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  #1  
Old 07-03-2014, 12:23 AM
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Stuck in Durango-Blown Transmission

After almost two weeks towing our 7500 pound (loaded) trailer from San Diego to Yellowstone, over to South Dakota and down into Colorado- a total of 2700 miles, everything came to a screeching halt yesterday afternoon. We had made it up and over Wolf Creek Pass (over 11,00 feet) without incident and were climbing a moderate and steady grade about 25 miles east of Durango, CO (our final destination for a couple of nights) in third gear (maybe 3200-3400 RPM) when the tow/haul light started blinking. I had my wife look it up in the owners manual and she told me that we needed to service the system immediately. I took that to mean as soon as we got to Durango. Within just a couple of minutes I could smell something burning. At the first opportunity I pulled into a pull-out. The cab immediately filled with smoke. I got the wife and kids out ASAP. There was transmission fluid everywhere...except around the transmission. Most of it was around the front passenger side wheel well. I assumed it had come from one of the lines to or from the cooler but could not identify an exact location. While waiting for the tow trucks, I uncoupled the trailer and attempted to move the truck forward. That was a no go. It would shift through reverse and neutral but drive was like a stone wall. Anyhow, Good Sam arranged to tow the truck to Durango Ford and the trailer to our campground. Got the call this morning that the transmission is fried and best case scenario is getting a new one on Monday. They have quoted me $5700 out the door. I am 800 miles from home with no local resources or connections. By the way, they told me that they think the transmission overheated and blew the fluid out the vent line...I watch that worthless temp gauge like a hawk and it never got close to the yellow zone. I have never had an issue with the transmission before and the truck only has 54,000 miles on it. The transmission was serviced less than 10,000 miles ago. What happened? Am I getting a reasonably fair price? By the way, up until this point, the trip had been amazing. That sure changed in a hurry!
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Last edited by JD'sBigredv10; 07-03-2014 at 12:44 AM. Reason: additional information
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  #2  
Old 07-03-2014, 08:52 AM
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I don't know what happened. I didn't get to see it, the Ford dealer did.

I do have a SWAG*. In that part of the country overheating transmissions are VERY common. They see one that lost the fluid and they think it overheated. From your description I think something happened to one of the cooler lines and that leaked out your fluid. Sometimes when that happens all you need to do is fix the leak and refill it and you're fine. Sometimes when that happens you need a new transmission.


*SWAG = Silly Wild ___ Guess
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Old 07-03-2014, 10:44 AM
Sancho Sancho is offline
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Would a scan gauge installed be a better way to watch the temp? How does the factory gauge operate?
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Old 07-03-2014, 04:05 PM
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Scan gauge will read actual transmission temperature. It is a very good way to read trans temp.

The factory gauge goes to the middle of normal once the trans gets warmer than 50F. It then goes to yellow at 230F, and red at 250F (I think - I could be off a little on this number.)
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Old 07-03-2014, 10:25 PM
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Went to the dealer today and spoke to the service manager. He told me that the technician inspected the cooler lines and they were fine. He then refilled the transmission and took it for a test drive. He said that it sounded like one of those New Year's Eve noisemakers that make the clacking sound when you spin them around. At one point he stopped and put the truck in park. He could never get it back in drive. The tow truck was called to get it back to the shop. The tech is speculating that it was mechanical failure within the transmission that caused the fluid to heat up and spit out. He never opened it up to see exactly what happened but has seen more than enough trannys to know that mine is cooked. Seems like everyone in town is making this a four day weekend so my only option would be to have it towed from the Ford dealer to another shop on Monday for a second opinion. Unfortunately, I am no mechanic. I rely on this web site for all of my technical knowledge. I am starting to believe that I just caught a really bad break. Either way, an accurate trans temp gauge will be installed when I get home.
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Old 07-03-2014, 11:25 PM
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I have a ScanGuage on my 2010 F-350 V-10 and it is worth its weight in gold. I can read actual transmission and coolant temperature and understand what is going on as I climb grades like Wolf Creek Pass. I tow a fifth wheel that is much heavier and taller than the TT you describe. I've never had an overheating issue but am confident that the ScanGuage would give me warning while the factory guages are more of an "after-the-fact" bit of information.
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Old 07-04-2014, 07:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JD'sBigredv10 View Post
The tech is speculating that it was mechanical failure within the transmission that caused the fluid to heat up and spit out. He never opened it up to see exactly what happened but has seen more than enough trannys to know that mine is cooked.
Keeping in mind that I can't see or hear it for myself, I think this tech knows what he's doing. From what you wrote I suspect that he is correct that the trans had a mechanical failure that caused the overheat.

