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2005 Mazda MPV with Transmission Oil in the Coolant
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arbitairium
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:09 am    Post subject: 2005 Mazda MPV with Transmission Oil in the Coolant Reply with quote

Hello, MPVClub! I've used this site for years to resolve issues I've had with my van, but now I'm at a loss and wonder if there's any ideas you folks may have:

I just changed out my oil yesterday, putting in over 5 quarts of 5w20. After driving around a bit, I noticed some oil dripping near the front drivers side of the engine compartment, under the radiator.

After checking the coolant tank, it looks like I have a good mix of clean engine oil in there and the water's murky.

I checked my dipstick and I didn't see any "milkyness" to it, so I wonder if there is ANY OTHER LOCATION THAN THE HEAD where cooland and engine oil can mix on these vehicles. I'm still fairly sure its the head gasket, but seeing as I don't know everything about this engine, I was hoping someone could give me something else to check.

Thank you very much.

**I'm not a professional mechanic, but I'll be darned if I can't fix it myself.**

--2005 Mazda MPV ES--
--2005 Ford Taurus--


Last edited by arbitairium on Thu Mar 30, 2017 10:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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mpvinnig
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 10:03 am    Post subject: Re: 2005 Mazda MPV with Engine Oil in the Coolant Reply with quote

arbitairium wrote:
Hello, MPVClub! I've used this site for years to resolve issues I've had with my van, but now I'm at a loss and wonder if there's any ideas you folks may have:

I just changed out my oil yesterday, putting in over 5 quarts of 5w20. After driving around a bit, I noticed some oil dripping near the front drivers side of the engine compartment, under the radiator.

After checking the coolant tank, it looks like I have a good mix of clean engine oil in there and the water's murky.

I checked my dipstick and I didn't see any "milkyness" to it, so I wonder if there is ANY OTHER LOCATION THAN THE HEAD where cooland and engine oil can mix on these vehicles. I'm still fairly sure its the head gasket, but seeing as I don't know everything about this engine, I was hoping someone could give me something else to check.

Thank you very much.


Pictures would have made a world of difference!
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alschnertz
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 3:57 pm    Post subject: Re: 2005 Mazda MPV with Engine Oil in the Coolant Reply with quote

To me, it sounds like you may be jumping the gun a little.

"putting in over 5 quarts of 5w20"
5 quarts of oil for an oil change is not typical. An oil and filter change on a MPV will use 6 quarts.

" oil dripping near the front drivers side of the engine compartment, under the radiator."
Are you sure it is oil? The driver's side of the radiator contains the transmission cooler. What color is the "oil" that is dripping?

"it looks like I have a good mix of clean engine oil in there and the water's murky"
Based on what? I would remove and clean the overflow tank thoroughly before assessing that there is fresh oil in there. If the car has more than 75,000 miles, it wouldn't surprise me to find some kind of grimy coolant in there.

"I'm still fairly sure its the head gasket, but seeing as I don't know everything about this engine..."
What makes you sure? I would use a combustion gas leak detector before I determined that. Have you considered a compression check to confirm the head gasket failure?

I guess all I'm saying is that you can probably do some more diagnosis before tearing into a head gasket replacement. I'm not saying that's not the problem, just that I wouldn't do a head gasket at this point.

'06 MPV-LX, '10 Mazda3;
'60 Volvo PV544, '68 122S, '70 145S, '86 745T, '95 854T, '01 S40;
'84 Prelude;
'13 Ford Focus SE.
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arbitairium
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 5:49 pm    Post subject: Re: 2005 Mazda MPV with Engine Oil in the Coolant Reply with quote

Thank you for the response:

- I have added about 5.5 quarts (based on other forum posts, this is normal)

- I'm certain it's engine oil. It is the same color and consistency as the new oil I'd added in the morning, with some coolant mixed in to make it a little runnier. It's brown/tan with no red in it like the tranny fluid would be. I checked the seal on the new filter and oil pan, all is dry.

- I cannot shine a flashlight even through the fluid. I put in about 1.3 gallons of new coolant after doing a radiator swap last weekend with a new cooling fan. That fluid was clear until yesterday. I dipped a paper towel in there last night to grab a sample of the liquid (make sure it wasn't just my eyes in the dark not able to see the flashlight in the tank) and it was brown, not the green it had been. The engine had been running cool all week and I put about 100 miles on the new radiator.

