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Old 03-14-2005, 04:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Problem with my Ford F350 transmission pulling heavy load.

Hi all,

I have a question regarding a problem I am having with my 1999 Ford
F350. It is a 4x4 duallie with the powerstroke diesel. I bought this
truck used and did not know it had some performance enhancements added
to the engine and automatic transmission. Here is my problem:

I occasionally tow heavy loads. Usually I don't have any problems; the
truck is a beast and never breaks a sweat. However, twice now I have
towed a heavy load (once was a 10k# tractor, and the other time a 9k#
5th wheel) and the transmission dumped a bunch of transmission fluid
on the ground, presumably through the vent line.

This has occured under specific conditions. In both cases, I was
approaching a steep incline on gravel, and decided to put the truck in
4x4 mode to climb the grade. In both cases, the grade was about a
15-17% incline. I stop the truck, put in 4x4 mode, then start up the
grade. THe first time it was in reverse (and 4 wheel low), the second
time in first gear going forward. After about 30 seconds, I smell
transmission fluid and look under to see a waterfall of fluid from the
tranny.

The first time, I took it in under the extended warranty and had the
transmission replaced. However, now it has occured a second time with
a 6 month old transmission, so I am obviously thinking it doesn't have
to do with the transmission being bad.

The transmission has a Banks Transcommand installed, and the engine
has a Dyno Sources chip, which (according to the website) adds 75hp
and 162 lb/ft of torque. It also modifies the shifting settings.

I talked to a guy at Aamco, and he thought the dumping of fluid was
due to too much hydraulic pressure in the transmission, and the
pressure released through some sort of valve. This makes a bit of
sense, since the transcommand increases hydraulic pressure, the
increased torque, ~10k pound load, starting up a reasonably steep hill
from a dead stop, etc. I am just not convinced, and I would expect the
transmission to handle a load like that without dumping 3-5 quarts of
fluid on the ground.

The AAMCO guy said that no harm was done and to just replace the
fluid. ??? (On a side note, I was amazed a transmission guy told me my
transmission was fine after dumping all that fluid... easy money...)

What do you folks think? Is this common or reasonable? Anything I can
do to fix it? Should I ditch the chip? I would rather not, as I love
the performance enhancements... Do you think the transcommand and the
engine chip are conflicting / overboosting?

My current plan is to add a transmission oil cooler, and some gauges
for oil temp, pyrometer (exhaust temp), etc. I am looking for more
adgvice to make the truck more bulletproof.

Maybe I am just asking too much of it... pushing a 10k# trailer up a
hill with a 8400 pound truck may be too much for the Ford
transmission.

Thanks for any help,

Todd
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Old 03-14-2005, 04:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Problem with my Ford F350 transmission pulling heavy load.

Welcome to TDS. Your best source for information about your truck (Much more informed than most dealerships!). You need to realize you should never back up a grade like that with your tranny. It can fry in just a few minutes. There is too little cooling and I do not believe the torque convertor can lock up in reverse. Next get a tranny temperature gauge. Your OEM gauge if equipped is an idiot gauge with three positions. Cold, normal and toast. Read this! After this last incident, I would check the fluid. If it smell burned flush the entire system following this procedure.

On edit. Additional cooling might be a good idea. You need to see if you have an Oil to water cooler in addition to the oil to air tranny cooler. This was added to later model year trucks. You can add an otw cooler and/or replace your existing coolers with bigger V-10 or 6.0L oil to air coolers. Since you have a chipped truck and are out of engine warranty, you might contact some of the sponsors about reprogramming you PCM to shift better for heavy towing and give you the hp you need, I have not heard much about that chip but some are known to have problems with EGTs etc.
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Old 03-14-2005, 05:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Problem with my Ford F350 transmission pulling heavy load.

THanks for the advice! Since this is the second time it has occured, I am going to get more proactive about preventing this problem.

I guess my main question is is it normal/possible for a transmission to just puke fluid when pushing a load up a hill? I have never heard of that before; I would expect the tranny to fail... but I honestly don't know what "fail" means. Maybe the pukeing of fluid is the definition of "fail".

I just had the oil changed today, so I am probably SOL on smelling a burnt smell. I plan on having the tranny flushed in a week or so.

I really appreciate the help.

Todd
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Old 03-14-2005, 07:29 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Problem with my Ford F350 transmission pulling heavy load.

