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sprinkles08, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Transmissions
Satisfied Customers: 23116
Experience:  Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep master tech ASE Master and Advanced Certified, Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep Master Certified, Trans Specialist
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Buick leSabre: I have a 2000 LeSabre, 242k with 25k on a rebuilt

Customer Question

I have a 2000 LeSabre, 242k with 25k on a rebuilt transmission. I have a transmission fluid leak that occurs after the car has been running. I estimate 2l of fluid under the car.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Transmissions
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
After driving the car for 30 minutes, I parked it, left it running to try and tell where the fluid was coming from. According to the dipstick, there was little to no loss of fluid while drivfing. The care idled for 15-20 min and a couple of drops of fluid fell. After turning off the car, a couple of liters of fluid leaked. Reservoir gasket, similar to oilpan leaks? The cost of the repair is of interest, due to the miles on the car.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Additional information on transmission: For a couple of months, periodically, shifting from 2nd to 3rd has been rough, and is accompanied by a "clunk.' Didn't notice any pattern. Gas mileage has been much worse for the last two tanks. The fluid must have leaked out slowly from the transmisison, no new spots on the street where it is parked. Three weeks ago, the transmission would not engage initially at all. When it did, there was alot of slipping. Fluid levels were checked then, and a gallon and a half of fluid added. It ran fine until two days ago, and the fluid puddle started. Refilled with fluid, got another puddle. Then.......what I have already told you about today. The picture looks to be somewhat grim - sign of failure. All else on the car is working well. It makes sense to see if this is something minor or major before pursuing any action.Thank you very much.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome to Justanswer!
It may not be a major issue. There may be internal damage caused by driving it with the loss of fluid but the shifting issues may have just been happening because of the low fluid level and it will be ok again once the leak is repaired.
The leak may be quite a few things and the first thing that should be done is locate where the fluid is coming from. It could be coming from the pan, a leaking cooler line or fitting, there could be physical damage to the case, it could be an axle seal or if the fluid is coming from the bellhousing it is most likely one of the pump seals leaking. If the fluid only leaks when the engine is running then a cooler line or pump seal woudl be most likely.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your answer. If you would, first off, am I completely mistaken that fluid leak while parked does not seem to fit most common transmission problems?The fluid leaks only when the engine is NOT running. If the car has been driven, there is no fluid loss. With the car idling - up to half hour - there are no drips or leaks present. I put down cardboard underneath to try and help pinpoint from where the drops fall, and while the car ran, there were no drips at all. Car was taken on the freeway before and after idling, to heat it up, and no drips found.Not a mechanic, but by logic, that seems to kind of decrease the probability that the leak is in the cooling tubes, circulating tubes or fittings. Is that a competely incorect assumption? If there is no evidence of a leak while the car is running that also seems to not indicate the bellhousing (fluid should be coming in contact while the engine in on, not off)same for the axle, since fluid is circulating while the car is in motion.Please forgive, I'm not trying to be difficult. I have basically always done my own work/repairs on my vehicles. from the basics to transmisison replacement, rebuilt engine, new block, etc. First car was a 74 VW Rabbit and have mostly driven manual not automatic cars. Easier to troubleshoot tranny issues. I have a good working knowledge and hands on.I will not be doing the work on this, and so I'm trying to understand what the problem most likely is before a mechanic evaluates it. i called 4 different local good by reputation mechanics, and all had different over the phone "diagnosis." None of them were able provide info in regards ***** ***** only when sitting, not when running. Leaving me with little confidence that the problem would be correctly solved.I will have to spend a little more time trying to find the leak. The fluid was running, not just dripping, off of the pan. If looking at the pan from under the car, it was at the passengers rear corner (more like a curve, not 90 degrees) where all fluid was coming from. Don't know if that info is worth anything.I have not worked on an automatic transmission, so this question is based solely on schematics and my limited understanding. I decreased the likelihood of it being a pan leak because there should be clear drips present when car is running. Not all the fluid runs out, only a portion, so I was looking at compartments that could contain fluid and then that fluid could poor out after the car is turned off.Not sure of the correct wording, but the torque converter chamber? assembly?
Can fluid get trapped/caught there and be unable to drain down to the reservoir/pan? Would that fluid find its way onto the pavement? If so, what are causes of that, and difficulty/cost of repairing?
Aside from not engaging and slipping when there was insufficient fluid, I haven't really noticed any "clutch" problems. Idle is steady and as usual, no stalls at stoplights or stop signs, coasting is as smooth as always, no extra brake needed to stop/slow.In your list of possible/probable leak sites, is there one of them that will result in no visible leak while the engine is running?Thanks again. I appreciate your help with this. If I'm missing something here, please let me know.I
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 2 years ago.
If the fluid leaks when siting then the mos likely source would be the pan gasket.
If it doesn't leak while running then a leak from the bellhousing isn't likely.
The shift problem you were experiencing is a clutch chattering, slipping, or applying too hard. It may be due to an internal issue or it could be happening because of low fluid.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Shouldn't the pan also leak when the car is running? Driving?It does not.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 2 years ago.
I'm sure the leak is still present when you're driving, you're just not sitting in a single spot long enough to see it puddle. A pan leak will also slow down some when the engine is running due to the torque converter, cooler and clutch circuits filling and less fluid being in the pan.