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Thread: ATF in the radiator..

  1. #1
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    Default ATF in the radiator..

    ... and water in the transmission. I have a lot to do this weekend..

    My transmission began to slip a couple weeks ago, but it just needed fluid. A few days later, I was glad to find that the leak is at the radiator and not the trans. Sounds easy enough to fix, but I procrastinated because I've been busy lately. Over the last couple weeks, I had to add about 4-5 quarts of atf.

    Yesterday, the motor started to run a little hot (just a little) and when I opened the coolant reservoir, it was like a strawberry milkshake. Thick milkshake... I opened it while hot, and it spewed all over the place. It made a mess, but I felt good about letting it out and replacing it with some fresh water.

    [on a side note] I've been running straight water recently because I was concerned about the head gasket. I heard that anti-freeze is very bad for the main bearing if it gets into the oil... but I digress...

    So anyways, I don't think there's any anti-freeze inside the transmission, but the atf did look like a little water got in there.

    I know some of you guys will say to just get rid of the truck already, but that's not an option. I gotta keep this baby running for a while. I looked up the KBB value, and it's worth putting a few hundred dollars worth of parts in it. ... now, if I had to pay someone else to do it, it might not be worth it.

    My main concern is running the residual atf thru the new radiator. I guess I'll have to swap the atf one or two more times after this..

    What do you guys think about putting seafoam in the trans with the first fluid change? ...Or are there any other additives that you guys have had good luck with?

    When I do the final atf change, I'm thinking about using one or two bottles of Lucas. It's supposed to help the old bands and such.
    Last edited by Jim2; 08-19-2016 at 09:09 PM. Reason: clarity

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    ps, While I'm at it, I'm gonna do the water pump and thermostat too.

    There's been a "whirring" sound for a while now. It sounded like it was coming from the idler pulley, but the water pump is right there too. At $60 for the water pump, it seems silly not to replace it while I have everything opened up.

    fwiw, it's a '98 F-150, 191,000 miles. The transmission is a "4R70W".

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim2 View Post
    ... putting seafoam in the trans with the first fluid change? ...Or are there any other additives that you guys have had good luck with?
    Scratch that comment about seafoam in the transmission. I was going by memory.. I thought I heard of people doing that, but, after reading the can, I see that it doesn't say anything about using it in the trans..

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    put an aftermarket transmission cooler on it and hope that you have not waited too late and ruined the transmission.

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    Default Hold on...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim2 View Post
    ... and water in the transmission. I have a lot to do this weekend..

    My transmission began to slip a couple weeks ago, but it just needed fluid. A few days later, I was glad to find that the leak is at the radiator and not the trans. Sounds easy enough to fix, but I procrastinated because I've been busy lately. Over the last couple weeks, I had to add about 4-5 quarts of atf.

    Yesterday, the motor started to run a little hot (just a little) and when I opened the coolant reservoir, it was like a strawberry milkshake. Thick milkshake... I opened it while hot, and it spewed all over the place. It made a mess, but I felt good about letting it out and replacing it with some fresh water.

    [on a side note] I've been running straight water recently because I was concerned about the head gasket. I heard that anti-freeze is very bad for the main bearing if it gets into the oil... but I digress...

    So anyways, I don't think there's any anti-freeze inside the transmission, but the atf did look like a little water got in there.

    I know some of you guys will say to just get rid of the truck already, but that's not an option. I gotta keep this baby running for a while. I looked up the KBB value, and it's worth putting a few hundred dollars worth of parts in it. ... now, if I had to pay someone else to do it, it might not be worth it.

    My main concern is running the residual atf thru the new radiator. I guess I'll have to swap the atf one or two more times after this..

    What do you guys think about putting seafoam in the trans with the first fluid change? ...Or are there any other additives that you guys have had good luck with?

    When I do the final atf change, I'm thinking about using one or two bottles of Lucas. It's supposed to help the old bands and such.
    If there's ATF in the radiator then it's in the engine. Not mention water/ATF back to the trans.

    The detergency of ATF is very strong and I'm sure not at all good for the gaskets it's coming in contact with.

    Also, sounds like you already changed the radiator, YES?

