2002 Ford Windstar 6 cyl Two Wheel Drive Automatic 94200 miles
3 days after getting the engine replaced in my 2002 Ford Windstar, I took the minivan to a trip. After traveling about 30 miles, I noticed the check engine light cane on. Since I had this problem before and it was not a real problem I kept going. After traveling about 180 miles, the overdrive off light started flashing but the vehicle kept going. I slowed down and found out that the vehicle would not accelerate anymore. I stopped and noticed that some smoke was coming from the hood. When I opened the hood, I saw the transmission shedding all its oil. When I got the van towed to a garage, I was told that the transmission is burned and needs to be replaced. I even got it towed to the shop where the engine replacement work was done and they told me that they checked and the transmission problem is not at all related to the engine replacement work but I find that it is too much of a coincidence that the transmission would be broken such a little time after the engine was replaced and not be related to that work. We never had any transmission problem before. What do you think? If there is any correlation how can I prove it and get the shop to pay a part or the total transmission replacement cost?
I understand your problem and will offer you two different perspectives. The first is from the view of a consumer. It is hard to believe that a trans can fail so soon after replacing an engine. There are two issues to be delt with here. The first is that if nothing else the shop should have noticed the condition of the trans fluid and recommended a trans service or flush. The second is the possibility that during the removal of the engine the torque converter (which bolts up to the flywheel on the engine) may have been stuck to the flywheel causing it to separate from the trans shaft. If this happened, it is possible that the torque converter damaged the seal. It would, however, be hard to prove that this happened. The second perspective is that of a professional technician. I would assume that the engine was replaced because it had overheated. If this is true, understand that the cooler lines for the trans run through the radiator. If the engine was hot so was the transmission. I recall one instance where I rebuilt a 3.0 engine because it blew a headgasket. When I installed the rebuilt engine I took it on the TEST DRIVE only to have the trans go out on the test drive. That was a difficult conversation to have with the customer. But it is an unfortunate reality. Sometimes this happens. It doesn't excuse the responsibilty of the shop to notice the condition of the trans fluid or take extra precautions to minimize the chance of this happening. It is possible that the cause of this was their fault, but only if the torque converter damaged the front seal. I would be glad to try to answer as many questions as you may have on this concern or any other. Thanks
January, 18, 2008 AT 3:29 AM
Thanks for your answer. I'm giving you here the reason why the engine was replaced so that you get the overall picture. The engine was replaced because there was a gasket that was leaking that caused coolant to be mixed with the engine oil inside the engine. The first indication that there was a problem was that the heater was not generating hot air but cool air. Of course we did not know that it was so serious a problem!
Any additional comment would be appreciated.
January, 18, 2008 AT 6:29 PM
Was the trans fluid pouring out between the engine and trans underneath? If so, I would argue the case that they may have damaged the seal when separating the engine from the trans. If it was spewing out of the top, it overheated, in which I would argue with them about not checking the trans fluid level or condition. Or at the very least, that they should have said something to you about the color of the fluid. Since the engine and trans are both dropped out through the bottom of the vehicle in the subframe, they would have had to have disconnected the trans lines. They would have seen the fluid and should have topped it off. Check with them to see what exactly they did with the trans fluid before the test drive.