Transmission Woes - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 Old 07-20-2019, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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Transmission Woes

Hello All,

Have been lurking and researching here since I bought my '02 F250 SRW 7.3. I am hoping that some of the folks here can provide some additional insight into the issue that I am seeing.

To start, I have an '02 7.3 F250 with 256k on it and it is essentially stock other than the Superchips 1805 programmer installed. I had the transmission rebuilt at 165k and the shop installed a higher stall billet torque converter (2800 rpm). I had the transmission rebuilt again at 254k (March of this year) using the same converter. I do not tow anymore (used to tow 20ft trailer and Jeep), but see no reason to get rid of the truck as it is paid for and has plenty of life left in it.

Historically the stock in dash gauge (no after market gauges installed) has rarely ever moved from dead center. After the initial rebuild the only time it went up was long trips at higher mph (usually when carrying ATV in bed). Since the second rebuild earlier this year, I have seen the gauge climb more frequently after driving for about 45 min and when in slower traffic. I have not noticed any slipping or other issues and have not thrown any codes. For perspective, I do live in Florida and the temps have been in the mid to upper 90s lately.

I have recently upgraded the stock cooler to the Mishimoto 6.0/7.3 37 row cooler. I have since performed a flow test with mixed results. The first test blew ATF out the hole where the rear line was attached. I then installed the bypass delete kit to the front line, eliminating the bypass as a variable. I tested again and the flow was solid and quick from the input line to the transmission, with nothing exiting the transmission itself. This leads me to believe the bypass valve was the culprit and that the coolant flow is not an issue. I rebuilt the bypass valve today using the Sonnex rebuild kit and plan to test it again tomorrow. My intention is to keep the bypass in place once I resolve the heating issue. The ATF is still a nice light pink color on the dipstick.

I have also checked for leaks and do not see any and the fluid level appears correct. I added two quarts after installing the new cooler and coolant flow test. One for lost fluid and one for the additional capacity of the new cooler (per Mishimoto specs).

To date the factory dash gauge has gotten to yellow, but not red. Based upon what I have read, that is in the 200-225 range and I should be running less with the new cooler. From what I have read, with the new cooler I should be seeing 60-90 degrees above ambient (so up to 190 would seem appropriate given recent temps here in North FL???).

Questions at the moment

1) Should the front banjo bolt also be replaced at the same time?
2) If after rebuilding the bypass valve I see the same results with flow test, what else should I investigate?
3) Should I install an electric fan in front of the condenser to force more air toward the cooler?
4) Why would the dash gauge all of a sudden be more responsive?

Thanks in advance for any input or direction that will help in figuring this out.
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post #2 of 7 Old 07-20-2019, 08:20 PM
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First of all a 2800 rpm stall converter is way to high for a 7.3, they should have put in a low stall converter with around 1800 rpm stall. The high stall will cause more heat and power loss.
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post #3 of 7 Old 07-21-2019, 09:43 AM
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Coupla things...

First, that 1850 has notoriously poor transmission strategies in it. There are much better alternatives in the 20yrs since it was written.

Next - 2800? No way anybody would even Make a 2800 stall converter for a diesel on the Street... (not even the clowns who programmed the SuperChips )

Then,
#1 what "front banjo"? The Fuel banjo?
#2 you shouldn't actually need a bypass and if you have flow issues I'm not sure where else to look (why not just use a stock 6.0? what was the Mishimoto supposed to improve?)
#3 No, the system works just fine without any need for additional fans...
#4 Your stock gauge isn't a gauge at All! It's an idiot light with a pointer and should Never be relied on to tell you ANYTHING about your transmission temperature

See link -> dieselmann's editorial
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post #4 of 7 Old 07-21-2019, 10:33 AM Thread Starter
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At the time it was rebuilt and the high stall converter was installed, I did not know better and took the shop at their word (mistake on my part). That was installed in 2010 and it seemed to be fine up until early this year (9 yrs and 90k later), rarely ever saw the gauge move from middle unless on long trips at 80-85mph.

The front bolt I am referring to is the bolt that is used to attached the front of the bypass and the return line that goes to the OTW on the radiator. It has the internal spring and ball bearing in it (the one for the delete kit does not).

The Mishimoto is supposed to be an upgrade to the 6.0 with an additional 6 rows for more cooling.

I was thinking about getting a new programmer or chip when I replace my injectors in the next few months, but I want to get the transmission sorted out first.

The issues with the more frequent increase in heat did not start until after the rebuild in March. I do not drive long distances very often, do not tow anymore, and most of my driving is around town either on the interstate or stop and go. With the fact that the coolant flow test was successful using the bypass delete and it still heats up after about 45min-1 hr of driving around town I am thinking about taking it back to the shop and have them drop the transmission to check it out and see about replacing the converter at that time. Less than 2500 miles on it since rebuild and it is covered 12mo/12k.
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post #5 of 7 Old 08-11-2019, 07:22 PM
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I'm going to piggyback on this thread since I experienced something similar today.

