Saturday was a bad day.

The wife and I was returning home from a local cruise when ol Blue started reving up going down the interstate. Yep, something gave out on the old tranny. The underside of the car is soaked with tranny fluid along with the rear of the car. It lost it fast, by the time I got to the exit, there was no movement. Pulled the dipstick, empty.

I thought maybe one of the rubber hoses in the cooling lines gave out but I can't see anything wrong with them.  Of course its hard to tell since its all wet. The front ones going to the  rad. appear to be in tact and the front part of tranny is fairly dry. Can't figure where it would have leaked out so fast.

I'm sure its probably toast so guess I'll be looking for a rebuilder.

Tom B

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Comment by Russ Austin on July 23, 2015 at 7:57am

Tony is correct on using the correct hose. It will be a transmission cooler hose.  Regular fuel line will soften up from the trans fluid, and the pressure pill push the hose off of the nipple.  I have a very large and long trail of transmission fluid in front of my house, from the neighbors 57 Chevy truck.

If your in a pinch, it will get you down the road and back home, but always use whats recommended.

Comment by Tom Bahner on July 22, 2015 at 8:27pm

Well, after a little over 7quarts of ATF, I finally got it full. Took it out for a 10 mi. drive and all appears to be well. Still full and no leaks when I got back, shifted smooth and even kicked it into passing gear.

Oh a second note, not sure if I should name names but, Haggerty took good care of us on the emergency service. A flatbed picked us up on the interstate within an hour. Very happy with their response.

Thanks again all for your advice, suggestions, and support.

Tom B. 

Comment by Jason Edge on July 22, 2015 at 2:05pm

Title of this thread should be changed to Good Day in Cad-Ville! :-) Congrats on the easy fix.

Comment by Tony and Ginny 429 on July 22, 2015 at 1:55pm
Do be sure to use the correct type of replacement hose for the trans
Comment by Tony and Ginny 429 on July 22, 2015 at 1:51pm
This is a wake up call to change all tranny hoses ,fluid and vacuum lines ,the fluid itself , to prevent this problem before it might happen to you
The cost of a few hoses and a bit of your time , is Very cheep insurance ,to keep your tranny sound for the future
The Turbo 400 is known to be a super reliable , bullet proof trans
I do know if the fluid level in the trans drops some ,you will loose a forward gear ,but replacing the fluid will bring it right back
Comment by Jeff Kinzler on July 22, 2015 at 12:02pm
Its a good thing you listened to me LOL! I'm glad you found the problem and were able to fix it.

Seriously, no rubber parts were ever intended to last for 50 years.

If you intend to drive your car and not have an adventure llke this--every rubber part
from the tires (includng replacing the spare) to the fuel, brake, power steering, vacuum, power brake hoses, radiator and heater hoses should all be renewed for safety and reliability.
If you have a Turbo Hydramatic the vacuum modulator and its vacuum hose should be replaced for reliability.

In some cases there are steel lines that could need replacement due to deterioration and rusting as well.

Also insulation on wires dries out and cracks so while you're in there check your battery cables and essential electrical parts on the ignition system.

Most of this would be cheaper than getting towed in a few times if you didn't have towing insurance-- which makes sense with an old car.
Comment by Tony Albarella on July 22, 2015 at 8:20am

Congratulations Tom! That's the simplest and cheapest fix you could have asked for. You really dodged a bullet, there, much as I did a while back. Losing gears and hearing scary trans noises always causes one to assume the worst, but these transmissions are tougher than we might think...and they do not like to run low on fluid. Luckily, it seems they pretty much just shut down before doing serious damage to themselves.

Don't fret the fluid reading. You'll probably need to add several quarts before you see it register. The system holds 10 quarts, and remember, since your car was running when you blew the line, you were not just leaking fluid but pumping it out. After dropping the pan and draining the torus, I think I had to add at least six quarts before it appeared on the dipstick.

Good luck going forward...and reverse!

Comment by Tom Bahner on July 22, 2015 at 7:49am

Well, after a couple quarts of ATF, found a 1" split in one of the 4" rubber hoses on one of the cooling lines. Replaced both hoses at tranny and added a couple more quarts to get it to register on the dip stick.

To my amazement, she moved, both forward and reverse. Will replace both hoses going to rad. today and top the fluid off. I'm questioning the reading on the dipstick. After 5 qts. still reads at "add 1 pint" level on the dipstick at idle. Guess I'll keep adding a pint at a time till it registers  full. Then a road test to see how it shifts.

So, I'm thankful for two things, that I had it towed home instead of to a shop - a rough storm rolled through Sat. night so it would have been sitting out, and for all the sage advice from all the fine folks on this site so ol Blue will travel another mile or three..

Guess I should have replaced them when I read Matthew's blog. How much pressure are the power steering hoses under?  I'm questioning if they need replaced?? I've replaced about all the rubber mechanical stuff now except them.

Will post results of road test later.

Tom B

Comment by Tony Albarella on July 20, 2015 at 9:56pm

I can vouch for what Matthew said - I had a similar experience with my '63 (a Jetaway). While out on the road I lost fluid because of a leak and also lost reverse and one of the forward gears. I assumed internal damage had resulted but once I changed the filter and pan gasket, the trans bounced right back. Hopefully the same thing happened to you, Tom, and all you need to repair is the leak.

Comment by Tom Bahner on July 20, 2015 at 9:01pm

Thanks all for your suggestions, Its worth a try, I'll throw some down its throat and see if I can determine the leak source an if I get any movement. It was working great before we lost the fluid

Will keep you all posted.

Thanks Tom B.


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