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Old 08-28-2019, 08:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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F150 trans lines failure

2013 ecoboost, screw, max tow
145,000km on odo (90,000miles)

No it's not this areas typical big tow rig, but it's done 20k+ pulling a 7500lbs TT and our family of 5... and 2 dogs.

However this past Sunday 10mins after leaving our camp site the "wrench" warning light pops up. We had 2 instances of the trans slipping, 1st shift after a cold start 3 days prior (last time we drove it)

"wrench" warning pops up, I have OBD bluetooth scanner, notging comes up.
keep driving, and seconds later CEL pops up. I get out and can smell "burnt petroleum product" you know that smell of an overheated oil?

I look under and it's leaking a brown oily substance from under the engine/skid plate... rub my fingers in it, I figure engine oil.

goto gas station 5mins away, check oil level but not level ground and it's hot I assume "bit low" so add maybe 500ml.

start up, no warnings, hit road again.

5mins down road both lights seconds apart, then "low oil pressure" warning across dash screen... I pull over and shut it down. Now that fluid is leak/pouring out from skid plate area.

CAA flatbeds truck to dealer 1.5 hrs away where buddy/neighbour is coincidently visiting dad who tows our trailer to his dads 5mins from that dealer. That dealer is 3.5hrs from home, we borrow vehicle, get home.


Dealer looks at it this week, says all trans related, that was ATF leaking, cooler lines, tubes, seals, Orings need replacing, can then determine if any further trans issues. After I ask about CEL & "low oil pressure" warning they confirm, all trans related codes, warning possibly due to engine shutdown/unknown.
est $775Cdn parts & labour, maybe done within a week.



I got Ford Maintenance Plan @ time of purchase, all maint done @ local dealer.

I am going to get truck tomorrow and bring it back to local dealer, and expect a hassle but basically want an explanation as to why the cooling lines, hoses, etc failed so early & either cover partial costs, or deep discount.


is this a reasonable thought train?

any ideas why any of this happened?
yes of course because Ford, but any real reasons?


I didn't think a 7500lbs trailer (high est, prob 7000lbs) was taxing a truck with max tow cap of 11,100lbs.

thanks for any help, ideas, etc
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Old 08-28-2019, 10:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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What does your warrenty say?
Overall milage?
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Old 08-29-2019, 12:48 AM   #3 (permalink)
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If it was leaking brown trans fluid that smelled burnt, the trans has been HOT. Trans fluid should be pink and not smell burnt. Got a temp guage for the trans, maybe in your OBD2 app? I can see how overheating the trans fluid could cause plastic and rubber parts to deform from the heat and then leak. Leaks cause low fluid level. Low fluid level causes funny shift. Makes sense.

An auxiliary trans cooler sounds warranted as does a temp gauge.

Rating a truck to tow a million pounds doesn't mean it'll tow even half that at the speed limit in the hottest month of year, uphill, with the AC on max, without needing a watchful eye on a temp guage.

Last edited by mwilliamshs; 08-29-2019 at 12:54 AM.
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Old 08-29-2019, 04:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
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What does your warrenty say?
Overall milage?
warranty is up, powertrain was 5yr/100k
I don't expect it covered by warranty, but I would like an explanation why the failure occurred at such a relatively low mileage.

I get some common issues arising (exhuast stud broke last year, let manifold warp, which needed replacement, I paid for repair as dealers "lifetime engine warranty" only covered block, head and oil lubed parts). However I kinda expect a transmission system to last a few hundred thousand relatively easy/moderate use kilometers before sometging goes.
Could be I have high expectations, I dunno.
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Old 08-29-2019, 04:59 AM   #5 (permalink)
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If it was leaking brown trans fluid that smelled burnt, the trans has been HOT. Trans fluid should be pink and not smell burnt. Got a temp guage for the trans, maybe in your OBD2 app? I can see how overheating the trans fluid could cause plastic and rubber parts to deform from the heat and then leak. Leaks cause low fluid level. Low fluid level causes funny shift. Makes sense.

An auxiliary trans cooler sounds warranted as does a temp gauge.

Rating a truck to tow a million pounds doesn't mean it'll tow even half that at the speed limit in the hottest month of year, uphill, with the AC on max, without needing a watchful eye on a temp guage.
the smell & colour led me to believe it was engine oil, my mistake. between the engine skid below, and all the plastic covers and busy engine compartment, trying to determine where the leak originated on the side of the road was not possible (with my limited knowledge/skills).

