ATF venting and fire | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

ATF venting and fire


New Member
February 5, 2005
Reaction score
City, State
Wichita, Kansas
Year, Model & Trim Level
92 XLT 4wd
I have searched the forum and fuond a few things that were helpful.

But what has happened is for awhile, at 40mph or higher, the 92' Explorer started shaking and clanging but stoped when let up on gas. I thoguht it could be the TC going bad.

Well last week driving along at 70 mph, I get flagged over my fellow who scraems "you are on fire". SO I pull into gas station and they call Fire Department. I opened hood and saw that fire was way back in Tranny housing/tunnel area.

Then noticed that tranny fluid was covering the rear glass and wntire underside. I assumed it had vented out due to heat ( wa 100+ degrees out). So after the fire died out, I checked fluid, and let it sit for 6hours, put in some more ATF and drove it home no probs.

Well it is now venting all the time when its hot or driven 20-30 minutes, and for yesterday I could only drive it by manually shifting it. It had to rev to 3500 rpm to get any grip in the TC though. I was driving it to a shop I trust today to have them look at it and it went totally out. Now it vents the fluid straight out when I added it, I think because it was boiling it, and even with proper fluid level it will not shift into any gear.

SO just as a guess, would the root cause be the TC clutches going bad causing heat and the venting like I thought, or something else more drastic?

I just need a starting point to go from after I drop the pan. I assume if there is no metal chunks its the TC causing the issues. but I am not a Auto Tranny guru like some here are.

Any ideas are welcome.

if you are not getting tc lockup you could generate quite a lot of heat just by that all by itself... you may have other issues at work too.

MakoML said:
.... I assumed it had vented out due to heat ( wa 100+ degrees out).

Do you know for sure where the fluid is coming out? On my old A4LD the front seal went bad and it would leak profusely when it got hot enough. I would let it cool off, add fluid, and it would go for 30 minutes before it blew again.

It was hitting the "Y" pipe on mine and would smoke like crazy (along with coating everything on back), but never actually lit.

I didn't hear any noise from it, but then again I am deaf with/cochlear implant, so noise is not the same to me as it would be to anyone else.

I am probably way off base here, but its just a thought.

Brian B that is exactly what mine is doing. I have not verified where the fluid comes from, just assumed it was venting because it only blows when hot. I guess I need to remove it anyway to change the TC which I know has issues so I'll change the seals while its out.

But this last time after I filled it, it falied to lock up at all and the engine just revs pretty freely to redline in every gear with the Explorer not moving an inch.

A local Tranny shop tells me that its either heat from TC failure or pressure building up from three metal bushing type things getting scored up in the real seal area.. I think that is a load of crap myself but what do I know about exploder trannies.

Thanks both of you for the quick replies.