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johnathan1 12-03-2008 06:10 PM

My SEC did something scary...trans problems?
I posted before about the center console getting excessively hot around the shifter and ashtray area (too hot to touch), and I thought it was because of the damaged trans tunnel letting engine/trans heat in through the tears in the metal. I had a muffler repair the damage, and they actually did a fine job of it, but the console is still getting extremely hot...

Then yesterday, while on the freeway driving through LA, some smoke started coming into the car from around the shifter, so I immediately pulled off the fwy and popped the hood. It looked like ATF fluid was overflowing from the trans dipstick tube, and dripping down onto the exhaust manifold, causing the smoke. When I tried checking the fluid level, it just looked like the entire dipstick was covered in fluid...couldnt get an accurate reading. Checked the level again this morning with the engine running, but dead cold, and the level read perfectly at the MAX mark...

The trans seems to still shift perfectly, and really doesn't show any signs of a problem other than a harsh shift into reverse...

I have been driving it since, and have tried to be gentle with the throttle and that seems to keep the trans from heating up so much...what could be the problem?? Should I try doing a fluid and filter change?

tinypanzer 12-03-2008 06:28 PM

Was it getting hot enough to boil the fluid out of the dipstick?

Sounds like some sort of slipping is making the fluid extremely hot. I guess it could also be a blocked or collapsed trans cooler line. I would expect you'd see contaminated fluid if it were slipping that bad.

On my SE, the shifter gets just warm enough to notice it near the base of the stick, but not anywhere near as hot as you describe.

It sounds like you have some trans overheating issue that could potentially be very expensive. I certainly wouldn't drive it until I had the problem fixed. You could wind up doing more damage.

Check your cooler lines, make sure they are not plugged or collapsed. Same goes for the trans portion of the radiator. Although, the more I think about it, I don't really know what the fluid path is on that trans. Some trans would just not work if it were unable to circulate fluid through the cooler.

Definitely sounds like something's causing a heat build up, though. And if that's true, you can expect a catastrophic failure if you keep driving it.


deanyel 12-03-2008 06:43 PM

You're obviously overfilled, which may not be the only problem, but is a good place to start.

johnathan1 12-03-2008 06:59 PM

Slipping? I have noticed a slight vibration when accelerating...but it's nothing alarming, just enough to notice. The fluid doesn't smell burnt...

Seems like hard acceleration is what makes it heat up. If I dawdle around like a grandma, it seems to be ok. I guess this would point at a slipping clutch issue? I'm assuming the only fix for that is a rebuild.

johnathan1 12-03-2008 07:14 PM

I should also mention that I notice a bit of a clunk when slowing down to a stop, when the trans downshifts. I've read that this can be caused by a vacuum leak? Perhaps a vac leak or a bad trans modulator is causing this, and the slipping?

rg2098 12-03-2008 10:57 PM

Trans fluid expands a bit when hot. I would try draining some out and see what happens.

whipplem104 12-04-2008 01:43 AM

I think that you have a major problem. My hunch is that your reverse is not fully disengaged. So effectively you are driving around with reverse on all the time. Something is really wrong for the transmission to get so hot. You should be able to touch the transmission after driving around. Only the torque converter gets so hot you can not touch.

Put the rear wheels up in the air and put the shifter in neutral and see if the wheels are turning forcefully.

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