I use the torque app, but did not have it running as I only use it for diagnostics anymore (on DD beater and/or friends vehicles if need be) hindsight, leaving an old smartphone always connected & monitoring temps would be wise.

the truck has the tow package, added trans cooler, etc

the drive itself was flat, temps were low 20°C (70's F) straight rural roads doing 90kph (55mph) AC wasn't on.


agreed tow ratings don't equal longevity. I just figured getting a truck capable of towing XXXX with added parts/pieces to aid the drivetrain in doing so... "should" make it even easier for said truck to tow <XXXX without pushing it beyond limits.


other issues I have come to learn are;
the lack of easily checkable trans dipstick. apparently there is a tiny one techs can check @ service... or me from underneith with proper wrench

service schedule went from fluid flush & change @ 100k, to now @ 240k.
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Old 08-29-2019, 05:58 AM   #6 (permalink)
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you can add a dipstick via the aftermarket. I put one in my 15 since I tow heavy and wanted the ability to do easy fluid changes at home. I tow over 8k all summer long and my trans temps never break 96C. Your experience is definitely not normal.
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Old 08-29-2019, 09:21 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm lost, what actually failed?
Asking a dealer "Why something failed" is a waste of time, they are not engineers.
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Old 08-29-2019, 09:56 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I would almost expect that, especially towing almost 4 tons with a F150.
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Old 08-29-2019, 10:16 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm lost, what actually failed?
Same. I bet the lines rusted through.
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Old 08-29-2019, 10:43 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Same. I bet the lines rusted through.
you get a prize!

just left dealer, tech said the lines failed where the soft & hard come together... rusted out.

says it wouldn't have been "noticable" during normal check up, unless specifically looking for that situation.

also said a code he is worried about is (I'm misquoting) "1st gear speed sensor" or something along those lines. If/when he has seen that in the past, 50/50 on trans being shot.
but until hose repair ia done, won't know for sure.
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Old 08-29-2019, 10:58 AM   #11 (permalink)
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code of concern;
P0731 - Gear 1 Incorrect Ratio

others in system;
P0741 - Torque converter clutch solenoid circuit performance
P1744 - Torque converter clutch solenoid circuit performance
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Old 08-29-2019, 04:33 PM   #12 (permalink)
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code of concern;
P0731 - Gear 1 Incorrect Ratio

others in system;
P0741 - Torque converter clutch solenoid circuit performance
P1744 - Torque converter clutch solenoid circuit performance
It was low on fluid so it slipped. Probably fine. Trans cooler lines rust out all the time in areas where they Salt or CC the roads.
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Old 08-29-2019, 05:20 PM   #13 (permalink)
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It was low on fluid so it slipped. Probably fine. Trans cooler lines rust out all the time in areas where they Salt or CC the roads.
this.

that's the oh shit your trans is slipping code as the turbine input and the output shaft sensor don't agree.

it probably got set when you lost the pump pressure cause the pan was empty.

and while I agree on the rust being a problem on transmission lines, 6 years?
I mean, we use a fuckton of salt here in the winter and I expect them to last at least ten. rusted brake lines and shit are usually a problem on 12-15 year old cars.
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Old 08-29-2019, 06:56 PM   #14 (permalink)
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this.

that's the oh shit your trans is slipping code as the turbine input and the output shaft sensor don't agree.

it probably got set when you lost the pump pressure cause the pan was empty.

and while I agree on the rust being a problem on transmission lines, 6 years?
I mean, we use a fuckton of salt here in the winter and I expect them to last at least ten. rusted brake lines and shit are usually a problem on 12-15 year old cars.
I sometimes replace brake and fuel lines on 8-10 year old vehicles although usually 10+ is where I see the most.
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Old 08-29-2019, 07:49 PM   #15 (permalink)
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the rust is an issue up here, the salt/brine we use is brutal on everything. local underspray place did a test and found the stuff had seeped 17' up a wiring harness.

I'm not proud of it, but I opted for the "electro current anti rust inhibitor" gimmick when I got the truck. after the cut the price on it, I figured even if it didn't work I'd be trading it back to them and say "hey you sold it to me, now it's your problem if it doesn't work"

so other than the pinch seams under the body that have been peeling & rusting for a few years, I wasn't expecting these sort of rust issues anytime soon.


other than owing nothing, and total after sale costs of $1015 + whatever this costs... I'm not sure if I should trade it in so I don't have to worry "what next, and where will we be?" or keep it around hoping "there shouldn't be anything else anytime soon... right?"
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Old 08-29-2019, 09:44 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Trans lines are susceptible to rust because they get so hot the zinc coating fails and they terminate near the fan so salt water gets dried in place. They're in exactly the place frame rust is worst (besides rear tire splash areas) unless you have an oil leak on the front of the engine.
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Old 08-30-2019, 05:15 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Trans lines are susceptible to rust because they get so hot the zinc coating fails and they terminate near the fan so salt water gets dried in place. They're in exactly the place frame rust is worst (besides rear tire splash areas) unless you have an oil leak on the front of the engine.
this may be old news for some, but is news to me and make sense really.
are there any other problematic areas/parts/pieces I could have inspected, on this truck or any vehicle in general?


my dealer has dropped price to $650 so far, so that's a bonus... and atleast keeps them in my good books for now.
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Old 08-30-2019, 11:49 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I'm not in the salt belt. When i was, fluid film every september. If I was truck shopping up there, I'd check fenderwells, rocker panels, driver's floorboard under the carpet, front edge of hood, inside of bumpers, bottom of front fenders, cab corners, hitch flanges, oil pans are notorious for rusting through, brake backing plates...

