2003 Dodge SX • 4 cylinder 2WD Automatic • 100,000 miles

The car in question is a 2003 Dodge SX (Neon), with a 2 litre engine and about 100,000km. After having not driven the car for a year (except for running the engine periodically, and driving it up and down the driveway to keep parts from seizing up), I took it back out on the road. It ran fine on the 5 minutes of side roads, but after about a minute of highway driving I noticed smoke coming out behind me. As I slowed to get onto a side road, I felt the car lose drive power for a second, and then re-engage. It sputtered a couple of times again as I brought it to a stop. There was smoke coming from around the back of the trany, though I'm not sure if it was an overheating trany, or the leaking fluid cooking off. When I went to do a three point turn to get the car facing the other direction, I had to depress the accelerator far down before the gear would engage (which it did with a jolt). On the road where I had done this, there were splashes of leaked fluid. I should also mention that there were no signs of leaking fluid on the driveway.

As I understand it from speaking to the mechanic, the transmission fluid cooler inside the radiator, burst. Coolant was pulled into the trany and vise-versa. They are recommending the radiator be replaced and the trany flushed. The repairs will set me back about $850. The mechanic also stated that there is a chance that the transmission may have been damaged from the coolant leak. If that is the case, the replacement for that would be more than the vehicle is worth. I've looked after this car, and don't want to loose the investment, but I'd rather not throw $850 at a broken trany. Based on the description I have presented, is there any way of knowing whether the transmission was damaged? Could it be damaged from a couple of minutes of coolant and or low transmission fluid levels?
March 27, 2011.

You gonna have to bite the bullet on this one-Either you replace the radiator and tranny to have it fix or part it out-

Mar 27, 2011.
$850.00 for a radiator? It's made of brass and plastic, not gold. We aren't standing there where we can see it, but a leaking transmission cooler, which isn't that common, won't cause smoking out the back or fluid on the transmission. The transmission won't be damaged that quickly either. In five minutes of driving there wouldn't be any pressure built up in the cooling system yet. There will be about 10 psi in the transmission cooler lines in "drive" so transmission fluid would go into the coolant, not so much the other way. From your description, it sounds more like there might just be a transmission cooler line that popped a leak, not the cooler inside the radiator. If I'm wrong, you're going to find red stuff in the cooling system reservoir. If left long enough, like weeks or months, engine oil and transmission fluid will rot the rubber hoses. It won't hurt anything else in the cooling system. If there's a chance coolant got into the transmission fluid, a transmission flush will take care of that but don't let it sit too long. As with engine bearings, there are soft metal bearings in the transmission that antifreeze will melt the outer layer.

Hi rasmataz. I had to stick my nose in here after reading $850.00 for a radiator. $300.00 installed is more than enough for a new one.

Mar 27, 2011.
No problem I was hoping you'll pop-up and 2nd it, For that amount I can get me a descent 4-wheeler. This kind of stuffs puts us in a world hurt in this business-If I were you pack up and go some where else-this fella is trying to milked you, if you do no milk for the kid's cereal

Mar 27, 2011.