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Old 08-02-2013, 07:19 PM   #1
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Cooling the Tranny - Big Pan or Big Fan?

My '07 Suburban came with a transmission cooler, but I can still overheat on long grades. I consider 220F as my max before pulling over to cool.

I am considering two fixes. First, a really deep transmission pan. Second, an aftermarket cooler which is about twice the size of the original cooler, and has a large fan on it. I think the cost will be similar for either - about $450 installed for the cooler, and maybe $350 for the pan.

I was leaning toward the pan, until the transmission man showed me the large cooler.

Any opinions appreciated.
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Old 08-02-2013, 08:18 PM   #2
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I have an Infiniti QX56 that came with the transmission cooler. To me it was a joke, very small. The one I put on is at least 10 times bigger, and does a great job. I would say if yours is on the small size now, go with the bigger trans. cooler. JMHO,
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Old 08-02-2013, 08:19 PM   #3
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I'd probably start with the pan and see how you like it. You could always take it off later and sell it if its not working the way you want. My issue with the aftermarket cooler is most times they are plumbed in with rubber line and hose clamps. And that's just asking for a leak. If you could get a nice hard line set up with the correct jiffy tite ends, the cooler would be a great option. Is your sub a 4 or 6 speed? Does it already have the factory auxiliary cooler in front of the rad? I'm assuming its a half ton.
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Old 08-03-2013, 09:13 AM   #4
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WOW- - never considered the aspect of rubber lines versus hard lines. Thanks for that wisdom.

I have a 1500 4WD 5.3L 4-spd. It has the factory transmission cooler which is about 6" high x 10" wide and sits in front of the radiator. The one the tranny guy suggested was about 2X the size and had a large fan in front of it.

The deep pan I was considering would just about double the fluid, if I recall.
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Old 08-03-2013, 09:32 AM   #5
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You might try dropping a gear on those long grades and see if it doesn't run cooler.
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Old 08-03-2013, 06:20 PM   #6
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Put a bigger cooler on it. You want one that goes the entire width of the radiator and is probably 10" tall or taller. You want one that has the flat tubes not the big rounds ones. I don't think a pan will do much for you. Get a scanguage II that will tell you if the torque converter is locked or not. If it is not locked you are much more likely to overheat. Also if you have a cooler in the radiator tank put that in series with the external cooler. Hoses are ok but use real screw type hose clamps not those OEM ones. Keeping the in radiator cooler will help the transmission warm up faster and will cool the transmission while you are manuvering and parking.

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Old 08-03-2013, 06:50 PM   #7
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Perry=
Thanks. It's sounding more and more like "big cooler" is the way to go. Regarding lock up - - normally I am in 3rd going up these long grades and have tow mode engaged. Isn't the TC locked up then?
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Old 08-03-2013, 09:53 PM   #8
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Big honkin cooler... and fan!
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Old 08-03-2013, 09:58 PM   #9
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The computer controls all these things. Usually what happens is as the load increases the torque converter unlocks which amplifies torque at the expense of slip which also generates heat. The scanguage will monitor the slip ratio and will tell you how much slip is occuring. The more slip the more heat. A slip of 1 is locked then if gets smaller as slip occurs. So gearing down by locking it in a lower gear would help in most cases. I would visit some forums specific to your tow vehicle if you want details on how the computer decides when to do what.

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Old 08-03-2013, 11:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mstephens View Post
My '07 Suburban came with a transmission cooler, but I can still overheat on long grades. I consider 220F as my max before pulling over to cool.
That is unnecessarily conservative.

In my 'burb ('04 2500 8.1), the computer switches to a high-temperature shift program somewhere around 210 degrees. Shifts become noticeably firmer, upshifts take place later, and the torque converter stays locked more of the time. It is my experience that, once this takes place, the transmission doesn't get much hotter.

Advice varies out there but Dex VI and other modern fluids can run hotter than the old fluids.

Quote:
I am considering two fixes. First, a really deep transmission pan. Second, an aftermarket cooler which is about twice the size of the original cooler, and has a large fan on it. I think the cost will be similar for either - about $450 installed for the cooler, and maybe $350 for the pan.

I was leaning toward the pan, until the transmission man showed me the large cooler.
I have the deep, aluminum Mag-hytec pan. I've always had it so I don't know how much difference it really makes. It does increase the oil capacity considerably, but the surface area is small compared to the fin area of even a small transmission cooler.

I have the stock transmission cooler. While I have the 4L85e and a 4.10 rear, both of which help keep temps low compared to your setup, I've never had a problem with overheating.

If you believe you need to do something, I would suggest a transmission cooler as the better choice. While I have run into leaks at the clamps, if done right they will last 10-15 years or more. I just replaced the rubber lines and clamps on a 1997 Intrepid that had a transmission cooler installed at the dealership when new.
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Old 08-04-2013, 05:17 PM   #11
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This is the cooler being suggested by my local transmission guy.

Hayden The Dawg: Hayden - The Dawg

I think my trans is the 4L60E and I know my rear is 4:10. As to the torque converter lockup, I am not sure what good it does to me know about the slippage unless I can do something about it, right? I mean, is there a way to force it into lockup?

I'm feeling pretty good about going with the cooler. I now live in the desert where 107F ambient is the daily high for June and July. Everywhere we go there will be grades. When we lived up north, the ambient was 65F in the summer, so we didn't have this issue as often. Adding 40 degrees to the ambient is a pretty big swing.

Thanks for all the tips and opinions.
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Old 08-04-2013, 09:36 PM   #12
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How about starting out fairly inexpensive: put a fan in front of the cooler you already have ?
Fan from the junkyard ought to be dirt cheap and plentiful. I'd put a rocker switch inside where you can manually control it.
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Old 08-05-2013, 08:24 PM   #13
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If you are mounting this in front of the radiator the fan is redundant. Usually dropping down a gear will allow the torque converter to lockup. It unlocks before dropping a gear. Taking your foot out of it helps as well.

Perry

Quote:
Originally Posted by mstephens View Post
This is the cooler being suggested by my local transmission guy.

Hayden The Dawg: Hayden - The Dawg

I think my trans is the 4L60E and I know my rear is 4:10. As to the torque converter lockup, I am not sure what good it does to me know about the slippage unless I can do something about it, right? I mean, is there a way to force it into lockup?

I'm feeling pretty good about going with the cooler. I now live in the desert where 107F ambient is the daily high for June and July. Everywhere we go there will be grades. When we lived up north, the ambient was 65F in the summer, so we didn't have this issue as often. Adding 40 degrees to the ambient is a pretty big swing.

Thanks for all the tips and opinions.
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Old 08-06-2013, 09:45 PM   #14
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I've made arrangement to have the large Hayden cooler installed tomorrow. I don't have the auto mechanic chops, or work area to experiment with DIY, so this looks like a good way to go. BTW, the fan is 650CFM and will run continuously.

We plan our first run since the wife's accident late this month. I'll get a chance to run some grades in the heat here and see how she does.
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