I got me a 5.4 Ford v8 1998 Econoline van.

Ever since I done slapped a new radator in her, I been gettin awful paranoid about the transmission.

You see, this van is heavy duty and the transmission fluid runs right into and out of the radator. So I lost some tranny fluid doin this surgery on my baby (about as much as 2 cups of milk cuz I was using a cut up milk jug to catch it)... and like a dummy I didn't refill the trans fluid after the job, I done drove it and it felt fine. Then I refilled it later with about half a jug of transmission fluid and just eyeballed what I remember seein that was caught in the milk jug. The dipstick reading is now back where it was before... but I don't trust it to well.

Now all a sudden it's like I got canine senses and I keep smellin thangs out there on the road like burnt smells and hot car smells... pavement repair smells... fireworks... but I don't know if it's my transmission or if I'm just obsessin on it.

I'm all worried about transmission "slip" and bands and torque and clutches, too... and... all this other stuff cuz I went to one of them transmission shop websites and they was talkin about all the type of ways your transmission can go bad. So now I'm scared and feelin weird smells like I said... and also the fluid looks kinda not as perfect pink as it once did... and smells a little like hot car or like a hot garage in the summertime. But I'm not experienced in blowed up transmission fluid smells... I should have done smelled the new stuff for comparison before I added it back.

So there's all this goin' on... but here what I DO KNOW FOR SURE:

  1. Transmission fluid temp never goes above 170 and is usually around 150-165.

Shucks I was gonna say the color was normal and smelled good but I don't even know that for sure no more.

But I was thinking... how could the fluid burn up if the temp is always in the safety zone? That's like sayin you could have a oven be at 120 degrees and then pull out a burnt pizza?

If the transmission was slippin or gettin stressed out it would heat up, right? Ain't that the whole dang point of the temperature reading?

I need a truth to anchor to in this situation.


  • 2
    It is always good practice to check fluid levels before driving and especially after work has been carried out. – Solar Mike Jun 29 '20 at 6:32
  • 2
    There's no need to ask this question when you can check the transmission's level with a dipstick. Fill it to the right level, then check it regularly, you don't have to eyeball anything. – GdD Jun 29 '20 at 7:38
  • 2
    Why not replace the fluid with fresh. It is highly unlikely that you have caused any damage, but either way there is no point in worrying about it. – HandyHowie Jun 29 '20 at 7:53
  • 1
    "Does healthy transmission fluid temperature rule out all transmission problems?" NO. – Moab Jun 29 '20 at 19:49
  • Hey I just wanted to say that I appreciate y'all. I think my transmission is good. I dun test drove it for a couple thousand miles and she still always 20 degrees below coolant temp. If she slips and bangs it's prolly just on account of sum vacuum leak or exhaust leak or whatever screwing up the computer calculations. – Bubba Jul 21 '20 at 0:12

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