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Old 07-28-2009, 04:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Separate Tranny Cooler

I just added a separate Fram tranny oil cooler after reading an article that says using the cooler in the radiator is adding heat to your coolant. Sounds right & makes sense.I always ran tranny coolers on my race cars.
Anyone else using a separate tranny cooler?
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Old 07-28-2009, 05:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I have used them on many cars. I also do not use the cooler in the radiator when using an external cooler. Never compared temps. but I would think avoiding the rad. at that point would be better for the tranny cooling.
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Old 07-28-2009, 05:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Well, heat transfer is based on Delta T or temperature difference. So if you want your tranny to run at 150 degrees(which I have read is the best temperature)& you run your tranny fluid through a radiator that's at 180 degrees, you'll never be adding heat to the tranny fluid. On the other hand, if you run it through an air cooled cooler, even if the ambien air is 100 degrees, you have a delta T of 50 degrees to work with to cool your fluid.
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Old 07-28-2009, 05:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The correct installation is to take the output line from the transmsission to the radiator's transmission cooler, then take the return from the radiator's cooler to the external cooler, and finally the return from the external cooler to the transmission. In other words they should be plumbed in series with the external cooler after the radiator.

You are correct that it is possible for the radiator to transfer heat to the transmission, and also correct that too much heat is bad for the transmission. The reason for using both coolers is that it alows the transmission to warm up more quickly, since there is an ideal temperature range for operation.

Too hot is much worse than too cool, however there is benefit to running the radiator cooler with the external cooler.

Good luck,
-Rory
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Old 07-28-2009, 06:25 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Separate Tranny Cooler

Quote:
Originally Posted by erbssr
Well, heat transfer is based on Delta T or temperature difference. So if you want your tranny to run at 150 degrees(which I have read is the best temperature)& you run your tranny fluid through a radiator that's at 180 degrees, you'll never be adding heat to the tranny fluid. On the other hand, if you run it through an air cooled cooler, even if the ambien air is 100 degrees, you have a delta T of 50 degrees to work with to cool your fluid.
Not sure where the 150 number comes from. I've seen higher figures quoted, in the 180-220 range.

IMO, the good thing about plumbing opposite of what 2ndgen is saying (i.e. trans to cooler, cooler to radiator tank, radiator tank to trans) is two-fold:

1. You're not dumping heat from 250+ coolant into your freshly cooled coolant going back to the engine.

2. You will have a relatively consistent trans fluid temperature, i.e. the return temp of the coolant. This is especially true if you run your car in colder weather as the tranny cooler can sub-cool the fluid, making it more viscous and making your pump work harder.
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Old 07-28-2009, 07:10 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Separate Tranny Cooler

I have run an external cooler on my 66 since around 35000 miles when the internal cooler leaked resulting in a tranny rebuild. Tranny still going strong 210000 miles later.
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Old 07-28-2009, 07:34 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Separate Tranny Cooler

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank65
Quote:
Originally Posted by erbssr
Well, heat transfer is based on Delta T or temperature difference. So if you want your tranny to run at 150 degrees(which I have read is the best temperature)& you run your tranny fluid through a radiator that's at 180 degrees, you'll never be adding heat to the tranny fluid. On the other hand, if you run it through an air cooled cooler, even if the ambien air is 100 degrees, you have a delta T of 50 degrees to work with to cool your fluid.
Not sure where the 150 number comes from. I've seen higher figures quoted, in the 180-220 range.

IMO, the good thing about plumbing opposite of what 2ndgen is saying (i.e. trans to cooler, cooler to radiator tank, radiator tank to trans) is two-fold:

1. You're not dumping heat from 250+ coolant into your freshly cooled coolant going back to the engine.

2. You will have a relatively consistent trans fluid temperature, i.e. the return temp of the coolant. This is especially true if you run your car in colder weather as the tranny cooler can sub-cool the fluid, making it more viscous and making your pump work harder.
Great answer Frank. The instructions actually outlined the series hookup option, but I still think the independent hookup is better.
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Old 07-28-2009, 07:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Separate Tranny Cooler

I'm still running series, just backwards from what others have mentioned.
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Old 07-28-2009, 08:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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If I could find a space I'd like to install a temp gauge out of curiosity. What is the normal temp. of fluid inside the trans. before it gets sent out to cool?

Depending on where you read I see both opinions, here's what TCI says:
The ideal operating temperature for automatic transmission fluid is between 175 and 225°F
On their graph it shows that 195* trans life expectancy is 50K, at 175* it's 100K, big difference for 20* for sure.
http://www.tciauto.com/Products/Tech...expectancy.asp
They state to avoid the rad. cooler:
Should I use an external transmission cooler in conjunction with the oil cooler supplied in the radiator?

Answer: Unless operating in an environment where the outside temperature is below 0°F, you should cap off the radiator cooler line openings and run your cooler lines directly to a new cooler mounted in front of the radiator. This allows the transmission to have its own cooling system and doesn't allow the engine water temperature to heat the fluid.
http://www.tciauto.com/Products/TechInfo/FAQ.asp#1

Derale suggests in their instructions to install in series from rad. to ext.
http://www.derale.com/installation-i...nstruction.pdf

Jon
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Old 07-28-2009, 09:01 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonK
If I could find a space I'd like to install a temp gauge out of curiosity. What is the normal temp. of fluid inside the trans. before it gets sent out to cool?

