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Discussion Starter #1
I just bought a used 97 Escort LX about 2 months ago.
Found Trans Fluid in my coolant reservoir, maybe less than a 1/4 inch layer. I'm assuming this means there is a leak in the trans cooler line inside of the radiator and that I'm going to have to replace the radiator (or can I get this repaired for cheaper?).

I also have a small leak on the trans cooler line (in between the trans and radiator), so I am planning on replacing the cooler lines as well. Might as well do it all in one shot. The trans cooler lines seem to be a discontinued part, and hard to find. I did find some used lines, plus a "newer" radiator for $125 for the pair. This seems pretty fair.

Any other ideas on diagnosis, or where to find the trans cooler lines? I did consider fabricating my own, but I have never done anything like that before, and if the used lines look good, then that seems like a better bet.

Also, how can I tell if I have coolant in my trans fluid? Just figuring it could leak both ways right?

Any help, advice, and/or pointers is appreciated.
 

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Yep, that sounds right. Your radiator needs to be replaced. Most likely since the trans fluid is under more pressure than the coolant its less likely to end up in the transmission but it could seep in when the car isn't running. It would still be wise to pull the transmission pan just to check for water in the system. You could also pull the transmission dip stick and if it looks foamy or has droplets on it then you have water in it. As for the lines you could go to a junkyard for them or replace them with rubber fuel line.

Instead of instilling an new radiator you could install an external transmission cooler and cap off the fittings on the radiator instead.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the help. I did consider using an external trans cooler. But I wasn't sure if the radiator would function properly with the cracked trans line left in there.
 

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as long as you cap off the trans cooler lines in the radiator so they don't leak it would be fine.
 
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