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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I am 99% sure my tranny cooler in the radiator gave out. I had this issue once on my 88 S-10. My tranny fluid is going up, it is burnt, has bubbles, and it won't shift at WOT. Otherwise is fine. Is there any other way for the fluids to mix? Is this a common problem? We bought the car not too long ago and so I don't know how long it has been like this. Anyway figured I would ask before I blow 150 bucks as money is super tight right now.
 

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I know I was told that many if not all automatic tranny clutches use a water based adhesive to glue the friction material to the steel. Water in an automatic will make that de-laminate.

I would expect water in the tranny to look like a pink milkshake too rather than burn and bubbles.
 

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mutually exclusive

Your trans and engine should be mutually exclusive, so the only place they meet where fluids can change is the radiator. In the old days when they had vacume modulators, you could lose the seal and it would suck out trans fluid and burn it off through the manifold connection, but not add more. Sounds like you have it to me. With that said though, make sure it's contaminated fluid. If your front pump on the trans is not working properly it could return fluid to the pan from the convertor and make it rise also.

Jeff
 

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Mr. Handy
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^^ Agree make sure it is in fact coolant dumping into the trans. Check coolant levels.

From the sounds of it though it is likely the trans cooler core. You do not however, need to replace the whole radiator. You could just install an aftermarket trans cooler in front of the radiator. But, then you run the risk of coolant leaking into the trans cooler core and mixing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Is there any guaranteed way to know it is coolant? The level has dropped a little in the reservoir, i'm not 100% how much though. I will mark it and when I get paid replace the radiator If the level has dropped again.
 

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Mr. Handy
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If your funds are low there isn't really any way to find out. Otherwise you could drain the transmission pan and check the color of it. But trans fluid isn't cheap and you might as well replace the filter while you where at it which would total $70-100. So, I would continue to check transmission fluid and coolant levels. If you see the trans level raise and coolant level lower or vise versa you know it's mixing in the radiator. Or go get it diagnosed at a small (usually cheaper) auto shop.
 
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Odd, I have had internal coolers fail before, and they do exactly what I would expect, transmission fluid leaking into the coolant and overflowing out of the reservoir. Coolant getting into the trans, while possible in theory, doesn't compute for me. The cooling system runs at 16psi, the transmission maintains much higher than that, particularly through the lines. If you are planning to replace the radiator regardless, then it couldn't hurt to see if that fixes it. But if you want to diagnose the issue first, I would keep looking.
 

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The cooling sysem stays pressurized after shutdown while the tranny goes to zero pressure soon as the engine shuts off.
 

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Mr. Handy
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The cooling sysem stays pressurized after shutdown while the tranny goes to zero pressure soon as the engine shuts off.
Makes perfect sense now :eek:k3:
 

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Diagnose

King, and Dwayne, nice troubleshooting. I like when I see people thinking the problem through and not just guessing. Either way, what ever it turns out to be, nice observations.

Jeff
 

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The cooling sysem stays pressurized after shutdown while the tranny goes to zero pressure soon as the engine shuts off.
That is true, but the leak would still be present with the engine running, so I would therefor expect trans fluid to still get into the radiator.
 
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