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Old 01-25-2019, 06:04 PM   #1
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How hard is a Transmission Cooler Replacement?

I have a '00 e250 5.4L V8 4 speed automatic w/ overdrive (4R70W) with 160K

Been finding a few drops of transmission fluid (It has a dark red hue, pretty sure it is tranny fluid) on the pavement towards the front of the vehicle when parked for a few days. I've got moist lines and the bottom edge of the transmission cooler seems a little moist as well. Been keeping an eye on the transmission fluid levels and haven't seen a noticeable drop. It's actually been like this for over a year...I first noticed it after going over the grapevine (steep extended hills) from SF to LA. I think it was enough sustained hill driving to pop.

So, I probably should get to addressing it at some point here soon. I have medium mechanics skills and tools, and am about to be unemployed, so I have the time. Is this doable for the average dude? I think I can access everything I need from the underside and the front/grill, right? I won't need to remove the radiator to get to it? I'll need to put her up on jack stands? I've scoured the web for a tutorial/you tube vid for this (and searched here as well), but haven't found much. Is it advisable to replace the rubber tubing as well...its hard for me to tell if the other end ends in a metal part? Should I consider dropping the pan while i'm at it?

Any tips appreciated. -Parker
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Old 01-25-2019, 08:42 PM   #2
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Hi, I'm new here too. Actually this is my first post.


I guess the obvious would be to look for an easy fix first. Loose clamp? Deteriorated hose?


Good luck!
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Old 01-25-2019, 10:29 PM   #3
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You should be able to take the front grill off and get to the cooler. I had a drip and just needed to check the clamps on the cooler.
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Old 01-26-2019, 07:04 AM   #4
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You should be able to take the front grill off and get to the cooler. I had a drip and just needed to check the clamps on the cooler.
True but he might not even need to do that. Pretty easy to get at them from underneath if I remember right. Just lay on the ground and the lines are right there under the radiator. Edit: The other end of the lines are right under the radiator, the connection from rubber lines to the metal lines that go back to the tranny. That's where I've seen lots of leaks.

Parker, tranny coolers are cheap and simple. Basic 2 hose connection. You might take this opportunity to mount a bigger, new one. I'm talking 50 bucks cheap.

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Old 01-26-2019, 07:11 AM   #5
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I happened to have grill and trans cooler all apart yesterday, so it's fresh in my mind.


There should be two coolers and several connections. One is inside the radiator, with simple in and out lines, (typically some rubber line under the radiator) then the air cooled one in front of the radiator, with short rubber lines to allow some flexing. Those connections in front of the radiator are prone to leaking, you might get away with just snugging up the clamps. If the hose is 20yrs old, you might want to replace it, make sure it's rated for hot transmission fluid. Mine are 5/16", some are 3/8" lines. I like the fuel injection style clamps, over the worm screw style.



Like was mentioned, the one in front of the radiator is behind the grill. The grill comes out pretty straightforward, philips and 8mm head, a 1/4" socket set will be your friend on that job.



Depending on where Ford mounted the cooler, you may have to dig deeper to get at the lines and clamps. There is a black plastic molded headlight panel that runs the width of the van, that you may need to remove as well. Typically 8mm head screws holding it to the vertical grill support bars, the outter most screws are behind the corner turn signal/marker light assemblies, two screws, top and bottom of the lens, Phillips or Torx head (depending on your van) hold those in place. The 2 each side panel fasteners are at the ends of the panel, you can see them better with a flashlight.


Good luck
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Old 01-27-2019, 11:29 PM   #6
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Thanks for the responses everyone. I'm going to give this a whirl myself in the near future. If I opt a a larger aftermarket replacement, is there a particular brand/model you all recommend? Will I need to figure out how to mount it differently?
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Old 01-28-2019, 04:48 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by olivelawn View Post
Thanks for the responses everyone. I'm going to give this a whirl myself in the near future. If I opt a a larger aftermarket replacement, is there a particular brand/model you all recommend? Will I need to figure out how to mount it differently?
Unless you're pulling heavy loads constantly the stock Ford coolers are fine, assuming they're in good operating condition of course.

I would highly recommend you do a fluid exchange or flush using a simple DIY one-person operation. That step alone gives miles and miles of trouble-free driving--those transmissions are know for their longevity. Here's a few links to read:

https://www.ford-trucks.com/articles...-transmission/

And my own hands-on experience: https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/1...ans-flush.html

HTH
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Old 01-28-2019, 09:52 AM   #8
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Thanks JWA! I gave a look at yours and Mark Kovalsky's writeup. I just reviewed the records I have from the previous owner. Previous owner performed a "Transmission Service" (but I don't see more details than that...not sure it is was an exchange or flush) at 30K, 60K, 90K, and 120K. I bought the vehicle at 150K and am up to 160K now. I think it is probably time. I'm a 1 man operation over here, so a lil nervous about replacing the filter.
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Old 01-29-2019, 04:26 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by olivelawn View Post
Thanks JWA! I gave a look at yours and Mark Kovalsky's writeup. I just reviewed the records I have from the previous owner. Previous owner performed a "Transmission Service" (but I don't see more details than that...not sure it is was an exchange or flush) at 30K, 60K, 90K, and 120K. I bought the vehicle at 150K and am up to 160K now. I think it is probably time. I'm a 1 man operation over here, so a lil nervous about replacing the filter.
Depending who did the "transmission service" it typically means dropping the pan, replacing the filter and replenishing the fluid. Also typically the quickie oil change outfits use a generic ATF with their own additive that supposedly makes it compatible with Mercon V spec's. I say BS on that but I'm more concerned with my 4R70W & 4R75E longevity than price.

For the first flush you'd drop the pan and replace the filter with Motorcraft or other top shelf quality part. Reuse the gasket, tighten the pan bolts and add 5-6 quarts of new fluid to begin the flush process.

The only real issue with driveway DIY transmission fluid flush is the potential mess you'll create. Draining the pan that first time can be a disaster if keeping your work space clean and oil is important. There's a trick---I can share if you need.

I also add a rather pricey drain plug to my transmission pans in case I have to drop the pan ever again. So far those plugs have gone unused BUT that's a good thing--means I've not had to dig into the transmission pan for any reason.

Anyway let us know if need more info--glad to help!
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Old 01-29-2019, 08:31 AM   #10
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The 30K, 60K, 90K, 120K were performed by the dealer. I don’t see any mention if a replacement filter on any of the invoices. Is the “trick” you’re referring to the one with the clothes pin? Also, did i read Mark’s writeup correctly...you actually run the engine while the fluid is draining? Do you shift through the gears (while your foot in on the brake) as well?
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