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Just recently my 1994 Escort Wagon, Auto, 1.9 began starting really hard. Sometimes it starts right up but other times I have to crank it for about 1 minute to finally get it started. When it finally does start it shoots out a big puff of white smoke and then smokes for about a minute. The car doesn't overheat at all. I just changed the oil and didn't see any moisture in it. Now my "Check Coolant" light is on, and I checked it and it looks full. I know, at this point it sounds just like a bad head gasket, right?

But my transmission is losing fluid quickly. I fill it up one day and then it gets so low that it won't go into gear a few days later. There are no signs of it dripping on the ground. My thought was that the engine was sucking transmission fluid up into the manifold via the vacuum modulator, but from what I read there is no vacuum modulator on this tranny. Is there any vacuum hose to the tranny at all?

Maybe I should stop denying a bad head gasket and just swap it out. Though I would check here first though.
Brian
 
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