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Red fluid dripping

Started by BigGreenMachine, 21 July 2022, 05:47 PM

BigGreenMachine

I took the 450 out for a drive today and after having returned for 30 min I noticed a bit of red fluid starting to pool underneath. Is this definitely transmission fluid, or do these cars also use red power steering fluid? Mine is a '78 450 SEL if that helps diagnose. Thanks for the intel, -Hunter

Pete49

if its at the front of the car its power steering if behind the engine its the transmission. They both use the red fluid (ATX)
What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.
Edward Langley,  Artist (1928-1995)

Jan S

If it is red I would guess it's ATF from the trans - the power steering fluid turns black fairly quickly. Or is the power steering system newly flushed?

The location of the leakage can tell us more

My US 1975 450 SE with a 722.004 trans uses the lower part of the radiator as an ATF-cooler (I believe). Thus there are two pipes coming from the trans to the radiator ... one being feeder and one being return (I believe). ATF could also leak from this area.
1975-mod W116 450 SE with 6.9 engine

Gpapaniko

Same issue with the 280SEL.  Red trans fluid from behind the engine and red power steering fluid from the front.  You need to get them jacked up as its best to inspect from underneath and follow the drops back to source.  Give the engine bay a good clean, run the car and then watch for the leaks.  Keep an eye on all your fluid levels which is good practice for cars of this age any way.  As long as fluid is not gushing out, its more annoying than terminal.  Good luck
Never stop loving
1980 280SEL

BigGreenMachine

Quote from: Pete49 on 21 July 2022, 09:58 PMif its at the front of the car its power steering if behind the engine its the transmission. They both use the red fluid (ATX)

It's behind- so looks like transmission for me. Thanks for the confirmation.

BigGreenMachine

Quote from: Jan S on 22 July 2022, 07:24 AMIf it is red I would guess it's ATF from the trans - the power steering fluid turns black fairly quickly. Or is the power steering system newly flushed?

The location of the leakage can tell us more

My US 1975 450 SE with a 722.004 trans uses the lower part of the radiator as an ATF-cooler (I believe). Thus there are two pipes coming from the trans to the radiator ... one being feeder and one being return (I believe). ATF could also leak from this area.

It appears to actually be the result of a slow leak over several weeks, not a fast one over hours. From location it looks like it's almost certainly transmission fluid.

I'll keep looking around.

Thanks!

BigGreenMachine

Quote from: Gpapaniko on 22 July 2022, 09:14 AMSame issue with the 280SEL.  Red trans fluid from behind the engine and red power steering fluid from the front.  You need to get them jacked up as its best to inspect from underneath and follow the drops back to source.  Give the engine bay a good clean, run the car and then watch for the leaks.  Keep an eye on all your fluid levels which is good practice for cars of this age any way.  As long as fluid is not gushing out, its more annoying than terminal.  Good luck

This is great. Biggest problem for me is I haven't yet figured out a safe/easy/reliable way to jack it up at home, and don't have access to a pro lift without paying for it. I'm sure there's good advice here in the forum for me to discover. 

Since I've realized this is a slower leak I'm going to clean the floor well underneath, drive it again, then observe a piece of cardboard underneath to see how fast it actually drips.

Thanks!

raueda1

Quote from: BigGreenMachine on 26 July 2022, 06:48 PM
Quote from: Gpapaniko on 22 July 2022, 09:14 AMSame issue with the 280SEL.  Red trans fluid from behind the engine and red power steering fluid from the front.  You need to get them jacked up as its best to inspect from underneath and follow the drops back to source.  Give the engine bay a good clean, run the car and then watch for the leaks.  Keep an eye on all your fluid levels which is good practice for cars of this age any way.  As long as fluid is not gushing out, its more annoying than terminal.  Good luck

This is great. Biggest problem for me is I haven't yet figured out a safe/easy/reliable way to jack it up at home, and don't have access to a pro lift without paying for it. I'm sure there's good advice here in the forum for me to discover. 

Since I've realized this is a slower leak I'm going to clean the floor well underneath, drive it again, then observe a piece of cardboard underneath to see how fast it actually drips.

Thanks!
It's a 450SEL with coil springs, right?  If so just put a square of plywood under the trailing arms and jack it up with a floor jack.  Then slide a couple cinderblocks towards the outside of the arm.  You can get to a lot of the car this way, even on a creeper.  Cheers,
-Dave
Now:  1976 6.9 Euro, 2015 GL550
Before that:  1966 230S, 1964 220SE coupe, 1977 Carrera 3.0