"No transmission fluid" question


CL8
04-25-2009, 02:32 AM
How long would it take to ruin a transmission, running with no transmission fluid, and what damage would it do?

MagicRat
04-25-2009, 03:33 PM
Are we talking automatic or manual transmission????

Unlike an engine, an automatic transmission will not function if it has no transmission fluid.
Fluid is needed to engage the clutch packs so the vehicle will move.

The problem with automatics is when the fluid gets very low. In this case, fluid pressure will fluctuate, causing the transmission to slip and the engine to rev too high. When this happens, the clutch packs and/or bands are slipping.
If the fluid is not too low, there will not be much slippage.... a transmission can travel for hundreds of miles with a little slippage before failing. But if the fluid is very low, the slippage can be significant and the clutches and/or bands will overhead and burn up within 10 minutes. A full rebuild would be required to repair such damage.

However, such a failure is pretty obvious to most drivers. They would be aware the car is not functioning properly.

A manual transmission will function for a while with no fluid... but will eventually seize up. Typically, the roller bearings would destroy themselves before other parts are damaged.
If you are lucky, the input or countershaft will seize first. If you are unlucky, the output shaft will seize. This will bring the vehicle to an uncontrolled tire-screeching halt in traffic..... a very dangerous situation.
Again, a full rebuild would be required to repair it.

curtis73
04-26-2009, 10:09 PM
Manual tranny, probably 5-20 miles, but shifting would be nearly impossible without lube on the synchros.

Auto tranny, its probably dead before you even try to put it in gear.

CL8
04-30-2009, 10:03 PM
Thanks for the replies, MagicRat and Curtis, I would have responded earlier but there was no response recorded in my usecp.???

I am talking about automatic transmission fluid.
If I remember correctly, when I owned my '77 Dodge diplomat,
When I ran completely out of trans fluid, the car just stopped right where it was on the road.
But I thought I remember reading recently that it could grind or burn up the gears with no transmission fluid.

So when my Dodge Caravan automatic transmission failed last year, would the cause most likely have been bad or low tranny fluid?
I never do check the trans fluid myself in my vehicle, but I never have seen leaks either.

Thanks, cl8

Airjer_
04-30-2009, 11:20 PM
So when my Dodge Caravan automatic transmission failed last year, would the cause most likely have been bad or low tranny fluid?

Poor design?

MagicRat
05-01-2009, 03:12 PM
So when my Dodge Caravan automatic transmission failed last year, would the cause most likely have been bad or low tranny fluid?

Oh noooooooo!!!!!!

It's a really good idea to give us a bit of background about a question you are asking, so we can give you the best answer.

Chrysler had a HUGE problem with their front wheel drive 4 speed automatic transmissions for quite a few years. They very often failed due to a number of design issues.

There are many websites dedicated to these vehicles. Here's two, with links to others:
http://www.daimlerchryslervehicleproblems.com/
http://www.dontbuydodgechryslervehicles.com/

You might have done something wrong which led to your trans failure. Bur chances are, it's due to the design.

BTW I do not mean to slam Chrysler vehicles here, but a few years ago I did pay $2500 towards a trans rebuild on my Voyager (caused by a defective design) so this issue tends to piss me off a bit.

CL8
05-01-2009, 10:12 PM
Yes, I heard something about bad transmissions in Dodge caravans,

Would you say it was also a faulty design when I had to get a new transmission in the '77 Dodge diplomat?:sunglasse (in '86-'87)

MagicRat
05-02-2009, 09:31 AM
Would you say it was also a faulty design when I had to get a new transmission in the '77 Dodge diplomat?:sunglasse (in '86-'87)

Probably not.
Your Diplomat most likely had a Torqueflite A-904 transmission which, in a stock application is very reliable.
Any automatic transmission, regardless of reliability will often be damaged if it is neglected (no regular fluid and filter changes), overheated or (as I posted earlier) operated for any length of time with low fluid.


The problem with automatics is when the fluid gets very low. In this case, fluid pressure will fluctuate, causing the transmission to slip and the engine to rev too high. When this happens, the clutch packs and/or bands are slipping.
If the fluid is not too low, there will not be much slippage.... a transmission can travel for hundreds of miles with a little slippage before failing. But if the fluid is very low, the slippage can be significant and the clutches and/or bands will overhead and burn up within 10 minutes. A full rebuild would be required to repair such damage.
.

