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Leak Help


Kidd7

Active Member
Joined
January 13, 2014
Messages
120
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5
Year, Model & Trim Level
1999 Ford Explorer 2WD
I have a dark stain showing up on my driveway under the front end, picture attached. It's for sure not oil or antifreeze, it sort of feels and smells like tranny fluid. Master cylinder, power steering resolver, radiator overflow, tranny and oil, are all full. Brake petal firms up while it's off and I've not had any issues braking. It's obviously a slow leak. When it's parked at the top of the driveway, ~50% of the time, the front end is slightly lower than the back. I can't see any paths underneath, nor drips when running. In the attached pic you can see where the spot is, any suggestions on what to look for?
01 5.0 Ex ~118K miles.
Thank you.

IMG_1329.jpg
 


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fast_dave

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Joined
June 6, 2005
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City, State
East Bay - Nor Cal / PRK
Year, Model & Trim Level
'98 Spt 4.0 OHV 5 spd 4x4
@Kidd7

Jack it up, put it on jack stands, slide underneath with a flashlight and some old rags, report back.
 




Kidd7

Active Member
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January 13, 2014
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Year, Model & Trim Level
1999 Ford Explorer 2WD
It's dark here already, but I did go out and see what I could see. there is accumulated grime on the sway bar & front of the engine below the crank. I'll check it out some more when I have some sunlight.
 




8TZX

New Member
Joined
July 11, 2006
Messages
35
Reaction score
5
City, State
St Louis, Mo
Year, Model & Trim Level
99 XLT AWD
I had a similar leak on my 99 5.0. There was a pinhole in the metal transmission cooler line. This is the line which was attached at the lower radiator fitting and the auxiliary transmission cooler. It had rusted thru. The hole was very small. The transmission fluid sprayed out in a very fine mist, not a drip. Depending on the light conditions you could not see the leak, but you could feel a fine mist. I replaced the line with a Dorman metal line. The only issue I had was the Dorman fitting had the incorrect thread pitch for the radiator connection. I had to remove the existing fitting on the original line and install it on the replacement line. No big deal. I just had to cut and re-flare the new line. No more leaks.
 




C420sailor

Active Member
Joined
July 29, 2008
Messages
534
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123
City, State
Long Island, NY
Year, Model & Trim Level
98 XLT SOHC, 99 EB 5.0L
I had a similar problem as well. PO replaced a leaky section of cooler line with hose. Not to my standards. I used some brake line and compression fittings to replace a 6” section. No leaks, far more professional looking.

New or used in good shape would be ideal, but you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do.

That looks like a lot of fluid...did you check the trans running in park?
 




96eb96

Well-Known Member
Joined
October 20, 2004
Messages
3,189
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141
City, State
Albany, NY
Year, Model & Trim Level
96 EB V6 OHV 4WD
I had a similar leak on my 99 5.0. There was a pinhole in the metal transmission cooler line. This is the line which was attached at the lower radiator fitting and the auxiliary transmission cooler. It had rusted thru. The hole was very small. The transmission fluid sprayed out in a very fine mist, not a drip. Depending on the light conditions you could not see the leak, but you could feel a fine mist. I replaced the line with a Dorman metal line. The only issue I had was the Dorman fitting had the incorrect thread pitch for the radiator connection. I had to remove the existing fitting on the original line and install it on the replacement line. No big deal. I just had to cut and re-flare the new line. No more leaks.
I had this problem too with the Dorman line, and I have a v6. It was on the transmission end. They sent me two replacements, and in the end they were nice enough to send me a line FROM FORD. Hopefully they corrected the problem.
 




Kidd7

Active Member
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January 13, 2014
Messages
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Year, Model & Trim Level
1999 Ford Explorer 2WD
Checked the tranny fluid again, it was about 1/2 quart low. Got under there & pulled that plastic box at the bottom of the radiator, none of the lines were damp, can't see any liquid, even with her running not getting any spray. Crazy. Sat I'll plan on getting her on stands and looking some more. Gotta flush the tranny fluid in my Cougar also. At least I won't be bored this weekend...
 




97Sandbox

Elite Explorer
Joined
February 7, 2019
Messages
60
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City, State
Milwaukee, WI
Year, Model & Trim Level
1997 Explorer XLT
it sort of feels and smells like tranny fluid.

there is accumulated grime on the sway bar & front of the engine below the crank.

I know you said your power steering reservoir looked full, but these two signs make me suspicious that it's P/S fluid. My '97 has been having a similar issue (much slower leak though) and I traced it to where the P/S hoses connect to the little heat exchanger by the steering rack. Looks like a bad crimp on the end of the hose in my case, it might be worth checking for.
 




Kidd7

Active Member
Joined
January 13, 2014
Messages
120
Reaction score
5
Year, Model & Trim Level
1999 Ford Explorer 2WD
To follow back up; the Ex is not leaking, it has been my Cougar. My driveway is only a single car wide, so depending on who needs to leave first in the morning the appropriate vehicle is parked at the top of the drive at an angle. That added to the confusion of who was leaking. I flushed the tranny fluid in the Cougar and ended up overfilling it (which made the leaking worse) so I've been trying to get that level right and keep an eye on things. Thanks for all the input.
 




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