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Old 09-12-2013, 12:06 PM   #1
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Help...transmission cooler

I knew my old 2000 1500 van needed a trans cooler. My trailer weighs about 3000 lbs.
My mechanic says my new to me 2009 2500 van has a built in trans cooler and that I probably don't need one. I haven't been towing during the heat of the day until I get a cooler. Is he right about not needing one?
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Old 09-12-2013, 12:19 PM   #2
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*IF* your van has a factory towing package, it should have a decent transmission cooler. Monitor transmission temps (I use a ScanGaugeII for this purpose) and see if they stay in a good range. If not, you may need a bigger/better cooler. Either way, if you buy a ScanGauge or similar device to monitor the temps, you have a nice geektoy to monitor various aspects of an ODB-II vehicle's operation.
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Old 09-12-2013, 12:25 PM   #3
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If transmission cooler is external to the engine cooling radiator, then it may have the capacity to keep transmission fluid relatively cool even if engine is getting hotter due to loads on climbs.
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Old 09-12-2013, 01:05 PM   #4
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Nope

no tow package and the cooler is part of the radiator
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Old 09-12-2013, 01:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mandolindave View Post
no tow package and the cooler is part of the radiator
If it were mine and I planned to keep it for long, I'd add an external cooler.
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Old 09-12-2013, 01:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mandolindave View Post
I knew my old 2000 1500 van needed a trans cooler. My trailer weighs about 3000 lbs.
My mechanic says my new to me 2009 2500 van has a built in trans cooler and that I probably don't need one. I haven't been towing during the heat of the day until I get a cooler. Is he right about not needing one?
Dave,

2500 Chevy van right? Does it have a Tranny temp gauge?


If so you have the factory towing package with transmission cooler.
The powertrain control module has a limp mode if the trans overheats, sustained temps over 280 if I remember right.

If you don't have the tow package then an external cooler and gauge would be a very good idea.
You can get a gauge with an external spin-on filter also. I had one on our 95 Burb....the extra fluid capacity helps a little with temps also.

Bob
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Old 09-12-2013, 02:14 PM   #7
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In 2003 the factory towing package on the 3/4 ton (2500) GMC van provided an external cooler. You should be able to see it in front of the radiator if you have one. Unfortunately a gauge was not available

I remember adding an external cooler on my 1999 Chevy 1500.

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Old 09-12-2013, 02:14 PM   #8
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Almost all vehicles with an automatic transmission have a transmission cooler built in to the radiator. The only vehicle I have ever seen without this is a friends 1957 Chevy.

The cooler in the rad is NOT sufficient for heavy towing. On many vehicles the factory towing package includes a secondary cooler - looks like a small radiator in front of the engine radiator.

Transmission coolers are not expensive, and not expensive to install. Transmissions are expensive!

Anyone towing should invest in a good transmission cooler if their vehicle is not equipped with a separate cooler from the factory.
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Old 09-12-2013, 02:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AldeanFan View Post
Almost all vehicles with an automatic transmission have a transmission cooler built in to the radiator. The only vehicle I have ever seen without this is a friends 1957 Chevy.

The cooler in the rad is NOT sufficient for heavy towing. On many vehicles the factory towing package includes a secondary cooler - looks like a small radiator in front of the engine radiator.

Transmission coolers are not expensive, and not expensive to install. Transmissions are expensive!

Anyone towing should invest in a good transmission cooler if their vehicle is not equipped with a separate cooler from the factory.
Just remember if you install one yourself be sure to hook the intake of your external cooler to the outlet of the in built cooler in the radiator. Hooking up in reverse will cause your cooled transmission oil to be reheated by the radiator.

Jack
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