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Technical How to choose a transmission cooler?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Sporty45, May 15, 2024.

  1. Sporty45
    Joined: Jun 1, 2015
    Posts: 1,220

    Sporty45
    Member

    I'm building a 47 Olds coupe with a mild 454 and TH400 trans. Not gonna race it, but will work it out once in a while. I've had the stock radiator rebuilt, but the shop that did it said it didn't have a large enough bottom tank to put in a trans cooler and I would need a remote cooler. I never thought to ask for a recommendation though, so here I am asking you guys! I have heard a plate style is better, but which one? Any help would be appreciated :)
     
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  2. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 34,221

    Mr48chev
    Member

    All I can say is make sure that you have enough cooler capacity with the stand alone cooler. Auxiliary coolers are designed to work with transmission fluid that has already been through the cooler in the radiator and finish cool that down to the desired temp. Then don't mount it to the radiator with those plastic spikes, fab up some brackets to mount it off even if they are only some 1/8x1 straps.
     
  3. I'm putting in a Mishimoto 13-row stacked plate transmission cooler mounted beside my AOD. Not sure if the air flow will be sufficient. If not, I'll fabricate a shield to re-direct or install a fan. I'll check back when I get the engine in and run the thing for a while.
     
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  4. Sporty45
    Joined: Jun 1, 2015
    Posts: 1,220

    Sporty45
    Member

    I haven't come across that brand before. Can I ask why you picked it? Looking forward to hearing how it works out :cool:
     
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  5. chevyfordman
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,382

    chevyfordman
    Member

    I always put one of these on all my cars, all solid lines. DSCN2687.jpeg
     
  6. Sporty45
    Joined: Jun 1, 2015
    Posts: 1,220

    Sporty45
    Member

    Yup, mine will have solid lines too. How do you choose which cooler to use as a stand alone unit? I've seen small frame mounted styles all the way up to radiator size models!
     
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  7. 41 GMC K-18
    Joined: Jun 27, 2019
    Posts: 3,743

    41 GMC K-18
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    About 25 years ago, on my 1946 KB-5 International Truck, I installed one of these down under the original radiator which didn't have the lower tank for transmission fluid cooling.
    I made sure it got enough airflow to it as well.
    I had swapped out the original Green Diamond flat-head 6 banger, and replaced it with a GM 327 with a TH 400 transmission.
    I also made a stone guard out of hardware cloth to surround it. It worked well, and I never had a problem with it.
    Your results may vary.
    Good luck from Dennis.

    hayden oil cooler.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2024
  8. '29 Gizmo
    Joined: Nov 6, 2022
    Posts: 848

    '29 Gizmo
    Member
    from UK

    Made in china, branded to sound like a japanese company.
     
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  9. TA DAD
    Joined: Mar 2, 2014
    Posts: 1,213

    TA DAD
    Member
    from NC

    The factory cooler line is 5/16 and makes one loop inside the radiator tank, it is there to bring the trans fluid temperature up in line with the coolant temp. Unless you are towing or have a loose convertor that is slipping all the time you don't need a large cooler and in this situation air flow is not that critical. I used this cooler on my Studebaker and it is for a 14k GVW vehicle. Mine is 3200 lbs , plus I have a deep pan and I stepped the lines up from 5/16 to 3/8 and the cooler lines are 1/2 but I also have a 4200 stall convertor so it slips a lot at low speed. Myself I like the tube and fin style and they will dissipate heat really well. Plus these are made in the USA. https://www.summitracing.com/parts/prm-1301 DSCN2666.JPG
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2024
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  10. jetnow1
    Joined: Jan 30, 2008
    Posts: 2,163

    jetnow1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from CT
    1. A-D Truckers

    Remember autos are designed to run at a specific temp range, too cold id not good for them just as too warmis not good for them.
     
  11. Sporty45
    Joined: Jun 1, 2015
    Posts: 1,220

    Sporty45
    Member

    That's true, which is why I'm having a hard time trying to decide what to get. :eek:
     
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  12. wheeltramp brian
    Joined: Jun 11, 2010
    Posts: 2,683

    wheeltramp brian
    Member

    On a daily driver 64 El Camino, with a 383 motor and a 700r4 trans with lock up. I've actually got a temperature gauge in the trans And to see what's going on. I've ran a couple different radiators with the cooler. Built-in and without and here are my results. With the cooler built into the radiator the trans runs about a 150° cruising around and gets hotter as the engine temp gets hotter. It has gotten up to about 200°.With an external cooler in the front that is a stacked fin design and the smallest one I could get the thing never gets above a 100°. Only in traffic does it ever crack a 100. The max I've ever seen It get is about 150 even in the heat.I do have a lock up converter in fourth gear, though.So that helps with the temperature I do have a lock up converter in fourth gear, though. So that helps with the temperature. These are just my results.
     
  13. Sporty45
    Joined: Jun 1, 2015
    Posts: 1,220

    Sporty45
    Member

    Thank you. Real world experiences are just what I'm looking for! I plan to run a temp gauge in line as well.
     
