ATF leak in 2000 Ford Windstar

Howdy, folks;
I could really use some advice with a problem that has appeared in a 2000 Ford Windstar that I bought used back in Jan. 2004 with about
55,000 miles on it at that time. It has the 3.8 liter V6 engine.
Back in late March of this year, at a bit over 72,000 miles, I noticed that the transmission was slipping and not shifing properly, and when I checked the ATF (Mercon V), it was a quart low. So I filled it back up to spec, and was hoping that was that.
No such luck, though, unfortunately. I had to add another full quart at around 74,000 miles, and today, at the 76,400 mile mark, I have added yet another quart. That's an average of about one quart of ATF per 2,000 miles -- not good!
One puzzling thing is that I have not seen one little drop of ATF on the ground, and believe me, I've looked time and time again. I would think that such an amount would drop at least some little bit on the ground, but I've seen nothing.
I've been told that sometimes leaks of this sort can spring up where the engine and transmission mate together (at the flywheel, or torque converter, or whatever it's called). Someone else mentioned that some vehicles can actually leak ATF into the coolant system, but I don't know if this is true for Fords and even if so, I have not seen any evidence of it when I checked the coolant.
So, I am at a loss. I'm afraid that in the area where I live, I simply don't have any auto repair shops (not even the local Ford dealership), which I consider to be skilled enough and trustworthy enough to take this to without running the severe risk of getting this fixed properly and not being taken to the cleaners in the process.
Anyone have any experience/advice with this? Any and all constructive ideas are greatly welcomed.
Thanks,
Joe Brower Venice, FL
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snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

usually, autotrans have a device called modulator. The modulator has a diaphram inside and is connected to manifold vacuum with a vacuum hose.Those modulators had a tendancy to rapture when getting old and therefore the engine would suck out ATF from the transm and burn it in the combustion chamber. It might be worth to check this out. Replacing a modulator is no rocket science. It is mounted externally. The critical part is that the modulator is adjusted properly because it affects the shifting points. Good luck.
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Don't know about Windstar either, but your 'usually' is not that usual anymore. Electronically controlled transmissions don't need a modulator to sense engine load - all those functions are taken over by the ECM.

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Joe, My sympathies on the Windstar Tranny. I've posted a couple of queries about the same, not a leak in my case but rough start and overdrive light coming on at cruise. Just can't seem to find any printed info on the darn tranny. Haynes & Chiltons just say you can't work on it yourself. The Transmission page of the auto book mart doesn't list the AX4 trans mission. This bulletin board thing is at least giving some nibbles towards solutions if we just pick up a little bit from each guy. Good luck.. I'll post if I come across an answer for you in my search!!
Steve
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