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Why is there transmission fluid in my Cadillac radiator?

December 31st, 2010 · No Comments

I have a 1995 Fleetwood Cadillac, we had to replace the radiator shortly after we got the car. Since then we have been losing transmission fluid, my husband changed the fluid and screen and it was still slipping and when he went to flush the radiator he discovered where the trans fluid has been going. Why and how did it get in there? Was the radiator installed incorrectly? Also we have noticed a smell of antifreeze coming into the car. Is all of this linked and is there something major wrong, or can it be fixed easily?

- The radiator also contains a transmission fluid cooler, and they share the antifreeze solution. If the trans cooler section is leaking internally into the radiator, that would explain how the trans fluid got into your cooling system. When you replaced the radiator, was it a new unit or used/rebuilt? The new one may have been defective all along. Stranger things have happened.
Anyway, the best thing to do is to replace the radiator again, but this time, have it pressure tested before it is installed.
- At least it is a simple problem. The bottom of the radiator contains a transmission oil cooing loop, and that has failed. It is a common problem that requires replacement of the radiator. The transmission fluid is undoubtedly contaminated with coolant, but I have never known that to damage a transmission even when the fluid looked like a strawberry milkshake.
The cooling system should be flushed (about the only time I recommend cooling system flushes) and the transmission fluid should be changed. I am not familiar with Caddies, but if transmission flushes are approved the transmission should be flushed also. New radiator, new fluids, life is good again. EDIT – wait until this is done before worrying about the smell of antifreeze – we know there is one leak (inside the radiator into the transmission). Odds are that is the only one.

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