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Discussion Starter #1
I recently had a leak in my radiator. I'm not very good at repairing cars myself, so it took the Thunderbird to the shop to have it replaced. After a week, it started leaking transmission fluid from the trans cooler lines where they connect into the radiator. I took it back, they tightened the lines, and everything was okay.

It's now leaking again, and I'll take it back to have it worked on again. What I'm wondering is what they did wrong? Browsing around Rock Auto, I noticed oil cooler O-rings and think maybe they reused them. I just want this fixed - is there anything I should mention to them or look at myself? Is this something I could possibly do myself?
 

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Maybe there's a problem with the radiator.

Joe
 

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There are no o-rings, they are flare connections.
 

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Be VERY careful tightening ( OR LOOSENING) Tranny Cooler lines at Radiator - I reccommend pulling Battery so you can get proper angles on Fittings should you choose to even touch them - You can easily end up with Antifreeze leak as you basically destroy the Radiator & rip Plastic end off Aluminum Rad while wrenching on OLD Fittings that suffer bi-metallic corrosion imbedded in Plastic - Even WORSE you can get Antifreeze & Water Coolant mixed with your Tranny Fluid via the destruction & destroy the entire Tranny ~!! - So I'm not saying you can't fix it yourself but I am saying this AINT nothing to improperly screw around with.. (I'm not so sure your shop guys know what they are doing ) - For the cost of your couple trips to repair Shop you could delete that whole POS Rad Cooler & go to seperate Air to Tranny Fluid Cooler... a JILLION threads on this.
 

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I'm with Buck - I'd opt for an external tranny cooler, don't use the radiator cooler, and you'll be in great shape (unless you live up in Minot AFB or some such ... )

The only down side to not using the radiator at all is how long it'll take the transmission to warm up on cold winter days. And whereas Utah gets cold, it doesn't get cold enough for that to be a major problem. And if you ARE concerned, there's bypass valves that can keep the cooler bypassed until the transmission fluid gets warm enough - 180F is usually what I see used for that.

RwP
 

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The only down side to not using the radiator at all is how long it'll take the transmission to warm up on cold winter days. And whereas Utah gets cold, it doesn't get cold enough for that to be a major problem. And if you ARE concerned, there's bypass valves that can keep the cooler bypassed until the transmission fluid gets warm enough - 180F is usually what I see used for that.RwP
Which gives me chance to ask Guru RalphP 2 dumb questions:

- You are in Minot AFB - It's cold as Hell - Your Engine Thermostat is shut for MONTHS at a time so your Radiator is never getting warm anyway (except for teeny Bypass / Vent hole in Thermostat) - Closest thing you have to a Radiator is your Heater Core - What good is Stock Radiator Tranny Cooler doing that if you have no Rad Cooler in Cold Climates that you need a Thermostat in Tranny Air to Fluid Cooler Line____?

- Now I CAN understand need for Bypass IF you have Thermostat in Tranny Cooler Line as that circuit needs flow when Tranny Fluid Thermostat is shut... right____?
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Be VERY careful tightening ( OR LOOSENING) Tranny Cooler lines at Radiator - I reccommend pulling Battery so you can get proper angles on Fittings should you choose to even touch them - You can easily end up with Antifreeze leak as you basically destroy the Radiator & rip Plastic end off Aluminum Rad while wrenching on OLD Fittings that suffer bi-metallic corrosion imbedded in Plastic - Even WORSE you can get Antifreeze & Water Coolant mixed with your Tranny Fluid via the destruction & destroy the entire Tranny ~!! - So I'm not saying you can't fix it yourself but I am saying this AINT nothing to improperly screw around with.. (I'm not so sure your shop guys know what they are doing ) - For the cost of your couple trips to repair Shop you could delete that whole POS Rad Cooler & go to seperate Air to Tranny Fluid Cooler... a JILLION threads on this.
While the external trans cooler sounds good, I'd rather get the current setup working properly. I have no intention to race this car - I just need to drive to work and back. Plus, I don't think I can do such an undertaking.

I'm going to take it back to the shop since I paid them a good chunk of money to put a new radiator in; they're very highly rated online, so hopefully they'll know how to set this right. I was thinking maybe the radiator is defective. It sounds like I might have to buckle down and figure this out myself. I bought this specific car because the previous owner was fastidious in changing the trans fluid every 30K at the dealer, and I want to make sure the transmission lasts. Thanks for your help guys!
 

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Which gives me chance to ask Guru RalphP 2 dumb questions:

- You are in Minot AFB - It's cold as Hell - Your Engine Thermostat is shut for MONTHS at a time so your Radiator is never getting warm anyway (except for teeny Bypass / Vent hole in Thermostat) - Closest thing you have to a Radiator is your Heater Core - What good is Stock Radiator Tranny Cooler doing that if you have no Rad Cooler in Cold Climates that you need a Thermostat in Tranny Air to Fluid Cooler Line____?

