Leaking ATF from radiator? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Leaking ATF from radiator?

Joined
September 16, 2008
Messages
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City, State
Torrance, California
Year, Model & Trim Level
1996 XLT Control Trac
I've had so many problems with this X that I'm not sure what's worth repairing anymore. My grandpa is restoring a '66 Mustang and that might turn into a daily driver after this Explorer craps out.

Rebuilt transmission last month w/ ~140k. Related or not, there is leaking ATF from a large hose that connects to the radiator on the bottom driver side. I'll post a photo when I get the chance.

This is a '96 XLT w/ Control Trac 4wd. Does this X, by any chance, have a transmission cooler? Is that what the fluid is leaking from, or is there really ATF in my radiator...? I'm getting a fair sized puddle [maybe a bit smaller than 1' diameter] pretty quickly [after 30 minutes]. The puddle itself doesn't seem 100% ATF but there are nice red drops that collect on the hose.
 



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Probably just a trans cooler line leaking. Should be a simple fix.
 






yes your radiator has a built in fluid/fluid heat exchange style cooler built inside of it, so the ATF for your transmission is cooled by your engines water

Your 96 may or may not have an aux transmission cooler on it, most of them did, but not all
 






OK so I found out where it's actually coming from. The steel line that connects to the top right side of the radiator is leaking a lot; the whole side of the radiator is covered with it. As soon as I park, a drop/puddle the size of a quarter is already forming. I think the fix is just simple tightening, but is there anything else I should watch for, or check after I'm done. I guess I have to top off the ATF because I don't know how much has leaked over time.

IMG_0002.jpg

IMG_0003.jpg

IMG_0005.jpg

IMG_0006.jpg

IMG_0007.jpg

what is the last picture? is that the auxiliary transmission cooler or something else? I'm just curious to know what it does.
 






Tightening and possibly teflon tape or thread sealer. Note that there are two fittings, one for the tube and one that goes in the radiator. Use backup wrenches on all of these fittings because there is a risk you can damage the internal cooler.

That is the power steering cooler you are asking about.

I can't believe how clean and rust free that 96 looks. Truly sad what salt does to cars.

You also have a clamp on one of your heater hoses that should be attached to a tab on the alternator I believe. It is visible on the left of the last picture. It slid down the hose.
 






Tightening and possibly teflon tape or thread sealer. Note that there are two fittings, one for the tube and one that goes in the radiator. Use backup wrenches on all of these fittings because there is a risk you can damage the internal cooler.

That is the power steering cooler you are asking about.

I can't believe how clean and rust free that 96 looks. Truly sad what salt does to cars.

You also have a clamp on one of your heater hoses that should be attached to a tab on the alternator I believe. It is visible on the left of the last picture. It slid down the hose.

Ok tomorrow afternoon I'll work on it.
Rust free because this 96 has been pampered in Southern California it's entire life :) [Though the paint is terrible... barely reflects anymore]
And the loose heater hose clamp- I just noticed that guy hanging down. Doesn't look too safe haha. I'll take care of that too.

Thanks so much!
 






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