Have you ever tried to set automatic transmission fluid on fire before? If you haven’t, I’ll spare you a trip to the emergency room: it burns nicely. I accidentally spilled maybe a shot glass amount onto the exhaust manifold of a car I was warming up and the fireball that erupted out of the engine bay of my Dodge Mirada was enough to nearly give me a heart attack at a quarter to six in the morning on a chilly day. ATF isn’t quite as volatile as gasoline, but it is capable of flashpoint ignition at just over 300 degrees Farenheit and when it goes, it goes. You’ll hear that familiar “woof” of liquid turning into flame and if you aren’t quick enough, you will suddenly resemble a hot dog left in the microwave for a few minutes too long.
Now, let’s look at this burnout and see if we can determine just what happened that set this Ford on fire. The Falcon sounds like it’s got the guts to make something happen, but the automatic behind it sounds like it’s quickly converting every forward drive gear to yet another Neutral throughout the normal, forward-driven program. Once every form of drive had packed up and quit the show, it was time for Reverse to come in as a clench player. Bouncing the rev limiter in reverse got the tires smoking again, but it also appears to have been the final straw for the poor transmission, which provided the ultimate end to the show with a fiery finish.