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Doug in North Carolina
Doug in North Carolina, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 302
Experience:  ASE Master Mechanic, 12 Years Experience Specializing in HVAC, Electrical and Driveability Problems.
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1997 dodge caravan 3.0 engine auto transmission. For some

Customer Question

1997 dodge caravan 3.0 engine auto transmission. For some odd reason I am loosing coolant and I loosing it in the strangest place. I am loosing coolant from the transmission? Right behind the bell housing, and in front of the vehicle, under the battery is a electrical wire harness and on the transmission is a "Plug" maybe? This plug seems to have some spring tension to it. Anyway when I pour water into the radiator, water comes from this plug on the transmission. I have no idea why water would be coming from the transmission, or what this plug is? Can you help. Thanks in advance.

Chris Sodini
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Dodge
Expert:  brownjeff replied 7 years ago.
There are freeze plugs in the engine between the engine and transmission. The plugs are there so if the coolant would freeze it will push out the plugs and not crack the block. You will need to replace the plug to correct the problem.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
This is not a freeze plug. This looks more like a brake caliper screw with a cap on it and it is not in the engine, it is clearly on the transmission. But when water is poured into the radiator, it comes from this plug/screw on the transmission. Located under the vehicle's battery and on what would be the left side of the transmission. Behind the bell housing, and behind the left headlight under the battery. I know it doesn't make any sense, but this is where it is coming from. Any ideas?
Expert:  brownjeff replied 7 years ago.
The transmission doesn't use coolant so it is coming from the engine. Either a head gasket, intake gasket, or freeze plug is leaking and it is traveling to the transmission bell housing and coming out there.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I checked the engine oil, it is not milky looking like it would be if it had coolant mixed with it. The transmission fluid is dirty and probably should be changed, but if it had water in it, it should look like a strawberry milkshake and it doesn't. This place where the water is very visibly and clearly coming from is right behind and below the transmission kick down cable, right below the battery, left side of the transmission, behind the left headlight. I know it sounds crazy as hell but this is where the water is coming from. It is not trickling down from the heads or intake across the bell housing and pooling in this spot. It is coming from this "Plug or screw" right behind and below the kickdown cable bracket. Call me crazy, but that is where it is coming from.
Expert:  brownjeff replied 7 years ago.
? Guess I don't know......I will send your questions to the other experts and see if they can help.
Expert:  Doug in North Carolina replied 7 years ago.
Chris, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I've been looking for decent pictures of the transmission for your van. I've found one but it's not that great but I thought I'd throw it out there while I continue to search for more. We're only worried about the transmission on the right since it's the automatic. If you were to cut the transmission in half from top to bottom, does the leak show up on the right or left of center? graphic

I'm going to keep searching for better pictures and for ones that actually fit your application but these two are for the 3.0L Mitsubishi engine used in several Chrysler products.

The first thing that came to mind for me was the coolant bypass hose which goes from the back of the water pump which is on the front of the engine and goes under the intake and mounts to the top of the transmission, where the arrow is pointing to on the one labeled "Auto Trans". From your description, it doesn't sound like this is the place of your leak but I'm not sure.

If I'm not able to help then I can also opt out but the more information we can collect the better we can help the next expert.
Let me know,