Go find a junkyard with pickups. Walk around looking at trouble areas.

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Old 08-31-2019, 08:41 AM   #19 (permalink)
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and while I agree on the rust being a problem on transmission lines, 6 years?
I mean, we use a fuckton of salt here in the winter and I expect them to last at least ten. rusted brake lines and shit are usually a problem on 12-15 year old cars.
fairly normal now, just had a 14 chrysler in with trans cooler lines rusted through

make the lines out of cheap shit iron and they'll rust out quick
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Old 08-31-2019, 07:27 PM   #20 (permalink)
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man, that's super shitty to hear that everything domestic is now aboslute shit on corrosion prevention

I guess I'm sticking with euro shit. my wife's 04 is clean, and so is my 08.

but an 08 chevy is a rusted out shitbox here.
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Old 09-02-2019, 06:25 PM   #21 (permalink)
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My trucks front and rear bumper is rusting badly

The inner lip of the tailgate is also rusting

2012 with 70,000 miles. Junk product
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Old 09-02-2019, 07:38 PM   #22 (permalink)
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man, that's super shitty to hear that everything domestic is now aboslute shit on corrosion prevention

I guess I'm sticking with euro shit. my wife's 04 is clean, and so is my 08.

but an 08 chevy is a rusted out shitbox here.
Higher end euro shit doesn’t rust as bad as domestic. My 07 GTI was getting crusty.
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Old 09-02-2019, 08:35 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Europe has sent just as much of their scrap steel to China as the US has. A roll of galvanized hydraulic line used by ANY automaker is likely to have Made In China on it now if not 5 years ago. The aluminum F150 was partially a result of high steel prices making the upcharge to aluminum less of an issue.
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Old 09-02-2019, 08:43 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Europe has sent just as much of their scrap steel to China as the US has. A roll of galvanized hydraulic line used by ANY automaker is likely to have Made In China on it now if not 5 years ago. The aluminum F150 was partially a result of high steel prices making the upcharge to aluminum less of an issue.
the better euro shit uses cupronickel
kind of like how ford used stainless since the '80s on fuel lines

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Old 09-04-2019, 12:59 PM   #25 (permalink)
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It was low on fluid so it slipped. Probably fine. Trans cooler lines rust out all the time in areas where they Salt or CC the roads.
well, just got a call from dealer...

all work has been performed, they test drove it and found the trans still has issues, and new codes.

tech has now advised replacing valve bodies & seals in trans... to the tune of an additional $1700 on top of work already done.

I told them I would call back, I wasn't happy and was in no mood to talk or decide what to do.


I'm pretty disgusted with this whole ordeal.

1. the trans slipped twice out of the blue, no noticable leak noticed in cursory hands & knees look see.

2. trans slipped 3rd time while pulling away from campsite with camper in tow.

2.1 all slips were dif days, once in gear no "issues" were apparent.


3. 10mins down the road, wrench & CEL pop up, check for leak & find what appears to be engine oil. I know ATF is red and understand it may darken with time... this fluid looked brown, like engine oil brown, especially <3k after last oil change.

4. check engine oil, looks ok, but add 500ml because it's parked on slope towards dipstick... if "ok" than may be "low" if/when parked flat.

5. can not check trans fluid... no dipstick.

6. 5mins down the road, wrench & CEL & "low oil pressure" warnings all pop up

7. from "oil pressure" warning to pulled over and stopped travelled maybe 100m, turned engine off. only drove again 30mins later to pull ahead 20m so buddy could hook up to trailer while waiting for tow.





am I being unrealistic to expect some coverage/help from Ford?

bought new from this dealer
bought FMPP (prepaid maintenance upto 8yr/150k kilometers... have one more service before 150k is up... currently just under 143k)
did NOT buy extended warranty as dealer advertised lifetime engine warranty (my fuck up here) and I expwcted trans NOT to be an issue.
all maintenance done at dealer, and only previous repair was broken driver side exh stud, causing manifold warped & replaced.


I figure other than extended warranty I've done all I could, even when leaking I inspected and remedied what I could.

any thoughts?
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Last edited by beakie; 09-04-2019 at 01:23 PM.
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