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1996 Thunderbird LX
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693 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is there anything else it could be that is less of a PITA? If it is the rear main seal is removing the transmission possible with a harbor freight 2 ton jack? I need some advice here. The transmission pan also seems to have a bad leak that I need to take care of anyway. Is there anything around that area that it could be? Smoke seems to be coming straight up which is why I think it is the rear main seal.
 

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1997 Thunderbird LX
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9,303 Posts
If the rear main was gone, it would just drip on the ground, wouldn't it? Does it smell like oil burning or maybe antifreeze? Look for leaks that maybe dropping down on the exhaust.

Joe
 

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1994 Cougar XR7 DOHC/5-Speed
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21,940 Posts
IMO it’s probably your dipstick tube or possibly cooler lines leaking wetting the pan and getting on the exhaust causing smoke. You should not get any visible smoke out emanating out of the crankcase through a main seal unless you have crazy blowby, the rear main seal itself is a pretty reliable design on modulars too, they typically last as long as the motor can

If the jack has a decent sized cup it can physically do the transmission, but 96-97 pans have the filter hump in the middle. I used to swap my stock flat bottom 94 pan onto the trans when I’d take it out.
 

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97 Thunderbird 4.6, 98 Mark VIII LSC
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11,378 Posts
Could also be oil leaking from the valve cover gaskets and burning off the exhaust manifolds.
 

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1996 Thunderbird LX
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693 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I looked at all the coolant hoses and fittings in the back while it was running. Everything looked bone dry. I will take a look at the valve covers. Another thing is that it could be transmission fluid getting on the exhaust and smoke is just wafting up out of my hood. I only see smoke when I am stopped. I don't see it coming out the side of my car though. It most likely is my valve covers. I will also recheck the coolant. I don't trust my nose so it is worth doing.

EDIT: Dipstick tube will also be checked. I didn't think about that.
 

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1990 thunderbird SC, 5 speed manual
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7 Posts
Is there anything else it could be that is less of a PITA? If it is the rear main seal is removing the transmission possible with a harbor freight 2 ton jack? I need some advice here. The transmission pan also seems to have a bad leak that I need to take care of anyway. Is there anything around that area that it could be? Smoke seems to be coming straight up which is why I think it is the rear main seal.
Check the valve cover gaskets, when I was leaking oil I thought it was rear main seal too, but it was leaking from the valve covers. Oil would drip from the valve cover onto the header/exhaust, which is what the smoke was.
 

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My transmission front pump seal leaks, and after driving up a hill and stopping at a light, it smokes from transmission fluid getting on the hot exhaust.

To check if it is coming from your front pump, there's a 2 inch inspection hole under the torque converter on the bottom of the bell housing. Pull the rubber plug out and see if it is wet with transmission fluid inside there.
 

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1996 Thunderbird LX
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693 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
There is red fluid dripping from the plug. I am pretty sure it is toast. Is that a job that requires pulling the transmission? Pardon me, this is the first car I bought.
 

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Yes.
Unless it is migrating forward from a leaky pan seal or a leaking tranny dipstick o-ring. If it is in fact leaking at the front pump, I would assume that all of the other rubber seals within the transmission would be in similar condition.
My 1997 accumulator seals were so hardened and brittle that you could break them off between your fingers.
If it was my first car, I would keep driving it until I could afford to get the transmission rebuilt, and you will be good for twenty more years.
 

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1996 Thunderbird LX
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693 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Just saw smoke coming out the side of my car. It is my transmission for sure. Used a mirror to look behind the engine. Nothing was wet. Valve covers where good.
 

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1994 Cougar XR7 DOHC/5-Speed
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Passenger side I bet, right? The ATF has to be getting on the exhaust somehow, that’s the only way it’ll smoke, so the pump seal seems like a pretty unlikely source since it can only exit through the access hole on the middle of the very bottom of the car. Any leaks from above(eg dipstick tube or cooler lines) will accumulate around the access hole and pan as well just from gravity.
 

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1996 Thunderbird LX
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693 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
That is weird. I thought I replied two days ago. The smoke came up from the driver's side Anyway I found the leak. It was not the pan but the tail housing. The third cat was black with burnt ATF. That doesn't explain why the smoke came up from the hood but it was a pretty bad leak. Gasket will be picked up today. Going to be putting the car back together when I get it.


 

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1994 Cougar XR7 DOHC/5-Speed
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Ah I guess that makes sense too, I hadn’t considered the tail shaft seal since I haven had a third cat in a decade. If it was smoking enough it’s using the trans tunnel as a chimney of sorts and getting trapped in the engine bay.

Make sure to check the tail shaft housing sleeve while you’ve got it off
 

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13,139 Posts
Check the driveshaft carefully; it is usually what takes out the tailshaft seal and bushing.


hold it in the middle and shake it; you will likely notice it's two pieces of rolled sheetmetal, and at this point, that crimp is all that holds it together. I spun one. You will want a new one. I bought 4" aluminum shafts from PST; they did a group buy ~15 years ago, and sold me two more later at the same price. I doubt they would give you that price, but WTF, ask anyway. :)
 
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