For the life of me, I'm not aware of anywhere else on the engine oil and coolant would mix like this except the head.

I appreciate your feedback and help on this. I only got about 3 hours of sleep last night stressing out about my family vehicle, and I didn't know where else to turn for DIY stuff to look at.

- There is no milkyness to the fluid on the dipstick, but it was quite low after I got home last night so I added more before running it for a while on ramps to I could inspect for leaks underneath.

**I'm not a professional mechanic, but I'll be darned if I can't fix it myself.**

--2005 Mazda MPV ES--
--2005 Ford Taurus--
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alschnertz
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 7:14 pm    Post subject: Re: 2005 Mazda MPV with Engine Oil in the Coolant Reply with quote

Recent radiator swap?
Why did you swap the radiator? Was it overheating or damaged?
There was no indication of any problem until the radiator was changed?
Is there an oil cooler inside the radiator?

'06 MPV-LX, '10 Mazda3;
'60 Volvo PV544, '68 122S, '70 145S, '86 745T, '95 854T, '01 S40;
'84 Prelude;
'13 Ford Focus SE.
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arbitairium
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:49 am    Post subject: Re: 2005 Mazda MPV with Engine Oil in the Coolant Reply with quote

"Recent radiator swap?
Why did you swap the radiator? Was it overheating or damaged?"
- I had swapped out the radiator fan because it kept blowing out fan controllers. During the swap, I damaged the original radiator and found out on a 1 block test drive that I had a hole where I'd had to squeeze in the new fan.

"There was no indication of any problem until the radiator was changed?"
- No indication of an issue. There was no indication during the first week of operation. Coolant was clear, engine ran cool, and I'd put about 100 miles on it. This only happened on the day I changed the oil, pulling out dirty oil and putting in new clean 5w20 and a new filter.

"Is there an oil cooler inside the radiator?"
- The only oil cooler is the transmission oil cooler, and even then, its just oil routed through a small line on the side of the radiator and into the smaller radiator in front of the Coolant radiator and A/C radiator.

**I'm not a professional mechanic, but I'll be darned if I can't fix it myself.**

--2005 Mazda MPV ES--
--2005 Ford Taurus--
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arbitairium
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 3:10 pm    Post subject: Re: 2005 Mazda MPV with Engine Oil in the Coolant Reply with quote

Update:
AFter finally getting a decent night's sleep, and pulling the van out into the sun...

1) The oil in the cooler tank looked way too dark to probably be the engine oil (engine oil is actualyl brand new)

2) What I though was spray from radiator hose onto the tranny may actually be fluid spraying around the seal of the transmission pan itself. It appears there is fluid in the gap around the pan.

3) Being a new radiator, it could have just taken a few days to pressurize enough to exhibit a crack in faulty manufacturing. The timing may have been entirely coincidental.

- At this point, I'm going to to just pony up the dough to have a mechanic verify the issue so I know what to work on next.

**I'm not a professional mechanic, but I'll be darned if I can't fix it myself.**

--2005 Mazda MPV ES--
--2005 Ford Taurus--
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revolver
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 3:40 am    Post subject: Re: 2005 Mazda MPV with Engine Oil in the Coolant Reply with quote

Yeah, second opinion from mechanic that could see those liquids would be a good way to diagnose it. Update us.
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arbitairium
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 2:16 pm    Post subject: Re: 2005 Mazda MPV with Engine Oil in the Coolant Reply with quote

I had my neighbor who works at the auto dealer mechanic shop come take a look at it.

Yeah, it was my new replacement radiator (my dumba$$ put a hole in the original a few weeks back so I had to put in the new one) that failed and allowed the coolant and transmission fluid to mix. I only realized this the day it happened after driving around down a bit running errands (about 15-20 miles). All week before the coolant had been clear, that day it turned dark and pulling a sample showed red oil in the coolant.

He said he's seen it a few times, and usually if it hasn't been driven long, it's not a big deal so long as I flush it as good as I can. (I simply cannot afford a $200-300 professional flush at this point)

So, I'm going to use Bubba's method ( http://www.mpvclub.com/diy.php?id=118 ) and push 2 gallons of cheap Walmart ATF through the system to push out the coolant and then finish the job with 10 quarts of Valvoline Maxlife. (I will change the filter and pan gasket after the first gallon of Walmart junk) I may also grab some Lubegard Red this weekend and throw it in for added measure.