Depending on where you read I see both opinions, here's what TCI says:
The ideal operating temperature for automatic transmission fluid is between 175 and 225°F
On their graph it shows that 195* trans life expectancy is 50K, at 175* it's 100K, big difference for 20* for sure.
http://www.tciauto.com/Products/Tech...expectancy.asp
They state to avoid the rad. cooler:
Should I use an external transmission cooler in conjunction with the oil cooler supplied in the radiator?

Answer: Unless operating in an environment where the outside temperature is below 0°F, you should cap off the radiator cooler line openings and run your cooler lines directly to a new cooler mounted in front of the radiator. This allows the transmission to have its own cooling system and doesn't allow the engine water temperature to heat the fluid.
http://www.tciauto.com/Products/TechInfo/FAQ.asp#1

Derale suggests in their instructions to install in series from rad. to ext.
http://www.derale.com/installation-i...nstruction.pdf

Jon
If I get a chance I'll put in a thermocouple and see what it reads. I'm curious as well. It would seem that there is more than one way to skin a cat!

If you'r cooling system is operating properly, the water in the bottom tank of the radiator should be less than 180. So if it's cold outside your trans fluid will never reach 180. If it's warm outside your trans fluid will never reach 180.

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Old 07-29-2009, 12:19 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Nice research JonK. So it appears there is some controversy as to the best method of tranny cooling.I think I'll stick with the external cooler.BTW Autolite & VDO both sell transmission fluid gages.
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Old 07-29-2009, 09:03 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Separate Tranny Cooler

"If it's warm outside your trans fluid will never reach 180". Interesting theory. I suggest investing $50 or so in a non-contact type thermometer and doing some real-world fact checking.
I like TCI, they build good stuff. That said, their blanket statement about coolers means that every car manufacturer in the world has been doing it wrong for the last 50 years and still is. Worth keeping mind that these same manufacturers tend to warranty their drivetrains for 100K miles or so.
Fords in particular run the fluid through the radiator then the extra cooler. The instructions given to Ford techs when they install a
towing package" optional cooler on a new vehicle specifically state to install the added cooler this way.
I put my coolers on the way Ford does, but they have been on daily drivers. In TCI's defense, they only sell "performance" transmissions so no doubt they have a slightly different take on things than most OEM's. Their transmissions are genrally built and sold for specific purposes whereas OEM's have to build "do-all anywhere" vehicles.
All that said, IMHO the best way to put a cooler on is to hook it up whichever way you think will work best for you. Then add a transmission temp gauge to tell you if you might be served better by a different arrangement.
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Old 07-29-2009, 09:28 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Separate Tranny Cooler

Quote:
Originally Posted by GypsyR
"If it's warm outside your trans fluid will never reach 180". Interesting theory. I suggest investing $50 or so in a non-contact type thermometer and doing some real-world fact checking.
I like TCI, they build good stuff. That said, their blanket statement about coolers means that every car manufacturer in the world has been doing it wrong for the last 50 years and still is. Worth keeping mind that these same manufacturers tend to warranty their drivetrains for 100K miles or so.
Fords in particular run the fluid through the radiator then the extra cooler. The instructions given to Ford techs when they install a
towing package" optional cooler on a new vehicle specifically state to install the added cooler this way.
I put my coolers on the way Ford does, but they have been on daily drivers. In TCI's defense, they only sell "performance" transmissions so no doubt they have a slightly different take on things than most OEM's. Their transmissions are genrally built and sold for specific purposes whereas OEM's have to build "do-all anywhere" vehicles.
All that said, IMHO the best way to put a cooler on is to hook it up whichever way you think will work best for you. Then add a transmission temp gauge to tell you if you might be served better by a different arrangement.

Umm - OK.
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Old 07-30-2009, 07:28 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Separate Tranny Cooler

Umm, OK. To further contradict TCI's blanket statement about coolers from personal experience. If anyone cares.
Customer installed an auxilary transmission cooler on his Explorer and bypassed the the radiator cooler completely. Soon after he started experiencing harsh shifts. His OBDII Explorer had a temperature sensor inside the transmission which was giving readings of of around 100 degrees (if I remember correctly) while the engine was running at a normal operating temp of 196 degrees. Even though the engine was fully warm and ambient temperature was quite warm, the computer interpreted the low temperature fluid as "cold start up" and used the appropriate adaptive shift strategy. Which was entirely inappropriate for actual operations and temperatures. A severe pain to figure out eaxactly what the heck was going, but the fix was simple enough. Plumb the accessory cooler in conjunction with original radiator cooler and it was all good again.
The original complaint was harsh shifting after the vehicle warmed up. Of course he initially neglected to mention anything about having just installed the added cooler.
OK, so it was a later OBDII car, what do we care? He was running solely an external cooler and the transmission was staying at temps well below what is recommended by....well, everybody. So at least in one case I know that running just an external cooler setup isn't too good of an idea.
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Old 07-30-2009, 10:00 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Separate Tranny Cooler

Well in Texas, most of the year, it's probably a good idea. I don't think your tranny will ever get too cold here. At least mine won't since I don't drive it in the wintertime. That's usually when I work on my cars.
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