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Premium Member
2007 TBSS AWD
Joined
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1,134 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, installed Ron Davis radiator due to cooling issues (or lack thereof) with the stocker. Since install of the 418 LS3 its been running 220 most of the time, then once it got summer time, I just had to park it. So since most guys were utilizing the Ron Davis big radiator, that is what I went with (and the twin spal fan setup).

After install of the radiator, I drove it around a few days and noticed I was having to add coolant. My guy at the shop said it was probably just bleeding the system of air, to keep drving and adding and it would eventually work itself out. So we left on vacation.

Every stop on vacation I had to add like a gallon of fluid. I also noticed that my trans had started to act up (@ WOT only). Since we did mess with the tune some (when changing for fans) I chalked it up to that. I just stayed out of WOT runs...especially since we were on Vacation 500 miles from home.

Again, I had to keep adding coolant. And on long drives the temps would creap. I had to pull over at a gas station and set for 30 minutes once to let it cool and add coolant.

So as soon as we got back I took it to my guys shop and let them trouble shoot.

He took it out to show a buddy of his how it ran...stomped it from a dig and pop...trans fluid on the ground.

So i had my father in law trailer it to RPM to have them check out the tranny.

once it was apart, they found coolant in the tranny and converter....of course the anti-freeze had eaten the clutch packs up and ruined the converter.

Question 1) how could I end up with coolant in the trans?
-we feel like the only plausible reason was a leak in the internal trans cooler in the RD radiator, thereby allowing the coolant and tranny fluid to mix.

I also was losing massive amounts of pure coolant (as I was having to add 1 gal of coolant everytime I drove it any measurable distance), so we feel like this really only would result from a leak in the radiator itself.

Thoughts?

So far I am out for the trip to RPM (rented uhaul trailer), RPM removing and rebuilting trans, new converter...

Emailed RD about the issue, they say get us the radiator ASAP so we can inspect it and see what the problem was. They never said they would charge me to inspect or trouble shoot the problem...or we'll contact you before we do anything you'll be charged for etc.FYI
We send Radiator to RD....they "test" the internal cooler and say their are no leaks, also say they don't know how that this could have happened....

They charged me $150 labor to re-install the internal cooler, charged me for shipping, and for something else (total bill was a touch over $200).

Question 2) would you be ticked that all this happend, you were out (probably $2K), and no one is assuming responsibility?

I just want my truck fixed you know...and I need to know this issue won't happen again...I can't keep fixing this issue over and over...RPM is 4 hours away and I don't have time to keep taking it back....

I am going to run an external trans cooler (like I did before), but that still doesnt solve the leaking coolant issue (because if I was adding a gal of water every day, you know it wasn't all going into the trans, because it won't hold all that fluid....unless alot of it was evaporating). So that issue still isn't resolved.

GUYS, give me some input on fixing the problem and should I be mad about how RD handled the situation?
 

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Premium Member
07 TrailblazerSS Imp
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9,449 Posts
I had that problem with a stock radiator on my S-10 when it was new. The internal tank cracked and let coolant into the trans which caused shifting to go in and out of overdrive at cruizin speed. I'd be talking to RD on that one and see what they offer. Workmanship would come to my mind.
 

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Whiskey Tango...
AWD TBSS
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4,084 Posts
How the F else are you going to get coolant in the trans it has to be the radiator. I'd be pissed at RD to say the least. Are you going back to the stock radiator?
 

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Premium Member
Trailblazer SS
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15,616 Posts
Ron Davis from what I hear suck!
 

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Premium Member
TrailblazerSS
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4,849 Posts
Has to be the RD radiator, how else would this happen? I would be looking into it further on the RD side. Good luck, man that must be a piss off with that kind of money spent.
 

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=ЯΛWSSUM=
TrailblazerSS
Joined
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1,137 Posts
Sorry for the shit of luck mann. I had one of my parents vehicles mix coolant and tranny fluid about 4 months ago... was intternal of radiator.. and that is pretty muc the only possible place I see both fluids mixing.. see if a pressure test can verify anything further.. imo it was the RD radiator.
 

