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Engine fire after trans fluid sprays out dipstick! Why?

Old 10-01-2016, 01:19 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2013
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Model: Cherokee
Default Engine fire after trans fluid sprays out dipstick! Why?

Engine fire after trans fluid sprays out dipstick! Why??
OK here's a good one to stump you! Two Sunday's ago my 2012 GC Overland with 82,000 miles started smoking under the hood at a stop light. I panically pulled into a gas station (right next to their freakin propane refill station!), opened the hood and saw flames! Got it put out with their extinguisher.

OK, so here's the problem. Chrysler also saw the trans oil that came out form the dipstick filler and ignited on the manifold ,but they cannot figure out what would make pressure (we assume) "boil" to the point of overflowing. (And no it is not overfilled). Now this happened once before albeit not so severe, but both times it was on a 105 degree AZ day after lots of stop-n-go driving, so yes things get hot. But no warnings came on and I did indeed go to the Messages and Info screen and got nada.


The Chrysler Tech says all the codes were wiped out as if a new battery had been installed! So there's no data to refer to or diagnose. And WTH would wipe out the codes like that?!

Now I've been having an occasional problem with the trans apparently slipping out of Drive. Again when 105 degrees and after hot running, I'll pull over to stop to talk to someone or a drive-thru and if I wait a long time in Drive, when I go to accelerate - there's nothing! Car won't move - it kinda creeps forward is all, while the engine revs up and I fear its going to slam down in gear suddenly. if I let it creep for a little bit it then seems to sense it is still in Drive and then things work smoothly again. BUT THIS HAPPENED DURING THE FIRE WHEN I WAS TRYING TO PULL ACROSS 2 LANES OF TRAFFIC TO GET TO THE GAS STATION. So this could be real dangerous. Again Chrysler is stumped.

What could cause a trans to slip out of Drive (if thats what its doing mind ya)?

The trans, transfer case, differential fluids were all changed in August of last year at 62,000 (so 20,000 miles ago). And at that time there was no evidence of excessive wear (no shavings, etc.). In fact some fluids really didn't need to be changed they appeared so fine - but had them do it anyway....because......

For the past 3 years I've used the Overland to tow a 35' Travel Trailer throughout the West during the AZ summer months (except for this current summer). So yes it has had a lot of use in towing up-and-down mountains and the like. BUT it's rated for 7,500 and the TT is about 6,000 loaded so well within acceptable range for an Overland. And again no past issues while towing were noticed.

One last thing worth noting although it probably is unrelated. They found a small air leak in the exhaust which made the "pfft, pfft" sound I've heard when pulling out cold. AND I've noticed a whine coming from behind me when doing 70mph and slightly accelerating. it goes away as soon as it reaches designated speed (w/cruise on), but comes back when under a load like climbing a hill. I only notice it at 70+ and its intermittent but sounds like?.....rear diff?, torque convertor? or transmission?? (naw, why would a whine coming from the back of the vehicle have anything to do with trans fluid itself, or pressure inside, reaching the point of spraying out the top of the covered dipstick fill?)

So far Chrysler is being great. They've had the vehicle for two weeks now and I've met the Tech. But all are stumped. I have a loaner and this is still under warranty, but I sure would like to know whats going on and have it fixed before I get T-boned turning left at an intersection when my car unexpectedly WON'T MOVE!

Any advice or suggestions or direction? Thanks!
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Old 10-01-2016, 01:53 PM
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Location: Manlius, east of Syracuse, NY
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Year: 2000
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Engine: 4.0L

I have seen this happen on older transmissions when the cooler gets plugged and the trans overheats enough to boil the fluid, but this shouldn't be the case here. I'd say the fluid IS boiling for some reason. When that happens, the pump is trying to pump bubbles, resulting in loss of pressure in the clutches and you not moving.

I've got to tell a story because it might have a bearing. At the plastics plant where I worked, they got a new hydraulic press set up in the molding area. The maintenance crew hooked up the main supply pump to the tank, filled it with 600 gallons of oil, and turned it on. Nothing! The pump ran but sounded like it was dry. It was, because someone forgot to remove the plastic plug from the bottom fitting of the tank before installing the pump supply hose! OOPS! Maybe something similar happened and the cooler is partially plugged with something.

This is just speculation on my part, however. In my lifetime of experience, I leave nothing to chance. Maybe they should flow test the cooler.
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