Foamy pink transmission fluid? - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 45 Old 07-01-2021, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
GCDaddy
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Foamy pink transmission fluid?

2005 WK 5.7L 545RFE Transmission. This is becoming a daily thing with this WK, I fix something and 2 days later something else pops up. Just replaced the CV joint on the front axle that was rusted beyond belief and the boot separated. Ran smooth as can be for a day and a half. Today the wife comes home, parks it in the driveway, and everything is fine. An hour later I look and there is a big puddle of pink liquid spilling across the driveway from below the tranny. I pull the dipstick and can't even read the level since it is covered a few inches past the high marks. It is covered in a pink foam.

Jeep has been shifting fine since we bought it a bit over a month ago. Had the Transmission over Temp message show up twice in that time but after shutting the WK off and starting it back up the message goes away. Not throwing any MIL and no codes are found on my OBDII readers.

The AC does drain back there but usually onto the exhaust pipe. I have searched here and elsewhere on the 'Net and not much is said about this. Could the AC be dripping onto the tranny and getting inside from a bad seal on the dipstick tube? Would using the incorrect fluid make it foamy? Garage I bought it from already put the wrong coolant in so this wouldn't surprise me, plus the last owners did not take care of the poor thing. The fluid on the ground doesn't look overly watered down and all other fluid levels are fine. I already planned on dropping the pan and swapping it with one with a drain plug when I service it (which would have been next week). Haven't crawled under yet but I'm thinking the RTV on the pan most likely sprung a leak.

Would doing repeated fluid changes on the tranny fix this or should I have a flush done? Can you pull more fluid out through the dipstick tube with a transfer pump, allowing for more correct fluid to be added? Remember, I only have simple hand tools, a set of ramps, jack stands, and a billion biting flies and mosquitos to deal with.

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Last edited by GCDaddy; 07-01-2021 at 05:44 PM. Reason: Forgot to add vehicle info
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post #2 of 45 Old 07-01-2021, 06:35 PM
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I am not sure what pink/foamy would indicate but YES,,, change out the fluid.

I just purchased a 2008 grand cherokee laredo with the 4.7 engine. I have used the auto parts manual suction pump with the 2 hoses and removed as much as I could out through the trans dip stick hole each time, then refilled with the exact same amount - I have done this 3 times now - the fluid was red when I first started doing this but I wanted to make sure it had at least Some Fresh Fluid in there.

The 1st time I removed the fluid the trans was COLD and I was able to pump out just a bit over 2 quarts out.
The 2nd and third times the trans was HOT and I was able to pull out a little over 3 quarts each time.
After each fluid change I drove it about 25 miles or so before changing it again.

I used the MOPAR brand ATF+4 transmission fluid to re-fill with.

Thank You,
Bo
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post #3 of 45 Old 07-01-2021, 07:01 PM
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If it were me, and I had a new to me Jeep that I've already discovered they put the wrong coolant in, I'd for sure be dropping the transmission pan and see what it looks like inside. Change both filters and, as said above, use only ATF+4 fluid and DO NOT overfill it. Overfilling can cause what you're getting, as it's whipped into foam when the level is too high. If they've used the wrong fluid, you may have more problems. It would be difficult to tell what was put in it unless the place you bought can tell you what they did to the tranny (if anything) or if they added fluid.....how much and what type??? If, by chance, they did change the fluid, and especially if they put the wrong stuff back into it, you may have to change it more than once in hopes of getting all the bad stuff out of the torque converter.

Other places to look for leaks are the vent and plug at the top of the transmission and also any leaks from the pan or front/rear seal(s). If the fluid is everywhere you may have to clean everything up first and then drive it again and see if you can isolate where the fluid is coming from.

Please keep us posted on your findings.

Also, since you're apparently in the Northeast, you really should check the rest of the drive train components. The weather and the salted roads really wreak havoc on the underside of any vehicle.

06 GCO, Dk Khaki, QDII, Flshing Hi 3rd Bk Lt, MDS "ON" Lt, Airtab Vortex Gens, Debadged, Fumoto Drain Valve, BT Catch Can, Chopped EGR Tube, SRT8 CAI, AFE Air Filter, 6spd 545RFE, Sonnax Trans Line Press Booster, SC Tuner W/Adv Trans Tune App, DS and HP tuners, Transgo Shift Kit, ARH Long Tube Hdrs w/3 in Magnaflow/Xlerator AP Exh Sys, Bilsteins, SRT Springs/Sways, Cust Eng Cvr, SRT8 frt/rear bumpers, FRI Sidewinder Cam w/6* advance/6.1 valvetrain, SLP 25% UD Pulley, BBK true 90mm T-Body, SOS Ign Coils w/.060 spark plug gaps, TEA ported/milled heads w/new valve seats, SRT Reps with 265/45&295/40X20's. Also 05 Hemi LX modded exactly like WK and Comp Cammed 06 300CSRT8 soon to be replaced by 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid with 1020 hp and 1050 lb. ft. of torque.
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post #4 of 45 Old 07-01-2021, 07:28 PM Thread Starter
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I certainly will. Hoping I can get underneath it it sometime in the next few days in between rain drops. It'll stay sitting where she is at until then.

