explorer bit the dust on the trail! advice appreciated | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free! Once registered you can join the Elite Explorers to eliminate ads from the website.

explorer bit the dust on the trail! advice appreciated

cerberusaardvark

Well-Known Member
Joined
September 7, 2009
Messages
331
Reaction score
0
City, State
San Diego
Year, Model & Trim Level
1994 Explorer xlt
driving in the corall canyon ohv yesterday, first time there, not really sure what trail i was on, other than that it was extremely long. right at the end a rock hit the transmission front seal to the back of the engine and it started pouring out atf.

being in the middle of a narrow trail, i decided to see how far the tranny could take me before it gave out, knowing it would be impossible to get recovered where i was. i was surprisingly able to get past a few big obstacles and big mud and snow pits before the transmission finally started to rev up without delivering power.

i stopped the engine and turned it off as soon as that happened. i had to leave it on the trail to get back before sunset but im on my way back to meet with a 4x4 tow truck to recover it. i would like anybody's advice on what repair i could be in for transmision wise. i know at the least the tranny will need to come out and the seal replaced.

what i want to know is should i buy a new one, part out the whole truck, or get a new seal, fill up with atf, and see how it runs.
 



Join the Elite Explorers $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!
.



natenkiki2004

Blue Bomb!
Joined
November 3, 2013
Messages
2,044
Reaction score
78
Location
North Idaho
Year, Model & Trim Level
1991 & 1994 Explorers
If it just leaked out ATF and you ran it briefly without fluid, it should be fine as long as you plug up the leak and fill it up.

I dropped my pan to change fluid and filter and researched how much to fill it back up. Poured ATF in and started it, it would very briefly engage and then go back to idle speed while in-gear. After filling it up fully, I've had no issues. Due to a leaking shift shaft seal, every so often, it'll leak out enough to not pump anymore. Fill it up and it's back on the road. It's probably not good for the pump but running it briefly should be ok. I just wouldn't rev the snot out of it for long periods, it could burn the pump up.

I'm not sure how a rock hit the front seal, it's inside the bellhousing, behind the torque converter. Did it bust the bellhousing and hit the torque converter?
 






Anime

EF YEAH!!
Elite Explorer
Joined
November 6, 2000
Messages
5,432
Reaction score
38
Year, Model & Trim Level
2018 EX Sport Concept
Sounds more like something hit the pan rather than a seal inside the transmission, but maybe if it hit the trans hard enough it could affect the seal, though I'd think that would bend and break a lot of other things.

You might be able to just plug the leak, either with epoxy or some other sealant, put a few quarts of ATF in, and drive it out slowly.

Once it's recovered, and whatever damage is fixed, once it seals again just refilling with ATF and running it should be fine, running a transmission low or even out of fluid doesn't damage it if you don't keep driving it until it burns up.

Also, it'd be a nice of you to find the spots where the ATF leaked out, and shovel up the dirt into plastic bags and dispose of it properly. Just leaking out vehicle fluids without cleaning them up is the domain of yahoos that don't really have any place on a trail or in the outdoors at all.
 






natenkiki2004

Blue Bomb!
Joined
November 3, 2013
Messages
2,044
Reaction score
78
Location
North Idaho
Year, Model & Trim Level
1991 & 1994 Explorers
Also, it'd be a nice of you to find the spots where the ATF leaked out, and shovel up the dirt into plastic bags and dispose of it properly. Just leaking out vehicle fluids without cleaning them up is the domain of yahoos that don't really have any place on a trail or in the outdoors at all.

Respect to you Anime. I personally don't offroad (but will explore some local trails in the future) but seeing damage to the land, garbage and other evidence of carelessness makes me disappointed. I see it a lot out here, more from hunters but it's the same principal. I've picked up so much garbage, it's a wonder that these roads are even open anymore. I have no problem with people having a good time and respecting both their vehicle and environment. Almost makes me have optimism/hope when I see posts like yours.
 






cerberusaardvark

Well-Known Member
Joined
September 7, 2009
Messages
331
Reaction score
0
City, State
San Diego
Year, Model & Trim Level
1994 Explorer xlt
anime funny you mention that. i brought a bucket and a shovel for digging out of holes or mud or whatever but i ended up using them to try to shovel that atf stained dirt into the bucket.

the transmission was pouring fluid from where the bellhousing seals to the rear of the engine. and it was just absolutely pouring, like a quart a minute. i went back and had to pay a recovery vehicle to get my truck off the trail. dont even ask me how expensive it was.

suffice to say that once i clean it up and have a mechanic address the leak, i will have to sell it. maybe in the future i can start on another project explorer. ive done some serious work to my explorer and i hate to see it go but the price was so high to get it recovered i dont have a choice.

i think the way the rock hit my seal was i was straddling a rut and just as my front wheels made it over a rock, i slid into the rut, and the weight of the explorer landed on that seal and popped it enough to cause it to leak like crazy.

i was hoping to hear that i could just try to seal the leak without dropping the transmission and filling back up with atf. ill keep you updated with the result of the inspection
 






RangerX

Elite Ranger
Staff member
Moderator
Elite Explorer
Joined
July 14, 1999
Messages
10,334
Reaction score
554
City, State
Omao, Kauai
Year, Model & Trim Level
'93 Ranger XLT 4X4
First rule of wheeling, never wheel alone. Especially Corral Canyon. That place is unforgiving.
 






natenkiki2004

Blue Bomb!
Joined
November 3, 2013
Messages
2,044
Reaction score
78
Location
North Idaho
Year, Model & Trim Level
1991 & 1994 Explorers
There is no seal between the engine & transmission. The only thing there is a plate that sits between the block and the flex plate. My understanding is that it's only purpose is to act as a sacrificial buffer between the engine & transmission. There's actually a little gap down at the bottom to vent. Usually only air occupies this space unless the trans pump seal or rear main crank seal goes out, then oil or ATF comes out. I honestly don't see how you would break the pump seal with a rock without harming the bellhousing itself. I'd imagine it was a coincidence on an already aging seal. It's daunting but not horrible to remove the engine or trans. I don't know about replacing the seal, I bought one to do when I had my engine removed but opted to not mess with it. In fact, if you want the seal I bought, you can have it. I would post it and other goodies for free on this forum but I'd have to buy the Elite Explorer thing in order to sell. Let me know if you want it, it's an SKF 16225, brand new in the box.
 






vq5speed

Well-Known Member
Joined
June 17, 2008
Messages
652
Reaction score
9
City, State
1991 XLT Manual Locks
Year, Model & Trim Level
Stockton,Ca
Like Natenkiki said where the trany housing meets the engine block there is not a seal there. The front seal on the trany is behind the torque converter inside the bell housing. So no rock hit the front seal most likely you hit your trany pan. Not saying your front seal was not leaking it most likely was if trany oil poured out from that spot. One time when I was four wheeling I too had trany oil start pouring out between the trany and block. I happen to notice it and it only did it when it was in four wheel drive. Once I put it back into normal drive it stopped leaking. Lucky It didn't leak enough to strand me. It never leaked any more once back driving on the road. I've had to change that front seal before requires obviously dropping the transmission. A big pain but very doable in a weekend. The seal only cost $4.00 but gotta drop the trany to change it.
 






Top