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Old 02-01-2011, 07:16 PM   #1
fbalsam
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Default New transmission lines leak at new radiator.

2000 SW2 Automatic with aprox. 128K miles. The old radiator was leaking coolant so I purchased a new radiator, upper and lower hoses, thermostat, and trans. cooling lines. The new trans lines leak where they enter into the new radiator no matter what I do. From all of the diagrams I have seen (here and elsewhere) there are no o-rings or seals between the two. The fluid is not leaking between the threads, rather between the nut and the internal line. Any suggestions would be appreciated beyond belief as I am currently stuck.

Thanks

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Old 02-01-2011, 07:35 PM   #2
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Default Re: New transmission lines leak at new radiator.

I believe those kinds of fittings are the kind that expand, the further they screw in (like brake line fittings). They should seal without any o-ring or other sealant, as long as they're tight enough (shouldn't really have to be that tight...).

Check to make sure there's nothing preventing you from tightening them all the way. If not, you could try some teflon pipe thread tape on the threads.

Oops, saw that it's not leaking at the treads. Check for dirt, rust, or anything in there preventing a proper seal...

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Last edited by PlasticCarsRock; 02-01-2011 at 07:42 PM..

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Old 02-01-2011, 07:55 PM   #3
fbalsam
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Default Re: New transmission lines leak at new radiator.

I fear that if I make them any tighter it will strip the female threads in the radiator, thus instantly voiding any warranty. I don't have a torque wrench however, I can assure that they are very tight. Appreciate the help though.

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Old 02-01-2011, 08:00 PM   #4
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Default Re: New transmission lines leak at new radiator.

I'd double check that about the o-rings, I have done a bunch of radiators lately (don't know why, I guess it comes in bunches) and GM's of that era always seem to have a washer (it's not an o-ring) that goes on the end of the line as it goes into the radiator. Someone else will chime in, I'm sure, but that would explain it (both lines leaking, can't be anything else I'll guess).

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Old 02-01-2011, 10:17 PM   #5
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Default Re: New transmission lines leak at new radiator.

There are no o-rings. I've attached a photo of the fitting at the radiator.
The trans line seals against the fitting. You might check the trans line ends to see if they're free of burrs or anything else that might prevent them from sealing nice and flush against the radiator fitting.

I replaced both trans cooling lines a year ago. They started leaking from between the nut and line just like yours. I thought I had them as tight as they would go. I linked up wrenches to get more leverage and the nut did tighten some more and the leak stopped. Be sure you use a tubing wrench to help prevent the nut from rounding off.

A side note, I initially was using a 13mm wrench to tighten the fitting and found that it was a little loose fitting. I used a 1/2 tubing wrench and it fit a lot better than the 13mm.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Radiator trans line fitting 01.jpg (25.7 KB, 177 views)

Last edited by Spaz; 02-01-2011 at 10:31 PM..

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Old 02-01-2011, 10:41 PM   #6
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Default Re: New transmission lines leak at new radiator.

Oops! Too late to edit. Just to clarify, I used a 1/2 inch tubing wrench, which was a better fit than the 13mm.

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Old 02-03-2011, 07:03 PM   #7
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Default Re: New transmission lines leak at new radiator.

Update,

Thank you so much for your suggestions. I ended up purchasing a set of line wrenches from local auto parts store. I took your advice and a small leap of faith and really cranked down on them. This completely fixed the leak on the top hose, however, the lower hose still has a very ever so slight leak that appears only after driving it about 5 miles.
Once again, I have tightened this lower nut as far as I think it can go (radiator starts to nearly twist out of its mounts). After a short ride the line shows no leaks, though the jury is till out.
My back up plan will be an auxiliary trans cooler (4 pass) that will totally bypass the radiator. I sure wish this thing had a manual trans instead.. I will post one final update to this based upon the results over the next couple of days.

Thanks.

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Old 06-06-2011, 08:19 AM   #8
David 93 SL2m
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Roll Eyes Re: New transmission lines leak at new radiator.

I just had the same issue as fbalsam. The radiator in my 1996 SC2 was original and drops of coolant/antifreeze began appearing from a hairline crack in the radiator side tank on the driver's side. I bought a new radiator, pair of new automatic transmission cooler lines, and new fittings for the lines where they connect to the transmission.

The radiator had stickers over the transmission cooler line connections warning that cross threading or over-tightening could lead to killing the new radiator. Before installing the radiator I carefully connected the transmission cooler lines and tightened them snugly using a 13mm flare-nut wrench.

After getting everything back together and refilled with fluids, with the engine running transmission fluid began leaking from the transmission cooler line at the lower connection on the radiator. Specifically it was leaking from the center around the metal tube of the transmission cooler line, not from around the edges of the 13mm nut that secures it. I tightened it more and more. The leak slowed but did not stop.

