Trans Fluid Probl.... HOLY CRAP IT'S COOLANT?!?! w/ PICS - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 04-06-2005, 01:28 AM   #1
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Default Trans Fluid Probl.... HOLY CRAP IT'* COOLANT?!?! w/ PICS

I installed a new radiator over the weekend. I noticed a little fluid under the front of the car Monday morning, but I figured it was runoff from when I spilled some coolant. Since then, I've kept an eye on it and I am noticing something a little wacky.

The car is actually leaking transmission fluid whenever I leave the car after backing into a spot, but not after I pull straight in. It seemed at first to be coming from right under the radiator, and it was only a small spot. I suspected the tranny cooler connections, since I had to use screw-in pressure fittings on the non-OEM radiator. They were completely dry. Okaayyy...

After I took another trip, I pulled straight into my parking spot to test the theory and sure enough - NO LEAK. Then took another trip down to my office and reversed into the spot there. I come out 2 hours later and there'* a bigger puddle of tranny fluid under the car. This time it goes farther back than "just under the radiator".

...Ok... just went out to look under the car (which was parked forward 3 hrs. ago) and no puddle. The fittings are dry. They haven't been leaking at all.

Where else could fluid be leaking from, and why is it leaking only after I reverse into a parking spot? The puddle is too far forward to be coming from the tranny pan, and is oriented just on the passenger side, right under the front crossmember. From what I can tell it may also be leaking somewhat when driven because the undercarriage behind the radiator area looks like it has been spattered/wetted. Of course that may have been from the original spillage - I can't tell.

Ideas?? Places I should be looking?
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Old 04-06-2005, 01:43 AM   #2
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Try blocking the wheels and setting your parking brake, put it in gear and look around and see what you can find....then put it in reverse and see what happens.
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Old 04-06-2005, 02:23 AM   #3
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Hmmm, try driving your car around, backing up in your driveway, spraying brake cleaner all over the area it'* leaking from, come back in like 15 mins or so once the break cleaner has evaporated and cleaned the area, and you should be able too see where it'* leaking from better.
I did that to confirm a oil pan leak.
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Old 04-06-2005, 10:56 AM   #4
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It sounds like one of the lines themselves are cracked.

I agree with the "take a look while it'* running" up on blocks but only with an assistant in the driver'* seat while you do the check, and be careful.
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Old 04-06-2005, 12:21 PM   #5
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On the cracked line theory, it could be that the slight flex in the tranny lines between forward and reverse allows a bit of fluid to get out. Doesn't seem that it should happen after it'* turned off though. Cause the parking pin is the parking pin...and there really wouldn't be any positioning of the tranny in either direction w/o being on a hill.
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Old 04-06-2005, 01:23 PM   #6
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OK the problem has taken a new direction.

Trans fluid is not "leaking" anymore. In fact I don't think it was ever leaking, just running out of its hiding spot that it spilled into when I did the radiator swap and was too angry at the stupid radiator to think about cleaning up anything.

It'* coolant that'* leaking. And at a pretty healthy rate. But again, only when the car is parked nose out on a slight incline. I'm going to go take a look at it here in a minute when I finish charging the digital camera.

And here are the results....

Puddle under the car and spatter marks on the crossmember.


Clean and dry radiator connections.


AND THE CULPRIT IS...........


LEAKING WATER PUMP!!!! I traced my way back up from the puddle, and sure enough I saw a little fluid peeking right out at me.

So did running the car with a leaky radiator at ~50 degrees hotter than normal ruin the gasket on my water pump? Is the whole thing shot? It was replaced last July due to a small leak... now it'* time to do it again it looks like. Why didn't it leak when it was running hot i wonder. And why does it only leak when the car is pointed down on a slight incline?
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Old 04-06-2005, 01:42 PM   #7
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I don't see any dampness in your last pic. Why do you think it'* the water pump?

Also, all the water on the ground is concentrated in the front, under where the radiator is. Did you change your radiator hoses when you changed the radiator? If not, you probably just have a leaking hose, or a clamp that isn't holding.
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Old 04-06-2005, 01:47 PM   #8
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what color is the fluid thats leaking..............is it green or red.....cant tell from our picsif you run dexcool which is redish.............put your finger in the leaky fluid and smell it, the smell between transfluid and coolant of any type is very destinct. i ran my engine up to 280 one time becasue my coolant manifold bypass hose nipple had broken off, there were no water pump or water pump gsket probs......get back to us with the identifcation of that fluid!!

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Old 04-06-2005, 03:15 PM   #9
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Fluid is definitely coolant. You can see in the last pic where the water pump meets the block (to the right of the pulley) there is green liquid seeping out from the blue form-a-gasket. I can only guess that the problem is more pronounced on the bottom side b/c I can't get under there right now.

The coolant is leaking down and dripping off the front of the oil pan. You can't see it in the first pic but there were droplets forming at that spot. The angle is deceptive, but the puddle is not right under the radiator. It is just to the rear of that crossmember.

What is the appropriate water pump gasket material? It looks like when this one was replaced, blue form-a-gasket was used.
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Old 04-06-2005, 05:48 PM   #10
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i belive that most pplaces that sell the water pump also will sell the specific gasket for the water pump.....that form a gasket stuff needs to come off and get the real prfomed gasket........that appropriate gasket marterial is like a cardboard paper type material.

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