Ford areostar transmission

I live in wi I bought this van a couple years ago and thought it needed a trans pan gasket

Never got around to putting one on

This weekend I went to pickup a boat and started on the trip home and had smoke coming out the back of the van

so I pulled over and saw fliud leaking in front of the van

then I found a place to park the trailer with the boat

Put transmission oil in it and drove it all the way home

No more leaks, What happen why only when I was hooked to the boat

What I look for to fix my problem

That’s a fairly confusing post.

To clarify, I assume you’re saying that your transmission has been leaking since you bought the van (note about trans pan gasket). I assume that means that you are periodically checking and adding trans fluid.

Then, I guess you’re saying you hooked up this boat and while towing it had what appeared to be a fairly large one time leak that spilled out so much of something that it started smoking - say onto a hot exhaust system or something - i.e. I can only guess that it wasn’t smoking out of the tailpipe, but its hard to guess because the post is so unclear.

Anyway, if I read all of that right then this would be my guess: the last time you added trans fluid you overfilled the trans by a bit. When you pulled the boat the trans got a lot hotter than usual and fluid expansion (along with air whipped up by being overfilled) overflowed the dipstick. Trans fluid poured out the dipstick, down and all over everything below and while driving was blown down the length of the underside of the van, coating the exhaust system producing smoke. Look at the top of the transmission for what looks like a recent spill and the bottom of the van for signs of splatter.

That is a WAG - if you want better guesses you’ll need to give a better description.

This is another WAG. Is there any possibility that water has gotten into the transmission fluid? Any entering water will be emulsified in the transmission oil. When the oil gets hot enough (like when pulling hard), the water flashs to steam and the oil froth will exit the vent and dipstick tube, vaporizing on the nearby exhaust components down stream. When you refilled and drove without the boat (I assume), the oil did not get as hot so you did not get fluid loss. IMHO, a pan drop, inspection, filter replacement and fluid flush of the torgue converter might be a precautionary measure.

If you do find the true cause of this case, please post back and let us lurker’s know.

It sounds like it got hot and started venting. These transmissions are not really made for towing. Hopefully its not damaged. I would service it and maybe consider installing an external cooler. Even if you are not towing on a regular basis a good cooler will help extend your transmissions life.