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sherman8r 06-04-2011 05:30 PM

automatic transmission cooler question
i have an automatic transmission and was wondering if i have to use a radiator tranny cooler or if i could get away with a stand alone trans cooler and bypass the radiator all together.I'im asking because i have a radiator without the built in cooler and would like to save some cash if it's possible. a summit tech suggested this to me but I'm weary. 406 sbc 700r4 4:10 gears in a 79 caprice that only gets driven in the summer.

scholman 06-04-2011 06:36 PM


I see no problem with running the aftermarket cooler. If you think you need more cooling run two of them, they just need some air flow to do their job.

Good Luck

Irelands child 06-04-2011 06:59 PM

Why not?? There are many - from the usual finned and in many sizes. There are also versions with external fans which are temp. controlled. Then there are the extruded aluminum versions from 12 - 24 or more inches. That last one is what I'm running and so far haven't seen the tranny get more than 160F in traffic on a very warm day

This is a 24" dual pass, mounted outside of the right frame rail and under the running board splash shield and mostly in the air stream:

Dave W

sherman8r 06-04-2011 08:57 PM

thanks for the advise guys.

SSedan64 06-05-2011 12:01 AM

Double Post :rolleyes:

SSedan64 06-05-2011 12:19 AM

Trans Coolers / Trans Temps
Newer vehicles don't allow the Trans TCC to engage/lockup until a certain temp is reached. The slippage in the TC quickly heats the fluid. Engine oil & Trans fluid needs to be hot to prevent premature wear & condensation buildup.

The Long/Tru-Cool type Coolers are self regulating, cool/thick fluid bypasses the Cooler thru the larger upper 2 rows allowing the Trans to quickly reach operating temp, hot/thin fluid flows thru the whole Cooler.
There are also Remote External bypasses available for other types/brands of Coolers.
Long/Tru-Cool flow diagram>>

If you're not using a Rad w/built in cooler, use a "Large" auxiliary cooler and if you're using a TC with a Higher than stock Stall rating, use an "Extra Large" auxiliary cooler.

From PATC's website:
Transmission Cooling: You must have a transmission cooler in your radiator regardless of what someone has told you for the transmission to last. Auxiliary coolers are just that, in addition to. Water cools 32 times better (faster) than air always, period. In the case of air vs. water, there is no contest - water is way better. The transmission fluid comes directly from the torque converter at a much higher temperature than the water in your radiator and is cooled to the water temperature fast. Then it goes to the auxiliary cooler to be cooled far below the water temperature. If you don't need a cooler in your radiator why does GM spend all that money doing so? If you wanted to cool a red hot piece of steel fast would you stick it in water or air, see the point. Your transmission will run cooler with a lock-up converter. This is more important with stall speeds of 2000 RPM or higher.

TCI's website, safe Trans Temp chart:

sherman8r 06-05-2011 06:41 AM

dang it, I ordered a derale electra-cool fluid cooler after the first couple posts. i guess I'll order a trans temp gauge and see how things work out. I'll keep you updated on how it works.

Irelands child 06-05-2011 07:08 AM


Originally Posted by sherman8r
dang it, I ordered a derale electra-cool fluid cooler after the first couple posts. i guess I'll order a trans temp gauge and see how things work out. I'll keep you updated on how it works.

If you have an aftermarket water temp gauge, all you need is a double pole switch, some wire and a $10 temp sender mounted in the pan - the gauge doesn't care whether it's water or oil.

sherman8r 06-05-2011 08:50 AM

i do have an oil temp gauge kit i could use. good idea

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