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Last year, at right around 60k, I changed my trans fluid and filters, which was quite easy. I used Castrol fluid. A few weeks ago I heard the dreaded trans whine starting on my way home from work. It's about 25 miles of relatively flat interstate driving, and I don't drive hard. When I got home I checked the fluid. Proper level and good color. I decided to change it again, so I ordered the fluid (Valvoline this time) and filters. The following weekend, I got to work on it. After I drained the fluid, I noticed that my passenger side, inner CV boot was ripped and the joint had spewed its lube all over the underside of the engine. I purchased a new axle, but for the life of me, I could not get the old one out of the trans, frustration and darkness were setting in, so I buttoned it back up and decided to have a shop replace the axle. When I went to pick it up, they told me that they had to add 3 quarts of trans fluid due to it spilling out when they removed the old axle, and it was $90, because it was "special CVT fluid". They also used Valvoline. When I got home, I checked the fluid level because I'm kinda anal like that. It was right where it should be.

Since then, the trans hasn't made a peep. Until today. Driving home from work. Radio cranked nice and loud... happy for the long weekend... thinking about taking a nice motorcycle ride when I get home... not a care in the world... then "DING". WTF was that??? Check the guages and notice the trans temp light on. Turn the radio off... loud-ass trans scream. W. T. F.? I think to myself that I'll have to get off at the next exit so I can park till it cools down... it decides it doesn't want to wait that long... speed drops from 65 to 45... then to 30. By now I'm in a construction zone and can't pull over... construction zone is about a mile and a half long, by the time I'm thru it my speed is down to 30. I pull wayyyy off the highway, onto the grass past the shoulder, put it in neutral and let it idle. After about 15 minutes the light goes out. I sit for 15 minutes longer. While sitting there I opened up the Torque app on my Android head unit and check for codes - none. When I get home I bring out my laptop with the AppCar FCA program and check with that - all normal. Check the fluid - good color and level.

What the heck is going on with this thing?

There's pretty good vehicle sales going on right now... it's not looking too good for my Patriot. I don't want really want to buy another vehicle, but I absolutely will not spend the $$$ to replace it's transmission.

I'm thinking about removing the fluid lines to the trans cooler and blowing air thru them to make sure there isn't a clog in there. Is that a bad idea? Is there anything else that I should check? When I changed the fluid a couple weeks ago there were no noticable metal shavings in it. I'm scaratching my head... any advice is welcome... as long as that advice doesn't involve replacing the trans... That's a hard no!
 

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Make sure the cooler fins aren't filled with crud.

Check the bypass valve, square thing next to the drivers headlight. #3 in diagram below.
All 4 lines going into it should be the same temp, if only bottom two are hot then the valve may not be working right and sending the fluid back to the trans without going through the cooler.

91826
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Sandstone! I did check to make sure the cooling fins were clear. I'll check the bypass valve tomorrow.
 

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The bypass valve checkes out OK, so... I'm going to add an additional trans cooler, Hayden 678. How would you recommend I plumb it in... before or after the stock cooler? I'm thinking after. Does anyone know what fittings I'll need to get to tee this into the stock cooler lines?

I'll be sure to take pics of the installation process.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
On my drive in to work this morning, I came prepared. I brought my laptop and had it running AppCarFCA to monitor the trans temp, and also brought along my infrared thermometer. About 3/4 of the way to work (~20 miles) the trans started whining loudly and the temp was reading 232. I decided it was time to find a place to park for a while. The next exit was about a mile away. By the time I got there the temp was up to 240. I pulled into a parking lot right across from the exit, popped the hood, and measured the temp of all 4 trans lines at the bypass valve. The lines from the trans going into the cooler measured 118F, and the lines returning to the trans read 110F. That doesn't sound right to me... if the trans temp is reading 240, shouldn't the fluid going to the cooler be near that same temp? I know that there's no blockage in the lines, so why would there be a 130 degree difference?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
That I don't know... I assumed it's not because the filter was clean, but I probably shouldn't assume. Depending on when I get out of work today I might take it off and blow some air thru it to make sure, but I might wait til tomorrow. I already ordered the trans cooler so I'm going to install that regardless... that'll be here tomorrow so I'll probably wait until then... that heavy-ass skid plate can be a real PITA to get on and off. At least I can ride my motorcycle until I get this sorted out... or buy something else... been thinking of looking for a Mazda CX5.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I think maybe I was blowing things out of proportion in my head... yeah, maybe a little. I forgot to take the fact that the trans fluid foams up when it starts overheating into account... so by the time its in an overheat situation, the fluid has foamed up, and therefore unable to flow thru the cooler - so no hot fluid in the cooler lines and the temps there drop a lot.
Taking that into account, I drove about half way to work yesterday, sticking to the 55mph limit. No overheating or whining. I then exited the highway and checked the temps of the lines at the bypass valve - the 2 going from the trans to the cooler were around 170 and the return was around 150. So fluid is flowing properly... at least when it's not overheating.
I'm going to install the add-on trans cooler this weekend, and replace the fluid again... then keep my fingers crossed and go from there. Looking back, my trans didn't start overheating until after I had a shop replace my right front axle... and they had to add fluid because of that... so I'm thinking that they probably added too much.

Also, I test drove 3 vehicles this week, and came very very very close to buying a 2019 CX5. What a nice vehicle that is... but they only offered me $4100 for the Patriot, and they never even looked at it. Their reason for such a low trade in offer was because of COVID. I was insulted and I left.
 
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