    If this rat is still running and mine, I would drop the fluids from everything and install new CORRECT FLUIDS.

    You DO need to find the time or have some comfortable walking shoes and better take a shopping cart from the store where you buy your overpriced bacon to push your tools around.

    Good luck on this one.

    Henry

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    Quote Originally Posted by Henry View Post
    If there's ATF in the radiator then it's in the engine. Not mention water/ATF back to the trans.

    The detergency of ATF is very strong and I'm sure not at all good for the gaskets it's coming in contact with.

    Also, sounds like you already changed the radiator, YES?

    If this rat is still running and mine, I would drop the fluids from everything and install new CORRECT FLUIDS.

    You DO need to find the time or have some comfortable walking shoes and better take a shopping cart from the store where you buy your overpriced bacon to push your tools around.

    Good luck on this one.

    Henry
    Lol Henry, I took my good flip flops off today so I don't get the strawberry milkshake all over them!

    It's ugly.. I can't tell the difference between what came out of the radiator and what came out of the trans.

    "Ford Tough" buddy! I've abused some Fords mercilessly in the past, but I'm trying to be nice with this one.. it's a long story...

    But I did drive to the auto parts store today for the parts, then to the supermarket for supplies, and I tried to park in far away spots because she was leaving a big mess everywhere..

    I drained everything when I got home (trans and rad), and here's what it looked like.... try to guess which is which... there's a clue in the pics if you look really close.. one is from the rad, one is from the trans... it's like a riddle, the answer is in there..




    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Quote Originally Posted by easymoney View Post
    put an aftermarket transmission cooler on it and hope that you have not waited too late and ruined the transmission.
    yeah man, I hope I didn't... I've been troubled about this for a few days because I had to drive up a hill to finish this job... I'm sure that the bands have been abused, even though I tried my best to drive gently. It was uphill, and I could feel em slippin sometimes...

    But she ran fine when I went to pick up supplies today. New blood in the trans will only make it better.

    I just hope the bands are ok... but it's a Ford... Oven the years, I've been amazed at the abuse that fords can take! I just hope I didn't push it too far.

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    I found some good tricks online for this task..

    To drain the transmission pan, I got 5' of clear hose with a 5/16" i.d. ... That size fits perfectly over the flare on the "hard lines" that bring the atf to and from the radiator.... run that hose to a bucket, and start the engine.. then shut it off as soon as you see bubbles...... the transmission will pump as much fluid as it can out of the pan, and it makes dropping the pan a breeze! When I removed the pan, literally, I didn't spill a single drop. It was almost empty. It was beautiful!

    Draining the torque converter was easy too. I bought the cheapest atf they had, because I intend to this again in the near future.

  9. #9
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    Default Lucky...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim2 View Post
    I found some good tricks online for this task..

    To drain the transmission pan, I got 5' of clear hose with a 5/16" i.d. ... That size fits perfectly over the flare on the "hard lines" that bring the atf to and from the radiator.... run that hose to a bucket, and start the engine.. then shut it off as soon as you see bubbles...... the transmission will pump as much fluid as it can out of the pan, and it makes dropping the pan a breeze! When I removed the pan, literally, I didn't spill a single drop. It was almost empty. It was beautiful!

    Draining the torque converter was easy too. I bought the cheapest atf they had, because I intend to this again in the near future.
    This truck owes you NOTHING.

    Dropping the pan on the trans was your best move, although, I would not have moved the vehicle under its own power. Make sure you change the filter up in there as well; maybe several times depending what comes out.

    Years ago we used to drain coolant from vehicles from the radiator AND remove the plug(s) from the block. Really like for you to drain the block alone and see what comes out. If discolored, then remove the thermostat and insert a garden hose while leaving the block plugs out. You may need a cleaner.

    What you're doing should NOT be taken lightly because you can blow that trans in a heartbeat along with damage to the engine.

    Vehicles of today (past 10 years) use near a dozen different trans fluids. Used to be there was one fluid for FORDS and one for everyone else. Today, only a few ounces of the wrong fluid in a Chevy truck will blow the trans (for example).

    Henry

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    Quote Originally Posted by Henry View Post
    This truck owes you NOTHING. ...
    Henry
    That's the truth Henry! I got my monies worth out of this baby years ago, that's for sure..

