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Q: Front seal leak in minivan's transmission - 1997 Ford Aerostar

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There is a bad leak in the front seal of my minivan’s transmission. The mechanic removed the transaxle and replaced the seal. Plus, he changed the filter and fluid. Soon after this, the overdrive stopped working. It shifts into overdrive, but when I step on the accelerator even slightly, it will shift right back out. At the time, I could not afford to get it repaired, so I put it in Drive and for three weeks drove it that way. Then yesterday, while driving at around 60 mph, my car shifted into 2nd gear, all on its own and then back into third gear, again all on its own. Then ½ mile later it started shifting between gears randomly and independently: 3rd to 2nd and back, repeatedly. I was being jerked around totally, like someone was stepping on the brakes. At present, I don’t have a job and I am on foot. Can you suggest anything that I can do to possibly fix this myself - or a work-around until better financial times arrive?

Hello. It sounds like your transmission either did not get completely full of fluid after the service or it is leaking fluid again. To check the transmission fluid, start the car and leave it in park.

Next pull out the dipstick that goes to the transmission and wipe it clean on cloth or paper towel. Fully insert the dipstick into the tube once again and then pull it out. It should be within the level marks indicated on the dipstick. If it is low, add fluid in half pint increments until it indicates that it is full.

Make sure you wipe the dipstick before every time you take a reading. If the trans begins to work properly then you know it is a transmission fluid level problem. If it is still not functioning properly, it could be an internal problem with the transmission or a problem with a sensor in the transmission. For more assistance, consider YourMechanic, as a certified technician will be able to come to your home or office to help diagnose the leak and any issues with your transmission.

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