Red fluid leaking near front bumper

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Cynthia Grant

Active Member
Apr 21, 2003
Reaction score
Ossining, NY
Hi! My 2003 ST (225K miles) has suddenly developed a new leak (see pics). I first noticed it after a 150-mile day trip, which included about 3 miles of driving on a very rough gravel road/path. Saw the puddle under the front bumper (passenger side) on the driveway the next morning. Didn't drive it for three days and then checked all of the fluids. It just had a tune-up and oil change at my local mechanic a week ago (before the trip). I let it run in the driveway for about 20 minutes so I could check the transmission fluid level. This red liquid was leaking out while it was running. It seems to be dripping from the cover/shield that is right behind the bumper (see photos), coming out of those two square holes (much of that shield looks wet, also). Does anyone know what this liquid is? The transmission fluid in the reservoir looked more orange than red, and it still had an acceptable amount in there. I didn't notice any issues while driving the truck. FYI, it's on its second tranny. The original tranny was replaced at 125K miles.

Thanks for any insights you can share. I đź’• my truck and hope to put another 100K miles on her! :)



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"Red Fluid" is AutoTransmissionFluid\ATF, specificly MerconV for your 5r55e Transmission.
Likely leaking from one of the two WormClamped Hose~Tubing connections
under the right side of the Radiator; the supply+return lines going to the TransCooler
thats mounted behind the grille.
An easy fix; remove a few screws & the lower plastic cover to expose those connections;
tighten up or replace the WormClamps, then check the ATF level & top off as needed
My son had a similar leak in his F-150. The tranny filler tube had loosened due to the top clamp and the o-ring that held the filler tube in had both failed.
Probably the trans cooler in that location.... either the metal line rotted, rubber hose split or the cooler itself cracked or the rivets came out and damaged it...

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