Transmission Pan Leaking - What did I do?



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Thread: Transmission Pan Leaking - What did I do?

  1. #1
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    Transmission Pan Leaking - What did I do?

    Hi there ... hoping you all can help me out.

    I have a 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan SE 3.3L with 90k miles on it.
    I have done regular transmission pan and filter changes at 30k, 45k, and 60k with Ultra Black silicone and have had no leaks before this. However, since dropping and reinstalling the pan this time around at 90k, it's leaking out the rear (bottom) side of the pan, and I don't understand why.

    Here is what I have done so far (at 90k miles):
    1. Dropped the pan, removed the filter, and left to drip overnight
    2. Used a wire wheel to remove all gasket material from pan and bottom of tranny. Left lots of very small scratches from the wires, and the black finish on the pan is completely gone, replaced by a very shiny steel surface with lots of tiny scratches (but no large gouges that I believe would cause leaks), and I've done this every time before.
    3. Cleaned pan and transmission mating surfaces with WD-40, but can't remember if I did this before or not.
    4. Applied 1/8" of Ultra Black to pan (yes, inside bolt holes), waited 15min for tackiness, and then stuck on pan.
    5. Tightened bolts down a little more than finger tight, waited 1 hour, then torqued to 14 ft-lbs.

    I'm thinking it might be one of two things: (1) my repeated wire brushing of the pan may have compromised its ability to seal, or (2) that the WD-40 must be preventing the Ultra Black from sealing correctly, as I read on another forum that you should only use brake cleaner to clean the mating surfaces.

    What do you guys think??

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  3. #2
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    WD-40 no way. Contact or brake cleaner would be the way to go IMO. Unless you have deep scratches a sealant should easily fill any voids.

    Some good reports of the $3.00 or so NAPA gasket and no leaking issues so maybe try that. Sure can't beat that price and personally I don't like dealing with sealants anyway.
    2000 T&C AWD Limited, 3.8L, 150,000 miles and counting with complete drivers side strut tower replacement @ 135K miles
    ...Or as my kids call it "The Silver Bullet"
    98 GC LE AWD candy apple red over gray lower cladding...gone
    98 short wheelbase Caravan LE champagne gold metallic over gray lower cladding. 3.8L, loaded with HD everything and load leveling....gone in my divorce
    96 GC LE AWD candy apple red over gray cladding....bought back by Chrysler and replaced by the 98 LE AWD van

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    Well, I'm wondering why do you change the tranny oil & filter so frequently at 15K to 30K intervals... Are you a heavy duty user who tows a lot? Is the oil and filter really dirty or worn out when you change them?
    1995 Grand Caravan 3.8L - wrecked in hwy crash after a night of insomnia
    1999 Grand Caravan Sport - died of strut rust, kept it for 6 years - 30,000 miles
    2005 Grand Caravan SXT - 3.8L loaded with dvd, tow package, traction control, & load leveling, bought @ 126,764 mi for $5900
    1999 Honda Civic HX M/T - gets me 51.2 mpg hwy @ 70 mph in lean burn 5th gear [3000 rpm]. 26 mpg in horrendous Chicago
    city driving.

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    Nope, just paranoid about tranny failure ... I realize that I didn't need to change it at 45k ... but every 30k is the very LEAST that I would change it...

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    You like doing unnecessary work/maintenance?
    I have good news for you, you get to drop the pan again and this time use brake parts cleaner or electric parts cleaner if former is unavailable (you can use benzene in a pinch) but both surfaces must be oil and grease free or that silicone has nothing to grab onto..

    When you get tired of it, use a fluid extractor (vacuum) pump to replace just the fluid via dipstick or invest in a drain plug pan (hint: now is a good time to look for that doorman pan with a drain plug)

    BTW, if you check your owner's manual you'll see that you only need to service the trans at 60,000 mile intervals, for vehicles with ATF+4 from the factory (if following severe duty schedule)...
    relevant vehicle: '05 -=C=- T&C Ltd @~110K

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    I use paint thinner for this purpose and no problems. Change mine once a year which is 25 to 30k miles, I would call my driving extremely severe service (especially on the tranny) because I tow my work trailer almost daily.

    2011 Grand Caravan, 3.6, 112k miles
    2005 Grand Caravan SXT, 3.8 247k miles, Sold
    2002 Grand Caravan SE, 3.3, 166k miles, Sold

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    Kudos to you for servicing your transmission! Fresh, clean fluid and a new filter will NEVER hurt your transmission!

    As you can see from this heat chart, at 250 degrees fluid is good for about 25k miles... and in my '97 with a 30,000 GVW transmission cooler the temperature easily went up to 225 degrees in stop and go traffic. Without an auxillary cooler, I would imagine the temps are higher.



    Here's a good article about trans fluid temps: http://www.roscommonequipmentcenter....notes/nn15.pdf
    '11 Grand Caravan Crew 3.6 46k
    '11 Chevy Malibu 1LT 2.4 47k
    http://www.fuelly.com/driver/smgussey/
    2011+ tow package info: http://forum.chryslerminivan.net/showthread.php/23413

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    Quote Originally Posted by mdh49 View Post
    Nope, just paranoid about tranny failure ... I realize that I didn't need to change it at 45k ... but every 30k is the very LEAST that I would change it...
    How dirty is the transmission oil filter when you change it at 15K & 30K miles? What transmission oil filter do you use and what is the best one available for a Dodge G.C.?

    You should hop up your transmission pan with a Doorman pan that has a drain bolt, and then install a transmission oil gauge to it and your dashboard. Anyone from these:
    http://paceperformance.com/search-1....RATURE%20GAUGE

    I plan to get this one: http://paceperformance.com/i-6094285...eter-6549.html
    http://www.truckcustomizers.com/prod...ure-gauge.html
    1995 Grand Caravan 3.8L - wrecked in hwy crash after a night of insomnia
    1999 Grand Caravan Sport - died of strut rust, kept it for 6 years - 30,000 miles
    2005 Grand Caravan SXT - 3.8L loaded with dvd, tow package, traction control, & load leveling, bought @ 126,764 mi for $5900
    1999 Honda Civic HX M/T - gets me 51.2 mpg hwy @ 70 mph in lean burn 5th gear [3000 rpm]. 26 mpg in horrendous Chicago
    city driving.

  10. #9
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    smgussey- I wonder what type of fluid this chart is referring to? The ATF-4 our vans use is a synthetic and probably holds up better at high temps.

    2011 Grand Caravan, 3.6, 112k miles
    2005 Grand Caravan SXT, 3.8 247k miles, Sold
    2002 Grand Caravan SE, 3.3, 166k miles, Sold

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevioll View Post
    smgussey- I wonder what type of fluid this chart is referring to? The ATF-4 our vans use is a synthetic and probably holds up better at high temps.
    I don't know, but I figured a few bucks for trans fluid and a new filter every 25k or so wasn't going to cause me to go broke.

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