Transmission Fluid in the Radiator? - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 01-27-2011
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Transmission Fluid in the Radiator?

I noticed today after I moved my truck for the guy plowing my driveway that there was a small puddle of red stuff that almost looked like blood. The first two things that came to mind were either transmission fluid, or K&N air filter oil. Considering I just cleaned and oiled my air filter, this seemed to be a viable option. After I smelled it, I determind that it was without a doubt transmission fluid.

I moved my truck into the garage and took a look underneath it and saw that there was transmission fluid all over the snow under my truck. It seemed to be leaking from the bottom of the radiator. The holes it was leaking out of were partially covered in ice slowing down the flow. I put a drop pan underneath it and broke the ice to let it all flow out. After about 1 minute, the leak slowed to a stop. I had to go to work or else I would have investigated this matter further.

My questions are:
1. How in the h*ll did transmission fluid get into the holder for the radiator?
2. Could this explain my terrible acceleration issue?

Thanks in advance for all the help. I know you guys are good for it.
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Old 01-27-2011
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uh, I would have to say its coming from your transmission cooler line.
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Old 01-27-2011
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uh, I would have to say its coming from your transmission cooler line.
Most logical answer since you had snow and ice up around it could have busted the line.
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Old 01-27-2011
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I'll have to check tomorrow if it's coming from the fitting or the hose itself. The fitting would be a h*ll of a lot easier fix that the hose but either way. Could low ATF cause my bad acceleration issue?
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Old 01-27-2011
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Well auto transmission usually has a tranny cool that goes through the radiator so i would go ahead and replace the radiator and flush the tranny to see if that fixes the issue.
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Old 01-27-2011
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Well auto transmission usually has a tranny cool that goes through the radiator so i would go ahead and replace the radiator and flush the tranny to see if that fixes the issue.
mine goes to a separate cooler in front of the radiator..?
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Old 01-27-2011
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its coming from your Tranny cooler most likely. mine rotted and sprung a leak a while back, new hose and a clamp fixed her right up.
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Old 01-27-2011
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Yeah my truck has a seperate cooler in front of the radiator. I was thinking of just getting a new hose and clamp and while I was doing that I was going to replace the ATF and filter. That should fix the problem, no?
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Old 01-27-2011
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mine goes to a separate cooler in front of the radiator..?
Well most trucks have a secondary cooler that is in front of the radiator but if you follow you tranny lines you will see that it does go through the radiator well.
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Old 01-27-2011
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Well most trucks have a secondary cooler that is in front of the radiator but if you follow you tranny lines you will see that it does go through the radiator well.
my lines go between my motor and somewhere around my a arms, under my radiator, and up into the separate cooler.
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Old 01-27-2011
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It could also be a power steering leak becuase i believe you put ATF in the power steering. correct me if im wrong.
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Old 01-27-2011
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Originally Posted by RamgermasterKC View Post
Well most trucks have a secondary cooler that is in front of the radiator but if you follow you tranny lines you will see that it does go through the radiator well.
You are correct. I just checked my truck and the lines go to the secondary cooler and then into the bottom of the radiator where the leak is. The area around the hose connection to the radiator is still covered in snow but if I had to bet on it, I would say that my leak is at that connection. The weird part is, that the leak has not continued since I worked on in this morning. The drain bowl still has the same amount of fluid in it since 12 hours ago.
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Old 01-27-2011
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^ you might be right. I just don't think so on mine, I'll check tomorrow also. but you should definitely check all those different spots.
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Old 01-27-2011
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Haha this is kind of a stupid question, but how do you guys suggest I melt all of the snow and ice from under my truck without melting or damaging anything? Hairdryer maybe??
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Old 01-27-2011
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yea a hair dryer will work it might be a little slow if you dont have a heated shop to put it in. I use a heat gun basically a souped up blow dryer just have to be careful how hot you get it.
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Old 01-27-2011
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Ehh, it's in my garage, which is slightly warmer that outside but not much. I guess I'll be borrowing my sisters hair dryer tomorrow and working on it. If it's just the fitting from the hose to the radiator it should be an easy fix right?
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Old 01-27-2011
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if theres transmission fluid, don't use anything EXTREMELY HOT to melt the snow and ice.. hell, you dont need anything super hot anyways to melt it. but a hair dryer would work! or a heat gun like red said.

edit: it may be easy to fix depending on which line. if its the rubber line, I would assume so.. metal line will require more work.
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Old 01-27-2011
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While I'm at it, I figure I might as well flush and change my ATF. I figure since it only has 60k on it and it was already changed at 30k, I shouldn't do the transmission any harm by changing it. Does that sound reasonable or should I not even try to change it?
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Old 01-27-2011
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I feel dumb for asking, but is ATF, automatic transmission filter? haha. or fluid.
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Old 01-27-2011
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Its fluid
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Old 01-27-2011
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oh. thank you sir haha. I'm like haha. I dont see why it would be a problem. make sure you fix the leak first, thats obvious.
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Old 01-28-2011
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Well boys, I think I found the problem. Question is, how to fix it. :\

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Old 01-28-2011
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I would say cut the rusted or busted (whatever it is) part out, and put a piece of rubber in there.
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Old 01-28-2011
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Quote:
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I would say cut the rusted or busted (whatever it is) part out, and put a piece of rubber in there.
If you did that you would have to put a metal spacer between the two rubber parts so you could use hose clamps to secure it.
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Old 01-28-2011
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but depending on how long the rubber hose is that you can see, you can maybe buy enough to just replace all that and then you wont have to worry about using a spacer. <--- run on sentence
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