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Transmission Rebuild Leaking Fluid

My Automatic transmission was rebuilt 2 years ago, now it's damaged again, the original mechanic who fixed it, examined it today and states that damage was caused due to a leak of transmission fluid, but the transmission rebuilt warrant is only for one year. (funny how those things happen isn't it :-)

How can this be? I've put 30k miles in the last 2 years, is this leak due to normal wear & tear or due to improper installation of the seals or improper work in the transmission?

The mechanic seems like an OK person, but still, a leak on a rebuilt transmission after two years?

Your thoughts and opinions much appreciated



  • edited December 2010
    First, the problem with asking here is that there are lots of different places than a transmission can leak from. One common spot that really has nothing to do with the rebuild is the cooler lines. So we don't know where the leak is and thus it is difficult to comment.

    Even if the leak was from seals, a parts/labor warranty on such things that goes more than 90 days is pretty rare. Should seals/gaskets/whatever after a rebuild leak after 2 years? I'd say not. But it does happen.

    So the real problem here is that - even if there was some warranty for a couple of years - it is still the job of the vehicle owner to keep on top of basic things. One of the most fundamental things is fluid levels. It is possible to have a sudden, catastrophic leak that could damage a transmission. But, in general, if your transmission is now damaged from driving it with low fluid then it is really only you on the hook for it.
  • edited December 2010
    I understand that, but the place I take the van to for oil changes, they check all the fluids as part of their multi-point inspection. I actually stopped in their shop when the transmission was slipping and they were puzzled about the leak themselves since I've been taking my car to them for the past 5 years.
  • edited December 2010
    Well then, IF the van is leaking trans fluid, AND that is why it is slipping, then you're still stuck. Just b/c a place offers some kind of "check all the fluids" service doesn't mean that they do it or that the people who work there are qualified.

    Is it a quickie lube type of place? If so, I'm surprised that you still have a working engine. Stay away from those places. I'd not be surprised if they check transmission fluid at the same time that they check the oil (which is impossible since the van has to be running to check the trans fluid but can't be to check the oil).

    When did it start slipping? When you first noticed it slipping (or doing anything else that is odd) did you check the transmission fluid? You're still the one driving the van around with low fluid & a slipping trans no matter what you think you paid someplace to do. Is the fluid now up to level?

    On that note, has anyone actually shown you a fluid leak? Did you notice any signs of a leak? Perhaps it is slipping and the rebuild shop is blaming it on a nonexistent leak? Where is the leak?

    It is also the case that you can destroy a transmission in a matter of minutes if it is slipping. You could drive out of your lube place with perfect fluid level, spring a leak in a cooler line 5 minutes later and have a dead transmission a few minutes after that.

    No one here really has enough specifics to give you anything definite.
  • edited December 2010
    The shop performs all types of repairs, it's not a jiffy lube or similar. The transmission was working just perfectly up until Thursday when I was returning from work, it started slipping so I took directly to them, from there it was towed directly to the repair shop that did the original re-built. They couldn't look at it until this Morning. From the time I noticed the transmission slipping until it was towed to the original shop the van was probably driven 20 miles.
  • edited December 2010
    And no I haven't seen the leak, I talked to the shop manager this afternoon via phone, I will likely look at the van tomorrow, and find out where the leak is coming from, etc. for now I have a rental car for the week.
  • edited December 2010
    Do you know if they just got fluid into it to see if the trans still functioned? I once did have a catastrophic fluid loss that led to the trans slipping. I had it towed, the leak was repaired, the trans refilled and I drove it for many many many more miles without incident.

    How far did you drive it to get it to your regular shop and how badly was it slipping?
  • edited December 2010
    Continuing to drive the car with a slipping transmission will ruin the transmission PDQ and this has likely damaged it anyway.

    A properly rebuilt transmission should not be leaking within 2 years. The issue in my mind is the source of the leak.
    Assuming the transmission proper is leaking and it's not a leaking cooler line issue, etc. there could be a number of reasons behind a rebuilt transmission leaking; all dependent upon where the leak is.

    Getting a little rough while installing halfshafts, a bit too much manhandling of the transmission and skewing the torque converter a bit, etc. are a couple of them. It is possible to nick a seal doing things like this and it may take time for the problem to appear.

  • edited December 2010
    Like ok4450 said, a properly rebuilt transmission shouldnt have any leaks after only 2 years but unfortunately you are a year past the warranty. You're probably going to have to eat this one, I seriously doubt the trans shop would work with you but you might want to ask, it couldnt hurt. If this were one of my rebuilds and a part I replaced on it caused the failure so early, I would be inclined to offer SOME sort of help. Bottom line though, it is the owners responsibility to properly service the transmission. That means, checking it for leaks also and repairing such leaks.

  • edited December 2010
    So I'd say we're all in agreement about the whole thing then.
  • edited December 2010
    Hopefully the OP will keep us up to speed on exactly what is leaking but driving 20 miles with a slipping transmission could be a real transmission and deal killer.
This discussion has been closed.