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adding a tranny cooler to a 1500

This is a discussion on adding a tranny cooler to a 1500 within the GM Trucks forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; My buddy has a 1500 z71. He's borrowing another of our buddy's camper and going on vacation with me this ...

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    Veteran 0rion's Avatar
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    adding a tranny cooler to a 1500

    My buddy has a 1500 z71. He's borrowing another of our buddy's camper and going on vacation with me this year to VA Beach. I'm trying to get his truck all set up for him. I told him getting an aftermarket tranny cooler probably isn't a bad idea since we'll be hauling in August up and down hills. I haven't had a chance to look under his hood yet but I'm guessing he just has the tranny lines running through the radiator. Anyone know which is the return line to the tranny right off hand? I'm gonna guess the output line from the tranny has high pressure fittings and the return might not but if anyone knows which line is which it might save me some time.

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    All the fittings are the same (supply and return). I'm 99% sure the bottom line at the rad is the return back to the trans
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    Drive it a bit, then feel the trans lines, one should be noticeably cooler than the other, the cooler of the two is the return.

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    I'm not too sure that it matters when adding a trans cooler because more are a straight through type system without any restrictions so the fluid should just go in one end, go through the cooler and come out the other end. If it is any different I would like to know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2002ssslp View Post
    I'm not too sure that it matters when adding a trans cooler because more are a straight through type system without any restrictions so the fluid should just go in one end, go through the cooler and come out the other end. If it is any different I would like to know.
    I would rather cool it on the return because the radiator has already dropped the fluid temp some and then the cooler drops it more. Going the other way the best case scenario you're looking at are stock tranny temps. Not that stock temps are a bad thing but the cooler you can keep the tranny the better it is for it to a point.
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    Yes put the aftermarket cooler on the return line. This way if the aftermarket is more efficient, you won't warm the fluid back up going thru the radiator.

    I found out that if you are in the driveway, and powerbrake the car without spinning the wheels for 15 seconds or so (or smoke 'em if you want!) then quickly feel the lines, you will find which one is cooler. Just don't burn your hand by grabbing the line too tightly, ask me how I know that lol.

    All trans lines that I've encountered have the same type connection on the inlet side of the cooler and the outlet, unlike a power steering system connection at the pump.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Too Fast View Post
    Yes put the aftermarket cooler on the return line. This way if the aftermarket is more efficient, you won't warm the fluid back up going thru the radiator.

    I found out that if you are in the driveway, and powerbrake the car without spinning the wheels for 15 seconds or so (or smoke 'em if you want!) then quickly feel the lines, you will find which one is cooler. Just don't burn your hand by grabbing the line too tightly, ask me how I know that lol.

    All trans lines that I've encountered have the same type connection on the inlet side of the cooler and the outlet, unlike a power steering system connection at the pump.
    That's a pretty good idea. Thanks. I know the lines on the f body are different so i thought maybe the trucks would be too.

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    We have an aftermarket cooler in front of the radiator and it works great. Our Suburban has a factory trans temp gauge and even towing our car hauler up hills on a hot day, we rarely see temps above 200 degrees. For the most part, it runs in the 150 to 180 degree range.

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    Former Mopar Man 2002ssslp's Avatar
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    Why do manufacturers run the transmission fluid through a hot radiator and not through a radiator mounted cooler.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2002ssslp View Post
    Why do manufacturers run the transmission fluid through a hot radiator and not through a radiator mounted cooler.
    because getting heat into the tranny is just as important as keeping it from being too hot....that's why I added the "to a point" in my other post. The radiator helps bring that tranny temp up faster and maintain it once it's there in a stock setting but when you start towing that's when it can get out of hand. Have you ever noticed how hard a tranny will shift in cold weather? The pcm's also will keep the converter unlocked when it's cold to help heat the tranny up quicker. On my durmax it's more than obvious when the tranny isn't up to temp. Ideally that 180 area is where you want to keep the fluid....personally I'd like that to be the landing spot for temps while towing. My d-max maintains 180-190 towing during the summer. I'm not sure on the gas burners because I've never messed with a 1500. I will still put that cooler on the return side though.

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