I don't think puking fluid is ever normal. This post will put you back at the top of the list, maybe somebody in the evening crowd will know more.
kevin
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Old 03-14-2005, 08:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Problem with my Ford F350 transmission pulling heavy load.

Puking fluid means it got hot I imagine. Like they said above,,reverse is the weak link on these. You can toast a tranny in a very short time. And reverse and drive use the same clutches so your done when you burn them up.
If your truck had power enhancements when you bought it....and you dont know for how many miles it had them. The chances are your transmissions days are numbered,,, [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shrug.gif[/img] Not to be all Doom and Gloom ..sorry. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/phoney.gif[/img]
Also I would not really depend on [ QUOTE ]
The AAMCO guy said that no harm was done and to just replace the
fluid. ??? (On a side note, I was amazed a transmission guy told me my
transmission was fine after dumping all that fluid... easy money...)


[/ QUOTE ] "A""A" Beep Beep MCO to do my 4R100 work...[img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/eek.gif[/img]
Where are you located at?
Call This guy,,,early in the mornings...about 8am or so See what he has to say about your situation.....
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Old 03-14-2005, 09:03 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Problem with my Ford F350 transmission pulling heavy load.

[ QUOTE ]
I talked to a guy at Aamco, and he thought the dumping of fluid was due to too much hydraulic pressure in the transmission, and the pressure released through some sort of valve. This makes a bit of
sense,

[/ QUOTE ]
That makes no sense what so ever. Obviously that AAMCO guy has never been inside of a transmisison. There is no valve that dumps fluid.

The reason it's dumping fluid is that the fluid is too hot. On the '99 trucks there wasn't a cooler in the radiator. At low speeds the torque converter is generating a HUGE amount of heat, and there isn't enough air at low speed to cool the trans cooler.

In 2001 Ford went back to the radiator cooler and the aux cooler. That's what you need.

Another thing to try is use 4x4 low in this situation. It will greatly reduce the load on the transmission and might keep it from overheating.
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Old 03-14-2005, 09:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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NEVER use AAMCO

I would NEVER use AAMCO for my transmission work after the last experience I had with them. I bought my truck used, had them go through the transmission, they stated no problems, filled it with fluid and off I went. Fortunately, I always check after people work on my truck (I know, I know, do the maintenance yourself). Transmission was SEVERELY overfilled. I went back to AAMCO, the guy stated that "there is no problem, just run it like that, there is a vent, and if there is too much it will just come out the vent. If you are really worried, I have an appointment available next week, but you'll have to pay for the new fluid, because I'll have to drain the pan and refill." NEVER AGAIN. Now having trans problems, can't afford BTS or Suncoast, so don't know where to take it.
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Old 03-14-2005, 09:24 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: NEVER use AAMCO

Just read the posting rules about flaming stores or vendors, so I won't feel bad about my above post being deleted or edited by a moderator. Just my experience with AAMCO.
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Old 03-15-2005, 02:13 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Problem with my Ford F350 transmission pulling heavy load.

What ever you do or want to do, never never never NEVER NEVER NEVER get near aamco.
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Old 03-15-2005, 04:27 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Problem with my Ford F350 transmission pulling heavy load.

[ QUOTE ]
Now having trans problems, can't afford BTS or Suncoast, so don't know where to take it.


[/ QUOTE ]
[img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/biggrin.gif[/img]You cant afford NOT TO go to BTS,,,if your going to keep your truck,,,,cause ya will need another rebuild in the future,,if you go stock,,or go to Beep Beep MCO!!! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/eek.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/biggrin.gif[/img] BTS is the ONLY way to go,,,so darned worth the money you wouldnt believe it...if you got to WATCH him rebuild it...and listened and absorbed all the things he told you he fixed on these... sheesh.. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/phoney.gif[/img] Scary....My BTS is [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smokin.gif[/img]
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Old 03-15-2005, 04:55 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Problem with my Ford F350 transmission pulling heavy load.

Willie...welcome to the boards.

As stated before...backing up huge loads with a stock 4R100 is never good. As to smelling if its burnt...just pull the dipstick and give it a whiff. Is it still bright red or turning a brownish color? Does it smell like normal ATF or have that roasted smell to it?

If you have a 99...chances are you only have the oil to air cooler...unless the previous owner had the TSB done. Its easy to determine. Just look at the tranny lines under the truck and see if there is a line that runs into the radiator...then from the radiator to your oil to air cooler out front...then back to the tranny. You can get a wonderful aux tranny cooler from Bob Riley. I did that and haven't had heating problems since. You can click in my pictures to see where its mounted.

