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Hello,

I own a 2001 Dodge Dakota 4.7 v8 4x4 with a manual transmission. Yesterday I took the truck out for a long drive (4 hours) in the snow and I noticed that I almost couldn't get it into reverse. I managed to shift it into reverse and then into first and make it home. I started the truck again and noticed that when I put it into first it feels like the clutch is still engaged when I have it completetly down to the floor....like it starts barely lurching forward and I hear that the engine sounds like its slightly under load. I left it alone yesterday and today it's not doing that but it's really hard to shift it into first and reverse is almost impossible. The rest of the gears are difficult too. I checked the small resevour behind the brake master cylinder and put fluid in it up to the top but it didn't help anything and didn't suck any of it down.
When the clutch is pushed in and I hear kind of a chatter or something but I'm not sure it's related. I'm not sure what to do and hope it's not something major. I can still drive it but I doubt it's good for the tranny synchros as the gears are hard to shift. Also, the engagement point of the clutch has always been almost completetly at the floor since I got it. The pedal feels normal and not spongy so I imagine the hydraulic system is keeping pressure in there. Does anyone have any idea of what this could be? I bought the truck used last year and they told me they put a junkyard tranny in. 2nd gear goes in fine and comes out fine but it has to be at a certain angle for second to come out of gear smoothly. I can't think of any more infromation to add. Is it possible it needs to be bled?
 

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I had similar symptoms about 6 years ago on my 2003 Dakota with manual transmission. Usually some grinding going into first, and almost impossible to get into reverse without shutting the engine off, putting it into reverse, then restarting. I bought a clutch kit and tackled the job of replacing it. When I took the 'old' clutch out, it still had plenty of facing, and the throw out bearing and other components still looked serviceable. But the pilot bearing was really bad. Almost frozen up. So the input shaft was always trying to rotate, causing my gear engagement problems.

I replaced the pilot bearing, installed the new clutch kit, and haven't had any problems since.
 

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I was really hoping it wasn't something like that but it seems like this is what it is. Yeah, the clutch pad itself seems like it holds power fine.
 

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.

I should also add that there is now a tapping or clunking kind of sound coming from the transmission area that happens when the clutch peddle is not being pressed. Once the clutch is pressed, the sound goes away.
 

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I have a 99 dodge Dakota just had the transmission rebuilt some times it will change gears other times it stays in 1st any suggestions
 

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I have an AX15 out of a Dakota with all new clutch assembly, swapped into 1999 Dodge ram 1500 5.2. Experiencing the same symptoms, but the Ram forums aren't any help. Does anyone know if the pivot ball is adjustable? I'll remove the transmission if I have to, but it baffles me that it isn't disengaging when everything is new.
 

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I'm not familiar with the AX15 as compared to the NV3500 I have in my 2003 Dakota, but in mine the pivot ball for the clutch release arm is not adjustable. However, the clutch release arm can be installed 180 degrees out. See the link for pictures and discussion.
Clutch 01 Sport, 3.9 V6 5 speed
 

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Oldmarine, thank you for the advice. I pulled the transmission and transfer case as one unit yesterday. When I saw the front of my flywheel I noticed that not all of the clutch cover bolts were at the same protrusion. I backed them off in a star pattern and retightened them by hand. Put the bellhousing on and lined up the throwout bearing. Attached the slave cylinder and depressed the clutch pedal with a square tube against the driver seat. Took measurements with it fully engaged and fully depressed. Came to about 1 inch difference at the diaphragm spring. I'll post pictures today of the difference. The geometry all checks out, but I had binding due to the torque being off. Long story short, I rushed and used my impact instead of hand tightening the bolts. Nothing was overtightened, but it would not disengage. Honestly I knew better, but I was tired and distracted from helping everyone else with their projects. Again thank you, oldmarine. Also the nv3500 is very similar to the ax15 as far as the bellhousing goes.
 
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