96 Ranger clutch problem

96 Ranger 4 cyl, original owner 25K miles.
I have an internittent problem with the clutch. It works fine most of the time, but now and then the clutch pedal doesn't want to depress.
Seems to happen when truck is driven more than 30-40 miles.
When this happens the pedal goes about half way in and stops without disengaging the clutch. It feels like it is hitting something solid and feels about the same as pressing on the brake. When this happens, I can free it by repeatedly stomping on it until it depresses all the way and releases. Usually takes a minute or two. Then the pedal comes all the way back up, but the clutch doesn't engage or else slips a lot like it is barely engaged.
Once or twice, it suddenly released while the pedal was all the way out and needless to say caused quite a lurch.
I think it is the release mechanism (we used to call it the throwout bearing) sticking. As you can see from the mileage after 10 years, it doesn't get a lot of use and quite often may sit for a week or so without being run.
This is a hydraulic clutch release and as far as I've been able to determine, it's located inside the housing, not outside like slave cylinders used to be. The fluid is full.
Any advice on cause of this problem? If it is a sticking release cylinder, is there any way to lube it or free it up? If it needs replaced, I will probably do it and chage the clutch plate at the same time. Any tips on doing this on this truck? I have changed many clutches in the past but all were pre 1970 models of various cars.
Thanks for any help.
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says...

This same problem was discussed here about 2wks ago.
I had the same problem with a 95 Ranger 33k miles about a month ago. I stomped on mine so many times and hard enough to break the plastic master cylinder actuating rod requiring replacement of the master cylinder, so don't do that.
The slave cylinder for the clutch binds and won't return so it has to be replaced. It is inside the clutch housing so the transmission has to be dropped to get to it. There is a new improved slave cylinder (throw-out bearing is part of the assy) that is covered by a rubber boot. The original does not have the boot and the moving parts get full of dirt and grit, so it binds.
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wrote:

Thanks. It was indeed the slave cylinder. $99.45 for the newer version with the seal. Everything running fine now.
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