gearbox oil dripping from speedometer! | Page 2 | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)

gearbox oil dripping from speedometer!

Discussion in '2nd Gen 1991-1996 1.9L SOHC' started by Not THAT kind of 'escort', May 9, 2016.

  1. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    I have the exact same problem, I noticed today that the carpet is pretty oily. It first happened about a year ago when I let the car sit for a couple weeks in the sun.
    I assume there is some sort of breather for the transmission that is clogged. Then as the temperatures go up and down, fluid is forced out through the easiest vent.
    If the breather were working this would never happen, since the top of the speedo cable is much higher than any part of the transmission.

    Can anyone advise where the transmission vent is?
  2. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    On the 5-speed of a 2nd gen LX Escort, the vent is on top of the transmission, on the bell-housing half of the joint where the two halves of the transmission meet. All you see is a little cap, that I dont think can unscrew; but you can pry it up. But if that isnt where it is clogged, there is some kind of a matrix below that inside the transmission, which I think could only be reached by taking the case apart. When I had the case apart I wasnt smart enough to try dismantling that matrix to clean it. Hopefully someone who has done it can give us a better answer.

    I still have to get my head in position to look up and see if the fluid is coming from the speedo cable, or from the clutch master cylinder. I take the driver's seat out to lie down (on a board) to be able to see things hidden behind the dashboard.
  3. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    If you put a white paper towel down, the drips should tell you by their colour if they are ATF or something else.

    Maybe when my car sat for a while mud wasps or other insects clogged the breather?
    I'll see if I can locate it, and if it is free. Possibly hooking a small wire into it would insure it stays open.
  4. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    What is dripping on my 5-speed is red - like the dexron I put into the trans. I hope you will let us know if you have any luck poking a wire into the breather.
  5. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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    Messing with the transmission vent is a waste of time. It isn't the issue. Personal experience. Dipping a wire down there will net some red. But it isn't a straight-shot. There are some bends in the route to reach the red-gold.
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  6. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    The wire is simply to keep the little cap from forming a seal and forcing oil up the speedo cable. But I don't know if it even could be the problem, since I haven't yet investigated the vent as I am too busy on other vehicles and work.
  7. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    I can imagine a cruddy clump of oil/moisture hiding under the little vent cap. But if its clogged further inside whatever the plumbing is, it might take compressed air to remove it.
    And then I would worry about the air pressure pushing one of the seals out of place; axle seal, input shaft seal, shifter shaft seal, etc.
  8. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    I checked the car today and did find the vent and the cap jiggles easily when touched, but perhaps it is plugged further in. Too bad it isn't a screw in fitting that could be taken out for cleaning and investigating. I'll see if I can fit a piece of 1/2" hose around it that I can blow into by mouth to see if air goes through.
  9. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    Here's a picture of what accumulated on the newspaper put down on the floor in about five days and less than fifty miles of driving:
    Linda's camera 029.JPG

    And here's what accumulated just this afternoon as the car sat in the driveway:

    Linda's camera 051 (Small).JPG
  10. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    Okay, I seem to have kind of figured out how to embed pictures so I'll write up on my attempt to fix the problem.

    I removed the upper airbox and duct as well as the breather hose from the valve cover to the lower air box. Then I could get a small pair of Vise-Grips on the breather and twist and pull up to remove it. It actually came out very easily, and curiously showed old teeth marks presumably from being removed before.

    Here is the unit:

    Linda's camera 032.JPG

    It seemed to be plugged up, as I could not suck nor blow through it. So I put it in a test tube with a NaOH (Lye) solution and heated it up to clean it out. This promptly took off the zinc coating and released a bunch of dirt. I poked the center hole with a long wire to help clean it up:

    Linda's camera 042 (Small).JPG

    This got it pretty clean, and I could then blow through it but not suck. It has a light spring and soft washer inside to make it a one-way valve:

    Linda's camera 043 (Small).JPG

    I tried to get it apart without success:

    Linda's camera 045 (Small).JPG

    So I decided to just reinstall it and see if the problem is fixed. Here's where it goes back in:

    Linda's camera 035 (Small).JPG

    If the ATF continues to be forced up the speedometer cable to foul the floor, I will take the breather back out and take it apart even if I mangle it, and remove the check valve so it is a straight breather and doesn't keep in any pressure.
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  11. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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    The valve may be rubber and not a metal washer. (heat would destroy it)
    You could've been seeing damaged particles from that, especially if someone was messing with it before.
  12. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    From poking at it with a wire, the valve disc did indeed feel like a rubber material. Most rubber is resistant to acids and alkalis, and rubber used on engines and underhood typically can handle boiling temperatures.
    It was hard to see down the hole, but the disc appeared to be grey with little bits of black tarry stuff on it which came off in cleaning.

    Plus I didn't mind if I destroyed the guts of the breather.

    If this doesn't stop the leak I'll probably cut the bottom part of the breather off and silver solder it to a proper breather without a check valve.
  13. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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    If it was tarred, that indicates damage to the rubber as a result of the heat. The reason it is one-way, is to prevent dirt and other particulates from migrating into the transmission. Mine was spotless though and through. It was a total waste of time for me to go futzing with it and it wasn't my issue at all.

    EDIT: I should also add, that the rubber grommet seemed to have smooth, glossy, anti-stick coating/properties. Not in the least greasy or dirty. There was only an imprint from where it spent most of the last 1.5 decades (at the time) resting.
    Last edited: May 30, 2016
  14. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    The tarry goop was present before cleaning, the disc was clean after.
    After the chemical cleaning I can blow through the valve, but it seals tightly under suction.

    I will see if the leak is fixed after a few days, if not then I will check out the VSS and/or replace the breather.

    Intuit, is the rubber grommet you just mentioned part of the breather or something else?
  15. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    I can tell that I should clean out the breather, before changing the VSS on my 94LX.
  16. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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    Cap --> spring --> rubber grommet --> metal orifice/fixture/mount

    "Grommet" may not be the right word. It's the same thing you labeled as a "washer." Of like 170 images, only one of them didn't have a hole in it. It's basically flat piece of thick, round, finished rubber. https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=grommet&FORM=HDRSC2
  17. jay92gt

    jay92gt FEOA Member

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    Had the same problem with my 92 GT many years ago. I put a new speedo cable in and the dripping went away there is actually a topic on it.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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