Recently acquired, pretty much bone stock 2002 F-250 7.3L supercab with 240K miles pulling around 8K TT. This was a shakedown cruise of a new truck pulling a new camper lasting about an hour out, returning home the same way the following day. Weather was sunny with temps in the mid 80's (F) and mainly traveling on gently rolling. mostly level interstate and beltway roads. At 55 mph, all temps were in 'normal' range (halfway up the gauges and no movement). As traffic sped up, I kept pace and was moving with no issues at 65 which was about as much as I wanted to drive given the slight vagueness of the steering wheel (despite new hub assemblies, drag link and assorted bushings along with a front end alignment but that's for another thread).

I glanced at the trans temp gauge, which I now know is mostly theoretical and saw that the needle had moved up from its usual center point of 100 to 220. Using the pic from the dieselmann link posted above...



...I watched the needle climb slowly past 230 before topping out just below the upper white line (240ish?). I dropped back to 60 mph with only a minor drop, close to 230 but just above it. Slowing to 55 mph got me to 230 but it dropped dramatically fast to its normal centered position when I hit an off ramp at 50 mph, almost as if the curve had something to do with the temp drop.

Engine temp was rock steady. I got to the campground with no further issues.

The next day, I retraced my route for the trip home. I pushed it to 65 for about two miles and watched the needle start to climb like the day before. I backed off at the 230 point and after that, I kept it at 55 mph and the temps normalized. Then I got home.

After backing the camper into its parking spot, there was a trail of ATF starting just up the street leading back to the parking spot with several large deposits along the way. Maybe two pints, in all.

The dipstick (trans hot and engine running) showed pink fluid all the way to the end of the honeycomb. I let it sit for a couple of hours and then took it out for a ten minute drive with no apparent problems.

My dilemma is that I need to take a longer trip of around 2 1/2 hours into some long uphill pulls (70 West in Maryland then turning left into West Virginia). Not enough time to install a 6.0/Mishimoto/whatever trans cooler and a more reliable temperature monitor as we leave Thursday and I can't get guaranteed shipment in time to install and test them.

I'm thinking that if I stay at 55 mph, I'll pi$$ off some drivers behind me but I can safely make my destination. I'll bring along a few quarts of ATF just in case.

What are my chances of a favorable outcome?
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post #6 of 7 Old 08-11-2019, 07:33 PM
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Oh yeah, in both directions, I got one CEL but it turned off after about 5 minutes. No trouble codes on the code reader so I have no clue as to what was flagged and then disappeared by the next system check.
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post #7 of 7 Old 08-18-2019, 04:05 PM
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Just to tie up a loose end, the day before I was going to hit the road, I was able to source a 26 row 6.0 Powerstroke trans cooler from Chesapeake Truck on Pulaski Highway for $179. I called at 8:30 am and they had it for me by 10. It was an hour round trip but my local Ford dealer just down the road couldn't get it until noon and wanted $229!

It came with one hose so I asked the parts guy to order the other hose as well. Forty bucks, ouch! When I got it, the hose looked like a piece of metal and rubber macaroni but I figured better to have it and not need it than the other way around so I paid the man and left.

Turned out to be a good move. So many folks avoid kinking the right side hose by bending it outside of its normal route to the other side of the radiator but the OEM hose uses a metal tube/formed rubber hose combination to make a trombone looking u-turn that puts the hose right where it needs to be. OTOH, the hose that came with the cooler for free was pretty much useless since it was so short BUT...it had two half inch spring clamps as well which was a bonus!

I bought 8 feet of hose from the parts store and attached the ends to the outlets on the new cooler. That way, it was easy to feed the hose down through the route the original hoses used and then cut to length while under the truck looking at the 3/8 lines. This was the point where I realized that I had not wasted my forty bucks on the second line. I pulled the hose off the outlet, attached the OEM line and then clamped the half inch hose to it.

Since I didn't have time to order the brass 3/8 to 1/2 inch fittings from Amazon, I stopped at a local Tipton hose supply store (who knew?) and the guy assembled two brass 3/8 to 1/2 inch unions from a parts bin for 10 bucks. He could have sold me the other two 1/2 inch hose clamps that don't damage the hose but he needed the actual hose to get the right clamp and I hadn't picked it up yet. I ended up going with auto parts store worm gear hose clamps for now and doubled them on each hose. For the 3/8 end of the setup, I just used the original Ford spring clamps.

WHAT NOBODY TELLS YOU IN ANY OF THE THREADS AND VIDEOS IS...

Speed nuts.

There's two of them on the original trans cooler, located in the holes at the end of the 'wings' that mount the cooler. Once you've removed them from the original cooler and put them on the new one, they are a b!+h to keep in place while you try to drop the new cooler into position. You have to be a tiny hand contortionist to put them where they need to be if they don't stay put. You've been warned.

Here are the little 7.3 and large 6.0 coolers side by side. Note that the 7.3 ports are on top of the cooler and the 6.0 ports are at either side of the bottom.



Put rags on top of the AC condenser fins or you'll look like you lost a fight with an alley cat.

tl;dr

Managed to replace the 7.3 trans cooler with a new 6.0 unit the day before the trip and trans stayed cool. No overheating or fluid puking.

Last edited by Digmenow; 08-18-2019 at 04:11 PM.
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