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Old 02-18-2014, 08:16 PM   #1
ZakPatin93
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1997 SC1
2001 SL1
Dizzy Automatic Transmission Ran Without Fluid

I had installed some new transmission cooler lines in my 1997 SC1 and never replaced the tranny fluid that leaked out. I pulled the car out of the shop and to its parking spot about 50 yards away. The car was driving fine until i got just about to the parking spot and it started smelling like something was burning and the car stopped moving.

I know that an automatic transmission needs fluid to run so that explains why it stopped moving. My question is did I mess up my tranny? Whats your opinion on how bad the damage is.

If your just going to bash me for doing this then walk along. I know it was a stupid idea and quite frankly I don't give a crap. Just wanted some friendly advice

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Zak Patin
1997 SC1

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Old 02-18-2014, 09:08 PM   #2
anmasher
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Default Re: Automatic Transmission Ran Without Fluid

You shouldn't have lost more than a cup or so from those lines. If that is the case the transmission will be just fine and there is some other reason for the car to stop moving...

Approximately how much came out?

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Old 02-18-2014, 09:13 PM   #3
climbski
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Default Re: Automatic Transmission Ran Without Fluid

Seems unlikely you messed up the tranny that fast by being low.

I'd guess you spilled some on the exhaust and that would explain the smell.

One way to find out. Add some fluid and see what happens.

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Old 02-18-2014, 09:14 PM   #4
ZakPatin93
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Default Re: Automatic Transmission Ran Without Fluid

I'm not sure. It had to have been a good amount. I started the project 4 months ago with a radiator. The tranny cooler lines were seized in the old radiator so i just bought new ones and finally just put them on this weekend. The car had been sitting outside so I wouldnt be able to tell if it leaked out during the past 4 months.

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1997 SC1

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Old 02-18-2014, 09:17 PM   #5
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1995 SL1
Default Re: Automatic Transmission Ran Without Fluid

The only way to find out for sure is to get it filled and see what happens. I'm sure it's not the first time a tranny has been run low on fluid. I've seen quite a few autos run very low on fluid and survive just fine.

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Old 02-18-2014, 09:19 PM   #6
ZakPatin93
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Default Re: Automatic Transmission Ran Without Fluid

Lets hope so!

Thanks

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1997 SC1

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Old 02-18-2014, 10:33 PM   #7
Modding_out
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Default Re: Automatic Transmission Ran Without Fluid

I would suspect you dumped quite a bit of fluid from those lines, but in 50yards your not going to mess up a thing..... re fill with oil and see what happens

Not to scare you but running w/o fluid in the tranny can cause it to seize in 1st gear.. i brought a sl2 like that, but the dumb ass drove it 10 miles home. Your fine

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Old 02-19-2014, 05:42 AM   #8
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Default Re: Automatic Transmission Ran Without Fluid

If the Transmission was low to begin with before replacing the cooler lines that would explain how the Transmission stopped functioning, Fill the fluid with DEX III to the full COLD line and try to drive it and see what happens, After about 10-15 miles re-check the fluid and make sure its on the FULL line, The car has to be HOT and LEVEL.

...
2015 Subaru Forester Limited "Prinny"
2000 SW2 Still Running Strong- 160K Traded In
2002 SL1 Still has Its Training Wheels on at 88K Traded In


CHECK YOUR OIL!

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Old 02-19-2014, 10:05 AM   #9
dbetz
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Default Re: Automatic Transmission Ran Without Fluid

I would say fill er up and see what happens. A couple of years ago (before I found this site), I got sideswiped by a speed racer power sliding through the curves on our dirt road. Hit the left front fender, but broke the strut and knocked the CV joint (?) out of the trans. Poured trans fluid all over. Had it towed to a (recommended) place to have it fixed, who ended up being morons (they couldn't even install a driver side mirror correctly). They put it back together but never bothered to check the trans fluid. Drove it for a while (many miles) with a weird whining noise I couldn't figure out. On a complete whim, I checked the trans fluid to find it off the dipstick. Put 3 quarts in I think. That was probably 40k miles ago.

It is possible that it did damage, but I think you would have to do a lot more than you did to break it. Likely there is something else.

...
Thanks! David

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Old 02-19-2014, 01:02 PM   #10
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Default Re: Automatic Transmission Ran Without Fluid

Correct me if I'm wrong but about half the xmission oil is in the torque converter. Since the t/c also pumps oil thru the system, losing fluid would imply less in the t/c. T/c's can't work if fluid isn't there to xfer power from the engine to the xmission, the heart and sole of all torque converters. If the t/c is low on fluid then the engine can't power the xmission via the fluid coupling. I would presume no damage as no fluid coupling occurred. Top off with fluid and let the engine idle while manually shifting thru all gears, pausing for about 15 seconds in each gear to let fluid run thru the valve body passages (and purge itself of any air). Once this is done and tranny topped off, the t/c being full will automatically be restored to being the fluid coupling it was designed to be and hopefully a perfectly operating xmission. Just drive tentatively around the block and observe each shift to allow the xmission to work.

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Old 02-19-2014, 07:05 PM   #11
ZakPatin93
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Default Re: Automatic Transmission Ran Without Fluid

Thank you for all the help. Ill give it a try this weekend. I'm hoping the burning I was smelling was harmless.

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