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Old 07-28-2007, 02:43 PM   #1
stiles watson
Montana Master
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Leona
Posts: 6,382
M.O.C. #2059
Lemonade out of Lemons

I saw a little smoke behind me. Oh no, not just a hundred miles from our destination after over 1900 miles!! So I pulled into the rest stop just a mile or two down the road. Egad, there was a trail of fluid leading to my rig and underneath the truck was an ever enlarging puddle of transmission fluid. You would have thought the truck had committed suicide.

Upon calling Coach-net, a wrecker was dispatched to gather truck and rig with a Ford dealer in Oakland, ME as destination. Gloom and doom descended on the Watsons. Negative imaginations ran wild. The dealer let us park the rig behind the dealership and provided power (not 50 AMP, but power) and water on Friday night.

Saturday morning the Ford was pulled into the bay for an evaluation and diagnosis. The diesel mechanic filled the transmission reservoir to the proper level and drove it all around to replicate the leak. It would not leak. Friday it had covered all the under carriage of the truck in transmission fluid, but now NO LEAK.

This Ford has a temperature gage on the transmission. It showed normal temperature throughout the whole episode. The transmission never malfunctioned, i.e., it always shifted properly and at expected times. Very confusing for me.

The mechanic determined that a build up of heat in the torque converter blew the seal on the TC and released the fluid. When it cooled, the seal closed up for normal operating temperatures but would be damaged and would probably rupture under load again.

The decision was made to replace the torque converter seal and add an auxiliary cooler to cool the fluid in the TC. The job is done and now we test it tomorrow on the last leg of our journey to Ellsworth, ME to begin our Nova Scotia tour.

Coach-Net, enterprise car rental, and Ray Haskell Ford all worked in concert to alleviate our stress as much as they could. The mechanic and service manager both stayed 2 hours extra on a Saturday to finish the job and get me on the road again. When it was all done, the bill was much less than I expected. They all made us lemonade out of lemons.

If all goes as planned, we will be enjoying our Maine lobster dinner Sunday night in Ellsworth. I am carrying a gallon and a half transmission fluid just in case and will stop at every rest stop a check to see if there is a leak.
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Old 07-28-2007, 03:39 PM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Missiion
Posts: 983
M.O.C. #4766
Stiles, I am sincerely sorry to experienced that kind of trouble on your trip. I am glad you had a dealership that worked with you on this and all went well. Having met you in Branson, your the type that can make lemonade out of any problem... Have a great Lobster my friend and I will see you again in BRANSON.. Safe Travels John
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Old 07-28-2007, 04:00 PM   #3
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Cedar Rapids
Posts: 4,876
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Sorry to hear of your experience. Smart thing taking it to the Ford Garage.
I experienced the same problem in 2002. Had the transmission repaired by AAMCO. It failed just after warranty expired. Had it repaired by AAMCO again and it failed in three days under warranty. AAMCO repaired it. All three failures were the same problem. Oil blew the seal. It failed again within six months and was rebuilt by a transmission shop in Blythe, CA and that transmission failed in 10 months under warranty. Had to pull the transmission (we were in Texas), ship the tranny to Blythe. They repaired it under warranty (I had to pay for the removal and replacement). Six months later that tranny failed. The Blythe transmission shop would not warranty it nor did they reimburse me for the prior removal and replacement as they agreed to do, even though the transmission still had 19 months left on the warranty. Present transmission was put in by Stayton Ford in Stayton, OR. Never have had any additional failures in the past two years. Installed a larger auxiliary cooler and an ATS deep pan (holds about 8 additional quarts of oil). Temp gauge has never shown any overt heating.

The lesson learned? Take the vehicle to the people that know, not to any fly-by-night shop or franchise shop that hires green kids off the street to do their work.

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