At this point I will follow Low Saturn's advice: use an aftermarket transmission fluid cooler mounted to the radiator, its hoses connected to the transmission cooler lines and secured with the included band clamps. Here is Low Saturn's advice in another thread:
http://saturnfans3.saturnfans.com/~s...20&postcount=7

I'll be using one of these units:
http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/web...___#fragment-2
http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/web...___#fragment-2

Note they have extra hose available if needed...
http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/web...P|GRP2060_____

...and mounting kits if we ever need to move the aftermarket transmission fluid cooler to another radiator:
http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/web...|GRP2061A_____

...
As of Oct 2017
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∙ 2004 VUE 120K
∙ 2007 ION3 108K
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Past
∙ 1993 SL2 212K
∙ 1993 SC2 140K
∙ 1996 SC2 157K
∙ 1996 SC2 126K
∙ 2001 SC2, 145K
∙ 2002 L200 20K
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Old 06-06-2011, 08:20 AM   #9
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Happy Re: New transmission lines leak at new radiator.

By the way the original transmission cooler lines did not want to come off the original radiator, and I could not figure out how to get the clips at the other end of the transmission cooler lines to separate from the lines after removing them from the transmission. So the general wisdom to buy new transmission cooler lines and fittings when replacing the radiator in a Saturn S-Series with automatic transmission should be followed. These parts are not expensive. It is a no brainer - just buy them.

...
As of Oct 2017
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∙ 2007 ION3 108K
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∙ 1993 SC2 140K
∙ 1996 SC2 157K
∙ 1996 SC2 126K
∙ 2001 SC2, 145K
∙ 2002 L200 20K
...

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Old 06-11-2011, 02:49 PM   #10
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Happy Re: New transmission lines leak at new radiator.

No more leaking!

I installed the smaller aftermarket transmission cooler bypassing the radiator altogether. About 1 more quart of transmission fluid was needed to get the level acceptable again.

I loosely followed the directions posted by BarnOwl in the following thread:

How To Install a Transaxle Cooler w/pics

I took out the radiator fan, took the radiator out of its supports so it could be moved back toward the engine, and removed one of the two bolts that holds the AC condenser to the front of the radiator.

I installed the transmission cooler on the front of the radiator. It is between the radiator and the AC condenser. The new hoses are attached at the bottom of the new transmission cooler, then connect directly to the transmission. It was hard to get the plastic mounting rods to pass through both the transmission cooler and the new radiator. Eventually I got it. Some of the fins on both units got a bit mashed but both will still work just fine; it is just a tiny bit upsetting but it was bound to happen. If I were to do this all over again then I would mount the new transmission cooler onto the new radiator while they are on the garage floor - not after the new radiator is already in the car.

To get the new hoses to connect to the transmission I removed the connectors from the old transmission cooler lines that were connected to the old radiator and wouldn't come off. Then I used those at the ends of the new hoses like BarnOwl did. A perfect fit! Thank goodness I didn't throw away the old stuff yet.

After I got everything back together I ran the engine for 15 minutes and shifted the gears around. No leaks and I topped off the transmission fluid again.

Did a test drive. No leaks. And the automatic transmission shifted fine in the forward gears and in reverse. Still no leaks.

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∙ 1993 SL2 212K
∙ 1993 SC2 140K
∙ 1996 SC2 157K
∙ 1996 SC2 126K
∙ 2001 SC2, 145K
∙ 2002 L200 20K
...

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Old 06-26-2011, 02:00 PM   #11
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Red Face Re: New transmission lines leak at new radiator.

Fast update. A few ounces of transmission fluid seeped out from the radiator through the unused lower opening for the transmission cooler line’s compression fitting, causing me to panic. Remember that I had new transmission cooler lines connected to the new radiator and transmission fluid circulating for a few minutes before giving up and going to an aftermarket transmission cooler solution.

I saw this fluid on the splash shield under the radiator – and under the aftermarket transmission cooler – and assumed that one or both of the band clamps securing the hoses to the aftermarket were not tightened correctly. Later when I took off the splash shield and looked/felt around the hoses they were dry. Only the bottom area of the radiator side tank where the lower transmission cooler line is supposed to connect was damp with transmission fluid. So it was just the last bit of transmission fluid from the radiator escaping after the car was driven several times, the radiator heated up, and the radiator was vibrated a bit. What a relief. I took some pictures but most didn’t come out good due to the angles, the closeness, and the poor lighting.

So my advice is if you are switching away from the radiator for regulating the transmission fluid temperatures and going to an aftermarket transmission cooler, try to drain out as much transmission fluid as you can from that part of the radiator. Maybe blowing low-pressure compressed air or gently flushing water or something in through the top opening for the transmission cooler line and out through the bottom opening for the other transmission cooler line can be done done to clean it out – and avoid false alarms like mine.

I’m thinking I might jam some JB Weld in those unused openings in the radiator for the transmission cooler lines so no more of the trace amounts of transmission fluid will come out and make me think there is a problem going on...

...
As of Oct 2017
∙ 2002 SL1 128K
∙ 2004 VUE 120K
∙ 2007 ION3 108K
...
Past
∙ 1993 SL2 212K
∙ 1993 SC2 140K
∙ 1996 SC2 157K
∙ 1996 SC2 126K
∙ 2001 SC2, 145K
∙ 2002 L200 20K
...

