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Old 01-09-2020, 09:56 PM #1
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Tranny fluid or coolant

Hi guys
I really need your help. I recently purchased a 3rd gen 1999 automatic 4wd 165k miles. I just purchased about a month ago. Recently I did the engine oil and filter, transmission fluid ( just the 4 quarts in the pan and refill with Valvolibe synthetic max life, yesterday my mechanic did the timing belt and flushed the radiator. Today i looked under the truck and there was a couple of drips on the road when I looked down it looks like oil is leaking but I donít know if is transmission fluid or coolant. I will tu to upload some pics later on. I would appreciate your input
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Old 01-09-2020, 10:18 PM #2
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oil will be light tan to dark brown compare it to you engine oil dip stick, Transmission is red to a dark purple to black compare to dip stick, coolant should be red depending what your mechanic put in it pull the cap when cold and check. Coolant is watery where engine oil and trans fluid are oils a different consistency you should also get a creeper out and slide under it and see where it's coming from. A flashing light can be a big help and make sure your drain plugs are tight.
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Old 01-09-2020, 10:40 PM #3
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here are some pics. I would appreciate the help
Attached Images
Tranny fluid or coolant-img_0216-jpg  Tranny fluid or coolant-img_0218-jpg  Tranny fluid or coolant-img_0219-jpg  Tranny fluid or coolant-img_0223-jpg  Tranny fluid or coolant-img_0220-jpg 

Last edited by cgalloni; 01-09-2020 at 10:44 PM.
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Old 01-09-2020, 11:08 PM #4
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Looking to me like the valve pan gaskets. That looks like oil seeping out of that running down the engine block and dripping on the floor.

To verify get a light and keep looking up until its bone dry and clean.

Power steering if not changed would be dark as well. The power steering rack is right there too but the engine and above would be bone dry.

The bell housing as all covered too and unless power steering fuild is spraying onto it I doubt its that.

Very common and normal for the valve pan gaskets to leak.

Keep in eye on all fluid levels as the one slowly going down is the cause.




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Old 01-09-2020, 11:33 PM #5
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Unhappy

Thank you for your input. According to the car fax the valve covers were changed at 126k (the truck has now 166k). Donít know if is the transmission fluid but the transmission is working fine and not slipping. The oil just happens to be covering the upper and bottom part of the transmission. Donít know if is coolant from the radiator that was changed yesterday. I turn on the truck and let sit idle for a few minutes and donít see anything dripping so I have no clue but that was not like that a few days back. Iím praying is not the transmission. I donít need this right now
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Old 01-09-2020, 11:47 PM #6
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Transmission smells different then engine oil. As well as antifreeze smells unique too.

That's pretty dark for antifreeze. Looks more like oil, power steering, or transmission fluid.

It's good that it's not pouring out.

Any changes in oil recently. Like going from conventional to synthetic?

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Old 01-09-2020, 11:50 PM #7
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Also above all of that is the connections for the heater core. As well as the heater core control valve.

You can check that area for seeps of antifreeze. Being how close those hoses are to the engine. They are known to crack, seep and sometimes the plastic heater control valve will crack and leak.



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Old 01-09-2020, 11:53 PM #8
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What you have shown looks like typical valve cover gasket seepage. It tends to spread down and behind: Oil pan, bell housing bottom, trans can all get a thin coating of it.
However, the red color---if the red color is accuaret in the photo, which is debatable--- argues for ATF.
Could be both.
No matter: mopst such leaks are slow and can continue for years w/o getting worse.
Try to learn the differences in smell and texture between engine oil, ATF, and coolant.
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Old 01-10-2020, 12:06 AM #9
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My mechanic recently changed the atf fluid but just a drain and fill 4 quarts of synthetic atf valvoline max life. Donít know if that has anything to do with it. The oil is certainly reddish in color and smells funky. Iím am wishing that is the steering fluid and not the transmission.
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Old 01-10-2020, 12:09 AM #10
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Unhappy

Quote:
Originally Posted by pluton View Post
What you have shown looks like typical valve cover gasket seepage. It tends to spread down and behind: Oil pan, bell housing bottom, trans can all get a thin coating of it.
However, the red color---if the red color is accuaret in the photo, which is debatable--- argues for ATF.
Could be both.
No matter: mopst such leaks are slow and can continue for years w/o getting worse.
Try to learn the differences in smell and texture between engine oil, ATF, and coolant.
Like mentioned before the valve gaskets were replaced at 126k doubt they broke again but you never know. I was reading in another forum that it could be the shaft seal and the torque converter seal but if that is the case that is going to be expensive.
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Old 01-10-2020, 12:17 AM #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cgalloni View Post
My mechanic recently changed the atf fluid but just a drain and fill 4 quarts of synthetic atf valvoline max life. Donít know if that has anything to do with it. The oil is certainly reddish in color and smells funky. Iím am wishing that is the steering fluid and not the transmission.
The power steering fuild in these is dexron atf fluid. So power steering and transmission use the same fluid.

The atf pan would be leaking if that was from the change and your pan is way below the bell housing.

Looks to me like leaking valve cover gaskets even though your car fax says they were changed 40k ago.

To learn the smells. Smell you engine dipstick. Smell your transmission dipstick and smell your antifreeze reservoir.

Then touch that bell housing again and smell it. Your noise should be able to at least tell you what fluid it is.

Hope it these tips helped. Best of luck



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Old 01-10-2020, 12:19 AM #12
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If it's your rear engine main, TC seal your inspection plate would be dripping with fluid and if you looked at the flywheel it would be covered.

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Old 01-10-2020, 12:19 AM #13
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Looks like your cam plugs threw up. They all do it.
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Old 01-10-2020, 02:02 AM #14
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You could do yourself a favor and go to a car wash were you can pressure wash the old oil. It makes it easier to find leaks and you won't get messy it's worth the time and bit of money.
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Old 01-10-2020, 06:42 AM #15
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My money is on leaking valve cover gaskets/half moons/cam plugs. The color of the fluid on your finger looks like fresh motor oil.

Just because they were replaced recently does not mean they were replaced correctly. It might even be as simple as re-torquing the valve cover bolts.
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