Where is my ATF going? | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations
  • Register Today It's free!

Where is my ATF going?

mkd5003

Member
Joined
May 18, 2005
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
Year, Model & Trim Level
99 car
94 Explorer
~ 120k miles

After some problems getting it into gear, and keeping it in gear, my mom took her explorer to the trans shop. They drove it, tightened a couple lines, and replaced the ATF, which was low. I think they ended up putting about 4 quarts in.

Since then it has been consistently losing ATF and having the same problems. There are a couple hard lines below the radiator that are wet, but I don't believe they could be leaking enough to be causing these problems (there's never any dripping on the driveway).

The tech suggested that maybe it was leaking ATF into the cooling system in the radiator, but never investigated further.

The car seems to run okay, so it doesn't seem like it's burning a ton of ATF off by a bad vacuum modulator, but I suppose it could be. Where is the line located that I need to check? I have no manual and can't locate it, or if I have, I don't know it.

How do I know if it's leaking into the coolant? If I drain the coolant will I see the red ATF tint in the green coolant?

Thanks for any responses. I'm lost on this one... hate auto trannies :mad:
 



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





jimbo74

Elite Exploder
Elite Explorer
Joined
December 27, 2000
Messages
18,416
Reaction score
20
City, State
Nor*Cal
Year, Model & Trim Level
2001, F150, XLT 4x4
sounds like it leaks under pressure only... get the lines inspected, it probably isnt leaking internally into the radiator, or wlse it would have pushed out tons of stuff in the radiator through th e overflow vent and there would be severe engine cooling issues.... 4 quarts low? thats almsot not even possible... there is only about twice that amount, but most of that is in the torque convertor... i jsut dont even see how the truck would run 4 qts low......
 






Glacier991

EF Tranny Guru
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
February 8, 2003
Messages
9,826
Reaction score
61
City, State
Sacramento, CA 95827
Year, Model & Trim Level
1992 XLT
there are only 3 places ATF can disappear. A leak. That can occur in a multitude of places. Into the radiator... more often that not this will show up in the coolant or <god forbid> into the trannie making your fluid look like a strawberry milkshake - NOT GOOD !. Lastly on the modulator equipped transmissions, a leaking modulator diaphragm can allow ATF to be sucked into the engine intake, where it gets burned with fuel. I'm betting of the latter if you claim to see no driveway leaks, the fluid looks good and the coolant looks good. Pull the hose off the modulator and inspect for ATF in it. If you find any, replace the modulator. Problem solved, hopefully.

ps. In my experience with A4LD's, you start having troubles with enough fluid to operate the transmission between 1 - 2 quarts low.... 4? Hmmm...
 






mkd5003

Member
Joined
May 18, 2005
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
Year, Model & Trim Level
99 car
Where is this vacuum line? I have no manual or diagram to go by, and no experience with auto trannies.

The 4 quarts was translated to me from the tech through my mom, so who knows. Could have been anything.

p.s. A picture would be extremely helpful, but I can't seem to find any...
 






jimbo74

Elite Exploder
Elite Explorer
Joined
December 27, 2000
Messages
18,416
Reaction score
20
City, State
Nor*Cal
Year, Model & Trim Level
2001, F150, XLT 4x4
its on the side of the tranny... looks liek a big brass disk chilling on the side with a line about 1/8" coming off of it
 






Gimp

Well-Known Member
Joined
July 27, 2000
Messages
407
Reaction score
1
City, State
The Beach
Year, Model & Trim Level
2013 F150 XLT SuperCrew
mkd5003 said:
p.s. A picture would be extremely helpful, but I can't seem to find any...
Glacier911 (3 posts above) has some pics of the vacuum modulator in his photo gallery. Click on his user name and then view/search his photo gallery for the pics.
Once you find the vacuum modulator, pull the vacuum line off of it and, if it is wet with tranny fluid, you have a ruptured diaphragm in the modulator and need to replace it.
 






Positive Vibes

Elite Explorer
Joined
June 18, 2001
Messages
3,950
Reaction score
2
City, State
Santa Cruz, Ca
Year, Model & Trim Level
'94 XLT
How many miles do you have on the tranny? I would be leaning towards the modulator. Just had mine changed for $70. Also I would suggest buying a Haynes or Chiltons manual, they are invaluble when trouble shooting and working on your truck. They are only around $20.
 






mkd5003

Member
Joined
May 18, 2005
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
Year, Model & Trim Level
99 car
Thanks for the replies guys.

I drove it today, and it seemed fine. It must be a slow leak (makes me think the modulator, just because it's not dripping anywhere).

I will look for that picture, thanks for the heads up.

About the manual... I'd buy one, but it is my parents' car and I don't even know if they're keeping it. It's been a good truck, but it would be nice if Ford had used some better materials. It's only a 94, and the engine bay looks horrible. Same problems with our old ranger. Brake lines, hard lines, etc... all destroyed.

I'm just trying to get it running right so they can sell it if they want to.

It has around 120k I believe. All mom-driven miles. It would be in nice shape if not for the rust problems.
 






mkd5003

Member
Joined
May 18, 2005
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
Year, Model & Trim Level
99 car
Well, I went out today and checked the line (I think the correct one). It was on the pass. side of the tranny, behind a heat shield. I couldn't really see, but I felt a loop of vac. line, so I tugged it off. ATF dumped all over me.

I'm assuming this means the diaphragm in that valve is shot? What's the best place to get a new one, local auto parts store?

Looks like I'll have to remove that section of exhaust to get to it, but the exhaust is so rusted I think it'll need a new piece of pipe bent there because the bolts and flanges will just crumble.
 






Howard

Moderator Elite Explorer
Staff member
Moderator
Elite Explorer
Joined
May 17, 2002
Messages
4,183
Reaction score
4
City, State
Milton Keynes
Year, Model & Trim Level
1998 SOHC UK SPEC
Here is a pic to help you. I believe that you can get to it by removing an access panel from inside the car.
 

Attachments

  • VMV2.jpg
    VMV2.jpg
    54.8 KB · Views: 386






Glacier991

EF Tranny Guru
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
February 8, 2003
Messages
9,826
Reaction score
61
City, State
Sacramento, CA 95827
Year, Model & Trim Level
1992 XLT
Or... just get a quote from a shop to do it. This one they do pretty cost effectively.
 






mkd5003

Member
Joined
May 18, 2005
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
Year, Model & Trim Level
99 car
Thank you for the diagram...

I can remove a panel from inside the car? Where exactly would that be? That would be great, as I don't really want to put a new exhaust on it.
 






Howard

Moderator Elite Explorer
Staff member
Moderator
Elite Explorer
Joined
May 17, 2002
Messages
4,183
Reaction score
4
City, State
Milton Keynes
Year, Model & Trim Level
1998 SOHC UK SPEC






Top