A temp gauge would have given you a little warning, but in no way would have saved this transmission. I think the first thing that happened is that something broke, then the temp started to go up. A gauge might have given you enough warning to stop and cool the trans, which possibly could have prevented the tow, but not the failure.
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Old 07-04-2014, 09:25 AM
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Thanks for the replies and insight. I went on the Scangauge website and it looks like a great product. According to the site, there may be a source for the product right here in Durango. If so, I will get one before I make the 800 mile trip home. What is the safe operating temp range? At what point should you pull over and let the tranny cool?
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Old 07-04-2014, 12:00 PM
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I have a Scangauge II that I had in my 6.0 PSD and transferred into my new truck. It's a great tool and well worth the money. For the amount of data it provides, it's also a lot cheaper than buying physical gauges and a gauge pod and a lot less headache to install. Some guys like how cool the gauge pods look and will say the physical gauges are more accurate, but in my experience, the Scangauge is pretty dang close. Really close, actually.
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JD'sBigredv10 View Post
What is the safe operating temp range? At what point should you pull over and let the tranny cool?
You can go up to 220F all day long with no problems. You can go as high as 250F for no more than a half hour at a time.

If you need to cool the trans find somewhere safe to stop and idle or fast idle in park or neutral until it cools. NEVER shut the engine off with the trans overheated. That will cook it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mavic19 View Post
Some guys like how cool the gauge pods look and will say the physical gauges are more accurate, but in my experience, the Scangauge is pretty dang close. Really close, actually.
Physical gauges are NOT more accurate. They read in a different location, so the readings will rarely be exactly the same.
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Old 07-05-2014, 06:30 PM
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Very rare for a Torque shift to give it up. When was the last time you had the tranny serviced? Might not have helped in your case, but I have 142,000 miles and have an added external spin-on filter on the tranny line. Just in case.
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Old 07-05-2014, 10:14 PM
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I had it flushed at a Ford dealer about 10,000 miles ago. The 2005-2007s have an external filter. I changed it out at the same time as the flush. I am still shocked that I am in this position. I never expected the tranny to give out. I thought these things were close to indestructible. Anyways, today I decided to stop crying about it and just pretend that we are still on vacation. Picked up a rental car and went on with life. This is a beautiful part of the country and there are definitely worse places to be stuck. Unfortunately, my confidence in my truck is somewhat shaken...hopefully it will return eventually.
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Old 07-06-2014, 09:42 AM
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Are they rebuilding it or are you getting a complete new rebuilt? You might want to add a Transgo shift kit if they are rebuilding it.
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Old 07-06-2014, 10:28 AM
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Check the paperwork for that "flush" and make sure they used the right fluid.

Just a thought.
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Old 07-06-2014, 10:58 PM
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I am getting a re-manufactured transmission. I was told that everything but the shell is brand new. I believe it also comes with a new cooler. Ford backs it with a three year, unlimited mileage warranty. As for the fluid type, I will double check the paperwork. I do remember having a conversation with the service writer about using the correct fluid. I also had to convince her that the truck had a Torqueshift. She swore up and down that Ford never put the Torqueshift in a gas Superduty. She even called a mechanic over to prove her point. He climbed under the truck and announced that he didn't know what tranny he was looking at. I probably should have left at that point. I have never been back.
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Old 07-06-2014, 10:58 PM
 
 
 
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