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Old 04-05-2011, 08:41 PM   #1
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Angry Transmission fluid leaking out of radiator???

I have a 2001 tj , 4.0 & Auto & I went for a 30 mile highway trip & when I got home the jeep was smoking a little under the hood. I opened it up & what appears to be transmission fluid is sprayed EVERYWHERE!! Apparently it is coming out of the radiator. I wiped down & checked all the hoses, power steering, tranny cooler lines, etc... couldn't find a leak.
I noticed the bottom of the radiator fins had fluid on them & the bottom of the radiator had some drips after sitting for a while. Could be splatter from the fan if tranny fluid can defy physics & go forward while traveling 70 mph down the highway.
Is it possible the tranny cooling part of the radiator has failed? Hence a new radiator is in my near future.

Any help would be greatly appriciated.
Ronnie

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Old 04-05-2011, 09:29 PM   #2
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Yes the tranny cooler is actually in the radiator. Here is a picture:

http://www.wranglerforum.com/f5/tran...ler-87758.html

You would be able to tell if there is tranny fluid in the radiator as oil is less dense than water so it will float to the top. Double check all your lines and connections and make sure it is tranny fluid and not something else. It should be redish in color as long as it is not burnt.

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Old 04-05-2011, 10:20 PM   #3
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hmmm, so the cooler is IN the radiator... Looks like I need to look closer.
The power steering gear wouldn't leak enough to cover the whole under carraige & splatter into the engine compartment would it? Plus the steering fluid looked full. I'll keep looking. Don't want to buy a radiator if I don't have to.

Thanks for the reply,
Ronnie
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Old 04-06-2011, 12:17 AM   #4
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Mine is doing the same thing. I found the leak and it is coming from the nipple that is on the radiator and the hose connect to that. I need to get a smaller clamp to tighten down more. You might want to check that. A tranny oil is red in color.
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Old 04-06-2011, 07:34 AM   #5
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at the base of the radiator there are two lines connected coming from the transmission on a automatic. one is the feed, the other is the return. the most common leak is where the rubber line is clamped to the nipple on the radiator. just replace both rubber lines and put new clamps on and 99% likely this will fix the problem. its cheap and easy to do.
once you know how to do this you are set since most cars/trucks are set up exactly the same plus this is how you identify which radiator should you buy a used one. you can use an auto rad in a stick vehicle by capping the nipples but not vice versa.
the rubber lines tend to get cut into and/or cracked on the ends after a while. if nothing else, once the lines are off, you can take a flashlight, clean and inspect around the nipple area for any cracks.
with the engine running and in park/neutral check your tranny fluid and be sure there is no anti-freeze in it and that its not black or burnt smelling. as was already said, check your anti-freeze, mainly check your overflow since the floating tranny fluid will get purged back into there first.
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Old 04-06-2011, 11:05 AM   #6
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why don't you start it and see where the leak is instead of guessing ?
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Old 04-06-2011, 01:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hookuspookus View Post
why don't you start it and see where the leak is instead of guessing ?


There was so much fluid dripping from splattering that I couldn't tell where it was coming from, running or not & it was getting dark.
I cleaned it up this morning & ran it & found the leak was coming from the tranny cooler intake hose. I went to o'reilleys & picked up 11" of hose, some new clamps, & a quart of tranny fluid & I was back in business.

There was no tranny fluid in my overflow or radiator. WHEW!!! didn't really want to buy a radiator.


Thanks for the input everyone,

Ronnie
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Old 02-08-2015, 09:37 AM   #8
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An old thread, but this is what is great about specialty forums...and wranglerforum.com in particular. My brother-in-law and I took my '03 Sahara down into the swamp yesterday on a very overgrown woods road. Going down we knocked the serpentine belt off and had to put it back on, made that repair, got down to the old cabin and back out to the main dirt road. We stopped there to secure the gap and to clean some debris off of the radiator. Nothing out of the ordinary. We make the five mile trip back to the house and when we pulled up smoke was coming from beneath the hood. Much like Motofam stated four years ago....fluid was *everywhere* under the hood....splatter to the rear-end of the jeep. I couldn't tell where it was coming from but will look at the two lines coming from the radiator this afternoon. Will holler back...

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Old 02-08-2015, 10:24 AM   #9
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This happened to my wife and I on a drive from LA up to Mammoth about 5 1/2 years ago. Parked at the trailhead and while packing our packs happened to notice the bottom of the jeep was all wet with oil. Took it to a shop and sure enough one of the tranny cooler hoses was leaking and had entirely coated the underside of the jeep. Nice. They pump a ton of oil, I disconnected one the other day to verify the flow direction and about 20oz. came out in a matter of about 3 seconds.
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Old 02-23-2015, 07:32 PM   #10
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Bumping this old thread again...

Just found a puddle under mine this evening, and have ZERO leakage at the rubber cooler lines connecting to the radiator. I've got a ATF all over the lower tank and I can see it in the lower section of the radiator fins.From the picture in the link above, it appears the trans cooler is integral to the lower tank of the radiator, constantly surrounded by coolant. If that's the case, and the trans cooler fails, I would expect to see evidence of oil/coolant mixing somewhere, but can't find any evidence of that either?? It literally appears to be coming from the crimped connections holding the lower tank to the radiator core?????
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Old 02-23-2015, 07:53 PM   #11
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Another quick inspection (have a meeting later and can't get dirty tonight), and I realized the AC condenser is actually in front of the radiator, and it is also soaked along the bottom... What color is the freon running around in the AC system, and how much is in there? If the condenser has sprung a leak, I wonder if that is the fluid I'm seeing? It is reddish and slippery like ATF, but my nose is not that of a bloodhound so I can't really compare it to ATF in that regard...

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