Monday, August 25, 2008

The Transmission Cooler Upgrade

The Transmission Cooler Upgrade

When you know something in theory it is one thing, but when you've upgraded your own car with a transmission cooler, it changes everything.

The feeling you can expect after installing a transmission cooler:

Last Saturday (now summer last year, and I still see benefits!), an automotive mentor and I installed a transmission cooler. The car was always smooth in it's shifting from one gear to the next, but after the transmission cooler, it was so smooth that you could hear the engine change pitch, but the feel of the gear shift was swallowed on all but the 1st to 2nd gear shift, unless the vehicle was accelerating quickly, then it was smoother.

Have you ever upgraded your tranny's oil from regular to fully synthetic and felt that incredible performance boost? The power of the vehicle goes way up because of the smoother oil, and the shifts are just a dream? Well, imagine making that difference twice and you'll know what a transmission cooler feels like.

A couple of tips that my mentor gave me:

You need to know which line from the tranny is going into the radiator as the high pressure versus the return. You always place the high pressure line to the higher side of the transmission cooler. That way gravity will help take the low side, with the now cooler oil back to the transmission. If you didn't know already know this: transmissions cool themselves via lines that go into a partitioned portion of the radiator. Initially, when the thermostat in the engine first opens up and the radiator fluid starts going through the radiator for the first time it'll actually heat up the transmission keeping the engine from heating up as quickly. In colder environments this is ideal as the tranny's friction will help the engine heat up sooner, but for short trips in a normal environment a transmission oil cooler will actually allow an engine to get up to the peak operating temperature sooner and the sooner an engine is at its peak temperature the better your mileage whether we’re talking about a car’s or truck's miles per gallon. Extremely cooler environments however can damage a transmission suggesting warming up a vehicle before driving or having a plug device to keep the engine warm. In most areas, as long as it isn't the dead of winter, a transmission cooler is an upgrade.

Most kits miss a little of what you need for a transmission oil cooler upgrade. It may be necessary to have a few extra clamps and metal tubes that can be used to splice two lines together, but Mishimoto makes a decent kit, which looks better than most I've presented at AutoBravado over the years, not to mention that it's less expensive by half then what I paid for mine.

Likely efficiency effects and other positive side effects from your new transmission cooler:

The engine actually gets up to the optimal running temperature more quickly now that part of the heat isn't just getting removed from the radiator’s coolant side and transferred to the transmission fluid side of the radiator. Once warmed up, the engine actually runs a little cooler, which puts it at the exact temperature necessary that has attained my record highs in getting good car's miles per gallon. When I haven't driven for a couple hours the engine also starts warmer than in the past so it retains the right temperature longer and strains less because of a smoother shift between gears. A smoother shift in gears means less of a beating is put on the engine and a longer lasting gear box means savings down the road.
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