Ford Ranger 2000 4x4 clutch transmission problem

I would think that this was a really rare problem, except that my wife's Explorer had the exact same problem last year.
The truck is a 2000 Ford Ranger 4x4 with a 3.0L engine and a 5 speed
manual transmission. Total mileage: 155,000. Otherwise the truck is in great shape with no history of serious repairs.
The problem: Yesterday the truck started making a scraping sound when the clutch pedal was depressed. It was especially noticeable when slowing down and downshifting. The noise appeared to get worse as I downshifted from higher to lower gears. The clutch was still working fine.
Later in the day there were times when it was nearly impossible to shift gears. The nose got worse and I didn't think that the truck was going to make it home. It appeared that despite the clutch petal being fully depressed to the floor that the clutch was not totally disengaging.
Then the noise spontaneously went away and I could shift the transmission again. It shifted fine this morning too.
As I said, this would seem really odd except that it happened to my wife's 2000 Ford Explorer last year. Over a period of months the noise would come and go and it was hard to shift a few times. After we put some fluid in the clutch master cylinder reservoir the noise and the shifting problems went away and have not returned.
In my wife's case, our local mechanic didn't have a clue was to what was making the scraping noise. It was not the clutch "chatter" that we all have experienced at one time or another. And the clutch in both vehicles has never shown any symptoms such as slipping.
Does anyone have any idea as to what this problem could be and how to resolve it?
Thanks
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Sounds like you have a bad throwout bearing and/or clutch slave cylinder. At 155,000 you are probably due for a clutch anyway - a new slave should be part of the job.

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Agreed. Clutch is a wear item and if it is the original, it's needing to be replaced.
OP: By any chance you don't rest your foot on the clutch pedal while driving or use the clutch to hold the vehicle still on an incline, do you?

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[snip]

Sounds like a throwout bearing is starting to go. I'd pull the tranny and do a clutch job with a slave cylinder rebuild/replacement as well.
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On Wed, 11 Jan 2006 16:12:14 -0800, The OTHER Kevin in San Diego <skiddz "AT" adelphia "DOT" net> wrote:

Thanks for the replies. It turned out to be primarily a failed pilot bearing, though the mechanic said that the slave cylinder was just about worn out too.
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