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Do you really need a transmission cooler?!?!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by SMOKINFLATHEAD, Jan 9, 2009.

  1. SMOKINFLATHEAD
    Joined: Apr 2, 2008
    Posts: 502

    SMOKINFLATHEAD
    Member
    from SOCAL

    I've heard that unless your towing, you really don't need a trans cooler. Is this true? I have a 350/350 combo in a 1951 F1, SO a light truck. If not would it benifit me to at least run the ATF through the ports at the bottom of the radiator? I need answers from those that have experience. Thanks in advance. Jay
     
  2. anything that helps keep the temp down has gotta help,its all about fluid breakdown and parts wear.........I have one on everything I own including my harley
     
  3. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,282

    squirrel
    Member

    You can run a th350 for years without a cooler...I've seen it done. I'd suggest changing the fluid more often. But I would also suggest running a cooler! because you might be the guy to prove me wrong. Then you'd need a tow.
     
  4. Tony
    Joined: Dec 3, 2002
    Posts: 7,350

    Tony
    Member

    At the very least run it through the radiator.
    Heat kill's transmissions, so any cooling you provide will extend the life of it.
    But like Squirrel, myself and many transmission builder's i know suggest, just run a cooler and be done with it..
     

  5. SMOKINFLATHEAD
    Joined: Apr 2, 2008
    Posts: 502

    SMOKINFLATHEAD
    Member
    from SOCAL

    So here's the real problem.... I'm building this truck for my wife, I started to install the " air conditioning" and the spot that I had the trans cooler is now where the condenser resides. I would think that stacking them would cause cooling problems with the engine. putting them next to each other would take up most of the radiator's surface area, which common sense says would cause cooling problems, where do I go? Put the trans cooler some where other than in the front of the truck? Ideas????
     
  6. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,282

    squirrel
    Member

    Put them next to each other.
     
  7. my 32 had one mounted on the inside of the framerail close to the tranny and it got a lotta cool air flow also we are talking about so-cal heat right????
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2009
  8. fatabone
    Joined: Nov 3, 2003
    Posts: 1,437

    fatabone
    Member

    We always run it through the bottom tank in the radiator and have had no problems. If your going to haul a trailer I'd use a tranny cooler.
     
  9. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 35,176

    Tman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    One of my tranny guys agreed that in a light setup a cooler is not needed. The touring had a loop coming out of it that totalled 12 feet of tubing. it was suspended in good air.
     
  10. S.F.
    Joined: Oct 19, 2006
    Posts: 2,895

    S.F.
    Member

    I had a hot rod that didnt have one and it was ran for years like that, and it didnt affect it...so, Im not really sure if I was just lucky.
     
  11. fatabone
    Joined: Nov 3, 2003
    Posts: 1,437

    fatabone
    Member

    I had a Willys that was like this for years.
     
  12. Count Scrapula
    Joined: Oct 13, 2004
    Posts: 585

    Count Scrapula
    Member
    from Mid TN

    The early aluminum powerglides were air cooled. Of course that was only for a couple of years, then they started runnin the lines to the rad. Perhaps GM had some heat related problems? I don't know but from what I'm told the early p-glides were bullet proof.
     
  13. Tony
    Joined: Dec 3, 2002
    Posts: 7,350

    Tony
    Member

    I wish i had a picture....but i just went through this on my own 52 Chevy truck i'm building.
    When i 'designed' my core support, i set the clearance up for the radiator, and the trans cooler, that's it.
    Then i had the afterthought to put on a/c..So, out went the cooler, in went the condenser.
    What i ended up doing was actually cutting an area out of my right inner fender behind the grill about 1/4" larger than the cooler.
    I then made mount's to attach the cooler to the inside of the wheel well in front of the pass front wheel.
    Worried about debris i went and bought some expanded metal from the hardware store and made a shield protecting the back and sides from anything the wheel might throw at it. It's actually to the inside of the wheel and not in the direct path so i highly doubt i'd have any problems anyway, but i wanted to be safe.
    It get's air straight through the grill now and is protected from road shit.

