uunidentified fluid under driver side dash | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)
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uunidentified fluid under driver side dash

Discussion in '2nd Gen 1991-1996 1.9L SOHC' started by ChrisSilva, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. ChrisSilva

    ChrisSilva New Member

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    fluid, maybe brake or oil of some kind?. wondering if there is anything I should check, seems alot it's all over the floor/firewall/wiring.

    thanks
  2. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    I recall your Escort has the 5-speed transmission, so its likely to be fluid leaking from the clutch master cylinder, down behind the clutch pedal but inside the car.

    Less commonly trans fluid has been reported to leak up the speedometer cable; due to a bad seal at the Vehicle Speed Sensor, or a transmission with too much tranmission fluid in it.

    If the fluid is pink - its trans fluid. If its clear or light brown, its brake fluid from a leaking clutch master cylinder. Not terribly rare for our older cars.
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  3. ChrisSilva

    ChrisSilva New Member

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    yes it's a 5 speed. I had thought it is probably the clutch master cylinder, didn't know of the speedo cable issue, it that's also possible. I wasn't able to get the VSS off to check the trans fluid level.

    it's kind of hard to tell the color, but it looks sort of brown to me. I'll try to get a picture laater

    Thanks
  4. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    I can believe its hard to tell the color. The brake fluid is mixing with the tarry sealant stuff on the floor of the car; and brake fluid will dissolve paint eventually.
    The problem with fluid working up the speedo cable is fairly rare. It would result in the bottom of the cluster being damp, and there being signs of slimy moisture on the wires around the steering column. And with a 5-speed, its more likely your trans fluid would be low, rather than overfilled.

    Getting the VSS out in order to check the trans fluid level is one of the 3 or 4 most difficult jobs on an escort. I got a cheap Chinese wood chisel and pulled off the plastic handle. That gave me a 'wedge' tool about the right length to hammer on;, while lying under the car. I held the chisel horizontally, with the flat side of the chisel downward, had the wedge shaped tip placed on the flat part of the transaxle case where the (very small) lip of the VSS sits, and hammered for a while. Lots of penetrating oil & some bad language. After enough hammering (hampered by the axle, the exhaust, etc.), I got the VSS to move upward half a millimeter. Then I was able to grab it from above with pliers (cushioned jaws) and get it to turn left-right, at which point it was moving up as I pulled. It think I spend part of three evenings under there to do this. I had removed the battery and the large rubber inlet duct to make it more accessible from above.
    With my 94 5-speed, I like to check the fluid in it once per year.
  5. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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    My thoughts too.

    Fluids mix with the dirt already in the carpet and make visual diagnosis difficult. Simply apply a paper towel to the carpet. If there is a tinge of red in the towel, you know the answer.

    Blown seal in speed sensor was a result of overfill in mine; didn't account for thermal expansion. (even a tiny bit over is too much) As much fluid as I had been soaking up, expected to find low trans fluid levels. Nope. If your speed sensor has never been off, the seal, as Densiond3 indicated, is likely okay.

    On the other hand when I had the clutch master cylinder leak, it took only two weeks to get a dash light; three days in the end before replacing.
  6. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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    Oh, if you EVER manage to get that speed sensor off, sand down the parameter to make it smaller. That way it doesn't get STUCK again. Need to go remove mine as it's been years now... half scared to even try.
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  7. ChrisSilva

    ChrisSilva New Member

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    ours has had this fluid since we got it. at first i thought it was a spill, but after a halway cleaning, it always gets worse again. my speedo broke from a blowout on the interstate. this car needs too much work.. just did clutch and then CVs, next is brake calipers and rotors.
  8. sketchjtl

    sketchjtl FEOA Member

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    had the same problem with mine check the vent on the transmission if it gets plugged up it'll run tranny fluid back up the speedo cable and leak all over your feet when you drive lol
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  9. ChrisSilva

    ChrisSilva New Member

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    hmmm, that sounds like my situation. where can I find this vent you talk about?
  10. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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    "Vent" consists of a thimble over a piece of rubber sitting on top of a hole. A spring sits between the rubber and thimble-like cap. It's an "exhale" only design; more like a pressure release valve instead of vent. Mine was perfectly fine; in fact it was like frigg'n new under there and never seen any fluid, dirt, etcetera. Rubber hadn't aged a day and didn't stick to the metal hole. Ran some wire down the hole and had to go pretty deep to get fluid back. Bottom line, there's no reason it would've ever seen dirt or clog. Total absence of corrosion including dry-rot precluded any possibility of a sticking valve. With a bit of thought, managed to figure out a way to reassemble it.
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  11. ChrisSilva

    ChrisSilva New Member

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    so the vent is probably fine, I need to replace the vss?

    on a side note what brand/vendor of front calipers would you recommend?
  12. sketchjtl

    sketchjtl FEOA Member

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    its the vent trust me its on the driver side of the tranny i took mine off threw it it some carb cleaner for about 10 minutes and blew through it. never had the problem sense. and the reason it crawls up the speedo cable is pressur ebuild up in the tranny from that vent getting clogged and not being able to breath. i found another post on here awhile back and thats how i figured it out.
  13. LariRudi

    LariRudi FEOA Donator

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    Clarify driver side of tranny?

    Not being picky, just want to learn; I too have 5 spd.

    So with our transverse mounted engines, I see the output of the tranny facing the driver side, the input facing the passenger side, and then the tranny has two "sides"? one side facing the front of the car, and the other side "facing" the rear of the car, or facing the firewall?

    If this ever happens to me, I'll want to know where to look..........

    thx,

    LarryR
  14. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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    Speed sensor has a shaft seal that prevents fluid from getting past it. If that seal is no longer performing it's job, the speed sensor needs to be replaced.

    The one-way vent is visible here on top of the transmission, to the left of the photographed evap purge valve wire harness. See the white twist-tie...
    http://sdrv.ms/UDkR9D
  15. ChrisSilva

    ChrisSilva New Member

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    ok, I see the vent and I guess I need a new vss
  16. Tiki

    Tiki FEOA Donator

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    Did you clean the vent? Also if you chose to remove the thimble you can't put it back on. I removed mine and added a 5 inch hose.
  17. Aircraft

    Aircraft New Member

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    I don't mean to hijack and sorry for the long post. I have the same issue. My trans fluid started leaking out the speedometer. I changed the vss and it didn't do anything is kept leaking. I was able to pull apart the breather cleaned it and just re staked it. The leak stopped coming up the vss. Then I changed the clutch a couple thousand miles later and it started leaking out the vss seal and possibly the half shaft seals(I can't tell it's wet all over that area). I pulled the vss after a drive fluid dripped out the speedo cable and what fluid made it into the vss bubbled I guess until the trans was unpressurized. I pulled the breather out and can blow through it. Now what?
  18. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    So you could potentially use that hole and piece of wire as a makeshift transmission dipstick, right?
  19. Aircraft

    Aircraft New Member

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    I guess one could do that. But it doesn't help the pressurization of the transmission.
  20. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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    Not so sure it would serve as a good dipstick since the passageway seemed to curve before hitting any fluid; wasn't a straight up/down IIRC.
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