hole in the pushrod lines up with the pin, for those units requiring a minimal force for installation, Figure 1.


c.If it does not line up correctly, install an adjustable pushrod (except 1988 and later models) or replace the clutch release lever (required on 1988 and later models), cutting a new seat on the cross shaft splines.


7.Test drive the truck again, checking for improved clutch release.
Figure 2
8.If there is no improvement, inspect the truck for adequate release bearing travel.


^It should be 11 mm or greater for full pedal travel.


^Pedal travel at the center of the pedal pad should be 6.75" (171 mm minimum) or more, Figure 2.


9.Release bearing travel and gear grinding noise may indicate the following concerns.
^If the release bearing is 11 mm or greater and there is grinding of one or two gears only, the concern is probably with the transmission.


^If all gears grind, the concern may be with the clutch and/or pilot bearing which will need replacing.
^If the release travel is less than 11 mm, check the clutch hydraulic system for air and bleed as necessary.


10.If the release travel is still less than 11 mm, with all of the above items eliminated, proceed as follows:
a.Raise the hood, while an assistant operates the clutch pedal.


b.Watch the clutch master cylinder for significant deflection.
Figure 3
c.Look for the dash reinforcement moving away from the dash, Figure 3.


d.On 1987 and earlier models, look down inside the cowl cover at the cowl where it is attached to the dash reinforcement. Check for pulled spot welds.


11.If there is significant movement of the dash or clutch master cylinder, proceed as follows:


a.Remove the steering column and its dash toe plate and seal. Refer to the appropriate Light Truck Shop Manual, Section 13-07 for service details.


b.Inspect the dash inside the cab and look for:


^Pulled spotwelds and cracked or torn sheet metal.


^Cracks in the brake and clutch pedal support
Figure 4
^Missing Y-brace fasteners and a broken or detached Y-brace, Figure 4.


12.Check the cross shaft bushings for wear if the brake pedal moves when the clutch is depressed and vise versa. Replace them as required.





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Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Inside the engine compartment near the master cylinder, I can see some separation in two pieces of metal. About .5 cm of separation not near enough to cause what I'm experiencing. I've heard of getting an adjustable push rod for the rod that goes from the pedal to the master cylinder. Can you just pull the old push rod out after disconnecting the clutch pedal.

More info: the reason I replaced the clutch was it wouldn't disengage fully. turned out some springs had popped out of the clutch. I replaced clutch, pressure plate, and both bearings, bled the hydraulics and when I pushed the clutch in I felt some resistance on the pedal and the heard a pop and the resistance was much less.

Additionally prior to the initial clutch failure the pedal would not come all the way to the top but would still function.
Customer: replied 10 years ago.
how do I "bench bleed" the master cylinder?
Expert:  LBS Tech replied 10 years ago.


If the truck has a concentric slave cylinder, proceed as follows:

1. Operate the clutch pedal at full stroke, 10-20 times.

2. Check the fluid level at the change in diameter part of the reservoir. Do not over fill.

3. Have an assistant depress the clutch pedal slowly and hold it down.

4. Open the slave cylinder bleed screw and watch for escaping air, Figure 13.

5. Close the bleed screw and have the assistant release pedal.

6. Repeat this cycle several times until there is no sign of air. Be sure to keep the reservoir topped to the correct level.

7. Replace the diaphragm and reservoir cover.

8. Operate the clutch pedal at full stroke 10-20 times.

If this doesn't work. This is the master cyinder procedure.

Using coupling disconnect tool No. T88T-70522-A or equivalent, disconnect hydraulic coupling at transmission by sliding white plastic sleeve toward clutch slave cylinder while tugging on tube.
Clean area around clutch master cylinder reservoir cap, then remove cap and fill to step with suitable DOT 3 brake fluid.
Using screwdriver or equivalent tool, depress internal mechanism of male coupling to open valve. Then, while holding valve open, depress clutch pedal fully and hold.
Remove screwdriver from coupling to close valve, then release clutch pedal. Clutch master cylinder must be kept full at all times to prevent air from entering system.
Refill reservoir to step, then operate valve and clutch pedal as described above. Reservoir may again need to be filled.
Close reservoir, then reconnect coupling to clutch slave cylinder. When coupling is secured, cycle clutch pedal as quickly as possible through 5 to 10 strokes.
Wait 1 to 3 minutes, then repeat clutch pedal cycling 3 more times with 1 to 3 minutes between each set of 5 to 10 strokes.
Loosen clutch slave cylinder bleed screw, then depress and hold clutch pedal while torquing bleed screw to 2.2-3.7 ft lbs .
Refill reservoir to step, then check clutch operation. If clutch does not release fully, indicating air has remained in system, repeat procedure.

LBS Tech and 4 other Ford Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 10 years ago.
I dont understand "Using screwdriver or equivalent tool, depress internal mechanism of male coupling to open valve"

What mechanism in what male coupling? I've taken the line loose from the slave cylinder and let the fluid drain while filling the master cylinder and I even replaced the slave cylinder after bleeding.

I don't have a "bleed screw" I have a external slave cylinder. you push out a pin and pull out the line and let it purge. I used a syringe to fill the slave and tapped it to get the air out.

Your obviously very knowledgeable and I will accept your answer but I've not received what I need yet.