For at least the last three years every time I have had to put my Jeep on my best friends lift I would always find a little transmission fluid lingering on the upper inlet transmission line towards the bottom of the radiator. Neither one of us could track it down and since it was just a very minor leak we left it alone.
A little over a week ago I noticed something was leaking on the front drivers side about where the steering box is located. My first assumption was that it was one of the power steering lines at the steering box, but even after cleaning up around everything I still didn’t notice anything. I went as far as wrapping a paper towel around the pitman arm to make sure it wasn’t leaking because it always seemed to be soaked.
It stayed dry for days so the pitman arm was ruled out. I kept driving it while checking the fluid levels often. Nothing was significantly losing fluids which was puzzling. Then one day after I had picked up my oldest son from school I had went to check my mail when I noticed fluid was almost pouring from underneath.
So, after letting the engine cool down I took the airbox out to clean the steering box up, cleaned the lines and looked over them. That is when I noticed the upper inlet line (transmission line that connects to the radiator) was up against one of the power steering lines. As I cleaned up the line I realized I may have just found the the leak.
When my best friend showed up he pulled the inlet line away from the power steering line and cranked the Jeep up. As soon as he did, transmission fluid sprayed everywhere. In order for me to get it out to his house we had to improvise. I had a left over clamp and he had an old rubber glove which he cut off a piece from. At least it would keep the leak at bay so I could get out there.
On the way I stopped at Autozone to special order the upper inlet tube. Luckily there was one at the warehouse in Chattanooga meaning it would be ready to be picked up early the next morning. While there I noticed the leak was still there a little bit.
As you can see in the photo below, it obviously had been rubbing for awhile.
I am sure the question one would ask is why was the line allowed to rub against another line? When my radiator was installed there was not a place to attach the clip that holds the line. After I installed the replacement line I had to use wire ties to attach it through a hole underneath the radiator.
The most challenging part of the repair was getting the steel line disconnected from the rubber line even when we were using the transmission line disconnect tool. Using a contact cleaner or something such as WD-40 to get up in there and clean the dirt out makes the difference. With a little effort we were able to finally get it disconnected!
As you can see in the picture it was definitely rubbing for awhile.
Once I picked up the new line from Autozone for $18.99 it did not take but maybe 10 minutes to install it, add a wire tie to hold it away from the power steering line and re install the air box. No more leaky transmission line 🙂