I have a 98 Ford Ranger with a 3.0 liter engine that was replaced in December 06. I have a 5 speed transmission and the clutch and slave cylinder was replaced when the engine was replaced. A few weeks ago I noticed that some of the time it was very hard to get it to go into gear. So I deceided to bleed the clutch. This made it improve but just a few days later it started to get hard to put it in gear. So I bled the clutch agian and once again it got better but now it is hard to get into gear. I have had this problem off and on for several years and have had the slave cylinder replaced a few times. I think that the problem has to be in the system between the reservoir and the QD for the slave cylinder. Please let me know what you think.
Master cylinder is what the clutch pedal "pushes" (via a pushrod). Mounted to the firewall, above the driver's left foot. Slave cylinder is down inside the bellhousing, between the transmission and clutch/engine.
I bought my '98 used with 48k on it. Had the same problem. Changed the master cylinder, and it cleared the problem. It's still never been the smoothes shifting truck, but before I replaced it I had a miserable time.
If your truck is hard to get into gear try changing the transmission oil. I know, it sounds crazy. This is a manual tranny after all. I changed my slave cylinder and shortly thereafter it became hard to get into gear, especially fourth. It came time to change the tranny oil so I had it done and Voila! The hard shift was gone. It's smooth as a silk now.