Should I swap out the filters now or wait until I've done 2 or 3 refills on it? Don't want to fill them up with whatever nastiness is in there. But then again, you're the Yoda of these things and I'm just a scrub for now so you know best.

And I'm in the South East, Wilmington, NC. We talked about it in one of my other help threads!
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post #5 of 45 Old 07-01-2021, 07:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GCDaddy View Post
2005 WK 5.7L 545RFE Transmission. This is becoming a daily thing with this WK, I fix something and 2 days later something else pops up. Just replaced the CV joint on the front axle that was rusted beyond belief and the boot separated. Ran smooth as can be for a day and a half. Today the wife comes home, parks it in the driveway, and everything is fine. An hour later I look and there is a big puddle of pink liquid spilling across the driveway from below the tranny. I pull the dipstick and can't even read the level since it is covered a few inches past the high marks. It is covered in a pink foam.

Jeep has been shifting fine since we bought it a bit over a month ago. Had the Transmission over Temp message show up twice in that time but after shutting the WK off and starting it back up the message goes away. Not throwing any MIL and no codes are found on my OBDII readers.

The AC does drain back there but usually onto the exhaust pipe. I have searched here and elsewhere on the 'Net and not much is said about this. Could the AC be dripping onto the tranny and getting inside from a bad seal on the dipstick tube? Would using the incorrect fluid make it foamy? Garage I bought it from already put the wrong coolant in so this wouldn't surprise me, plus the last owners did not take care of the poor thing. The fluid on the ground doesn't look overly watered down and all other fluid levels are fine. I already planned on dropping the pan and swapping it with one with a drain plug when I service it (which would have been next week). Haven't crawled under yet but I'm thinking the RTV on the pan most likely sprung a leak.

Would doing repeated fluid changes on the tranny fix this or should I have a flush done? Can you pull more fluid out through the dipstick tube with a transfer pump, allowing for more correct fluid to be added? Remember, I only have simple hand tools, a set of ramps, jack stands, and a billion biting flies and mosquitos to deal with.
Pink, frothy transmission fluid is generally a sign it has water in it. Could have been driven in deep water or gotten in the dipstick tube or breather (Thereís a TSB for the dipstick tube) . Was your rear differential fluid milky at all too when you changed it? The trans breather is higher then the rear diff but lower then the front. Another source is sometimes the trans cooler line in the rad springs a hole.

Definitely donít do a flush, mopar definitely recommends against that. Change the fluid a couple times and monitor. at this point I would just suck the fluid out of the tube instead of dropping the pan instead of introducing a possible new problem . If the problem comes back you will have to drop the pan at that point anyways.

5 and counting :05 WK 5.7 HEMI
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94 ZJ Ltd 5.2 ,00 WJ 4.0
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post #6 of 45 Old 07-01-2021, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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If it was driven in deep water it wasn't done by me. The rear and front differential fluids were dirty but not milky at all, same for the transaxle fluid. I'm already planning on dropping the pan since the last time the transmission was serviced that I know of was almost 90k miles ago and I want to get new filters into it.

I read about the TSB for the dipstick tube but that was only for the 3.7L with the different transmission. And from what I've read the trans cooler line goes into where the AC evaporator is and not the radiator, but I could be wrong about that. But the coolant level is still where it has been (there is a mark on the overflow tank in the middle of the full and low marks) and hasn't changed. The coolant is still unfortunately bright green where they filled it with the wrong stuff and I'm not seeing any green in the tranny fluid or red in the coolant, so hopefully that isn't an issue.

When we bought the vehicle it was a police tow out of Atlanta and I picked it up in Myrtle Beach. Not positive why it was a tow but I was told by the place I bought it (the tow company that got it) was that the police had gone through it VERY well. Plus it smelled like smoked crack cocaine, and the lack of maintenance means I have some catching up to do on it.
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post #7 of 45 Old 07-02-2021, 07:38 AM
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I believe the TSB you're referring to on the 3.7's was because the A/C drain was dripping onto where the dip stick tube goes into the transmission. Apparently the o-ring seal would allow water into the transmission. The fix was a bead of RTV around the tube where it enters the transmission. This, however, is a different transmission than the one in yours....NAG1 vs. the 545RFE, and I don't believe it applied to the 545RFE. IMO, the first thing to do is make sure the fluid level is correct and then try to determine where it's coming from. Then make a plan of attack.

