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Low on ATF, but high on coolant
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9C3
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 6:44 pm    Post subject:  Low on ATF, but high on coolant Reply with quote

My newly acquired 05 Impala seems to be a quart low of ATF, & the rad overflow tank seems to be high & have an oily substance in it. The engine oil is at the normal level, & looks fine. The ATF looks & smells fine, but it seems to have entered the cooling system. When I got the car, I flushed the cooling system, & there was oil [ATF] in it. 600 miles later, it seems to be back, & the ATF is low. The radiator looks like it was replaced, & not factory as it had a decal saying to make sure all the connectors are the proper size, but that paper tag doesn't come on real Delco radiators. So does it seem possible the ATF cooler tank in the rad is leaking? At least the coolant isn't going into the trans. Any experience with this? GARY

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:48 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

You are correct - the ATF cooler tank inside the radiator is leaking - which causes the ATF to mix with the coolant.

The coolant can also enter the ATF lines, although the fluid shows "low", and quickly RUIN your transmission.

You will have to replace the radiator with a quality unit, flush the engine coolant very well, and flush the transmission and lines.

This work should be done before the car is driven, or you may be facing huge repair bills.

Good luck.
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billy101
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 8:45 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Yes, definitely get that radiator out of there ASAP. We finally found out what made my OEM transmission go in my 2001 which was due to coolant getting into the trans fluid through the cooler....took the trans out in as little as 2k miles.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:04 pm    Post subject:  low on ATF Reply with quote

Genuine GM rad is best way to go. Cool

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ScottMPala
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:39 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Had this happen to a volvo at work. Stupid Performance Radiator. Performance Radiator spent 4700 to fix. 3 miles on that tranny with the new radiator. Even the smallest amount of water in the tranny can kill it.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 11:51 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

When I made the original post, I added a quart of ATF, & took the GF to dinner. I got home, & read the replies, & told her I'm not driving the car until this is fixed. The rad is an aftermarket CU2710. Like $79. While it keeps the car cool, it's crap. But the correct rad is a Delco 21555. GM # 15140505 which is made for 9C1, & 9C3 cars. About $300, but I have 30 year GM connections, & can probably get it for even less. Delphi also makes a rad RA20124, & they are also a GM supplier, & that rad is $188. It seems the rad was replaced & junk was put in before I got the car. But I have a few GM mechanics who will do the work off the books. GARY

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:48 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

It's Monday, & I made some calls. I can get a Delco HD rad for $318, or an aftermarket HD rad with a lifetime guarantee for $175. I called a tranny shop to ask about flushing the trans, & he strongly advised against it for reasons that were discussed here. He said drop the pan, & change the filter. Wow, an honest shop. I'm having my GM mechanic friend come over to look at the car. Do I buy the Delco rad, or the aftermarket? GARY

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:38 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Myself, I would bite the bullet and buy the GM one, but its your $$$$
What about a used one? Or being in the south, there must be many rad shops.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:54 pm    Post subject:  low on ATF Reply with quote

Already stated, due to problems that have arisen (documented on this forum) from not using a GM part. In this instance, I would spend the extra and get the GM rad. It is your $$, and you do get what you pay for. Peace of mind is priceless. Good luck. Cool

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:38 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

9C3 wrote:
It's Monday, & I made some calls. I can get a Delco HD rad for $318, or an aftermarket HD rad with a lifetime guarantee for $175. I called a tranny shop to ask about flushing the trans, & he strongly advised against it for reasons that were discussed here. He said drop the pan, & change the filter. Wow, an honest shop. I'm having my GM mechanic friend come over to look at the car. Do I buy the Delco rad, or the aftermarket? GARY


If your transmission fluid is contaminated, no matter in what concentration, removing the pan and changing the fluid and filter will NOT remove all the contaminated fluid. A significant amount remains in the torque converter and also the transmission fluid cooling lines.

If you do not have all the fluid flushed, the new fluid will be contaminated by the fluid that remained in the converter and lines.

I do not think the shop is honest - I think they are not competent, as they should know ALL of the contaminated fluid should be removed and replaced with new ATF.

Good luck.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:08 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

My mechanic friend just left. The ATF was nice & clean, so no coolant got into the tranny. Actually, there was no junk at the bottom of the pan, or on the magnet. The rad fit great, & was an aftermarket police unit. All went smoothly, & is back to normal with the car. I will have to flush the coolant again to get the last of the ATF out, as I'm sure the last bit will loosen up in the engine. I paid my friend $125 for the 4 hours of his labor. Job well done. GARY

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:42 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

9C3 wrote:
The ATF was nice & clean, so no coolant got into the tranny.

Good luck there, pal.

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PushrodPower
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:59 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Dan wrote:
9C3 wrote:
The ATF was nice & clean, so no coolant got into the tranny.

Good luck there, pal.


Have any suggestions? I'm sure it would help.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:42 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

PushrodPower wrote:
Dan wrote:
9C3 wrote:
The ATF was nice & clean, so no coolant got into the tranny.

Good luck there, pal.


Have any suggestions? I'm sure it would help.

If he doesn't want to flush it with a detergent added, then drain, refill, and flush again, and once more at 5000mi... and I get the feeling he won't, since most of you are adverse to the trans flush... then no, I got nothin. Drain and fill is useless on its own to fight the coolant off. I'd wager a 0% chance no coolant reached the trans, and since it's in there, it's been busy ruining clutches, bearings and seals. There's not much turning back. Not to be Johnny Raincloud over here, but you gotta be realistic about this stuff.

I think you know what I would have done with the car if it came across my desk.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:38 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Dan wrote:

I think you know what I would have done with the car if it came across my desk.


Wholesale it? Laughing

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