- Now I CAN understand need for Bypass IF you have Thermostat in Tranny Cooler Line as that circuit needs flow when Tranny Fluid Thermostat is shut... right____?
I dunno no Guru RalphP - just a smart alec know it all by that name :diablo:

As to the real question - I dunno, I'm just repeating what I've been told (i.e., only in the colder climes would you want to run it through the radiator cooler also, and a bypass thermostat would do the job just as well. In the situation you mention, maybe better ... )

RwP
 

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I guess the concept is drawn from the fact that the engine gets to operating temp. much faster than a transmission. Under normal driving here in snowhio, the engine gets to operating temp after a cold (~20F) startup after about 5-8 minutes of suburban driving. By that point the transmission is usually only warmed up to 80 or so degrees by the time the thermostat opens, depending how cold the fluid was to start with. Throw in the fact that the "cold operation mode" of the transmission (keeping the converter unlocked with the fluid under a certain temp) has a limit of ten minutes, and then there's no doubt that the trans fluid will warm up faster when it's plumbed through the heat exchanger in the radiator.

When you lay all the cards out on the table though, the heat exchanger in the tank does do more harm than good because:

a) It doesn't have the capacity to keep the transmission temps where they really NEED to be. At best the transmission will run close to 200 degrees, when it really needs to be closer to 170-180. In super-hot climates the ATF can easily reach 220+.
b) There's always the looming risk of the tank rupturing, causing coolant to mix with the ATF and kill the clutches in the transmission.

IMHO the benefits of a standalone air cooler (being able to keep the fluid cool enough and no risk of death by engine coolant) outweigh having the trans get up to operating temp a few minutes sooner. If you plumb in a big air cooler after the radiator heat exchanger you're not really giving much help to warming up the fluid anyway, since as soon as it warms up any after going through the radiator it gets cooled off again as it goes through the air cooler. Plus you're still adding heat to the ATF when the coolant in the radiator is at 180+ degrees and your trans temps are less than that, causing a little bit of a "push-pull" game between the radiator heat exchanger and the air cooler.

BTW the ATF cooling circuit comes out of the trans, feeds the cooler then goes back to lube the trans then into the pan. So there IS a certain amount of positive pressure in the cooler/lines (I've read it can be as high as 60PSI at times).
 

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I'm going to take it back to the shop since I paid them a good chunk of money to put a new radiator in; they're very highly rated online, so hopefully they'll know how to set this right. I was thinking maybe the radiator is defective. It sounds like I might have to buckle down and figure this out myself. I bought this specific car because the previous owner was fastidious in changing the trans fluid every 30K at the dealer, and I want to make sure the transmission lasts. Thanks for your help guys!
YUP, they owe you that IMO - They need to RE-Flare the old Tubing Ends without "kinking" the old brittle tubing (when old Rad was OUT that would have been easy to do) - OR cut the ends off & Union in new Tubing w/new Flares - They DON"T need to overtighten anything & break a brand new Radiator ~! ... & again pulling Battery is way to go here.

& THANX to RalphP & theTerminator93 for 2 excellent answers to my questions.
 

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While the external trans cooler sounds good, I'd rather get the current setup working properly. I have no intention to race this car - I just need to drive to work and back. Plus, I don't think I can do such an undertaking.
a cooler really isn't just for racing, its preventative maintenance. the trans fluid will break down with enough heat, and our transmissions have plenty of it.

just on a daily drive keeping your fluids at a good temp around 170 will double the life of the fluid. while usually for every 10 over 170 it cuts the life in half.

its really not that difficult either. couple of hardline to barbed hose adapters, few feet of oil hose and a good cooler mounted up in the airdam under the car.

takes a few hours removing the bumper skirt, cutting the lines off, cleaning the lines and tightening the fittings, plumping the hose and tying it up out of the way.

i wont say it will double the life of the trans, but it will certainly help a LOT. especially on a 95 trans which wernt know for their reliability. roller clutches, bad valve body designs, accumulator pistons, etc.
 

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& I am positive that I have seen better Rad Performance once I took Tranny Heat Load off my original 1996 Rad - It's hot here in SC but my temp driven Rad Fan runs less since going to Air to Fluid Rad Cooler.

I've got this cool Ryobi Laser Thermometer thingy... Handy for lots of stuff - HVAC Registers, etc... one of these days I'll report on Tranny Cooler Temp differentials on the relativley small Ford Windstar Air to Fluid Cooler I have.
 
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