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Old 05-26-2016, 09:13 PM   #12
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Default Re: New transmission lines leak at new radiator.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaz View Post
There are no o-rings. I've attached a photo of the fitting at the radiator.
The trans line seals against the fitting. You might check the trans line ends to see if they're free of burrs or anything else that might prevent them from sealing nice and flush against the radiator fitting.

I replaced both trans cooling lines a year ago. They started leaking from between the nut and line just like yours. I thought I had them as tight as they would go. I linked up wrenches to get more leverage and the nut did tighten some more and the leak stopped. Be sure you use a tubing wrench to help prevent the nut from rounding off.

A side note, I initially was using a 13mm wrench to tighten the fitting and found that it was a little loose fitting. I used a 1/2 tubing wrench and it fit a lot better than the 13mm.
If you take that large stamped nut off, you will see that there IS an o-ring on the large fitting inside the radiator. I'm having trouble finding the right one to replace it, and it's REALLY hard to get on, but it's there.

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Old 05-28-2016, 08:02 AM   #13
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Default Re: New transmission lines leak at new radiator.

It may help to use some grease or antiseize on the tubing nut. Coat the threads of nut and coat the metal tube.

Then tighten and loosen several times. Without anti seize or grease, these things are tough to take apart later.

Just do not get antiseize inside the tube.

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Old 05-28-2016, 09:18 AM   #14
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Default Re: New transmission lines leak at new radiator.

To stop leaks on those fittings the best fix is a thin o-ring that is only slightly smaller than the nut on the line. Do not over tighten either with or without an o-ring and antiseize on the threads will help get thrm actually tight without ruining them. O-ring material must be compatible with hot oil, teflon or aflas are the only low cost choices and you will be ordering those from a place such as McMaster-Carr. I would try antiseize first and be sure the cone and seat are clean and very lightly oiled with ATF.

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Old 06-23-2017, 09:57 PM   #15
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Default Re: New transmission lines leak at new radiator.

New member but I have been lurking/using the forum for DIY fixes on my gf's 2000 SL1 (AT) for awhile now. I replaced the radiator with a Silla unit today. New hoses and upper/lower AT coolant lines. New quick connect fittings for they transaxle. All parts were the recommended brands/part numbers from this forum.

Upon starting the car and letting it run, noticed there was the common slight Leak on both the upper and lower AT cooler lines at the radiator. Advice said tighten more with 1/2 flare nut. About 1/4 turn on lower hose and all resistive went (felt like it stripped threads)

Questions:
1) is it likely I stripped male end of hose or is this almost certainly female threads on radiator?
2) if it's likely the female on radiator, is it possible to remove the insert contained female threads from old radiator and replace into the new one? Or is there any other way to not have to replace the brand new radiator ??
3) I thought at first ordering and installing an AT cooler would save me here, from reading the install of standalone AT cooler thread, it looks like the upper hose from cooler runs to the lower fitting on radiator??? While lower hose on cooler runs to the AT??? Am I reading that wrong? It seems like that doesn't "bypass the radiator " at all? Please clarify for me: assuming i stripped the female threads on lower AT cooling line of Silla radiator, would purchasing an aftermarket AT cooler save me from re-doing the radiator?

4) if so, what is the recommended AT cooler brand/model?

5) for leak at the quick connect, is that likely need to tighten the new fittings ? (Sure don't want to strip the threads on transaxle)

I appreciate all help in advance,
David

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Old 06-23-2017, 10:19 PM   #16
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Default Re: New transmission lines leak at new radiator.

If it all turns then the fitting in the radiator has popped free. This is a failed radiator. The easy way to get these lines to seal is set a 1/16 diameter o-ring with a diameter that allows it to set about 1/2 way down on the tapered cone of the radiator fitting. Must be Buna-N or Viton so it will last. This will make an easy to make up connection. The cooler line is very low pressure. Hold o-ring in place with a bit of grease. RTV is not an acceptable substitute for this as it will fail soon.

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Old 06-24-2017, 01:46 PM   #17
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Default Re: New transmission lines leak at new radiator.

It doesn't all turn. The brass nut turns with no resistance but the insert is static. So either the female threads of insert or male threads of nut are stripped.

Does the aftermarket transmission cooler option allow me to keep the newly installed Silla radiator, even if the female threads are stripped?

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Old 06-24-2017, 02:01 PM   #18
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Default Re: New transmission lines leak at new radiator.

If you replace that loop with an external cooler then yes. But I would detach the line and see what failed first.

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Old 06-24-2017, 04:16 PM   #19
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Default Re: New transmission lines leak at new radiator.

I will detach and inspect tomorrow morning. If it's the male threads I may try to put old Lower line on to see if it works.

So the external cooler does not connect to the radiator at all? You just leave the radiator connections open? Also, what model/part number aftermarket cooler do most people use?

Last edited by Ruetama; 06-24-2017 at 04:23 PM..

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Old 06-24-2017, 09:54 PM   #20
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Default Re: New transmission lines leak at new radiator.

The in-radiator loop is just a single piece of tubing, no connection to water. The loop is both a heater and cooler depending on conditions. Any small external cooler will be OK but you can run into cold oil issues in winter when trans is cold.

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