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Old 04-05-2011, 09:41 PM   #1
Motofam's Avatar
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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.

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Old 04-05-2011, 10:29 PM   #2
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Yes the tranny cooler is actually in the radiator. Here is a picture:

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, 11:20 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,
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Old 04-06-2011, 01:17 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, 08:34 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, 12:05 PM   #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, 02:14 PM   #7
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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,


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