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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
As many of you here know, my plan was to build up the suspension from it's current decrepit state. That is no longer going to happen at this time as originally planned. Earlier today, I was on the freeway on my way back home when I began to notice a white haze behind me. Unsure if it was the environment, cars around me, or my Bird, I changed lanes several times to see what the haze did. The haze followed my every patter, which means my Bird was the cause of the problem.

I pulled over to the next exit and pulled into the nearest parking lot off the freeway. Upon immediate inspection, I found that my Bird was leaking ATF like a sieve where the transmission mates up with the engine. This obviously means that the front pump seal of my trans is toast.

My other DD, 2000 v6 Honda Accord, has a busted water pump seal. In order to get to it, I have to literally take apart the front of the engine to get to the seal as the water pump design for this car is timing belt driven. The service interval is 100k miles on the timing belt already as it is and it's at 85k miles right now. I've decided to go ahead and do that entire job along with a few extras.

The issue I have here with this is that dropping the trans on the Bird is something I've never done before. I've never cracked open the inside of any transmission either, but from what a few people I've already spoken to about this, they say that it's not a particularly difficult job to do, and doing it myself will be inexpensive to do (I've yet to do research on pricing out parts). I would like to replace more than just the front pump seal as I'm sure any other gasket is probably close to end of life as well. I'm thinking the trans pan gasket, the dipstick tube O-Ring / gasket, and the ATF filter. I'm thinking I might as well do a J-Mod and a trip to my local pick and pull to see if I can source an MK8 drive shaft as well if it's within budget. If all this can be had in the $400 - $450 range, that'd be great. If I can't get the J-Mod and MK8 DS within in my price range, I'll do what I need to fix my trans and be back up and running.

The timing belt job on my Accord, while I'm well versed in taking apart the top end, adjusting valves, etc. the timing belt job is something I've never done on my Accord. I don't want to spend the $700 or so it costs to get JUST the timing belt job done at a shop as I also need to do a few other things like I mentioned earlier. Doing the work myself for everything I need to get done will only cost me about $400.

This is what brings me to my dilemma where I seek everyone's advice:

I don't know the timing belt of my Accord and I don't know the transmission of my Bird. I need to get either of my two cars back up and running in proper order so that I'm not bothering people to go to work or trying to figure out a schedule with my wife on when we can share the Taurus, etc.

For anyone who has experience on the transmission of this car AND the timing belt of a Honda J30 / J32 engine, which job would you guys say is the easier job to do?
 

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I think that's a realistic price if you do it yourself. It really isn't a bad job compared to many. I'm not so sure it's a front pump seal leak with the smoke cloud though, it's obviously spraying onto the exhaust and the pump/converter seal leaks can only really drip out the very bottom, not sideways towards the pipes. I'd suspect a dipstick tube leak or a line/fitting leak, and both will puddle up towards engine/trans mating points too.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
So either way, I'd have to drop the transmission if it were a line failure or dipstick tube leak?
 

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Nope, both can be R&R'd independently of transmission removal. I'm not saying that's definitely what the problem is but I'd give those areas a good hard look. I remember I thought I screwed up my built 4R70w royal when I was followed by a cloud of smoke, but the problem turned out to be the 1-2 accululator plug on the side of the transmission was simply loose, spraying all over the cat.
 

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I think that's a realistic price if you do it yourself. It really isn't a bad job compared to many. I'm not so sure it's a front pump seal leak with the smoke cloud though, it's obviously spraying onto the exhaust and the pump/converter seal leaks can only really drip out the very bottom, not sideways towards the pipes. I'd suspect a dipstick tube leak or a line/fitting leak, and both will puddle up towards engine/trans mating points too.
On an 85 Cougar I had with a 5.0 and AOD, I had a cooler line for the radiator mounted transmission cooler start leaking where it entered the transmission, and it sprayed the exhaust that ran right next to it, and made a ton of smoke.

I'd guess you may have something similar. Get it up in the air, and eyeball it, see where it's actually coming out. May be a simple fix.
 