06 GCO, Dk Khaki, QDII, Flshing Hi 3rd Bk Lt, MDS "ON" Lt, Airtab Vortex Gens, Debadged, Fumoto Drain Valve, BT Catch Can, Chopped EGR Tube, SRT8 CAI, AFE Air Filter, 6spd 545RFE, Sonnax Trans Line Press Booster, SC Tuner W/Adv Trans Tune App, DS and HP tuners, Transgo Shift Kit, ARH Long Tube Hdrs w/3 in Magnaflow/Xlerator AP Exh Sys, Bilsteins, SRT Springs/Sways, Cust Eng Cvr, SRT8 frt/rear bumpers, FRI Sidewinder Cam w/6* advance/6.1 valvetrain, SLP 25% UD Pulley, BBK true 90mm T-Body, SOS Ign Coils w/.060 spark plug gaps, TEA ported/milled heads w/new valve seats, SRT Reps with 265/45&295/40X20's. Also 05 Hemi LX modded exactly like WK and Comp Cammed 06 300CSRT8 soon to be replaced by 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid with 1020 hp and 1050 lb. ft. of torque.
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post #8 of 45 Old 07-02-2021, 01:19 PM
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If you do go thru the process of dropping the pan (which I would just to make sure the large flat filter is seated correctly and not split), then go pick up a Dorman pan with the drain plug.
https://www.amazon.com/Dorman-265-81.../dp/B00GHT7LQE

It'll be worth its weight in gold when you're changing trans fluid multiple times to get new fluid swapped in.

'05 WK 4x4 Ltd 5.7L (mine) 245k+ club
'01 WJ 4x4 Laredo 4.7L (daughter)
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post #9 of 45 Old 07-02-2021, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 99sajeep View Post
If you do go thru the process of dropping the pan (which I would just to make sure the large flat filter is seated correctly and not split), then go pick up a Dorman pan with the drain plug.
https://www.amazon.com/Dorman-265-81.../dp/B00GHT7LQE

It'll be worth its weight in gold when you're changing trans fluid multiple times to get new fluid swapped in.
Already done, my friend! To my wife's pleasure it is sitting in my living room in its box right now! Once this rain stops I can hopefully get it installed along with the MOPAR filters I got for it.
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post #10 of 45 Old 07-02-2021, 09:24 PM
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It could also be the trans cooler in the radiator has ruptured causing coolant to mix with the ATF.
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post #11 of 45 Old 07-03-2021, 07:45 PM Thread Starter
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OK, got time to drop the pan and check things out. First of all, not all the bolts were in there more than finger tight. Second, the RTV job done was bad. None of it even stuck to the tranny when the pan came down. The fluid was all pink that came out, not sure how much since it went into my catch pan and also all over the driveway. Seemed like more than what should have come out since it filled my catch pan to the top and it will hold 9 quarts. I have it on ramps so not sure if maybe some came out of the torque converter because of this or not.

As you can see in the photos, there is a greasy white substance in the bottom shallow area of the pan, almost felt like lithium grease and it was thick on there. In the deep area where the magnet is it was covered in black stuff that looked and felt like motor oil. Could be from the RTV they used on the pan maybe? They weren't careful with it as you can see. Magnet had the expected amount of metal flakes on it so nothing unusual there.

Let it drain about 15 minutes then I changed the pan filter and the cooler filter (had to use a set of oil filter pliers on it since it was stuck on so hard). Got my new Dorman pan with the drain plug, put a thick bead of RTV around it that is made special for auto transmissions, put the pan on with the bolts finger tight, then sat there for the recommended hour while I was covered in ATF. Finished it off by snugging up the bolts crisscross and there it will set for 24 hours while it cures. Also put some RTV around the drain plug since 90grandoneer said they are prone to leak.

Now here's the questions: what would the white stuff and the black stuff be? The white is what obviously made the fluid pink but I would think (and what I'm leaning towards) is that this is some kind of stop leak since they didn't have the bolts tightened all the way and the RTV job sucked. Black oily stuff could be melted RTV maybe? The tranny never shifted hard or gave any problems until now but something was obviously added to it for some reason.

So I'll try using my transfer pump to get more fluid out of the converter but will that work? You can see the dipstick poking down into the pan a little ways. I'll fill it with the expensive MOPAR ATF+4 I bought 7 quarts of and if that isn't enough fluid then I'll get some cheaper Super Tech to finish it off. If everything stays dry and no more blowouts or leaks I'll drive it a bit and check the fluid again. Hoping I don't have to drain the fluid a 2nd or more times and refill until the color doesn't change.
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post #12 of 45 Old 07-04-2021, 05:20 AM
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Check you coolant level. It's the only fluid that can cross contaminate with ATF unless you submerged the trans in water.

