Hi all, I was underneath my car yesterday (09 ES 350, 60k miles) doing an oil change and noticed oil and grease caked to the back of each side of the firewall and running down over the axles. I also found a small pool of transmission fluid in the splash pan beneath the transmission fluid cooler. It appears fluid is escaping past the factory "pinch clamps." I was wondering if anyone else has noticed this as a problem or has had this problem. I plan to replace the pinch clamps with the screw/bolt style adjustable ones, but I was really curious if anyone else has noticed this. My thoughts are that maybe the WS ATF is too viscous for these pinch clamps, or that maybe under heavy load there's too much pressure for them to withstand leaking/seeping. I'm estimating I may have lost up to 1/3 of a quart up to this point, but can't be for sure. I thought it might be engine oil, but found the back of the engine to be dry and my VVTI return line is metal and not leaking. I'll definitely be checking the fluid level soon, although the car is running and shifting fine.
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What color is the fluid? If it has a reddish tinge it may be either transmission fluid or power steering fluid. How do you plan on checking the fluid level on the transmission ? There is no dipstick. You may pull the side plug on the trans but that won't tell you if your low or high. There's a procedure you will have to follow to get the oil up to operating temp. and see if there's any oil coming out of the drain hole. If there is your pretty close to full mark from what I can recollect. I would clean all the oil spots that you see, drive it for a few days, then go underneath and try and locate where the oil is leaking from. Air movement on the road can move oil underneath in strange directions sometimes. Good Luck.
Thanks for the advice. The fluid under the transmission fluid cooler was definitely transmission fluid. Had the color and smell, and you could see the seeping from the line on the bottom of the cooler. I can't tell what color the oil is on the back side. I tried smelling it but couldn't tell that way either. I'll try cleaning it up and checking back again in a few days to see if I can pinpoint the seeping. As for the transmission, I found the writeup on checking the fluid level and plan to follow those specifications (ones you mentioned also) when I check the fluid. Thanks for the reply, will update in a few days if I find anything further.