I'll give you guys updates as I go along. I pulled the bad radiator last night and am going to put in the new one. Amazon wouldn't cover a professional flush for me, but they did cover the cost of next-day shipping a different brand radiator (this new one is Spectra, the failed one was TYC).

*fingers crossed tightly*

**I'm not a professional mechanic, but I'll be darned if I can't fix it myself.**

--2005 Mazda MPV ES--
--2005 Ford Taurus--
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arbitairium
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:16 pm    Post subject: Re: 2005 Mazda MPV with Engine Oil in the Coolant Reply with quote

Update tonight:
- New radiator in.
- Added in about 1 gallon of coolant (I'll probably need another little bit before I'm done)

- Immediately started Bubba's flush method
--Pulled out about 3 quarts on first engine run. Might have been low because of the leaking around the radiator.
---There was an audible whine from the transmission as it was running. Possibly due to the coolant, and the transmission fluid being a little low to begin with. (at least, I hope. I don't want the transmission to go after all the work I've put into the overall car.)
--Dumped in 1 gallon of the cheap Walmart ATF
--Ran engine again to flush....no whine this time. Apparently I have already swapped out enough fluid that the coolant might be mostly out and everything is more properly lubricated.

--I had to close up shop for tonight. Everything is still setup and ready to go. NExt phase is pulling out the transmission filter. I'm not looking forward to 20 different bolts, but it has to be done!

**I'm not a professional mechanic, but I'll be darned if I can't fix it myself.**

--2005 Mazda MPV ES--
--2005 Ford Taurus--
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arbitairium
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:04 pm    Post subject: Re: 2005 Mazda MPV with Transmission Oil in the Coolant Reply with quote

3/31 Update:
I was able to get all 20 bolts found and loosened or removed, but the pan seems sealed on there pretty tight. I'm going to see if I can borrow a rubber mallet in the morning and use the method shown here:
[url]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=csEhzMoCCiY[/url]

After reviewing information about changing out dark transmission fluid, I'm going to stick with replacing whatever is in the pan after dropping it. I'm afraid getting completely clean fluid will do more harm than good. Also, I'm going to drop in Bar's Automatic Transmission Repair because I heard it works magic on old transmissions.

So far, I'm slowly alleviating my worries about the coolant that got in there...I have to remind myself that coolant damage usually takes a while (based on the notes I've found) and the car literally only ran for an hour or so once the issue began.

I know I'm kind a neurotic about this, but my MPV is my family's first metal baby and I want her to live a long happy life. She's only got 110,000 on the ODO, so I know she's got plenty of life left. (That and the obvious "I REALLY DONT NEED ANOTHER CAR LOAN RIGHT NOW").

**I'm not a professional mechanic, but I'll be darned if I can't fix it myself.**

--2005 Mazda MPV ES--
--2005 Ford Taurus--
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mpvinnig
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 1:38 am    Post subject: Re: 2005 Mazda MPV with Engine Oil in the Coolant Reply with quote

arbitairium wrote:
I had my neighbor who works at the auto dealer mechanic shop come take a look at it.

Yeah, it was my new replacement radiator (my dumba$$ put a hole in the original a few weeks back so I had to put in the new one) that failed and allowed the coolant and transmission fluid to mix. I only realized this the day it happened after driving around down a bit running errands (about 15-20 miles). All week before the coolant had been clear, that day it turned dark and pulling a sample showed red oil in the coolant.

He said he's seen it a few times, and usually if it hasn't been driven long, it's not a big deal so long as I flush it as good as I can. (I simply cannot afford a $200-300 professional flush at this point)

So, I'm going to use Bubba's method ( http://www.mpvclub.com/diy.php?id=118 ) and push 2 gallons of cheap Walmart ATF through the system to push out the coolant and then finish the job with 10 quarts of Valvoline Maxlife. (I will change the filter and pan gasket after the first gallon of Walmart junk) I may also grab some Lubegard Red this weekend and throw it in for added measure.

I'll give you guys updates as I go along. I pulled the bad radiator last night and am going to put in the new one. Amazon wouldn't cover a professional flush for me, but they did cover the cost of next-day shipping a different brand radiator (this new one is Spectra, the failed one was TYC).

