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Double the Life of Your Automatic Transmission

Posted in How To on July 1, 2001
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Contributors: Trent Riddle
Framerail-mount cooler (bottom); remote-mount cooler with fan (left); high-capacity dual-circuit cooler (right). Framerail-mount cooler (bottom); remote-mount cooler with fan (left); high-capacity dual-circuit cooler (right).
We mounted this heavy-duty dual-circuit cooler in front of our truck’s radiator. It was plumbed so that the automatic transmission used the large 20,000-GVW side, and the power steering used the smaller GVW side. We mounted this heavy-duty dual-circuit cooler in front of our truck’s radiator. It was plumbed so that the automatic transmission used the large 20,000-GVW side, and the power steering used the smaller GVW side.
Installing this cooler was simple. All we did was remove the power-steering low-pressure return line (seen here) and replaced it with two lines. This routing makes the fluid run through the two-pass side of the cooler, chilling down. The auto tranny was also run through the cooler on the four-pass side. Here we elected to retain the factory in-radiator cooler. We simply left the inlet side of the line on the radiator and routed the output of that cooler through the Flex-A-Lite cooler for additional cooling. Installing this cooler was simple. All we did was remove the power-steering low-pressure return line (seen here) and replaced it with two lines. This routing makes the fluid run through the two-pass side of the cooler, chilling down. The auto tranny was also run through the cooler on the four-pass side. Here we elected to retain the factory in-radiator cooler. We simply left the inlet side of the line on the radiator and routed the output of that cooler through the Flex-A-Lite cooler for additional cooling.

Here’s a truth for you: Keeping your truck’s vital fluids cool is essential. As power steering fluid, automatic transmission fluid, and engine oil heat up, they begin to break down. This breakdown leads to accelerated wear of the components these lubricants are supposed to protect, and can even meet unexpected failure of your truck on the trail. The harder you work your 4x4 the faster these fluids heat up.

Studies show that with automatic transmissions, a 20-degree reduction in fluid temperature can double the life of an automatic transmission. The same can be said of power steering pumps and boxes. A fuel cooler will prevent vapor lock in fuel-injection systems and has the added bonus of providing more energy per gallon than hot fuel does. Engine oil not only lubricates but also does a lot to cool the motor too. An engine oil cooler will help keep your engine cool.

Automatic coolers are rated in terms of gross vehicle weight (GVW) or British Thermal Units (BTUs).

We installed a Flex-A-Lite dual-circuit cooler on one of our trucks to help chill the automatic transmission and the power steering. Installation was simple. The hardest part was mounting the cooler itself behind the grille. After that, it was just some hoses and clamps to get the job done. Anyone can do it in a few hours and in so doing, gain years of life for their truck’s components.

Sources

Flex-a-Lite Consolidated
Milton, WA 98354
800-851-1510
http://www.flex-a-lite.com

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