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Old 09-22-2020, 02:17 PM   #1
Old Redneck
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Default I notice my transmission leaking a little bit on the floor.

I know they sell all kinds of additive to stop the transmission from leaking but what works? My 56 T-Bird has the air cooled transmission no lines going to the radiator. It shift fine no problem that I can see. I got the power steering to stop leaking.
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Old 09-22-2020, 07:37 PM   #2
paul2748
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Default Re: I notice my transmission leaking a little bit on the floor.

Have you located where it is leaking from? One spot that tends to leak is he fitting for the fill tube as well as the pan gasket.


Needless to say, the front seal may be bad as well as the gasket for the converter.
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Old 09-22-2020, 11:30 PM   #3
Daves55Sedan
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Default Re: I notice my transmission leaking a little bit on the floor.

Typical leak points of the Ford-O-Matic:
Air-cooled converter large O-ring seal
Gear select "shift-lever" O-ring seal
Fluid pan gasket
Dipstick tube connection to fluid pan not tight enough
Are you sure the leak is ATF? The crankshaft rear main seal on the Y-blocks is notorious for leaking and can make it look like the fault is in the transmission, but when you are driving, the oil blows back and coats the bottom of the transmission.
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Old 09-23-2020, 12:12 PM   #4
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Default Re: I notice my transmission leaking a little bit on the floor.

Most additives for this purpose are based on rubber seal problems. The intent is for the additive to soften old hard rubber. It won't seal leaks where the rubber is split or deteriorated to much. It won't do anything for cork or paper gaskets. It's likely some form of solvent with a light oil like an emollient so it will have a tendency to thin the ATF until the solvent part of it finally evaporates out. Some would call it snake oil but it might help for a while.

Repairing the problem is what works the best.

Last edited by rotorwrench; 09-23-2020 at 12:18 PM.
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Old 09-23-2020, 06:10 PM   #5
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Default Re: I notice my transmission leaking a little bit on the floor.

I have used Lucas auto trans leak repair in power steering units on more than one car. It works great for that, I have no doubt it would work for its intended use too.
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Old 09-23-2020, 07:21 PM   #6
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Default Re: I notice my transmission leaking a little bit on the floor.

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Mine leaks too but I don't drive it much either. What's the Air-cooled converter large O-ring seal? Do you have to pull the transmission to get to it?
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Old 09-24-2020, 06:12 PM   #7
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Default Re: I notice my transmission leaking a little bit on the floor.

The torque converters in the Fordomatic transmissions (either air cooled or water cooled versions) are a bolted assembly rather than a welded assembly like most later converters. The large o'ring seal between the front and rear portions of the assembly can only be accessed with the transmission removed from the car.
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Old 09-24-2020, 08:01 PM   #8
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Default Re: I notice my transmission leaking a little bit on the floor.

OK, now I think I understand it better. I'll have to see if I have a manual for the transmission.
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Old 09-24-2020, 09:38 PM   #9
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Default Re: I notice my transmission leaking a little bit on the floor.

On Ford-O-Matics of the '50's, the flywheel/ring-gear plate serves as the front portion of the converter housing. The large O-ring seal provides the liquid-tight seal between the two pieces. It's absolutely brilliant.....UNTIL, that O-ring dries up and becomes petrified with age.
Ford engineering estimated the seal would be good for ten years, and they really didn't want you to keep your old car longer than that. They wanted you to come back to the dealer and buy a new car in '65, if not sooner. That front frame crossmember was another notorious part with a designed life-span.
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Old 10-01-2020, 10:38 PM   #10
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Default Re: I notice my transmission leaking a little bit on the floor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldave57 View Post
The torque converters in the Fordomatic transmissions (either air cooled or water cooled versions) are a bolted assembly rather than a welded assembly like most later converters. The large o'ring seal between the front and rear portions of the assembly can only be accessed with the transmission removed from the car.
My '60 water cooled converter is a welded unit
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Old 10-02-2020, 03:12 PM   #11
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Default Re: I notice my transmission leaking a little bit on the floor.

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My '60 water cooled converter is a welded unit
To my recollection, the 51 thru 55 ford-o-matics with V8 engines all had the air-cooled converters having the front and back portions bolted together and sealed by that large O-ring seal.
The '52, 215 I-block 6-cyl and '54 thru '59 223 I-block 6-cyl cars with Ford-O-matics all had AIR-COOLED converters designed like the V8 air-cooled converters except these were deeper and smaller diameter.
The '56 thru '62 Ford cars with Y-blocks and Ford-O-matics had water-cooled converters that were a self-contained unit. They had four studs on the front that the flywheel/ring-gear plate bolted to. I believe they also offered these in some F-100 pickups with 223 I-block thru the '64 model year.
Sometime around the end of the decade, Ford still offered a Ford-O-matic, but it had aluminum bellhousing rather than the cast iron bellhousings of the '50's and kept the same basic design of the water-cooled converter used in '56 and later V8 cars.
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Old 10-03-2020, 06:38 PM   #12
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Default Re: I notice my transmission leaking a little bit on the floor.

56 had both air and water cooled Fordo's. The switch to water cooled came sometime during the model year
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Old 10-03-2020, 07:27 PM   #13
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Default Re: I notice my transmission leaking a little bit on the floor.

Mine is Air cooled. Water is better or make any difference
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Old 10-03-2020, 09:04 PM   #14
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Default Re: I notice my transmission leaking a little bit on the floor.

If the transmission fluid is plumbed to the bottom of the radiator it is the upgraded version that came a few months after the introduction of the 312 engines. Dissipates heat better than the air-cooled.
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Last edited by dmsfrr; 10-03-2020 at 09:44 PM.
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Old 10-04-2020, 07:47 PM   #15
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Default Re: I notice my transmission leaking a little bit on the floor.

My 56 had an air cooled trans. Never had a problem with it. Summer trip across country over the mountains on the west coast, never let me down.


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Mine is Air cooled. Water is better or make any difference
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Old 10-05-2020, 02:26 PM   #16
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Default Re: I notice my transmission leaking a little bit on the floor.

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Originally Posted by paul2748 View Post
56 had both air and water cooled Fordo's. The switch to water cooled came sometime during the model year
That is correct and the changeover probably didn't happen till late in the '56 model year. To my knowledge, the repair manual for the first water-cooled converter didn't even come out until '57.
The '56 Ford-O-Matic shop manual doesn't even mention a water cooled version of the converter.
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