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Cooling line leak, please advise.


Th1s_0ld_Truck

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I recently left the house in my 1999 Ranger XLT. After traveling the two blocks to the main street I realized I had major transmission slippage. I immediately turned toward home. While going very slowly the short distance down my residential street the truck seemed to lurch from side to side like a warped or out of round wheel. Looking underneath I discovered a leak in the cooling line that leads from the transmission to the radiator. Apparently most of the fluid had leaked out while parked in the driveway. Could a partially filled torque converter be responsible for the rocking back and forth? Something else? That kind of worried me. I had to order the parts as they were unavailable locally. So I have the filter, gasket, lines (3) and the fluid (10 qts).
I don't have a concrete driveway so if I do this I'll literally be on the ground. When I got under there it was such tight quarters at the side of the transmission that I was unable to get a wrench onto the nuts. It's been a few weeks because I was ill and also had to take a trip out of state but it seems like maybe part of the exhaust was really close. So do I need crows foot wrenches or flare wrenches or some other special tool? I'm the second owner but not knowing the maintenance history I've not touched the transmission. A choice I've come to regret.
Any assistance is greatly appreciated.
 


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mc17eln

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Torque converter and its fluid are self contained and spinning with the crankshaft, so you can't get a line in and out of it ;)

What you lost was transmission fluid. Factory and dealer fills that fluid via the cooling line return. You can fill it from the dip stick tube -- very very slowly. You obviously need to fix the leak first -- check all the end points of the two lines to and from the cooler built into the radiator. My bet is the leak is in the radiator. Short of a violent impact, hard lines to and from the transmission shouldn't leak all of a sudden.
 

DILLARD000

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On my 2001, several years ago found the TransCooler line slowly leaking ATF
at factory clamps where the hose is clamped to hard tubing under the radiator.
Replaced with new hose & double worm clamps, then topped off ATF level.
 
Last edited:

ericbphoto

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Torque converter and its fluid are self contained and spinning with the crankshaft, so you can't get a line in and out of it
The torque converter is filled with transmission fluid. It is filled and circulated by a pump in the transmission. This is where a lot of the heat is generated that makes it necessary to have one or more transmission coolers.

Not much of the volume of transmission fluid actually comes out when you remove the bottom cover. Try to catch what comes out and measure it. That will give you an idea of how much to put back in. Even with replacing the hoses to the cooler and draining it, I would be surprised if it takes the full 10 quarts to fill it up afterwards.
 


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