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2003 Explorer Trans Noise & Leak


December 4, 2010
Reaction score
New Jersey
Year, Model & Trim Level
'99 Ford Explorer XLT 4x4
Hey all, I've got a 2003 XLS 4x4 with transmission problems that started back in January. I started to hear a very feint noise coming from the foot well when the engine was cold. It sounded like one of the vacuum lines popped off so I figured I would wait for warmer weather to start diagnosing. Over the course of a few months the noise became louder and louder and I began to notice fluid all over the undercarriage, and drops under the truck when it sat overnight.

The noise now sounds like a whine (Like this 06; ) and the volume is proportional to the engine RPMs. It is present regardless of what gear the truck is in. It no longer goes away when the transmission heats up. The leak is now, very clearly coming from the bell housing. Last time I drove it, it began to stop engaging due to low fluid level. Otherwise, when the transmission is full the truck drives and shifts beautifully, but still makes the whine.

Is there a correlation between the leak and the noise? Is it as simple as a front pump seal? What are your thoughts.