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  14. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 4,409

    ekimneirbo

    Have you thought about just installing one of those Derale transmission pans that has a deeper sump and tubes running thru it so that air goes thru the tubes ? Then hook your guage up and see if you even need a trans cooler. A cooler is something that can be installed later if needed and you can see if you need it or not, or if you need a big one or not.
     
  15. 19Eddy30
    Joined: Mar 27, 2011
    Posts: 2,427

    19Eddy30
    Member
    from VA

    Heat Kills
    Ultima transmission temp keep
    160-180 , performance / tow
     
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  16. Mike VV
    Joined: Sep 28, 2010
    Posts: 3,071

    Mike VV
    Member
    from SoCal

    Agreed, use a radiator (!) (cooler, radiator, heat transfer device, all the same !) with the "flat" tubes.
    They are MUCH more efficient than any of the round tube styles.

    There used to be a round tube version that had veins inside the tubes to spin the fluid so all of the fluid eventually touched the outer walls of the tube. But that proved to be too expensive to manufacture.

    Probably doesn't matter the brand that you buy, there's most likely only one or two manufacturers that make them for...everyone.

    Mike
     
  17. Sporty45
    Joined: Jun 1, 2015
    Posts: 1,220

    Sporty45
    Member

    Lots of info here. Thanks guys, greatly appreciate the input. :cool:
     
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  18. t had good reviews, stacked, large. I wanted the 351W/AOD combo to stay cool and this seems to be the best value with an aluminum radiator.
     
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  19. stubbsrodandcustom
    Joined: Dec 28, 2010
    Posts: 2,350

    stubbsrodandcustom
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Spring tx

    Largest cooler you can fit is my normal go to. Stacked plate design only.

    Id rather have a crapload of 100 degree fluid on a hot day in stop and go traffic to slowly warm up than 160 degree fluid that will get hotter faster.

    My ole 56 has a huge cooler, never gets over 120 degrees.
     
  20. RmK57
    Joined: Dec 31, 2008
    Posts: 2,756

    RmK57
    Member

    I also have a stack plate cooler salvaged from a Ford motor home. Only thing I’m not to keen on are the flared ends on it. I would rather it have 1/4-3/8 female pipe to adapt either tube nuts or AN style fittings. Other than that the type F fluid always looks clear and red. I also use 3500 rpm stall converter, c6 trans.
     
  21. woodiewagon46
    Joined: Mar 14, 2013
    Posts: 2,297

    woodiewagon46
    Member
    from New York

    I'm using a Setrab oil cooler on both my cars and couldn't be happier with them. Not cheap but a great product. They come in many sizes and styles.
     
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  22. JohnLewis
    Joined: Feb 19, 2023
    Posts: 363

    JohnLewis
    Member

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  23. Sporty45
    Joined: Jun 1, 2015
    Posts: 1,220

    Sporty45
    Member

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  24. JohnLewis
    Joined: Feb 19, 2023
    Posts: 363

    JohnLewis
    Member

    I would think a 697 would be plenty to keep you in a reasonable temperature range. 698 would be good as well, probably wouldn't go over that sizing. I took a interest in those as well.
     
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  25. Sporty45
    Joined: Jun 1, 2015
    Posts: 1,220

    Sporty45
    Member

    Yeah, I went back and forth on those two, but figured the 697 would be fine. Not much difference in price, so maybe a 698? The one drawback is that it has hose barbs, and not threaded connections.
     
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  26. chevyfordman
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,382

    chevyfordman
    Member

    That small B&M is the smallest cooler made and it is way past what I need for cooling a trans. I haven't worried about the temp of the trans on my 48 and I run it in the winter too but probably not past 32 degrees for the most part. I have put over 80K miles on the 700R4, 21K on my roadsters 200 4r and about 10K on my 3w's AOD. I haven't had any problems for all the years I have driven them. It's still what you feel comfortable with.
     
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  27. Harv
    Joined: Jan 16, 2008
    Posts: 1,051

    Harv
    Member
    from Sydney

    The avatar runs a 400hp 327 and shift-kitted TH350. It tows regularly, and is on the strip about once a month. I run an Aussie-built Davies-Craig cooler tucked in behind the radiator. It's about as big as a piece of photocopier paper, and has the barbed fittings. I ran solid line (Swagelok stainless), and provided a "bump" at the end of the lines for rubber hose (install a Swagelok fitting, then cut the captive nut off). About 4" of rubber hose between the cooler and lines.

    The car had done a few runs up and down the driveway, and needed it's first test run before inspection and licensing. 1/2 mile run to the local freeway, then a 2-minute blat at 70mph. Felt great. Turned the car around and noticed what I thought was light smoke coming out the rear. Lost my happy feeling, limped the car home. Got stuck at lights at the freeway off ramp. Got out and took a look. Cooler hose was piddling ATF, the tarmac looked like someone had slaughtered a beast. Limped the last 1km from freeway to home. Cleaned the mess, tightened the clamps. Been good since.

    Cheers,
    Harv
     
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  28. Like others have said, use a stacked plate type. You can run a smaller stacked plate or a larger tube (and still not cool as good).
     
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