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Losing Transmission Fluid Rapidly But Still Shifts When Refill Tank

I was driving to work to today when i saw some smoke out of my rearview mirror…pulled over and saw that i was losing transmission fluid…transmission was still shifting properly and i finshed driving to work…as i was pulling into work transmission started slipping…after i got off work had a buddy take me to wal-mart and got some stop-leak and a lot of fluid to try to make it home…45 mile drive…started slipping again once i got into town and pulled over and added more fluid to get home…where should i start…i had checked all my fluids before i left town and levels were all fine…it went from being at the proper level to losing all fluid…not sure where to check myself…can’t afford a new vehicle and can’t afford to miss work…any help would be greatly appreciated…

Either you or a mechanic will have to locate and repair the leak. If you’re losing a lot of fluid it shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out where it’s coming from.

Driving the car in this condition may do significant damage to the transmission. Dumping stop-leak into it is unlikely to help, and may make things worse.

This could be a relatively simple repair or something much more complex. It’s impossible to tell from here.

Avoid all transmission repair shops that are part of a national chain. Stick with local, independent shops.

Once i get under the vehicle are there specific spots that i should look at to find the leak…i know i can’t continue to drive it this way…it started leaking fluid as soon as i started the car back up so it should take much to find the location but just woder if you can put me in the general direction…i’ll head to the local shop if i can’t figure it out but prayin that its something easy…but thats not usually how things work…

You’re killing your transmission by continuing to drive it like this. There’s a decent chance that an inexpensive leak has now turned into an expensive transmission replacement.

If it is losing fluid very rapidly, my first suspect would be a disconnected transmission cooler line, which is a relatively easy repair. However, since you have repeatedly driven the car with fluid so low that the transmission is slipping, I believe that you have probably done some serious (expensive) damage to the transmission. The car should have been towed as soon as slippage was detected.

My best suggestion is to have the car towed to an independent trans shop (NOT to AAMCO, Lee Myles, Cottman, Mr. Transmission, or any other chain operation) for evaluation. Just be sure that you are sitting down when they call with the repair estimate. Rebuilding a transmission is not cheap, and I suspect that this will be necessary as a result of your continuing to drive the car when the transmission was slipping.

Do you have a way to safely get under the car? You may be able to do it by putting two wheels up on the curb from your draveway ramp. Without the engine running, look for blood spatter… Sorry I’ve been watching too many CSIs. Look for still dripping red transmission fluid. It is likely to be in the area of the bottom of the bell housing, at the transmission ends of each CV shaft, or at a cooling line fitting. Hope it’s the latter as that’s the easiest cheapest fix. If you don’t see any drips, put it n park and set the brake. Then start the engine and crawl back under there again. Wear goggles. Good luck.

On the other hand, I’ve seen lots of trannys that have completely quit pulling their cars be fine once the fluid is replenished. Don’t shoot the Neon yet.

I found the leak…it is in a hose that is on the front (faces bumper)of my tranny…it looks like the line has rubbed on a piece of the under carriage and thats what caused it…having difficulty getting the hose off of the transmission…removed the line clamp and tried pulling on the hose but not much room…any ideas…i think since the whole is only about an inch or two down from tranny that if i can get the line off i can cut off the hose to where i get rid of the whole because there is plenty of play in the line…i am not extremely mechanically inclined but it makes sense to me…anyone have any problems with this…also thought i would slightly rerout the line so that it doesn’t rub anymore…

I assume that you mean hole, not whole. Anyway, remember that the transmission moves (just a little, not a lot) relative to the car body, so you need some slack in the hose.
You can very carefully slit the hose where it is over the pipe to get it off. You have to be careful because if you gouge the pipe while cutting the hose, you won’t be able to get the new hose to seal to it.

I’d also see if you could get a relatively soft piece of thin, narrow plastic to work as a wedge that you could just push between the hose and the pipe and work it in at several different locations.

I’ve had coolant lines seem near impossible to get off because they had hardened and somewhat bonded to their fittings, and that sort of trick broke them loose pretty easily without damaging the hose or the pipes they connected to…

In addition to all of that, a standard method is basically to get onto the hose at the fitting with a pair of pliers to twist the hose. The twisting will break the bond and it can then be pulled or pried off. Best for the pliers to be adjustable and opened to a gap that is pretty close to the outside diameter of the hose. it will work better and you don’t want to damage the fitting. Cutting does work if all else fails, but I tend to go to this last for exactly the reason tardis mentioned.

If you want to go to pliers, why not a strap wrench? Pliers will work fine most of the time, but you do need to be careful of the gap as you mention, and if they have teeth of any sort, you can still damage the hose…

These pliers work well for that (I assumed that the OP had already tried twisting the hose, good catch.)

I like those… may have to go pick up a set. :slight_smile: