A silent killer of automatic transmissions or gearboxes is water or coolant mixing with automatic transmission fluid (ATF). This dilemma employed to be observed in older automobiles with neglected engine cooling systems, but is becoming popular in later model automobiles and trucks that have followed their upkeep schedules. The outcome is generally the very same: the transmission need to be totally overhauled or replaced.
Can the Contaminated Fluid be Cleaned Out Prior to Harm Happens?
Just about every single automatic transmission on the road these days makes use of cellulose primarily based paper lined plates referred to as clutches or frictions. These clutches act like brakes for moving and stopping unique elements inside the gearbox. When the shifter is placed into drive or reverse, it is the frictions that are getting applied.
The paper that lines the clutch plates is a quite delicate material that is glued to a steel backbone. Prior to the paper is glued to the plate, it has the strength and consistency of a graham cracker. After the material is bonded, it becomes a great deal stronger and can final a quite extended time below standard operating situations.
The clutch material is Hygroscopic. This signifies when the clutches are exposed to moisture, the paper material will displace ATF for water. That moisture reaches the steel plates causing rust, and breaks down the glue that bonds the paper to the plate. A study accomplished by International Lubricants Inc about the effects of water exposed to automatic transmission clutches states, “The testing indicated that water added at levels as low as 600 mg/kg migrated to the surface of untreated paper frictionals and contributed to loss of the paper coating and erratic torque transfer properties.” In laymen's terms, that signifies much less than a tablespoon of water or engine coolant in a transmission can result in a failure.
How Did Water Get There?
There are 3 strategies water can enter a transmission:
- By means of the engine's radiator. From the 1950's to now, most automatic gearboxes are cooled with the very same water primarily based technique that keeps the engine from overheating. There is a separate tank in the radiator for transmission fluid that makes it possible for the coolant to take heat away from the ATF with out mixing the two liquids. When a leak happens among the ATF and engine coolant tanks in the radiator, the fluids will mix with each and every other. It was additional popular in older automobiles that had eroded cooling systems due to neglect, but some of today's newer automobiles are working with supplies that are failing since of stress issues in the cooling technique.
- Exposure to deep water. Driving via huge puddles in the course of rain storms or off road driving can expose the transmission's breathing technique to moisture. The greatest opportunity of stopping a failure is to check for water in the ATF following a automobile has been in this sort of situation.
- Moisture getting into via the dipstick. Most automobiles have a dipstick exactly where ATF is checked and added. Moisture can simply enter the transmission if the dipstick was sprayed with water in the course of an engine cleaning, or in some instances, water draining from rain or a carwash drips onto the dipstick. GM and Chrysler have bulletins pertaining to this dilemma on some models of their automobiles. Certified shops will have access to verify for these forms of bulletins. A inform tale sign of this dilemma is moisture or rust about the dipstick tube.
Replace or Rebuild?
It depends on how a great deal water mixed with the transmission fluid, how extended the automobile was driven with the contaminated ATF, and the sort of gearbox your automobile has. Metal and electronic components inside the transmission will promptly corrode when exposed to moisture. If there is also a great deal harm inside of the gearbox, the price of the components to rebuild the trans will exceed the price of replacing the unit with a remanufactured solution. Some makers like Nissan and Chevy have computer systems inside of the gearbox that will fail when exposed to moisture. These computer systems or mechtronics price as a great deal as $two,000 and that does not contain rebuilding the rest of the unit. When components price that a great deal, it is normally a improved selection to replace the gearbox totally.
To sum factors up, if water gets in a transmission, there is no way to get about an high-priced repair. Flushing the fluid out will only price you additional income and can make the inevitable failure come about sooner. Service the engine's cooling technique on a regular basis and ask a experienced transmission mechanic if your automobile is popular for this sort of failure. If it is, bypass the radiator with an external oil cooler.