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Old 10-07-2009, 08:25 AM
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So, what does the trans cooler look like inside the radiator? Photos

My nephew was changing his radiator at my house in his "new" car and wondered how the trans cooler that is in the rad worked. I busted one apart at work yesterday to show him and though some of you may like to see it too.

The hose I put on there was to keep any fluid inside from leaking out in my car. Normally in the car one hose has fluid being pushed into the cooler while the other is a return back to the tranny.

The cooler is a toilet paper roll looking thing that. The hole thru the middle allows water to surround it cooling the trans fluid inside. The cooler is made from two different diameter tubes that are actually VERY close to the same diameter. It creates just a tiny layer of fluid running around inside the cooler so it cools it off very quickly.

I remember the first time I saw the cooling lines going to the radiator that the radiator coolent was going back to the transmission and not the other way around. It is hard to imagine just how this fluid enters the radiator without getting in the coolent, these photos clearly show how the magic is done.

Brian




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Old 10-07-2009, 06:18 PM
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That is what we called a "corncob" cooler back when I worked for Harrison Radiator. The inner brass tube is actually dimpled toward the outer tube (hence the "corn cob" moniker) which creates a turbulent flow and increases the cooling surface of the cooler.
There are also flat plate coolers that are made of either aluminum, stainless steel or cuprinickle and could have anywhere from 2 to 5 plates that the oil flows through. These plates will have a core in them that channels the fluid to break up laminar flow and increase the efficiency of the cooler.I'll post a pic of one in a day or 2 as I have saved a couple at the shop.
Bob
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Old 10-08-2009, 07:30 AM
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Thanks for posting this. A lot of us "seasoned" wrench turners have wondered about this but have never had the time or inclination to find out. It's things like this that a lot of folks are ashamed to ask about and admit that they don't know that makes this forum great.

Question. If when using an add-on tranny cooler, is it better to run the tranny fluid thru the radiator cooler first then the add-on or vise versa?
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Old 10-08-2009, 07:54 AM
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K.C. , I see no reason that one way or the other would be better. Well........something just hit me. If you were to run your external cooler first the fluid would be cooler when it got to the radiator. That would mean that your coolent would be subjected to less heat. If you have a motor like a Buick Nailhead that is usually a hard to cool motor cooling down your trans fluid before it goes into your radiator may be just the little help you need to keep the motor temp under control.

Yeah Bob, I forgot to mention that there are other types. Basically they look like little radiators with fins.

Brian
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Old 10-08-2009, 09:24 AM
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The directions that came with mine suggest going to the radiator first.
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Old 10-08-2009, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
I remember the first time I saw the cooling lines going to the radiator that the radiator coolent was going back to the transmission and not the other way around. It is hard to imagine just how this fluid enters the radiator without getting in the coolent, these photos clearly show how the magic is done
I don't see where the confusion comes from, and where the magic part begins.
What did you think happens inside the radiator? I assumed there was a simple coil of tubing, not that big tube, but there's no magic, Brian.

Does any one know if it makes a difference if the inlet and outlet are switched?
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Old 10-08-2009, 05:37 PM
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I think it's a gravity thing. Easier to push weight downhill than up. The inlet is on top, right? Now Im questioning myself! Maybe I ought to just shutup! Yeah, the cooler water is in the bottom of the radiator. I think I got it now, maybe, I think!
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Old 10-08-2009, 06:36 PM
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Brian didn't say if that is the bottom or side of the radiator.
It has the drain plug like it's the bottom.
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Old 10-08-2009, 06:41 PM
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Hot fluid or coolant in the top, cooled fluid out the bottom. Horizontal rad. tank coolers are either/or.

Auxiliary ATF cooler gets the fluid after the radiator if both are used. Aftermarket cooler manufacturers usually say to use just the aux. cooler.
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Old 10-08-2009, 07:02 PM
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Old 10-08-2009, 10:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scrot
I don't see where the confusion comes from, and where the magic part begins.
What did you think happens inside the radiator? I assumed there was a simple coil of tubing, not that big tube, but there's no magic, Brian.

Does any one know if it makes a difference if the inlet and outlet are switched?
I wasn't born with the knowledge it has taken me years to obtain like you were. You must have been building cars when you were in 1st grade huh?

Brian
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scrot
I assumed there was a simple coil of tubing,

This was how a lot of them was done,, With coils of tubing...
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MARTINSR
I wasn't born with the knowledge it has taken me years to obtain like you were. You must have been building cars when you were in 1st grade huh?

Brian
LOL
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Old 10-09-2009, 08:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cobalt327
Auxiliary ATF cooler gets the fluid after the radiator if both are used. Aftermarket cooler manufacturers usually say to use just the aux. cooler.
The temperature of the transmission fluid is very important as to is function and overall performance. Having the trans fluid too cool can be just as bad as having it too hot. For this reason the trans fluid temps should be somewhat stable and constant once warmed up. The vehicles radiator with the built in trans fluid tube will perform this function.

To maintain a more constant temp, it is my opinion that an auxiliary cooler should be connected to the trans outlet first (to cool the fluid down) and then if the trans fluid is also connected to the radiator built in 'cooler' it would be connected to it. This will either cool or heat up the trans fluid as required to maintain a more constant temp.
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Old 10-09-2009, 11:50 AM
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I'm with Frisco on the idea of thermal shock being an issue.

I live in the snow belt where winter driving with a truck and trailer can take trans fluid temps to both ends of the spectrum fairly quick.


Pull out with a loaded trailed on an uphill grade, half throttle, converter in stall mode, and your making a bunch of heat quick.

Top the hill and coast down the other side............Heats gone............

If you live in a different area...........Might not be an issue at all.......



Absolutely no scientific data to prove anything..........Just an opinion.........Dan
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