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Premium Member
07 TBSS
Joined
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1,148 Posts
That really sux bro!! I'm just gonna give my :2cents: if there's no visible leaks I would say ur burning up the coolant... Either cracked head or cracked sleeve or a head gasket.
There r several ways to ck for it so ill just give u a qwik rundown.
#1 With the car cold open the radiator, have somebody start the truck if u see bubbles that's not good..
#2 I have the kit at work but any good shop will have it, its a chemical that goes in a glass tube and it sucks the air out radiator and if there exhaust fumes present in the coolant it changes color that's really not good..
#3 remove the spark plugs and look for the cleanse plug cuz coolant act like a steam cleaner in ur cyl..

I hope I made sense cuz I'm really buzzed and I'm seeing double lol I know someone will have a comited about this, but I just tried to give u a direction to go in... I've been working as a mechanic for 20yrs now and those 3 easy steps has alwayz worked for me... Good luck bro. BTW ck ur motor oil leavel if its over filled or milky looking it could be leaking in the oiling sys..
 

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Registered
07TrailblazerSS
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858 Posts
I would contact RD again and talk to someone who has some pull....meaning they will stand behind there product and make this situation right. Hope everything works out for ya
 

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Premium Member
'08 SRX V-6 AWD
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2,767 Posts
I'm surprised these trucks don't have this problem more often even with the stock radiator.
The reason being anybody who owns one is likely to be giving it a workout every time they drive it.
I know I did when I still had mine.
I was considering looking into mounting a 2nd air to oil trans cooler and bypassing the radiator completely had I not lost my SS from the flood.
 

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Banned
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18,856 Posts
I see no other way Coolant got into the tranny other than the radiator, its the only place where the two fluids come together and could even feasibly mix.

GOtta be the radiator....and hence why Im sticking with my stocker.



 

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Premium Member
2007 TBSS AWD
Joined
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1,134 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I plan on running the original external trans cooler that RPM installed back when the tranny was originally built, that should take that mixing out of the equation....but the losing coolant issue, and having to add 1 gal after every stop still hasn't been addressed.

BTW, who sells you a $1000 radiator and doesn't include a freakin cap???

Once I get the TBSS back, if it is still losing coolant, I am gonna take it to my shop and have them trouble shoot the issue and if we find that it wasnt' anything to do with the radiator, then fine. But at this point, I havent' had any car guys, including Ron Davis Racing, to be able to tell me how this could have happened (if it wasn't their radiator), or HOW TO FIX IT and PREVENT IT FROM HAPPENING AGAIN. Bill @ RD's suggestion was put it back like it was before and run it (ie, do the same thing and hope it doesn't happen again)...or you could translate that as: "well, we found the leak and fixed it, so I'm sure it won't have another leak and happen again...but you'll still have to pay us for labor and shipping because your to gullible and dumb to figure out we just screwed you over."

Part of that is tounge and cheek, and I won't bury them yet, but If when all this is said and done, and it ends up being the radiator....I will file a complaint with the BBB on them and I will seek damages for the cost of the radiator repair and possibly for the entire bill for trans as well.
 

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Premium Member
2007 TBSS AWD
Joined
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1,134 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Just trying to create some leverage...at this point I don't know what I can do...they got my $1300 for the initial purchase, I felt like I needed to get my rad back out of their hands before I started bickering with them so of course I paid them to put it back together and ship it...so now I'm into them for $1500...and I'll be out for the other charges as well. What leverage do I have over them? I mean other than just sharing my experience with you guys, in hopes of saving you all the same crap I have been thru, I don't know what else to do. I often wondered why when looking at cars with aftermarket radiators I never saw RD radiators much (griffin, be cool etc)....now I know.
 

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Whiskey Tango...
AWD TBSS
Joined
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4,084 Posts
You would think if a highly reputable shop like RPM says there is coolant in the trans fluid that would be good enough. Has RPM contacted RD to let them know what they found? I can sorta understand not taking "some guys" word for it but not the word of a top notch operation telling them there is coolant in the transmission, unless they think you poured it down the dipstick. There is no other way for the two to mix.
 
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