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Not being an expert with either of your repair dilemmas, the only advice I have to offer after my 72 years on earth, SIBKISS, See it Big Keep it Simple Stupid. I'm not calling you stupid. I didn't create the acronym. But after years of using the power of deduction when facing problems, I have found sometimes I go through a lot of mental masturbation before I'm able to see the obvious. As a matter of fact, using the SIBKISS method, successfully, I've decided to change the last 'S', to Smart. I feel smart and pat myself on the back when the light comes on.

Congratulations on obtaining the skill to do either of those repairs. Both beyond my ability.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the input, guys.

Based on costs alone, I think that I'll be going with whatever job doesn't require any specialty tools first. Reading more info on the timing belt / water pump job on my Accord, it seems that I won't require any special tools, whereas for the T-Bird I'll be needing a transmission jack. I asked a couple local parts stores here in my area and they don't seem to rent one out which means I'll have to buy one to get the job done on the T-Bird.
 

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Dude seriously, if you were closer to my area I would be able to lend you a hand with the Honda job. I am too tired to drop that transmission in the Tbird though.

Okay I would get a really good inspection on the TBird. Wipe it all down from all the fluid underneath the car .. start it up, and then see where the leak is physically coming from. Front pump seal - gotta drop the Trans, that means exhaust, gas tank, drive shaft, etc ... its quite a big job if youve never attempted this sort of thing before. Front pump would leak right in the middle between the trans / engine. If its off to the passenger side dipstick seal. I havent seen many pans spring that big of a leak though.

On the Honda .. thats easy. The only real tool you need is a holding fixture for that crankshaft pulley bolt, a high torque impact, or wedge the breaker bar method . They torque them down to like 200+ ft lbs. Once you get that off, its not such a bad operation but you need to be very careful how you go about doing it. Ive changed so many timing belts, its a simple two or three hour job even though shop time calls for 6 or 7 - thats how I was making so much money off those things, charge for 7, fix it in 2. The most critical part is the timing on the belt. What I normally do is rotate the engine exactly to the point where the timing marks on the camshafts / crank match up with the timing marks on the engine .. then I paint the teeth on the belt for reference. Once the belt is removed, match up the marks on the new belt .. and swap it on. Its all down hill from there. I would consider the Honda job as it can be done in one day and I would consider it less labor intensive overall. I use the 1 hour RTV gasket also, no waiting for water pump gaskets to cure.
 

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Agree with the guys, This does not sound like a seal problem; this sounds like a leak. :)

Look it over from the bottom, and check all the ports and the fill tube and lines for rust or leaks. Check at the radiator fittings.

Find the forward-most dot of tranny fluid, and follow it back to its origin.


As to your question, Rebuilding the tranny is not particularly bad.

It is messy. :)

For a short term fix, I'd swap it with a 2002 Gran Marquis transmission with low mileage.

You have to repin the harness, which is easy, and swap a transmission, which is heavy.

You Can do it in a day, but you won't the first time. :)

You will eventually have to do it, so I'd read up. :thumbsup:

Some links:



How to rebuild one: (Awesome thread)
4R70W Transmission Rebuild Diary - Ford Explorer and Ranger Forums "Serious Explorations"®

Where to get parts: (I've bought from these guys - They also sell rebuilt transmissions)
AODE 4R70W Performance Parts and Transmissions from PATC 4R70W AODE

How to replace it:
http://forums.tccoa.com/13-drive-train/97701-best-fastest-way-replace-tranny.html

This is one of our members:
Home
 

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Against advice, I bought a set of Raybestos Blues for the Direct clutch; it may explode, lol.

Good guys, tho!
 

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I'm with Grog6. If the transmission has to come out for a bad seal, seriously consider rebuilding the whole thing. The hardest part of the rebuild is wrestling the transmission out and back into place. With the links he posted above, and the information on this site, a full rebuild is very doable if you're willing to be meticulous and careful throughout the whole process.
 