2006 GC Laredo 3.7 mostly stock
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post #13 of 45 Old 07-04-2021, 09:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 99sajeep View Post
If you do go thru the process of dropping the pan (which I would just to make sure the large flat filter is seated correctly and not split), then go pick up a Dorman pan with the drain plug.
https://www.amazon.com/Dorman-265-81.../dp/B00GHT7LQE

It'll be worth its weight in gold when you're changing trans fluid multiple times to get new fluid swapped in.

Thank You for this info!!

I went to the Amazon page that you suggested. It does Not say that the pan comes with a new pan gasket.

***Did a new a new pan gasket come with your Dorman pan?

Thank You,
Bo
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post #14 of 45 Old 07-04-2021, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by GCDaddy View Post
OK, got time to drop the pan and check things out. First of all, not all the bolts were in there more than finger tight. Second, the RTV job done was bad. None of it even stuck to the tranny when the pan came down. The fluid was all pink that came out, not sure how much since it went into my catch pan and also all over the driveway. Seemed like more than what should have come out since it filled my catch pan to the top and it will hold 9 quarts. I have it on ramps so not sure if maybe some came out of the torque converter because of this or not.

As you can see in the photos, there is a greasy white substance in the bottom shallow area of the pan, almost felt like lithium grease and it was thick on there. In the deep area where the magnet is it was covered in black stuff that looked and felt like motor oil. Could be from the RTV they used on the pan maybe? They weren't careful with it as you can see. Magnet had the expected amount of metal flakes on it so nothing unusual there.

Let it drain about 15 minutes then I changed the pan filter and the cooler filter (had to use a set of oil filter pliers on it since it was stuck on so hard). Got my new Dorman pan with the drain plug, put a thick bead of RTV around it that is made special for auto transmissions, put the pan on with the bolts finger tight, then sat there for the recommended hour while I was covered in ATF. Finished it off by snugging up the bolts crisscross and there it will set for 24 hours while it cures. Also put some RTV around the drain plug since 90grandoneer said they are prone to leak.

Now here's the questions: what would the white stuff and the black stuff be? The white is what obviously made the fluid pink but I would think (and what I'm leaning towards) is that this is some kind of stop leak since they didn't have the bolts tightened all the way and the RTV job sucked. Black oily stuff could be melted RTV maybe? The tranny never shifted hard or gave any problems until now but something was obviously added to it for some reason.

So I'll try using my transfer pump to get more fluid out of the converter but will that work? You can see the dipstick poking down into the pan a little ways. I'll fill it with the expensive MOPAR ATF+4 I bought 7 quarts of and if that isn't enough fluid then I'll get some cheaper Super Tech to finish it off. If everything stays dry and no more blowouts or leaks I'll drive it a bit and check the fluid again. Hoping I don't have to drain the fluid a 2nd or more times and refill until the color doesn't change.


The water Most Likely came in through the pan gasket area due to the loose pan bolts - I once owned a Brand New 1997 jeep and had driven through some Deep Standing water down in the Houston TX Rural Area shortly after I purchased it - When I went in for the first oil change I was told there was water in the engine oil, it could have only seeped in through the gasket area - the water was not deep enough to get near the upper half of the engine transmission, the standing water Was up close the the bottom of the body and I had driven maybe 1 or 2 miles an hour through that standing water, several times.

I am guessing you will be fine once you change the ATF fluid and put new gasket in and torque the bolts down to proper torque spec.

Thank You,
Bo
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post #15 of 45 Old 07-04-2021, 09:35 AM Thread Starter
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It didn't feel like water/coolant mixed in though, it wasn't thinned out and was still tacky. We haven't driven it through anything more than small rain puddles and the coolant level has maintained a constant level (I have the level marked halfway on the overflow). We've had it for over a month now and it seems if there was that much water in the tranny it would have blown out before now like it did. Odd part about it is that it sat for almost an hour with no leaks then sploosh all over the driveway.

Any clue what the thick white grease like substance stuck to the pan could be or the black oily stuff around the pan magnet? I'm leaning towards some kind of stop leak since the pan wasn't tightened down properly and the RTV was done poorly. The Jeep has a few issues since we got it like bad heater core that was bypassed (since replaced), leaky valve cover gasket (on the list to do), prop shaft CV joint going out (fixed), all fluids changed (mostly done), and maybe the rear seal leaking. Other than that and the crack smell this thing works 100% and drives like new.
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