We're in a safe spot for the night. A little disappointed right now but safe. Needing input. We are in a Ford V-8 small 5.4 engine,Crew Cab,Long Bed. with a Host 9.5 Rainier camper on our back.
Came on hwy 120. Got to the top of the 5 mile uphill portion and made it to the truck repair at Big oak Flat. Transmission fluid had just started to come out of the seal. We were seeing plenty of smoke and thought for a moment we were on fire. After talking to the guys at the truck repair, we did a test drive to see if the seal would hold. It's still dripping a bit so we're parked for the night in the truck repair lot. We've got just enough internet to send this.
Truck repair guys say we should NOT try to go to Yosemite.
The Ford repairs placed 30 miles back are booked to next week. Our reservations in Yosemite was for 3 nights. 17th, 18th, 19th. I called them and cancelled for tonight.
Should we believe these repair guys and not go forward in the morning? They seem nice enough guys. They are advising us to get the work done in a FORD shop so that the work is guaranteed at any Ford shop as we continue on our four month trip. (Yosemite was the first big stop and the only place I made reservations at.)
I don't know what a tranny seal does... is it supposed to let the tranny fluid vent from the seal and then go back into place once it cools and then it's good to go???? Or is it a potential disaster until I have it looked at by a Ford Dealership??
I guess we could drive back down in the morning (schedule a repair) and try to rent a car for a day trip into Yosemite and forget the camping but is that worth it??
A bad transmission seal causes an oil leak. But, you already know this. The oil leak can cause two things: 1. Loss of trans oil can cause an overall trans failure $$$., 2. Leaking oil on hot surfaces can cause a fire. If it were me I'd get it fixed if possible. But I'd also consider getting the camper to the campsite somehow and enjoying the days without the truck. Good Luck.
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If your transmission seal was leaking badly enough that you thought you were on fire, then I'd say the guys in the shop are probably right. You might make it down into the valley, but you'd never make it back up. Especially not with the camper on there, and almost certainly even without. That is a BIG leak.
And no, that seal is not supposed to vent. Its function is to keep the transmission oil inside the transmission. If it vents, it means your transmission got so hot the seal failed, and that is bad. For it to do that just as you reached the top of a long climb suggests that your transmission cooler is either not working or not present, either way, no more hill climbing until you get that issue fixed.
The PROBLEM with getting to the campsite THEN getting the truck repaired is that the campsite may well be reserved for someone else after the three days are up. You will NEED the truck to get the camper out of there and INTO some other place. I'd call the wrecker and have the rig hauled back for repairs. If all you have is a blown seal you may not have done any damage to the transmission itself but driving it low of oil and you sure could. From the way it's described, it must be leaking pretty badly. It's a bummer of a situation anyway you cut it but sometimes it's best to just cut your losses.
Good luck / Skip
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I would cancel the trip and limp or ride to the Ford dealer to swap in a factory reconditioned transmission. I would get in sooner than later so the transmission could be ordered in and wait for the technition.
There is always the Ahwahnee hotel Or possible get into one of the tent cabins if you really want to continue the stay. Best to rent a vehicle and not take the truck.
Since this is the start of a four month trip, just get your truck fixed. When you have a firm date on repair completion, re-book at Yosemite and begin your adventure a few days late.
Also, I had a similar problem on a GMC truck a few years ago. I saw smoke coming from the rear while pulling a trailer through the Branson area. I had transmission fluid coming out the overflow and burning on the exhaust. The GMC dealer said I needed a new transmission, but the transmission was working just fine. The fluid had been changed about 20,000 miles before this incident, by a GMC dealership, but I discovered that they had just flushed fluid and not changed the filter. I replaced the filter and my problem went away. That was at 89,000 miles, now I'm at 155,000 miles and the transmission still works great.
Good luck on your trip.
been there done that and constantly fretted over the temp of the transmission the whole time. I even bought an extra tranny cooler and rigged up a water mister to cool the cooler.
The oem seal in the front of the tranny is crap. The replacement is much better but you have to pull the transmission to swap it out. It's a frigging $3 part too. The pirates in quartzsite wanted $900 just to pull the transmission and put the seal in.
If you let it cool down it should stop leaking. But once it hits that magic temp, it will start dumping fluid again. And will continue to dump it until you shut the engine off. The tranny's pump sits right behind that seal and it softens up and then leaks when hot. So shut the motor off as soon as you can and let it cool down. Pouring water over the tranny cooler (in between the air conditioner coil and the radiator down at the bottom helps to speed that up.
Mine would work fine until the tranny temp hit 200 degrees (via a scanguage II) Then if I just pull over and shut it off till it cooled back down it would leak at a lower temp like 190, then 180.
See if the shop will quote you to swap the seal. If they offer less than 400 grab it. In the mean time buy all the mercon V you can at walmart.