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Is my transmission ruined?

I could use some help. I have a 2013 F150 automatic that I took in for routine 70,0000 mile maintenance which included transmission and coolant change. Truck worked fine before but right after started to catch when going from park to reverse, reverse to forward and when changing gears at high speeds. I took it back and there was coolant in the transmission so they put in a new radiator, changed fluids again and put in some Lucas transmission fix. Now the truck doesn’t catch but shutters like I’m going over rumble strips every 5-30 seconds at highway speeds. Did they do something wrong with the initial maintenance or does this just happen if you don’t change fluids before Ford recommends? Thanks.

Yes, most likely the tranny is not toast.

I’ll bet that this was a quick lube place.


The Trans shares the radiator with the coolant, the coolant getting into the trans was the reason for the new radiator. It is possible a trans flush and some more miracle in a bottle could solve your issue. Not sure on your vehicle,but on mine dropping the pan for a trans fluid change only does 6 out of 12 quarts, if yours is similar a flush will exchange all 12 quarts as coolant in the trans fluid may still be affecting performance.

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Don’t the two transmissions used on the 2013 F150 use a separate transmission cooler? Transmission fluid would be pumped through a separate radiator in front of the main radiator. Only the main radiator uses coolant. If that is the case, the only way coolant could get into your transmission is if the dealership put it in. Open the hood and look for a long, narrow radiator in front of the engine radiator. That would be your auxiliary transmission oil cooler.

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The radiator at Rockauto shows connections for transmission cooler lines.

But Rockauto doesn’t list a separate transmission cooler.



As far as I have seen a cooler is an additional mini radiator so to speak added to the system.

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It does look like I have an auxiliary transmission cooler (echo boost with tow package). Is it still possible to get coolant into the transmission with a failed radiator or did someone screw up and add engine coolant to my transmission?

Unfortunately it was a dealership

That’s what I’m seeing too, there’s 4 or 5 configurations depending on the engine etc, but it appears the transmission fluid in all of them is first cooled inside the radiator tank, then if necessary cooled a little more with the aux cooler behind the tank if so equipped.

It’s entirely possible this is just a coincidence, and the cooler inside the radiator sprang a leak at the same time the service was done. Not that unusual, as many times drivers seem to sense the transmission is starting to misbehave and take it in for service, and although the service is done correctly, the transmissions fails soon after. In most cases it wasn’t the service that caused the problem, just the transmission was starting to wear out already. Seems unusual for a 2013 model though, unless there’s a lot of miles on it.

There are some guidelines published by Ford on how and how not to do transmissions flushes, a nine page Ford General Service Bulletin titled “Transmission Cooler Flush”. You might try Googling for that document, or ask for a copy at a dealership, make sure your shop followed Ford’s required procedure and approved materials for the transmission.

I think if I had this problem I’d do a drain and refill a couple of times, driving 20 miles or so in between, making sure I used the correct transmission fluid specified by Ford. It’s possible during the service some contaminated fluid got into your transmission, or some of the wrong type, and just returned it to the correct fluid as part of a proper service might solve the problem. Best of luck.

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Thanks, less than 70,000 and really did not notice any problems before service, shifted smooth. Now even after new radiator, fluid exchange and Lucas trans fix shakes/stutters really bad.

Suggest to discontinue driving the vehicle until you’d had the fluid drained out and visually inspected for signs of any coolant remaining, separating into layers, etc. Coolant in the transmission fluid will quickly ruin an automatic transmission.

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