View Full Version : Transmission tribulations

03-16-2013, 02:15 PM
I recently changed the fluid in my transmission and torque converter using Fuchs fluid. The next morning I left on a 10 day road trip from my home in Mesa, AZ to Northern California, not realizing I hadn't tightened the TC drain plug and pan bolts sufficiently and as a result, had a small, but persistent leak. Of course, I left my dipstick at home, so had no way to know how much fluid to add.

Over the course of the trip, I bought a quart of Mobil1 synthetic ATF and later a quart of Valvoline +4. Also, as a result of being low on fluid, the trans would slip in the morning at which point I would add 8-16 ounces of fluid. I was trying to avoid overfilling as I had no way to know how much to add.

Halfway through the trip, as I was driving at about 55 MPH, the trans suddenly went into neutral and I coasted to a stop. Using the few tools I had, I managed to get under the van and tighten the pan bolts and torque converter drain plug. Keep in mind, this was at night and I had to pee in the worst way!

So to sum up, my questions are: 1) can I leave the mixed fluid in there without doing harm, and 2) did I damage the trans by having it slip a few times?

The trans has 390,000 miles on it and has never had the engine or trans rebuilt. The trans is working perfectly normally since my little adventure.

Your comments and collective expertise are welcomed!

Thanks for reading this far,

John Berger

2004 158" wheelbase, 390,000 miles

03-16-2013, 02:22 PM
I would change again. That change would get the mixed fluid out of there AND probably either put your mind at ease about running with low fluid OR confirm your fears.

03-16-2013, 07:31 PM
Due to the fluid level running below the required caused the transmission to slip.
The ECU saw the slip condition and dropped you into limp mode.

There are two speed sensors on the circuit plate inside the tranny plus a temp sensor.
All come into play when the box runs low---Basically its a "stump the chump" feature of the van which I think is one of the best aspects of this van and its design.

(The only better one I have come across is an old Auzzie design that directed the radiator overflow over the drivers foot near the accelarator pedal)!!!:thumbup:

For info I had a box truck recently that ran very low on oil due to neglect and leaks from the comm socket. We did a basic service including a drain including the torque.
Cleaned out the pan etc and put it back into service, its still scudding about to date!

One thing to be aware of is that any sludge and junk flying about in the oil can sometimes adhere to the speed sensors corrupting the signal, so internal purity of the fluid is paramount.
Just for piece of mind I would perform your service again.