Get your tranny flushed ASAP, and if possible fill with synthetic Mobil 1 ATF...just be sure to use Mercon...not Mercon V or Mercon/Mercon V rated fluid. The synth will handle the heat a bit better. Hard to tell if you have done damage to your tranny or not.

If you need to get another tranny...there are many viable options that will only cost slightly more than a rebuilt Ford unit. There is a huge BTS following on the board. A new player is the Monster Box . Both achieve the end goal of having an awesome tranny.

Dave
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Old 03-15-2005, 08:21 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Problem with my Ford F350 transmission pulling heavy load.

On my 99 when the trans over heated it also vented oil out like yours. Ford replaced the trans with a rebuilt unit under warranty. At that time when Ford replaced a trans they also replaced the radator with the upgraded radator that had the oil to water cooler. If you are pulling at slow speeds the air to oil coolers can't have much of a chance to do their job. The 99's really need the water to oil cooler like the later models, Ford knows it and should have already done it, maybe already have.

Also if your trans went south it is nearly impossible to get the small pieces out of the cooler(s) and will ruin the next transmission when they come floating by. The coolers on my truck were replaced when they did the warranty work, check and see if Ford replaced the coolers on yours with the new trans. And get the water to oil cooler if you don't already have one for the slow speed work.
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Old 03-15-2005, 10:11 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Problem with my Ford F350 transmission pulling heavy load.

What kind of concerned me is that there are all these power mods. and it dosn't allready have gauges. Make me wonder how the previous owner new if he was overheating turbo or tanny. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shrug.gif[/img] I would get gauges asap.

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jon [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smokin.gif[/img]
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Old 03-15-2005, 12:10 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Problem with my Ford F350 transmission pulling heavy load.

Hi all,

Wow, the response from everyone is fantastic. I really appreciate the help! I'll be watching this board more often.

I am going to install the gauges and the tru-max cooler; it sounds like heat was the direct problem. I just hope I didn't fry the tranny. I'll get the upgrades added in, and then keep a close watch on tran performance. At the moment, the 5th wheel is stationary. I used it to live in while building a house, and now my brother and sister in law are using while building their house. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] Once it is free, I will take it out for some test drives around town and watch the temp gauge and transmission performance... All while crossing my fingers. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

On the gauges: What's the standard setup? I am thinking pyro & tran temp at the minimum... what's the recommended third gauge? turbo boost sounds like it is fun to watch, though of limited value. Engine oil temp?

On a sad side note, when I had the transmission replaced under the extended warranty the first time, the shop sent back the Mag hytech extra capacity transmission pan with the core. That was probably how the previuous owner expected to cool the tranny. I should have raised hell when they sent it back, but I was already raising hell to get them to cover the repair. I bought the truck from a dealer used, and extended warranty explicitly states that after market modifications void all warranties. I bought the truck with all the modifications in place but how do you prove that? Newbie move... now I know what to look for.. but at the time I didn't realize there were so many after market upgrades. I would never have bought a truck with so many modifications, as it eaither means the previous owner was likely a heavy tow-er, or a hot rodder, both of which are red flags on a used vehicle IMO.

THanks all,

Todd
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Old 03-20-2005, 08:03 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Problem with my Ford F350 transmission pulling heavy load.

Just encounteed a similar problem on my sons' 2K 350 PSD. After hard run pulling a decent load (7500#)it would spray fluid out the breather. Didn't matter if it was forward or reverse, it would spay fluid.

We found the factory trans cooler caked with dirt. A small leak/seep at one of the connections had caused it to cake up with dirt/dust. Air flow was reduced by at least 50/60%. No air flow - No cooling.

We removed the unit and cleaned the fins with a degreaser and water spray. (Voice of experience here) - don't use very high water pressure - it bends the vanes and you'll spend the next 30 minutes straigntening them out. Finally we reinstalled it and also added an auxilary cooler in front of the A/C condenser and that seems to have solved the overheating problem.

Thought maybe someone else could benefit from this. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smokin.gif[/img]
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[img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img] <font color="red">R E M E M B E R:</font color> [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]
<font color="red">If it don't move & should, use WD-40.
If it moves & shouldn't, use Duct Tape.
</font color>
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