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Discussion Starter #1
Not positive, but I think I've got tranny fluid coming out the inspection cover in the bell housing. It's leaving a spot on the ground. I have had a very small leak at the line coming off the heat exchanger where it goes under the truck forever, and I suppose that could have worsened and is blowing back under the truck when I drive, but if not then I have a 2nd leak.

This is a problem because the tranny would have to come out and I don't have a good place to tackle such a job right now. So, it would have to go into a shop. That creates a new problem because I am not near a shop I trust. Further, I start to wonder if it's foolish to pay $1,000 for somebody to pull the tranny and transfer case and fix a few seals without just doing a rebuild since it's already out. I'm at 163,000 miles right now. I've got about 130,000 on the BD torque converter and valve body and other goodies.

The trans has never slipped or skipped a beat, and I've never overheated it or run it low on fluid. I have serviced it religiously, in fact just did it again like 5,000 miles ago. I could ignore it and continue to add fluid if necessary but I like to repair things and don't like my truck to make a mess of driveways, etc. My truck has never leaked anything onto the ground since I've had it, so this is new.

The more I think about it, the more sense a rebuild seems to make. But then I start wondering about spending $5,500 - $6,000 for a tranny on a 23 year old truck, and how much sense that makes. And then there's the fact that the oil pan should be replaced if I pull the tranny since there's surface rust on it and I should tackle that at that time.

I'm torn. I don't know what kind of commitment I can make to this thing. The clear coat on the hood is gone, so I want to have that painted, too. But then I think I should just have the whole truck painted at that point. You see where this is going....

I'm back to considering a brand new dually and just moving on from this old gal. Her age is becoming a concern for me.
 

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Might just be a rear main seal. And not a front pump seal. Unless you can actually discern the fluid 100%.

That being said my old 99 had a valve cover gasket leak at the back corner drivers side, which seeped down into everything else.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It is 100% ATF.
 

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How much is it leaking? You can buy a lot of replacement ATF for $5000.
 

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Changing a front pump seal is not a $1k job. It's a couple hours at most for R&R of the trans and about 10 minutes to R&R the pump and replace the seal. Almost any competent shop can have that done quickly without any issue.
 

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I normally get rid of a vehicle after 2 big repairs back to back. iirc you are in that boat.

I re did my front pump seal, rear main, oil pan and serviced the transmission on my 94 about 2 years ago, i dont remember the cost but everything was less than $500. Parts through the dealer and Cummins. Did it in my drive way in a weekend.
If you want to upgrade the flexplate/torque converter now is the time. I wouldn't replace/rebuild a transmission unless it was really old or giving me signs of failure...

The return $$$ on a new truck is horrible, but if you are looking to get out of tinkering and something more comfortable the story changes....
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Changing a front pump seal is not a $1k job. It's a couple hours at most for R&R of the trans and about 10 minutes to R&R the pump and replace the seal. Almost any competent shop can have that done quickly without any issue.
You should definitely come and open a transmission shop and I will happily pay your couple hours time and parts. Meanwhile, in the real world, it's $1,000 to R&R the trans/transfer case and fix the leaks. I don't control what the shops charge, but I have already talked to them.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
How much is it leaking? You can buy a lot of replacement ATF for $5000.
I know. This is all new so I need to troubleshoot it myself as best I can, which is also getting an idea of the rate of loss. I was down in LA with a trailer last month and I suspect that's when it started leaking, because I was under the truck before that trip and it was not wet like it is now.

There are a number of scenarios I am considering, I just need to do what's right for me. One of them is canceling some of my trips and parking the truck for the winter, buying another rig to get around for the time being, then next spring/summer fixing it or whatever.

The price of the new trucks really pushes me towards keeping this, but I just don't want to spend a lot of money on it then have it start nickel and diming me to death every year. It's painful when that starts happening with old trucks, not just financially but the stress and what not.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I normally get rid of a vehicle after 2 big repairs back to back. iirc you are in that boat.

I re did my front pump seal, rear main, oil pan and serviced the transmission on my 94 about 2 years ago, i dont remember the cost but everything was less than $500. Parts through the dealer and Cummins. Did it in my drive way in a weekend.
If you want to upgrade the flexplate/torque converter now is the time. I wouldn't replace/rebuild a transmission unless it was really old or giving me signs of failure...

The return $$$ on a new truck is horrible, but if you are looking to get out of tinkering and something more comfortable the story changes....
Like you, I get rid of things when they start to show me that they are going to turn into money pits. This truck would be hard for me to get rid of. I have grown attached to it.

I prefer to do the work myself but don't have an indoor shop right now. I have actually been looking around for a warehouse or something to rent temporarily so I can tear it apart, but no such luck. Not only would I pull the tranny and fix the leak, but I'd replace the oil pan, tear apart the front axle and replace the ball joints, and do some other stuff. I really need to take this truck out of commission for a while and give it some love. It's not bad by any means, but it's just that after 23 years and 165k miles, things are starting to happen, you know?
 

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Like you, I get rid of things when they start to show me that they are going to turn into money pits. This truck would be hard for me to get rid of. I have grown attached to it.

I prefer to do the work myself but don't have an indoor shop right now. I have actually been looking around for a warehouse or something to rent temporarily so I can tear it apart, but no such luck. Not only would I pull the tranny and fix the leak, but I'd replace the oil pan, tear apart the front axle and replace the ball joints, and do some other stuff. I really need to take this truck out of commission for a while and give it some love. It's not bad by any means, but it's just that after 23 years and 165k miles, things are starting to happen, you know?
Its up to you, the oil pan is easy to do with the transmission is out. Drop the pick up tube in the pan and it slides out the back.

