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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-21-2018, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Transmission Fluid Leak

I have a small leak on my 2012 Mazda 6i. I think it's from the cooler lines somewhere given that it accumulates around the front of the car on the passenger side and it covers all the level surfaces/nooks and crannies towards the bottom. I can't find where exactly it's leaking but I suspect it's transmission related and not power steering. I came back from an 8 hour round trip drive from this weekend and I noticed it yesterday.



Any tips on checking the transmission fluid? Should I drive around to get it up to temp and then check, just start it up and let it idle for a bit and then check it, or check it cold and dead reckon what it would be if it was up to temp? (Probably not a good idea doing the latter ) .... or just check it cold and go with that? I don't know if they have it labelled for hot and cold full :P (Reaching down by the exhaust to get to the dipstick sounds terrible.)


The car is still driving fine, some shifts are smoother than others, depending on how I'm accelerating. Nothing to be concerned about regarding shift feelyness. It's a slow leak, so I reckon I can drive it for a little while to and from work until I get a day I can work on it (It's supposed to rain all weekend).


...Also, are there any dipstick accessories or attachments that would be good for not having to detach the 10... or 8 mm bolt everytime and just check like I did in my LeSabre? Thanks!
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-25-2018, 10:28 AM
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EDIT: Just goes to show you can't assume; I saw a post mentioning checking transmission fluid on a 2012 with no dipstick. A lot of what I said for checking the fluid will not apply... sorry.



How ironic this is the first time I've logged in... in a long time, and I just battled a similar issue.


Disclaimer: I'm not a mechanic, but I'm just sharing my experience.


Cliffs notes first: Service manual says to start the car on a level surface, and ensure that the fluid when cold is just on the tip of the dipstick. IF it's not even present on the end of the stick, shut it down, and slowly add until it's there. If the fluid is present, warm the car up, then drive on local roads ~3miles. I cycled the gears before doing that, then drove through my neighborhood for around 2 miles. When I go home, I checked the temperature of the transmission fluid with my scanner to ensure it was within SVC manual spec (if I have the manual in my trunk, I'll go out on lunch and get specific numbers). At this point, the fluid was ~150*F. Added little by little cycling through P, R, N, D slowly to allow fluid to move around. When I got to a suitable level on the dipstick, the fluid was ~170*F, and I took it out for another drive. Nice and easy. PM me if you want and I'll scan and send over the service manual pages tomorrow at work.



Word of advice: Be careful adding transmission fluid while the car is driving, and make sure the funnel is nice and tight. I have no idea why, but the fluid likes to be added slow, as it sometimes wants to burp and bubble up as I'm adding it. Maybe someone smarter than me can explain why, admittedly I have no clue. The aforementioned was done on a 2009 car, and I am unaware of any design changes that may impact your model.


Side bar if you care:
My wife was complaining about how her car was driving, so I opened hood and noticed copious amounts of trans fluid. I told her she's not driving it anymore and take my car. I tore into it, and found that the cooler line was rusted in a fairly nondescript place, but beyond that, nothing stood out, but there was a LOT of fluid underneath. I wiped everything down real good, dried all I could, and waited with the car off. I noticed a VERY SMALL (smaller than a pinhead) area where fluid was "sweating" out of the line, so to speak. Even though the line just looked like crap, it seemed to be fine. Nope. Especially under a bit of pressure, it would rocket everything out. Finding a part number for the stock cooler lines was impossible, local dealer wanted 170 for them and wouldn't be able to get until Thanksgiving, hopefully. Bought 25ft of Derale transmission rated 3/8 hose, reused the spring clamps, and ran my own cooler lines for <$30. Have put 150 miles on the car since the weekend driving to and from work, and knock on wood all is well (Save for a loose trans drain pan plug that I had to tend to last night). I strongly suggest you confirm where the leak is first before tearing into anything. I used to clean everything up and throw a bit of talcum powder in the suspect areas on an old truck I had. Crude but worked.


Good luck, it's not that bad to do the work, and frankly tracking down the spot of the leak was the most time consuming part of this endeavor.


-J


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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-25-2018, 11:51 AM
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One question I have (and please clarify here) is whether you attached any transmission fluid rated hose directly onto plain-ended or straight cut tubing? If so one worrry I would have is whether it would slip off when the temp goes up. If you do this you might consider "beading" the tubing with a "Parker" or Earl's tool. (The first image has some non-related text under it. Disregard same and view second image only please).
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Last edited by Cdn17Sport6MT; 10-25-2018 at 12:04 PM.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-25-2018, 12:50 PM
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First find out what is leaking, then come back and look for further guidance. Transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and certain coolants can all look the same, so check all of your levels (coolant doesn't have a set level, but if the other two are full then it's likely coolant).
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-25-2018, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cdn17Sport6MT View Post
One question I have (and please clarify here) is whether you attached any transmission fluid rated hose directly onto plain-ended or straight cut tubing? If so one worrry I would have is whether it would slip off when the temp goes up. If you do this you might consider "beading" the tubing with a "Parker" or Earl's tool. (The first image has some non-related text under it. Disregard same and view second image only please).

Good question. I put the hose straight over the fittings on the radiator/transmission. The stock hard line actually is a hard line with hose at each end. Bearing that in mind, gave me confidence in just running hose the hole way. I would agree that if it were just straight tubing, flaring it or replacing the fitting in the transmission itself with something AN or barbed would make me feel better. I did the fitting replacement job on a prior vehicle that had full hard lines that were notorious for leaking.



-J


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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-25-2018, 03:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lastcall190 View Post
I would agree that if it were just straight tubing, flaring it or replacing the fitting in the transmission itself with something AN or barbed would make me feel better...
I'd be a bit worried about introducing a flare instead of beading it... in general (i.e. not in your situation which is different) 'cuz the flare in effect is a sharp edge but the bead is rounded and not potentially injurious to the hose bore.

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Last edited by Cdn17Sport6MT; 10-25-2018 at 03:34 PM.
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