*fingers crossed tightly*


Spectra is super, I have replaced both my A/C condenser and radiator with Spectra.

I wanted to ask what was the brand of the radiator until I read to the end.

I think it pays to buy known good names - I hope you come out of this experience unscathed.

The way this thing mixes up, I think that you are better of doing the cheap ATF like 5 to 6 times after driving 100 miles, you replace the bad ATF, that way you progressively reduce the amount of bad ATF in the converter till it is very negligible, I very much doubt that 1 round will do the neat trick that you are trying to pull off!
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12Ounce
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 2:40 pm    Post subject: Re: 2005 Mazda MPV with Transmission Oil in the Coolant Reply with quote

It concerns me the way the auto designers are moving so many fluids into the one radiator. It wouldn't be so bad if they separated the radiator into sections, each section not sharing any wet-walls with any other, ... this would minimized the chance of fluids mixing. All the heat must be eventually disposed of in the atmosphere anyway... so its just "semantics" to try to convince us there is some mechanical benefit to multi-purpose radiators.

Now we have add-on (tin can) oil coolers, or are they "heaters"; mounted under the filters. Cringe! Give me a break! More chances for coolant to end up in the crankcase. Design the engine with sufficient/effective cooling passages ... period!

Though I haven't (yet) done it on the MPV, I have before installed dedicated aftermarket transmission coolers on other cars. The transmission fluid is totally removed from the radiator. The radiator path that was for the tranny fluid ... is added to the power steering cooling loop. There is less damage if there is mixing between coolant and PS fluid.

... and yeah, though I'm not advising you do what I do: I have by-passed at least one of those tin-can oil coolers. This after having one leak internally and mix coolant and crank case oil on a Volvo XC 90. Ouch!
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alschnertz
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:59 pm    Post subject: Re: 2005 Mazda MPV with Engine Oil in the Coolant Reply with quote

mpvinnig wrote:
The way this thing mixes up, I think that you are better of doing the cheap ATF like 5 to 6 times after driving 100 miles, you replace the bad ATF, that way you progressively reduce the amount of bad ATF in the converter till it is very negligible, I very much doubt that 1 round will do the neat trick that you are trying to pull off!


I posted the following a few years ago when the subject came up on whether to flush or do pan drain/fills. It demonstrates how the "new" oil gets diluted with just pan drain/fills and how many changes it takes to achieve a significant amount of new oil in the transmission.

If my math is right (10 quart capacity and 3.5 quart drain / refill), doing just a drain refill will yield the following percentages of the new oil at the indicated changes...
1st change = 35%;
after the 5th change = 73%;
after the 10th change = 84%
after the 15th change = 89%

That's why I'm a fan of trying to exchange as much of the fluid as possible that very first time.

'06 MPV-LX, '10 Mazda3;
'60 Volvo PV544, '68 122S, '70 145S, '86 745T, '95 854T, '01 S40;
'84 Prelude;
'13 Ford Focus SE.
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arbitairium
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2017 1:50 pm    Post subject: Re: 2005 Mazda MPV with Transmission Oil in the Coolant Reply with quote

Gentlemen,
Thank you for your input and guidance on things. I am **hopefully** wrapping up this cycle of BS today.

Yesterday, I dropped the pan and put on a new gasket (the OEM one had completely worn away, and the boiling coolant in the transmission caused the pan to leak. (I was going to change the filter too, but as apparently the screen is hiding behind the valve body, screw that business.)

Today, I finished topping off the transmission to make sure my levels are good. There's about 7 quarts of completely fresh fluid mixing with the original, but there is no frothing or even noise in the transmission anymore. I think this may have done it.

The outlet hose going into the oil cooler from the radiator had a leak. I replaced the hose and put on new screw clamps. Also put thread seal tape on the screw-on radator nipple.

So far, so good. I'm going to take it on a longer test run in a bit, to make sure the new coolant has a chance to fully prime the system again.

After about 36 hours total between battery, fan controller, ran relay, fan, and two radiators now, and a flush...I'm ready for the MPV to leave me alone for a while. I'd like to have my weekends back again.

**I'm not a professional mechanic, but I'll be darned if I can't fix it myself.**

--2005 Mazda MPV ES--
--2005 Ford Taurus--
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