Transaxle fluid leak


Anyone have experience with diagnosing a transaxle / transmission fluid leak in a 2012 Forte?

My daughter came home yesterday and noticed a trail of drips into the driveway and a LOT o fluid leaking. It's reddish, and definitely not engine oil.

The 2012 Forte EX doesn't have a transmission fluid dipstick :)-O)

Is this common? Known issue?? Anyone? Buehler?
there is a lot of fluid visible in the left (driver's side) of the engine compartment, including around the front/radiator/cooling fan area. I wonder if a hose is leaking there? Does the Forte circulate transaxle fluid through the radiator via a closed circuit?
OK, I found the problem easily. There was a transmission fluid cooling hose detached from the metal tube where the fluid leaves the transaxle and goes to the radiator. There are two hoses, one to the radiator and one returning. But the hose clamp had been slid back.

Bought the car used, and it likely had been repaired, it does have some radiator damage visible, though there is no coolant leak that I can see. But whoever repaired it forgot to resecure the clamp.

So, upon fixing the leak, I pulled the trans drain plug and ZERO fluid came out! So ALL the fluid had leaked out!! Counting it as a win that my daughter was able to get the car home before it all leaked out. But replacing the fluid was a bit of an adventure.

First of all, the manual says you need to use weird brands of ATF that meet "SP-IV" grade. Fuck the stealership which i'm sure will sell me 6 quarts for $75. Searching online, very hard to find a brand name fluid that matches SP-IV. Oh look on the shelf in my garage, a bottle of Valvoline MAX ATF DEXRON (bought it for my Duramax truck), read the back, yup suitable for Hyundai/Kia SP_IV!!! So run to Auto Zone, grab another bottle and some new gaskets, and ready to go.

Upon searching how to change the fluid on the 2012 Forte (there is no dipstick), I talked to some Kia technician on Just Answer, and he was somewhat helpful. But locating the fluid level check port and the fluid ADD port are a little tricky. The diagrams he sent were helpful and confusing at the same time. The port on TOP to add fluid is partly hidden by the air intake tubes, easily removed. It's a plastic bolt, with a 3/8 inch socket square hole in the top. The tricky part about ADDING fluid is that it's designed to be PUMPED in, but I aint' got the pump. So using a long, skinny funnel, I added ATF 1/2 to 1 oz at a time. A little bit leaked out if you add too much, but contained with paper towels. The total fluid capicity is supposed to be 7 quarts or so. I added about 5.5 quarts, and decided to check the level before I cracked the second new bottle of ATF I just bought. It seems like its full, drove the car around the block, got it warm, shifted well, then checked the fluid level (tricky!) and it seems right.

Oh, how do you check the fluid??? Well there is a weird plastic bolt that is tricky to find, on the FRONT of the transmission. It is on the left/drivers side of the vehicle, and almost directly in front of the DRAIN plug, but only about 2 inches up from the bottom of the transmission. Again, it has a square hole for a 3/8 socket, and just turns 1/2 turn before it stops and then pulls straight out. No gaskets. Weird, but seems to work. Well, when you turn it 1/2 way, DONT PULL IT OUT. It will allow a little stream of ATF fluid to come out. According to info from the Just Answer KIA tech, if a "thin stream flows out" the fluid is good to go. But if a "THICK STREAM" pours out, it is too high. If no fluid comes out, its too low. I got a thin stream, so I'm good, I guess.

* Note, will upload the Forte info here. I just noted at the top, It appears to be the info for a 2.4 L engine, and my 2012 is a 2.0 (I think, but not 100% sure). My other daugter has a 2010 Forte XS 2.4L and it's engine looks identical but has a ATF dipstick, so ??? But the engines are close enough, I think it's still helpful info. SEE PDF. Valv Trans MAX.jpeg Kia ATF fill port.jpg


diagram showing the location of the ADD FLUID PORT on top of transmission!! Check your cooling hoses too!! (arrows to B).
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