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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We're having shifting problems in our 05 5.7 equipped WK. Checked the fluid today, and to my horror, the dipstick is covered in milky, pink fluid. It doesn't smell like ATF.

My initial searching tells me the transmission is likely toast. Bummer. We're approaching readiness to cut our losses with this Jeep.

Does anyone have any idea how water/coolant/something else could have gotten into the transmission? Could the A/C condenser be leaking refrigerant into the trans cooler?

I replaced some leaky trans cooler lines a while back, and supposedly the owner had drained the trans, replaced filter, etc, shortly before we acquired the vehicle. Beyond that the vehicle history is unknown.

Is it worth trying to flush the transmission with ATF? I replaced the rubber sections of the cooler lines with clamped hoses; so it wouldn't be terribly difficult to run a line from them. I've never had an automatic before, but I've watched a few videos suggesting you can flush the transmission by running the engine with one of the lines dumping old fluid to a bucket while simultaneously pouring in new fluid.

I'll end my rambling now. Anyone have any idea how water gets into the transmission of a 5.7 WK? It's my wife's vehicle so unless they installed a moat in front of the gym or target it's not been through any deep water crossings...
 

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I am not certain if the trans cooler is stand alone or connected to the radiator on this vehicle but if it is married to the radiator the section inside the radiator has failed letting coolant into the trans. How does the coolant look??
 

· The beast from Brazil
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Most probably the transmission fluid cooler inside the radiator is leaking. You could have some transmission fluid into the coolant now as well, because when starting up, the pressure in the cooler is higher then in the not yet pressurized cooling system.
Other then that the seal on the transmission from the dipstick tube or the seal from the solenoid pack connector.
You could indeed flush the transmission by removing the cooler line toward the cooler and let the engine run. It goes quite quickly in that way, so keep an eye on the fluid level. In that way you also get the fluid out of the torque converter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The transmission cooler in our WK is built into the A/C condenser, not the radiator. Could A/C refrigerant leak into the transmission through the cooler.

I'm not sure how I would check for leaks at the dipstick tube or solenoid pack besides purging the bad fluid, and periodically checking the fluid levels thereafter.

Does anyone know the likelihood that purging the contaminated fluid alone would be successful? I've found a lot of posts that say this generally indicates the transmission is toast. I have a feeling every mechanic I speak with about doing any work is going to tell me I need a new transmission or torque converter.
 

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This happened to me but what happened was I took the jeep in for tranny service and the tech used bulk antifreeze instead of transmission fluid, so needless to say the tranny was toasted but they tried flushing the tranny twice and it didn't help shifting at all. So I rebuilt it with eagle clutches and performance converter, it cost me 2,800 and they only covered 500 bucks, I threatened suit but I never went through with it, does your tranny vibrate in overdrive and hit hard going into second? That's what mine was doing. If there is antifreeze in the tranny it's inevitably going too have to be rebuilt, grab yourself a fluid tester and check the fluid with it and it will show you what the fluid has in it. Mine had 1,000,000 parts ethyl antifreeze to 100 parts fluid so it was rally bad.
 

· The beast from Brazil
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Eventhough any other fluid in the transmission then the proper ATF is not good for the transmission, i think that tranny shops and also the stealer too easy say that the tranny has to be changed. I would give the flushing a try and see how it would go from there.
Is the AC working ok, because if you lost refrigerant in the amount that it would influence the operation of the tranny, it probably doesn' t do anything anymore.
The dipstick tube is on the right hand side of the tranny, but difficult to access with the tranny in place. Maybe a small inspection mirror could help.
The solenoid block connector is on the left hand side, but the seal itself is.on the inside. Would not expect this one to start leaking suddenly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I stopped by a local Jeep mechanic this morning to talk about it. He also suggested perhaps someone put the wrong kind of fluid into the transmission. Quoted me $1500-$1800 to install a junk yard trans. He asked if we did any deep water crossings (we don't). He said he'd never seen one fill with fluid as I described, and that it seemed like quite the mystery. Lucky us I guess.

The AC is still working fine. I'm at a loss. I don't want to pay someone $1000 to install a used, $800 transmission. But I'm not eager to drop a transmission in my garage.
 

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I would do as suggested above, and try the drain and refill.

If some sort of contaminant got in there, or it was filled with the wrong type it may not have caused irreparable damage and this could be all that is needed.

It will certainly be worth the 30min required and the cost of the transmission fluid to give it a shot.

Even if your transmission is toast already, without knowing what caused it, if it was a result of water getting in through the dipstick seal or contamination through the cooler lines, or some other such thing replacing the transmission isn't going to solve those problems and you may wreck the replacement. If you replace the fluid and the contamination re-appears, you know you have to figure out where it is coming from and a simple swap may not fix things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I have to admit I didn't understand what was meant by "unload the Jeep." Thanks to the comments of anyoldiron I now understand. I couldn't sell it to someone in this condition without telling them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Update: AC line was building condensation, running down the line, and pooling around the dipstick tube on top of the transmission. So, freaking rubber seal around the dipstick tube cost us $1800. Woohoo.
 

· The beast from Brazil
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I'm almost sure they have to drop the tranny to get to the dipstick seal. I rebuild my transmission last year and can tell you that this seal was not that easy to get in place. Or at least its not difficult to get the seal on the dipstick tube, but to get it then aligned and into the transmission was quite a struggle. I had to do it on my own, so probably an extra pair of hands would have helped.
It seems that there was a service bulletin regarding this water contamination via the dipstick tube. Have a look for it, you never know if guarantee will cover it.
 
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