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Jared D
Jared D, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 1218
Experience:  Shop Supervisor at County Fleet
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My 1996 E150 has an oily brown sludge in the radiator. Never

Customer Question

My 1996 E150 has an oily brown sludge in the radiator. Never happened before. Has less than 100,000 miles.
JA: Sometimes things that you think will be really complicated end up being easy to fix with a Ford. The Ford Mechanic I'm going to connect you with knows all the tricks and shortcuts. Tell me a bit more about what's going on so he can help you best.
Customer: I have a brown oily sludge in the radiator of my 96 Ford E150. What is the cause.
JA: Are you hoping to fix this yourself?
Customer: Yes
JA: Great! What have you tried so far?
Customer: Just ran a cleaner through it so see if it re-occurs
JA: Is there anything else the Ford Mechanic should be aware of about your Ford?
Customer: Not that I know of.
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Ford Mechanic about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Ford
Expert:  Jared D replied 6 months ago.
Hi,Does your truck have an automatic transmission?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Does an auto tranny have anything to do with oily brown sludge in the radiator?
Expert:  Jared D replied 6 months ago.
Ok. It's possible that what you are seeing is transmission fluid in your coolant. The transmission cooler is inside the radiator on this truck and occasionally the transmission cooler will fail, causing it to leak fluid into the coolant.This can be a problem if the coolant is also getting into the transmission cooler. The transmission fluid will be come contaminated and it can damage the transmission.
Expert:  Jared D replied 6 months ago.
Check your transmission fluid to see if it is creamy and foamy looking. If it is then you will want to change the radiator, then flush the coolant and transmission fluid to avoid damage to the transmission.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
If that is the problem then the transmission fluid would show some of the same sludge in it, right?
Expert:  Jared D replied 6 months ago.
Transmission fluid in the coolant doesn't really hurt anything- it just makes a brown or pinkish sludge in the radiator. However, the coolant in the transmission is bad news.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Ok, thanks, I'm done
Expert:  Jared D replied 6 months ago.
Sometimes the coolant won't enter into the transmission fluid. The transmission fluid pumps at about 80-150 PSI while the coolant usually only reaches 12-18 psi at the most. That means that the coolant has a much harder time getting into the transmission fluid.
Expert:  Jared D replied 6 months ago.
I wanted to check and see if you needed any additional help. Please don't forget to rate.
Expert:  Jared D replied 5 months ago.
Please don't forget to rate.