    I can't even remember how long ago I got it, but it must be close to ten years now.. I had to change out the alternator right away, and after a while I had to replace the coil pack, but aside from that, everything else was minor. Basically just old rubber wearing out... a couple vacuum lines, the top radiator hose, and tires. Brake pads and fuel filter is just regular maintenance...

    I don't even change the oil as often as I "should".. but it's a Ford, it can take it

    If anything, I owe this truck something.. And now it's time to pay the piper.

    The guy at Napa gave me the wrong transmission filter(s). I picked up two different filters because he wasn't sure which one, and it turns out that neither one is correct. Not even close.. friggin knucklehead.. He asked if it was the "deep pan" or not, and I didn't know, so I took one of each... But one of these filters says 4WD right on the damn box. And it looks like they're both "deep pan", when compared to my original filter. Also, the gasket that comes with the kit looks nothing like the shape of my pan. And on top of that, the original gasket is re-usable..

    Thanks for the comments about the correct fluid too, but I have that squared away already. I know it's very important... I have 15 quarts of Mercon V ready to go over here... But it's interesting how the Lucas additive can be used in any transmission. It doesn't specify Chevy or Ford. I wonder how that works?

  11. #11
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    Default Yes we did...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim2 View Post
    That's the truth Henry! I got my monies worth out of this baby years ago, that's for sure..

    I can't even remember how long ago I got it, but it must be close to ten years now.. I had to change out the alternator right away, and after a while I had to replace the coil pack, but aside from that, everything else was minor. Basically just old rubber wearing out... a couple vacuum lines, the top radiator hose, and tires. Brake pads and fuel filter is just regular maintenance...

    I don't even change the oil as often as I "should".. but it's a Ford, it can take it

    If anything, I owe this truck something.. And now it's time to pay the piper.

    The guy at Napa gave me the wrong transmission filter(s). I picked up two different filters because he wasn't sure which one, and it turns out that neither one is correct. Not even close.. friggin knucklehead.. He asked if it was the "deep pan" or not, and I didn't know, so I took one of each... But one of these filters says 4WD right on the damn box. And it looks like they're both "deep pan", when compared to my original filter. Also, the gasket that comes with the kit looks nothing like the shape of my pan. And on top of that, the original gasket is re-usable..

    Thanks for the comments about the correct fluid too, but I have that squared away already. I know it's very important... I have 15 quarts of Mercon V ready to go over here... But it's interesting how the Lucas additive can be used in any transmission. It doesn't specify Chevy or Ford. I wonder how that works?
    Look for a plate or other markings on your trans so you can get the correct filter.

    I want to know what's in the engine block. Find those drain plug(s) and DON'T drive that thing before you refresh all the fluids and the trans may take several times before it clears.

    The bold part of your quote is that way because we know about all that. You spent months on here asking everyone about what was wrong..........remember?

    Henry

    Lucas: Why should they care what you put in as long as they make a sale? Advise is not to fuk with transmissions and your owners manual will state, "oil additives are NOT recommended for your vehicle".

    Dealers, through the years made a practice of putting Marvel Mystery oil or Rislone in with oil changes. Wanna know why? Because the parts / service managers were given nice gifts from the makers of that stuff to do it.

    Gasket: you should always change the gasket, regardless; especially if it's included. Tighten that pan down in sequence also.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Henry View Post
    Look for a plate or other markings on your trans so you can get the correct filter.

    I want to know what's in the engine block. Find those drain plug(s) and DON'T drive that thing before you refresh all the fluids and the trans may take several times before it clears.

    The bold part of your quote is that way because we know about all that. You spent months on here asking everyone about what was wrong..........remember?

    Henry

    Lucas: Why should they care what you put in as long as they make a sale? Advise is not to fuk with transmissions and your owners manual will state, "oil additives are NOT recommended for your vehicle".

    Dealers, through the years made a practice of putting Marvel Mystery oil or Rislone in with oil changes. Wanna know why? Because the parts / service managers were given nice gifts from the makers of that stuff to do it.