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Having done both I'd start with the Honda, although for someone who knows what they are doing and has the proper tools either could be done in the course of a day.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Dude seriously, if you were closer to my area I would be able to lend you a hand with the Honda job. I am too tired to drop that transmission in the Tbird though.

Okay I would get a really good inspection on the TBird. Wipe it all down from all the fluid underneath the car .. start it up, and then see where the leak is physically coming from. Front pump seal - gotta drop the Trans, that means exhaust, gas tank, drive shaft, etc ... its quite a big job if youve never attempted this sort of thing before. Front pump would leak right in the middle between the trans / engine. If its off to the passenger side dipstick seal. I havent seen many pans spring that big of a leak though.

On the Honda .. thats easy. The only real tool you need is a holding fixture for that crankshaft pulley bolt, a high torque impact, or wedge the breaker bar method . They torque them down to like 200+ ft lbs. Once you get that off, its not such a bad operation but you need to be very careful how you go about doing it. Ive changed so many timing belts, its a simple two or three hour job even though shop time calls for 6 or 7 - thats how I was making so much money off those things, charge for 7, fix it in 2. The most critical part is the timing on the belt. What I normally do is rotate the engine exactly to the point where the timing marks on the camshafts / crank match up with the timing marks on the engine .. then I paint the teeth on the belt for reference. Once the belt is removed, match up the marks on the new belt .. and swap it on. Its all down hill from there. I would consider the Honda job as it can be done in one day and I would consider it less labor intensive overall. I use the 1 hour RTV gasket also, no waiting for water pump gaskets to cure.
Why can't you be closer?!

Well, when I pulled over and looked at the leak, the only leak was from the area where the trans meets the engine. It was literally coming off the front most lip of the bell housing All the other drips I saw were just a cause of the main leak source area.

That's what I've been reading on the Honda Forums. And one of the guys seems to be getting ready go send me the holder tool, so that'll definitely help me out.

Some links:



How to rebuild one: (Awesome thread)
4R70W Transmission Rebuild Diary - Ford Explorer and Ranger Forums "Serious Explorations"®

Where to get parts: (I've bought from these guys - They also sell rebuilt transmissions)
AODE 4R70W Performance Parts and Transmissions from PATC 4R70W AODE

How to replace it:
http://forums.tccoa.com/13-drive-train/97701-best-fastest-way-replace-tranny.html

This is one of our members:
Home
I decided this a little earlier today and as a result am going to do my timing belt first.

Thanks for these links! I'll definitely read them :)

I'm with Grog6. If the transmission has to come out for a bad seal, seriously consider rebuilding the whole thing. The hardest part of the rebuild is wrestling the transmission out and back into place. With the links he posted above, and the information on this site, a full rebuild is very doable if you're willing to be meticulous and careful throughout the whole process.
I was planning on just fixing this issue and getting her back on the road. My plan was to buy a new unit separately and build it up to how I want. But if rebuilding the unit myself doesn't cost a whole lot, then I may consider doing just that.

Having done both I'd start with the Honda, although for someone who knows what they are doing and has the proper tools either could be done in the course of a day.
See earlier posts :). Basically, that's what I've already decided to do :).
 

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Why can't you be closer?!

Well, when I pulled over and looked at the leak, the only leak was from the area where the trans meets the engine. It was literally coming off the front most lip of the bell housing All the other drips I saw were just a cause of the main leak source area.

That's what I've been reading on the Honda Forums. And one of the guys seems to be getting ready go send me the holder tool, so that'll definitely help me out.
Because I own a million dollar house here, all of the work is up here, and my kids go to very good schools here. There is nothing in So-Cal for me. But seriously, if youre ever in a pinch and dont mind the drive for a little help, the offer still stands. :wink2:
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Rock Auto surprises me sometimes. I got my Accord parts in this afternoon! I wasn't expecting them to come in until Tuesday. Guess I'll start working on my Dirty Girl tomorrow or on Monday.
 
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