    I know you 51 F1 dosn't have the same shape as my Chevy does as far as grill opening, but do you think there is enough room to do something similar?

    OR, you could buy a remote cooler with a fan on it. I believe Be-Cool makes them..or just mount one without a fan. If it was mounted under the truck on a slight angle to catch some air it would still work, maybe not as efficient but better than not running one at all.
    The one i put on my old 33 Ford truck was mounted under the cab. It was small, and probably didn't get a ton of air, but i never had a trans issue with it.

    Tony
     
  14. A Chopped Coupe
    Joined: Mar 2, 2004
    Posts: 1,133

    A Chopped Coupe
    Member

    A Couple of questions first.
    Is the motor pretty much stock, what kind of radiator do you have, a stock one or bigger core, is your trans a stock unit or modified.
    Not sure what you mean about "running it through the ports in the bottom of the radiator", but if the radiator is a stock automatic type radiator then you MUSTat least run it through the bottom. If not, then you MUST get a radiator that has provisions for an auto trans hook up. YOU, NEVER, NEVER, run an automatic without cooling it either through the radiator and or a seperate cooler.

    I'm not sure who you heard this from...........but that is BS!

    If the answer to any of these questions is no, then you need a cooler. Remember, that when trans fluid gets over 200 degrees it starts to breakdown. This is fact, not fiction!
     
  15. Keep it cool and it'll love you long time. I run a cooler and my Harley to keep oil temps down, too. Wanna bring temps down another 20 degrees or so? Run synthetic. As long as you use synthetic rated for your TH350, you should expect a longer trans life than with conventional ATF...synthetics won't break down in extreme temps and can generally last longer between fluid changes. The cost of syn ATF and an oil cooler is well worth it...just my $.02...
     
  16. SMOKINFLATHEAD
    Joined: Apr 2, 2008
    Posts: 502

    SMOKINFLATHEAD
    Member
    from SOCAL

    The engine and trans are out of a nova. The radiator is after market for a SBC, as a stock radiator would be for a Ford flathead. The Ports in the bottom of the radiator are as you said provisions for an auto trans, The only up grade that I can tell is it seems to have a shift kit, but it may be because of the lite truck and the fact that I have a limited slip Ford 8.8 in the rear but all that said " you know when you hit second gear"!

    P.S. I had someone tell me that the ports on the bottom of the radiator were more for cold weather driving as it helped bring the trans to temp faster, I'm sure thats a farse.
     
  17. Tony
    Joined: Dec 3, 2002
    Posts: 7,350

    Tony
    Member

    Yep that's pretty much bs..
    For years auto manufacturers have used the radiator as a means of cooling the transmission.
    When a vehicle was used harder, be it towing, plowing etc, an external cooler would be mounted.
    Now day's it's not uncommon to see an external cooler installed from the factory on heavy duty trucks, even some light duty.
    Chances are your radiator will keep thing's cool enough providing it's not abused all the time.
    Also, a stock transmission will be easier to cool than one that's been modified ..Or more so, the converter.
    The slippage of the conv builds heat..
    Just another thing to think about IF there is a small stall conv in the truck.
     
  18. Building the '27 T we have a smaller radiator (height & thickness space restrictions) and to keep the motor & transmission cool we decided to run an auxillary tranny cooler with an electric fan. The fan is needed because the tranny cooler is positioned on the rear frame kickup, instead of in front of the radiator. The '27 T runs 383 SBC & Turbo 350. Using a seperate cooler also helps the motor stay cooler because your not running that hot tranny fluid through the bottom tank.[​IMG]
     
  19. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,282

    squirrel
    Member

    The trans fluid wants to be warm, not hot...so that's not really a farce. Since you have the cooling provision in the radiator, you could use that, or you could put the cooler in front of the radiator, either way the trans heat gets into the cooling system. Hundreds of millions of cars were built with the trans cooler inside the radiator, and they worked fine for years and years.
     
