Transmission Leaks only on "very cold mornings."

Transmission Leaks only on "very cold mornings."

Postby johnsastro [OP] » February 25th 2011, 1:46am

Hi all, newbie here that needs some help amd advice

I just purchased a 2003 Astro 2wd passenger van 102k miles.

Everything was fine until I started the van up in the early morning, outside temperature was below 10 degrees F.
I let the van warm up for about 2 minutes then ran an errand for about 1/2 hour.
Pulled back into the driveway and saw a huge puddle of trans fluid where I park the night before.
I looked under the truck and saw some dripping coming from the weep hole where the bell housing bolts to the motor(bottom center).
Hmm...very disturbing. Check fluid and added .25 quarts to bring to proper level. After van was warmed up, dripping stopped and all was
good all day.

The next morning very cold again. I started the van up and immediately checked underneath. Fluid was streaming out through the weep hole, Oh crap.
Leveled off fluid again and drove it all day, no leaking.

Next morning I decided to take it to a local tranny shop(30 years experience). Mornings temps were in the 20's, much warmer than the 2 previous nights. I started the van and looked underneath, no fluid streaming out like previous mornings. Drove to the tranny shop and explained to him that when the early morning temps are below 10 degrees it streams out fluid then stops after the van is warmed up for the day. He said he never heard of such a scenerio but would check it out and probably a pump seal problem. Left the van overnight.

Talked to the shop today and he said all looked OK, trans shifted. He noticed a little wet underneath from previous fluid purge . He stated he's hesitant to do anything to the van and wouldn't warranty any work done on seals. I'm leaving the van at his shop tonight to see what happens at startup in the morning.

My Questions are:

Why does the streaming fluid only happen on very cold mornings and why does the leaking stop after the truck warms up?

The trans guy said he's never seen these symtoms before, if it leaks he said it should leak all day.
He orginally quoted me approx. $700 buck to drop the tranny and replace the pump seal. Sounded reasonable since the tranny is shifing fine, no codes, and leak indicates just a worn/defective front pump seal. He seems very hesitant now to do the job, won't warranty the work.

Opinions, experience, and advice very welcome.

Thanks all,
John T.
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Re: Transmission Leaks only on "very cold mornings."

Postby johnsastro [OP] » February 27th 2011, 3:51am

Anyone?
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Re: Transmission Leaks only on "very cold mornings."

Postby chevymaher » February 27th 2011, 3:59am

Sounds like the seal where torque converter goes into tranny.Why It only doing it cold new on me.Maybe spring in seal wasted and it only sealing when the rubber warms and becomes pliable. :shrug:
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Re: Transmission Leaks only on "very cold mornings."

Postby johnsastro [OP] » February 27th 2011, 8:50pm

chevymaher wrote:Sounds like the seal where torque converter goes into tranny.Why It only doing it cold new on me.Maybe spring in seal wasted and it only sealing when the rubber warms and becomes pliable. :shrug:


Is that a replaceable seal?
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Re: Transmission Leaks only on "very cold mornings."

Postby chevymaher » February 27th 2011, 9:28pm

Yes and it easy to replace.unfortunately you will have to remove the tranny to do it.Take your inspection cover/dust shield loose and look up in there see if trail leading between torque converter and tranny straight up on flat part of front of tranny.Picture not the best phone flash but there it is once torque converter off the little circle where shafts go into tranny.Got my feet all oily draggin it out from wall.Wow I a snivling [email protected]@ch huh.any way fluid dribbling down from there what you checkin for.
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Re: Transmission Leaks only on "very cold mornings."

Postby johnsastro [OP] » February 27th 2011, 10:53pm

chevymaher wrote:Yes and it easy to replace.unfortunately you will have to remove the tranny to do it.Take your inspection cover/dust shield loose and look up in there see if trail leading between torque converter and tranny straight up on flat part of front of tranny.Picture not the best phone flash but there it is once torque converter off the little circle where shafts go into tranny.Got my feet all oily draggin it out from wall.Wow I a snivling [email protected]@ch huh.any way fluid dribbling down from there what you checkin for.
tranny seal.jpg


Thanks, appreciate the help.
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Re: Transmission Leaks only on "very cold mornings."

Postby chevymaher » February 27th 2011, 11:13pm

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Re: Transmission Leaks only on "very cold mornings."

Postby johnsastro [OP] » March 3rd 2011, 1:39am

Just to follow-up on what I hope was the resolution for my tranny leakage:

My local tranny shop guy dropped the transmission the other day. He said it looked previously rebuilt and had a new torque converter installed,

Problem was the metal bushing on the converter shaft was worn badly worn and had maybe 1/16" larger diameter than the shaft itself and the converter shaft had a slight grove worn around it. Seems whomever did the previous work screwed up and either reused the old bushing or didn't install it properly. He replaced the converter, bushing and pump seals. He felt confidant that was causing my leak problem. Why it only leaked when cold was probably just expansion after warmed up.

I paid $1000. bucks for the job, sound reasonable?
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Re: Transmission Leaks only on "very cold mornings."

Postby Leeann_93 » March 3rd 2011, 2:53am

To have someone else R&R, look it over, replace the bushing, converter and pump seals? I'd say it was worth it.
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