I spent $5000 slaping a g56 in my 98 i paid $1500 on the truck.

Beauty is in the eye if the beholder, i've owned my 94 since '13 and put over 100k on it, beating the crap out of the truck, overloading it, and it still never let me down. I wouldn't sell that truck for 20 grand.

A new truck will drink a lot more fuel, cost more to insure, be harder to fix ect ect.
Its a lot cheaper to pay a good shop a few grand here and there to get some odds and ends tied up.

I can afford a new truck, but I would put in a new engine and transmission before i bought a new one.
Its your money and more importantly your time.
 

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Ya know, I know that feeling exactly all too well.
I buy a truck that the PO claims was the best thing they ever had. Test drive is all good. Hand over the cash, get home and all of a sudden the little dodge problems just happen... its literally like they transform into crap boxes overnight. So I know exactly what you mean by not wanting to mess around with it and its gonna just be one thing after another. Unfortunately, it's like a relationship with a woman. you gotta really love your old truck, but if she starts treating you like crap and you're just an ATM with legs, it's best to cut the old pig loose and go get a newer model. 😉
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I guess it really boils down to 2 things:

First, I just am not interested in paying labor for somebody to work on my 23 year old truck, save for a select few specialty items, like an automatic trans rebuild. I am a firm believer that you need to work on these yourself to justify owning them. That's just my humble opinion. I own a piece of property where I can work on it outdoors, but I am not there right now so that would be for next spring.

Next, I need a reliable truck. This has been reliable for the most part, but I am starting to question whether or not this truck makes sense for me in the future, especially when my travels take me thousands of miles away from home. Something new with a warranty starts to sound much more practical.
 

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Did you remove the inspection cover and check the inside of the bellhousing for liquid? If it's just the line leak worsening it won't be inside the bellhousing. I'd hate to see you all stressed out over nothing.

A warranty being a blanket fix-all might sound alluring but it's a myth. New trucks are literally designed to just make it through warranty with no major failures. Chrysler will make every attempt to weasel out of anything that might happen during the warranty period. Even if they foot the bill, these are the same meatheads I (and you by the sounds of it) wouldn't trust to work on it anyway. I know from personal experience that technician certification doesn't mean anything anymore. Tech schools are not allowed to fail enough students without jeopardizing their federal funding that generally only the no-shows get flunked. They can't even begin to weed out the non-hackers that do happen do show up to class. A tech cert is worth about as much as a participant ribbon, because that's all it is. Now, there are proficient techs out there, but simply holding a cert in and of itself doesn't mean they're qualified.

If nuisance problems bother you, which it looks like they do (not judging, just saying) the complexity of these new trucks leaves you at insane risk for nuisance problems like idiot lights that won't go away, and the mechanical glitches the old trucks develop here and there simply turn into electronic glitches with new trucks. To top it off, the emissions equipment, and concessions made to support said equipment, will guarantee that the engine is all but worn out by 150k.

I would rather be thousands of miles from home in a well-used 12v than a 4th/5th gen under warranty.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
You make a lot of good points, dauntless. I have not removed the inspection cover yet. I wanted to first clean everything up then drive the truck a few times to see where it originates. I plan on getting under it again tomorrow. I will pull the cover at that time.

The thing about the new trucks - I'd never own one out of warranty. That's part of the reason I'm hesitant to buy one. Once I did, I'd be committing to a new truck every 5 years, or at least an extended warranty purchase. The math starts to look really fuzzy. And if I had to make a bet, I'd guess that my engine with 160k miles right now will still outlast a brand new 6.7 with all the smog equipment. That's a big reason I'd have a hard time parting with it.

I got a good laugh out of your "nuisance problems" comment. You really are insightful because it's very true of me. I am super particular about my truck, and everything I own. I like to keep it meticulous if possible. I don't like leaks, drips, squeaks, rattles, stains, etc. I do my best to fix everything before it's even an issue. It's part of why, as something starts to age, I think about replacing it because it's not "new" anymore and the effort (not to mention cost) to bring it back to that standard can become onerous. I do admire those guys who can just drive around a truck with every fender beat in, rust all over the place and an interior that looks like somebody used it as a home for a few years, but that's just not me.
 

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Bear the leak is likely the source. But all you have to do is pull the dust cover and check for fluid leaking down from the seal above. Easy to see or feel running down the center. Otherwise if dry that part sis good to go. All leaks seem to find their way to the low point and blow around. Even make real sure it is not engine oil.
 
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Your 12v only has 160k?! Hell if the leak isnt hemorrhaging enough to jeopardize the transmission, just drive the thing! Lots of guys here on the forum would be happy to acquire your nuisance. 😎
 

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And if that's the case, a good time to upgrade to the newer style dipstick that uses a top hat seal....
 

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You should definitely come and open a transmission shop and I will happily pay your couple hours time and parts. Meanwhile, in the real world, it's $1,000 to R&R the trans/transfer case and fix the leaks. I don't control what the shops charge, but I have already talked to them.
Guess you must live in Cali. I have a local here thats actually really good, and his shop rate is $50/hr. Enjoy your mechanic. Hope he buys you dinner before...
 
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