  20. Sounds like you're talking about an external cooler.
    I guess I would call the integral one in the radiator a cooler, too.
    The external one is a liquid-to-air heat exchanger, but the internal one in t he radiator is a liquid-liquid heat exchanger.

    I've heard people swear by the external ones. We use them on all of our mileage accumulator (chassis dyno) cars.
     
  21. plym_46
    Joined: Sep 8, 2005
    Posts: 4,018

    plym_46
    Member
    from central NY

    Not to hijack the tread but how about with the 700 r4?? I am going to run one in a Studebaker witht he basically stock 259/4bbl. The radiator I have is not equiped with the cooler fittings. I have a swap meet GM HD aux cooler. Its about 6 x 8 and 3/4 or more thick. Will mount infront of the rad with stock fan. Will this be sufficient for some light duty hauling and or towing 2000 lbs or less? Rear is late model T Bird 3.55 or 3.23 gonna run 235 75 15's
     
  22. SMOKINFLATHEAD
    Joined: Apr 2, 2008
    Posts: 502

    SMOKINFLATHEAD
    Member
    from SOCAL

    Sure I can get with that. I am refering to both the external which will have to go some where other than where it was( The condenser took it's place) I also have it plumbed through the cooler(radiator). I seem to be running into the same problem with the truck as with my garage " I'M RUNNING OUT OF ROOM!" I would love to just place it next to the condenser I'm just not sure that "covering" 90% of the radiator's surface is a good idea. With a lot of though I'm sure I could make it fit some where else ( the external cooler ). I like to build with as much thought and foresight as possible. I don't like the idea of taking up another circuit with a fan for the external cooler, I mean what do you set the fan switch at ( temp ). Just food for thought.
     
  23. Gregg Pellicer
    Joined: Aug 20, 2004
    Posts: 1,347

    Gregg Pellicer
    Member

    The only thing you need in your application is the cooler in the radiator.It will be more than sufficiant unless you are planning severe duty usage for your truck.There's million's of car's and trucks on the road that do just fine with the cooler in the radiator. Gregg
     
  24. SMOKINFLATHEAD
    Joined: Apr 2, 2008
    Posts: 502

    SMOKINFLATHEAD
    Member
    from SOCAL

    This would save me a lot of engineering and thought.
    can I get a witness?!!
     
  25. Tony
    Joined: Dec 3, 2002
    Posts: 7,350

    Tony
    Member

    Said it up a ways in the thread myself. As long as your not out beating the hell out of it all the time, it will be fine.
    Been done that way for years.

    So i guess i can be 'da witness :)
     
  26. temper_mental
    Joined: Oct 22, 2006
    Posts: 2,718

    temper_mental
    Member
    from Texas

    It is just to easy and inexpensive not to have one .A new transmission will cost a hole lot more .My 2 cents
     
  27. SMOKINFLATHEAD
    Joined: Apr 2, 2008
    Posts: 502

    SMOKINFLATHEAD
    Member
    from SOCAL

    "SO LET IT BE WRITTEN, SO LET IT BE DONE"
    The pharoh

    Thank for the info, Tony thanks for your $.02 as I know you can relate, This is why I love the H.A.M.B. Thanks to all you Guys. Jay:D
     
  28. Tony
    Joined: Dec 3, 2002
    Posts: 7,350

    Tony
    Member

    no problem. I think we all just want to help.
    Just pay attention to thing's when she start's driving it. Fluid color, smell etc..even the temp of the cooling system itself.
    If it's a hot running truck, then it's not going to be very efficient for the trans.
    Just something else to think about..Like you needed more right? haha:D
     
  29. Rusty Kustoms
    Joined: Feb 5, 2006
    Posts: 238

    Rusty Kustoms
    Member

    I found these on the summit website, there are tons of different frame rail coolers
     

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  30. SMOKINFLATHEAD
    Joined: Apr 2, 2008
    Posts: 502

    SMOKINFLATHEAD
    Member
    from SOCAL

    "GREAT!!! JUST WHEN I THOUGHT I HAD IT FIGURED OUT!!!!!":D J/K
    Those seem to be good ideas. Thanks for the info.
     

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