    Gasket: you should always change the gasket, regardless; especially if it's included. Tighten that pan down in sequence also.
    Thanks Henry,

    I looked up the trans via the code on the door sticker. It's a 4R70W. They gave me filters for E40D transmissions. The gasket that came with the kit was my first clue, it came out of the box first, and it's a completely different shape. And the filters are not even close to the same size/shape as mine.

    I guess it was just a miscommunication. I'll let it slide as long as they deliver the right filter to me tomorrow. It's only a mile away, so I think they'll do it. If they won't, then I'll be pissed.

    You spent months on here asking everyone about what was wrong..........remember?
    Yeah, I remember that. It took a long time to find that one little vacuum line that was causing the problem. In the end, it only cost $3 for a piece of rubber hose... but that thing was well hidden! It was impossible to see it without a mirror, and, in the end, it was just a matter of reaching in there and going by feel. As soon as my finger touched that elbow, I knew I found the problem.

    As for the additives, Lucas, Marvel, and all the others, are you saying you never use any of them Henry? I've heard a lot of good things about Lucas and Marvel's and Seafoam etc... sometimes those additives can help with an old machine.. but maybe it's all bs. I don't know.. I don't doubt that a lot of it has to do with distributors "greasing palms", but that doesn't necessarily mean they're all bad. It's kinda like prescription drugs and doctors imo..

    The new radiator went in smooth today. The only thing left to do is that trans filter. I decided not to mess with the water pump until I see how she runs after this. I intend to flush the cooling system real good, and I'll flush the trans one more time before running it too... It turns out that it's really easy to draw fluid out of the trans via the top line that goes into the radiator. I have some 5/16" id tubing that fits right over that line... run it to a bucket and start er up, and it pumps right out. I'll probably run a gallon thru it before hooking it up to the new radiator.

    I'm still a little unsure about the torque sequence for the tranny pan. I guess I'll just start at the center and zig-zag out to the ends. "Lightly snug" at first, and then a little tighter on the second pass..? If you have any advice, I'm all ears. I know that it's important not to overtighten them, but my torque wrench doesn't go down to inch-pounds, so I'll have to go by feel. The worst that can happen is it will drip... But it never leaked before, and I was surprised at how tight some of those bolts were (but they still came out easily). The factory gasket is metal with a rubber coating. The gaskets that came with the filter kit were just floppy rubber.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Henry View Post
    ...

    I want to know what's in the engine block. Find those drain plug(s) ...

    PS Henry, I'm not sure what you mean by "drain plugs".. I'm picturing the "freeze-out plugs", but I can't go after those without pulling the whole engine. I never heard of drain plugs on a block...?

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    Maybe when this is all done I'll do a smoky brakestand...

    ...just to make sure everything is still working correctly

  15. #15
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    Default Here...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim2 View Post
    I'm still a little unsure about the torque sequence for the tranny pan. I guess I'll just start at the center and zig-zag out to the ends. "Lightly snug" at first, and then a little tighter on the second pass..? If you have any advice, I'm all ears. I know that it's important not to overtighten them, but my torque wrench doesn't go down to inch-pounds, so I'll have to go by feel. The worst that can happen is it will drip... But it never leaked before, and I was surprised at how tight some of those bolts were (but they still came out easily). The factory gasket is metal with a rubber coating. The gaskets that came with the filter kit were just floppy rubber.
    Here's one page:

    https://www.google.com/search?q=4r70...w=1280&bih=650

    Here, read a few:

    https://www.google.com/search?source....0.MfXQ4dc4ksE

    I copied the following from one FORD forum: (Forgot what engine you have.)

    "I just changed the coolant today in my 1999. The drain plug is right where p-ferlow says it is. Right under the freeze plug and it's 17mm easiest to get with a socket.

    Here: https://www.fordf150.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=9161

    Best places: https://www.google.com/search?source....0.nEcvvL26c28

    You know, since you are changing the radiator, you'll have the lower hose off. You can stuff a garden hose up there and see what comes out. If ANY sign of trans fluid color, keep cleaning and DO NOT connect the new radiator until all is clean.

    Do you have a heater in this truck? Pull both hoses off at the block and alternate a garden hose in each. Flush and back flush.

    I know you may cheat somewhere but don't. We need 300K out of this truck.

    Henry

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