Drivetrain - 94 ford escort 1.9 clutch won’t disengage but shifts when cars onand | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)

Drivetrain 94 ford escort 1.9 clutch won’t disengage but shifts when cars onand

Discussion in 'Drivetrains' started by 94escrtlxsprt1.9, Mar 21, 2018.

  1. 94escrtlxsprt1.9

    94escrtlxsprt1.9 FEOA Member

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    I have a 1994 ford escort lx sport with a 1.9 and a five speed. It’s a four door with 216.000 miles on it. Never have really had problems with it. Recently when I went to drive it, I drove it around about 12 miles and went to shift into first at a stoplight. When I went to let off of the clutch, the clutch would not disengage and it will freely shift into any gear while on or off. No visible leaks and I am getting movement at the slave. I bled the slave and still am having the same problem. The trans is shifting but will not move. He clutch is original to the car. I ordered a new one and was wondering if that sounds like the problem. I want to change it anyways but want to double check that that can be the problem.
  2. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome to the forums!

    This is the first time I have heard these symptoms..... I will have to do some thinking. Hopefully someone smarter will answer meanwhile. I would think that if the clutch was really worn out, to where the fabric of the clutch disc was burnt-away, that you would have noticed it slipping badly on hills.

    Does the pedal have the normal feel of being pushed back upward against your foot? This would indicate that the pressure plate spring is still intact, and the clutch release fork is not broken.
    Does the shift lever have the normal feel of moving through the gears, or is it sort of floppy? If so it may be that the shifting rods are not moving the little shaft going into the rear-bottom of the transmission. If you look underneath, there is a small rubber bellows at the bottom back end of the transmission. That bellows covers the shaft that goes into the trans, and moves the shifting forks around. It also covers a small bolt that connects the shaft to the rest of the shifting rods running back to the shift lever.
    I bought a 94lx 5-speed Escort where moving the shift lever didnt do anything; because the pivot socket where the shift lever rides in had broken free of the metal goody that supports it. This is kind of out of sight, even if you have the console pulled up.
    Also, if the trans was entirely out of fluid, would the shifting forks still be able to move the splined items that lock the gears onto the input and output shafts.
    In other words, do you know -for certain- that there is fluid in there? The only way to check it or add fluid on a 2nd gen Escort is by pulling up the Vehicle Speed Sensor. This is located about as inconveniently as any part of the transmission, on the side toward the firewall, down low, and on the side facing the passenger side of the car. When I go to check my fluid (Which I do annually), I take out the battery and battery tray to make it less difficult to reach the VSS.
    It is possible to check for fluid in the transmission by draining it out --- but then only way to put it back in (aside from turning the car upside down) is by removing the VSS!
    It should have about 2.8 quarts in it, and looking at the oily level on the gear at the bottom of the VSS is the only way to know. It can be okay if its a quart or so low - but then you cant tell how low it is! It calls for Dexron III pr equivalent.

    Do you plan on doing your own work? I find changing a clutch/pressure-pate/throwout-bearing/pilot bearing to be pretty involved. One of the reasons for this is that I hoist the engine and trans out as one unit. Then I usually find several little things that I need to do under the hood - in the big empty space where the driveline was. One chore is to loosen up the four nuts that hold the steering rack onto the subframe, and replace them if they are rusted. And if that rearmost motor mount isolator is softened by oil to the consistency of a gummy bear, this is a good time to replace it too.
    We eagerly await the extra info....
    zzyzzx likes this.
  3. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    Last though: With the engine idling, when you have it in gear, does the speedometer indicate the speed? If so, you have a different problem!
    zzyzzx likes this.
  4. 94escrtlxsprt1.9

    94escrtlxsprt1.9 FEOA Member

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  5. 94escrtlxsprt1.9

    94escrtlxsprt1.9 FEOA Member

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    Havent checked fluid level for trans ... the pedal feels soft also the shift lever feels looser than normal
  6. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    Are the transmission and engine mounts original to the car?
    I mean it's really a long shot, but worth checking anyway.
  7. milan

    milan FEOA Member

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    Hey denisond3, After my car went "bang" and would not move anymore I towed it back to work and was troubleshooting it..one of the things that I thought was weird was that with the engine running and putting the manual transmission in gear...as I went from 1st gear to 5th the speedometer was showing mph ...that increased as I went from 1st to 5th gear. Did not think anything of it, since the wheels were not turning/ moving. Is that what you mentioned in the above post ?
    Thanks for your assistance, Milan
  8. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, milan, pretty much. If the speedo showed that the car was moving, but the wheels werent turning, it would indicate the clutch is okay, and the transmission gears are okay, but something between the differential and the wheels is broken. This could be a CV joint that came apart. That would be what I would think of as the least durable part of the driveline, since the cv axle shafts and splined ends seem pretty durable. But it could also be a snapped differential pin (inside the differential carrier), or a snapped cv axle shaft, etc. Anything external to the differential/transmission would likely show up by inspection; especially with the engine running and the trans in gear. The outer CV joints (a Birfield-Rzeppa type joint) have little balls in them, and if the boot gets ripped open and the grease gets flung out - the steel balls will eventually chew up the metal 'cage' that spaces out the balls, and the balls could fall out. An in-law thought his Ford Taurus transmission had failed, but the outer joint had broken open & we found a few of the balls lying in the grass. They were rusty -which they should never ever be.
    He said he never heard a sound, but admitted that on sharp turns he could hear little clicking sounds.

    Al Rzeppa invented that type joint in 1926 (at Ford), and Birfield Industries (in the UK) was an early manufacturer of them.

    If you find out what the cause was I hope you will let us know. I have wondered what kind of failure would happen to a 5-speed trans if it lost all of its fluid.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2019
  9. milan

    milan FEOA Member

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    I checked with a Ford dealership parts person...saw diagrams that show the 91 thru 96 transmissions having a "t- bar" actuator going into the tranny ?!?
    I know mine has a rod going into the tranny, just like you say yours does...no T- bar...what the hell goes on as far as diagrams I would love to know.
    So I'll be going to talk to and visiting junkyards for a shift rod assembly that will connect to what my replacement tranny has.
  10. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    just behind the manual transmission there is a pair of pivots that connect the shift to the input the transmission. They form what sort of looks like a T-bar. That is all I can guess. I dont actually know what a 96 5-speed trans shifting connections look like, but the 91 to 95 all have the same layout. And the shift rod going into the tranny is solid - and horizontal. It only sticks out about 1.5 inches. At that point that solid rod has a vertical hole in it, for attaching the front end of the shift-control-rod, and its double pivot. One pivot is situated vertically, the other one is horizontal. They are where the bushings are that wear, giving vague shifting.

    At least that is what my two 1994 LX 5-speeds came with.

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