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Old 12-11-2012, 12:21 PM   #1
nadsab
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Default Trans fluid leaking into radiator 97 ranger 2.5 L 4 cyl

Hi,

We have trans fluid leaking into our radiator. I was told that this was probably due to the automatic transmission fluid cooler, which supposedly is built into the radiator, is leaking into the radiator, and that the radiator needs to be replaced. Also the thermostat and the block or housing that holds the thermostat is bad, and needs to be replaced as well and that the system needs to be flushed. Does this sound like a correct scenario?

Is it difficult to replace the thermostat? And is there really a separate housing for the thermostat? When I was young and did this on my own, the thermostat was just accessed by taking off the radiator hose from the top of the engine block and dropping in a new thermostat - it was pretty simple a five or ten dollar part. Is there now a separate housing for the thermostat that is somewhere inside or mounted on the outside of the engine block?

I am also assuming, if it is a leaky trans fluid cooler that is built into the radiator, that the transmission should be flushed once I install a new radiator, Is this correct?

Last edited by nadsab; 12-11-2012 at 12:54 PM.
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Old 12-11-2012, 12:52 PM   #2
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Yes, radiator will need to be replaced.

Never ran into a T-stat that didn't live in a housing, but yes usually the t-stat is located(in a housing) on the engine end of a large rad hose.
two or three bolts and off it comes.

here is a picture of the t-stat housing on a 1998 2.5l
http://www.therangerstation.com/foru...ad.php?t=57524

The t-stat itself is not expensive, make sure it is the correct temp, ford usually uses 192deg t-stats, adjusted for inflation $10-$15,

The t-stat housing can have other outlets and in this case temperature sensors, which can leak, so in some cases the housing needs to be replaced not the t-stat but because the t-stat is not expensive.......might as well replace it as well.

Last edited by RonD; 12-11-2012 at 01:01 PM.
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:01 PM   #3
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I could prob. do this myself over the weekend. Don't have time to do it this week though.

We were quoted 625 bucks to replace the radiator, the hoses, the thermo housing, the thermo and a flush. Does this seem excessive?

I can buy a radiator for 150 bucks but am just wondering how long this would take me to do...

Also how long do you think it would be safe to drive it before we replace the radiator?

Thus far the engine is not over heating and the trans is shifting fine...
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:31 PM   #4
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If you don't want to replace the rad get a separate trans cooler of the correct size and use that. Just remember to plug the old tras fittings in the rad or you'll loose coolant. I wouldn't drive it all that much until it's fixed, coolant will wipe out the transmission pretty quickly. Change the transmission fluid and filter also when you are done.
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:58 PM   #5
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I've heard two different stories now. The guy at the auto parts store tells me that it's possible for anti freeze to back fill into the transmission via the leaky trans fluid cooler. But a mechanic claims that there is currently no anti freeze in the transmission and that it's impossible for that to happen because the transmission is at higher pressure than the radiator.

But the guy at the auto parts store said when I shut the engine off, the pressure in the radiator is higher - and the transmission de pressurizes, and this could force anti freeze into the transmission, so now I don't know what to believe.

And you are agreeing with the NAPA parts auto guy - that anti freeze can end up in the trans?
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:10 PM   #6
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Where abouts in SE Michigan are you located? Happy to lend a hand if you're close enough to me (Farmington Hills). My vote's for a new radiator. I just put one in my '94 2.3L a year ago, very easy operation and only about $100 from Autozone.

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Old 12-11-2012, 02:17 PM   #7
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Live in the SE suburbs, just don't have time to do it this week...

Did anti freeze leak into your transmission?

A mechanic said it would not, and an auto parts guy said it would...
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:23 PM   #8
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No. Mine's got a manual transmission so there aren't any lines running from the radiator to transmission. If you aren't sure if coolant got into your transmission or not it might be a good idea to replace the tranny fluid and filter just to be safe. That's not an overly difficult job either and if the fluids been in there a while it might be a good idea anyway. I'm not sure if there's any way to tell if coolant got in without dropping the tranny pan and then you're 90% there anyway. How close are you to Farmington Hills?
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nadsab View Post
I've heard two different stories now. The guy at the auto parts store tells me that it's possible for anti freeze to back fill into the transmission via the leaky trans fluid cooler. But a mechanic claims that there is currently no anti freeze in the transmission and that it's impossible for that to happen because the transmission is at higher pressure than the radiator.

But the guy at the auto parts store said when I shut the engine off, the pressure in the radiator is higher - and the transmission de pressurizes, and this could force anti freeze into the transmission, so now I don't know what to believe.

And you are agreeing with the NAPA parts auto guy - that anti freeze can end up in the trans?
I would think it was possible but not likely.
And if there is a leak in the t-stat housing the cooling system pressure would drop pretty quickly after shutdown.

I wouldn't worry about it too much at this point.

$625 seems about right for a shop.
You have to remember shops have to use OEM parts for the most part, but no "off-brands" for sure, because they have to warranty any repairs.
Nothing worse for a shop than having to redo new repairs, for cost and reputation.
And they have to mark up the parts....or why be in business in the first place, lol.
So all in you probably have $425 in parts, $200 labor.

Yes, you can do this yourself.
T-stat housing bolts look tricky but with the right tools you can do it.
Rad remove/replace and flushing are very straight forward.

Do you know the t-stat housing is leaking?
Have you been losing coolant?

Last edited by RonD; 12-11-2012 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:32 PM   #10
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Thanks Ron.

Not sure abourt the t stat housing leaking don't have the truck in front of me. the coolant I think there is a slow anti freeze leak, don't know where it is though.

Think it's safe to drive it for a week before I fix it then?

Last edited by nadsab; 12-11-2012 at 02:35 PM.
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