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On the way to work Thursday morning, the clutch pedal sanpped to the floor when I pressed it, and it stayed there. It was still in gear, and I was able to limp to a parking lot.

I looked under the dash, and the pushrod that goes through the firewall was disconnected from the piece connecting to the pedal. Below is a picture of what the metal pushrod looks like resting on top of the connector:

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Valid XHTML.

There is a plastic piece that connects the two together. Either I'm installing it incorrectly, or it's just a piece of junk. Below is a photo of what the plastic piece looks like, and what it looks like when it's connected:

NOTE: Photo Coming soon! .

NOTE: Photo Coming soon! .

The reason I'm posting this is because, on the way home from work Friday, I heard a "snap" when pressing the clutch pedal. It still worked, but when I looked under the dash today, I could see that the plastic piece is once again broken, and a part of the bottom of the plastic piece is missing. I'm lucky I made it home, because I could remove the connection with absolutely 0 effort. It was literally just resting in place, and it's amazing I made it home.

Why does this piece keep breaking, and is there a much more robust method for connecting these components so that I can rely on this vehicle as a daily driver?

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This thread describes a similar problem on a different model year. That said, the symptoms sound strikingly familiar (from the first post in that thread):

Make absolutely sure the hole in the bracket is not worn! It should be round with a notch in the top for the new bushing to key into. If the hole is worn even slightly, it's going to have to come out to be repaired or replaced. The new plastic bushing needs that bracket there for support and if it's installed into that worn out hole, you'll be replacing the bushing again in no time.

Also check the path through the firewall (from the following post):

I recently had the well known clutch push rod bushing failure for about the third time. You know the one where the push rod jumps off the linkage unexpectedly and the pedal slams to the floor. Well, this time a new bushing didn't stop the problems and I finally discovered that there was a bit of deflection in the main horizontal clutch tube. The plastic bushings on this cross tube (that the pedals pivot on) had to be worn.

From looking at your pictures, I would think that the second is more likely. If that rod has extra play in a lateral direction (so it isn't always pulling straight), it's going to put a lot of extra stress on the little plastic clips.

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I think you might be right about the rod. I can move it around quite a bit, and I was thinking that is probably adding a lot of stress on the little plastic clip, which wasn't really designed to withstand much... I'm just glad Ford didn't use this same technology with the brakes! I couldn't imagine where I'd be right now if it were the brakes that went to the floor instead! –  jmort253 Feb 12 '12 at 8:37
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Turns out there was a lubrication problem under the hood where the clutch push rod connects to the transmission. It was creating the extra resistance, which was leading to the retaining piece popping off. Now that there is less resistance, it should hopefully stay together :) –  jmort253 Feb 14 '12 at 3:35
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