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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have an '04 with 94K on the odo. My wife was on here way out of town last week and called me from the road. Here van started losing power and wouldn't maintain over 55mph or so. No lights/codes ever came up ad still haven't. When she pulled over, there was smoke coming up from underneath and the engine compartment. I had the van towed to the dealer for a verdict.

The dealer of course gave us the worst new possible. They could not determine what was wrong other than the transmission leaked at higher speed, most likely from the dipstick. Fluid on hot engine components were the cause of the smoke. New tranny needed to the tune of $4300. Two broken motor mounts were discovered as well. We considered wholesaling the van until I remembered this forum and talk of solenoid screens.

Could our problem be as simple as cleaning out these screens and putting new fluid in, or is it likely the transmission is toast? I drove the van at slower speeds about 10 miles home from the dealer today and it didn't exhibit any problems. The dealer as able to repeat the leakage problem at 55-60mph, so I did not push my luck messing around at those speeds. We did get a P0740 a little over a year ago, but it was a one time deal and did not come back.

Any thoughts/advice/opinions would be much appreciated.
 

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Was the ATF recently serviced? In short, did you take it in recently to have the ATF drained and then refilled?

OF
 

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If something in the transaxle slipped or heated up, it would boil the transmission fluid and shoot it out the vent tube (right beside the dipstick). If that is where the oil came out of, it'll be new transmission time.:(
 

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murch, the reason I ask is that if the ATF was overfilled, you'll get foaming of the fluid. Air-entrained fluid (foam) does not exchange heat or perform power transmission duties correctly, so it just overheats and gets pushed out the vent (on top of the transmission, a little rubber tube). Typically, the entrained air expands wildly as it gets warmer/hotter. Dripping onto the exhaust downpipe can and often does create a lot of smoke. I've seen this on Chevies and Fords before.

Once the fluid cools down, and the air leaves the system, the vehicle is back to normal. Everybody who has reported this has had it happen on the highway, if I recall correctly.

Check your ATF level in accordance with the owner's manual and report back. Your transmission may still have a long service life ahead of it.

OF
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
murch, the reason I ask is that if the ATF was overfilled, you'll get foaming of the fluid. Air-entrained fluid (foam) does not exchange heat or perform power transmission duties correctly, so it just overheats and gets pushed out the vent (on top of the transmission, a little rubber tube). Typically, the entrained air expands wildly as it gets warmer/hotter. Dripping onto the exhaust downpipe can and often does create a lot of smoke. I've seen this on Chevies and Fords before.

Once the fluid cools down, and the air leaves the system, the vehicle is back to normal. Everybody who has reported this has had it happen on the highway, if I recall correctly.

Check your ATF level in accordance with the owner's manual and report back. Your transmission may still have a long service life ahead of it.

OF
Thanks for the replies. Unfortunately, the ATF fluid hasn't recently been changed. I wish it were something that simple.
 

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stupid question. Did anyone check the cooler? I've seen a blockage do similar things. Have you done a drain and fill on the trans since this happened to see if there's anything in the oil? Metal, plastic, chunks of things? I'd do the drain and fill and if it looked decent just old, I'd be willing to throw $40 at a trans cooler and bypass the one in the rad just to see what happens. Worst case you have a brand new cooler to attach to the new trans and help the life of the new one. A generic add on oil filter wouldn't be a bad idea either and like i said worst case you have it for the new one
 

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As OF has said, this has been posted a few times and I don't recall any of those folks having to replace the tranny. I'd try the drain/fill first and see what happens. How did they reproduce it on the highway? I wonder if the fluid was still really hot and foamy when they reproduced it.
 
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