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Engine Overheating Prevention - Cool It!

Posted in How To: Engine on July 1, 2006
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If there's one problem that's always haunted us, it's overheating. Heat is the number one killer of just about every drivetrain component there is. And we've managed to overheat just about every drivetrain part there is. Our last little cooling incident was due to an excessive right foot in a freeway race, which caused the engine to overheat, which lead to a head gasket blowing, which wasted the radiator, which melted the plastic transmission lines (yes, of course our '94 Dodge was the only model year to receive these plastic beauties) because they ran into the radiator for heat exchanging in cold climates. The melted tranny lines bled all the tranny fluid out, which in turn burned up the tranny's bearings and torque converter.

That wasn't the first time cooling troubles had dominoed for us, and we're sure it won't be the last. On the bright side, all our cooling calamities have made us learn some pretty cool tricks to keep our trucks...well, cool. So we're passing on what we can in hopes that you might not be hitching a ride home like we've had to do more times than we care to count.

On almost every auto tranny vehicle, the tranny's cooling lines are run into the radiator. This is done for two reasons. First, to cool the transmission. Second is so the radiator quickly warms up the tranny fluid in cold climates to allow proper functioning of the transmission. This is a necessary evil for guys living in cold climates, but for warm-weathered folk, it's really not necessary to run the tranny cooling lines into the radiator because it doesn't (usually) get cold enough to thicken up the tranny fluid to the point of ill operation. After our last little engine and tranny debacle, we decided it'd be a good idea to totally separate the tranny cooling system and the engine cooling system. We simply capped off the lines to the radiator, and ran the tranny lines to a B&M (www.bmracing.com) auxiliary tranny cooler with an attached electric fan. This way, if we ever roast the coolant in the engine, we won't be adding another $3,000 to our repair bill for a new tranny.

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