CL8
05-19-2009, 12:21 AM
Two more tranny questions

First, in my Dodge Caravan, if I had to put some transmission fluid in, would it go in the same place as the dip stick? (it seems awfully small to even get a funnel in there)

also I came across this statement:


As a rule of thumb, every 20 degree increase in operating temperature above 175 degrees F. cuts the life of transmission fluid in halfHow true is this, and does that mean if at 195 F the fluids life went from one year to 6 months, then at 215 F the life would go down to 3 months?

thanks cl8

Airjer_
05-19-2009, 12:43 AM
First question, Yes in the dipstick tube.

Second question, I have no idea?

MagicRat
05-19-2009, 05:54 AM
How true is this, and does that mean if at 195 F the fluids life went from one year to 6 months, then at 215 F the life would go down to 3 months?

Don't read too much into such statements. Transmissions may fail for many reasons, only some of which are related to excess heat, so it's impossible to take a complex issue and come up with a simple rule, such as this one. They seem to be used mostly by transmission shops as a way of selling transmission coolers.

I have baked auto transmissions in the past, once so badly that most of the fluid poured out. Once it cooled down, I added more fluid and it worked well for many years (still is).
I also have had transmissions break when they had coolers the size of your big-screen plasma TV. :)

However, keeping a transmission reasonably cool is important. Imho anything other than light-duty highway use warrants a transmission cooler. If you often drive in heavy city traffic and/or with heavy loads, a cooler is a good idea. If you tow a trailer, it's mandatory.

CL8
05-20-2009, 01:48 AM
Don't read too much into such statements. Transmissions may fail for many reasons, only some of which are related to excess heat, so it's impossible to take a complex issue and come up with a simple rule, such as this one. They seem to be used mostly by transmission shops as a way of selling transmission coolers.

I have baked auto transmissions in the past, once so badly that most of the fluid poured out. Once it cooled down, I added more fluid and it worked well for many years (still is).
I also have had transmissions break when they had coolers the size of your big-screen plasma TV. :)

WOW what size was the vehicle?

However, keeping a transmission reasonably cool is important. Imho anything other than light-duty highway use warrants a transmission cooler. If you often drive in heavy city traffic and/or with heavy loads, a cooler is a good idea. If you tow a trailer, it's mandatory.

MagicRat
05-20-2009, 11:57 AM
WOW what size was the vehicle?

1983 full-size GMC van. As I tow with it, it's got the largest cooler that would fit.
(maybe I should have said big-screen LCD TV... not quite a 53", more like a 27" TV. :wink: )

CL8
05-21-2009, 10:31 PM
http://i327.photobucket.com/albums/k475/CLRM/trands2.jpg

Ok, I checked my Tranny fluid in my Echo today, while warm and running, and as you can see in the picture, the fluid shows to be slightly above the full mark (full mark red, fluid level yellow) could this ruin my transmission being slightly above the full, or is this normal?

Thanks, cl8

MagicRat
05-22-2009, 08:32 AM
Ok, I checked my Tranny fluid in my Echo today, while warm and running, and as you can see in the picture, the fluid shows to be slightly above the full mark (full mark red, fluid level yellow) could this ruin my transmission being slightly above the full, or is this normal?


That is only a modest overfilling and should not produce harm.

Typically a truly-overfilled transmission produces foamy fluid. This is harmful because foamy fluid does not function as well as the normal stuff, so to speak.

If the dipstick shows the fluid to be frothy like a milkshake, then it truly is overfilled. However, an ordinary appearance, even if slightly overfilled is fine.

CL8
05-22-2009, 05:46 PM
What a relief! it was a red normal color, no foam.
Thanks magicrat

Tinyasawyer
10-22-2012, 06:05 PM
My husband drove my car about 100 miles out of town on his way home about 30 miles into the drive,the car stalled out and the check engine light flashed on. Checking the fluids and found no transmission fluid was in the car. We added transmission fluid and the car started, we put the car in drive but it won't drive forward. Will I need a new transmission, is this a major issue. It's a 2004 Acura TL 3.2.

Please help

CL8
10-22-2012, 07:25 PM
My husband drove my car about 100 miles out of town on his way home about 30 miles into the drive,the car stalled out and the check engine light flashed on. Checking the fluids and found no transmission fluid was in the car. We added transmission fluid and the car started, we put the car in drive but it won't drive forward. Will I need a new transmission, is this a major issue. It's a 2004 Acura TL 3.2.

Please help

Hi Tinya
It is not a good sign if it won't move in forward gear. I would suggest you post this question in it's own thread.This one is from 2009, pretty far back. I will add when I had to have a transmission replaced the cost was about $4000.00 at AAMCO. Other smaller transmissions shops would probably be cheaper. Some of the mechanics may give you more detailed advice posting in a new thread.

Hope you dont need a new transmission!

CL8

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