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Discussion Starter #1
OK, I'm considering adding an aftermarket cooler to my '03 EX-L. Searching on terms like 'ATF' and 'cooler' and 'aftermarket' and 'installation' take you on a tour of various threads. Here's but a few:

http://www.odyclub.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=7617&highlight=aftermarket+cooler+install

http://www.odyclub.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=91859&highlight=atf+and+cooler

http://www.odyclub.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=91780&highlight=atf+and+cooler

http://www.odyclub.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=83068&highlight=atf+and+cooler

In one of them, Long's Tru-Cool cooler is touted as having a bypass feature for low temperatures. In another, this is poo-pah'd as being an inefficient design that doesn't work as well as is generally regarded. In one thread, praises are sung of Earl's coolers. In other threads, caution is advised in cooler climates regardless of what brand of ATF cooler you're considering.

Now for background, I'm in Edmonton, Alberta. It's not the North Pole or anything, but it does get pretty cold at times and November thru March is pretty much full-on winter. From what I can gather from the collected wisdom here, ATF cooling is the cornerstone of preventing the transmission failures seen all-too-often with the Ody. But, there appears to be a general caveat with this that too much of a good thing isn't a good thing either and you need to be careful in environments like mine with the application of too much cooling.

So, I gotta ask: WTH is the truth on this? What does a guy in my situation do?? :confused:

Any thoughts or guidance are appreciated.
 

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Hello RolHammer,

When I added the towing hitch to my van, I also looked at the various coolers available. I decided the cooler design that is used on the 2007 - 2010 vans was a sound design. Since Honda did the engineering for size and it is a second generation effort, I just went with that.

The one thing some of the aftermarket coolers offer is a filter, so that may be a consideration.

Tom
 

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I've an Hayden and I wonder if ATF flows to the last plate of it. I would not buy a cooler with a larger plate (bypass) since ATF seems to already «bypass» in the first plates even on a hot day...

Honda installs the cooler after tthe in-tank one.

And a tube and fins cooler is less sturdy but you'll be sure that ATF flows in every part of it...
 

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Laphroaig said:
I've an Hayden and I wonder if ATF flows to the last plate of it....
It does. Every plate on your Hayden receives its portion of flow, just like a radiator with vertical side-mounted tanks (the Ody radiator uses horizontal top & bottom-mounted tanks).

OF
 

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Discussion Starter #5
OK, getting back to the question in the OP - in an '03 in a Canadian setting - is having an aftermarket cooler even advisable?
 

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0dyfamily said:
It does. Every plate on your Hayden receives its portion of flow, just like a radiator with vertical side-mounted tanks (the Ody radiator uses horizontal top & bottom-mounted tanks).

OF
On my Hayden, since it's (much?) easier for ATF to flow in the first plates than the last, ATF will flow more in them. I knew that it might flow like that, but not so much. ATF might even pass only through the first plates. What if I had one with a «bypass»!

If you want an uniform flow, you'll need much larger ends than the plates, like a radiator might be. But on an ATF cooler, the ends aren't that big. In fact, their cross section might be comparable to the x section of one plate.

I don't know how unevenly ATF flows in my cooler, but the cooler always seems to be hot only in the first plates. An even flow would give the same temp profile on any plates, but it dosen't seem to be the case.

My cooler is never much hot, so there could be some ATF flow in the last plates, but the flow and temp might be so low in them that I can't feel or read (IR) a temp difference between the cooler and, say, the frame.

Edit : I saw some Earl's cooler with a bigger «manifold» and we could expect flow in them to be more even.
 

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RolHammer said:
OK, getting back to the question in the OP - in an '03 in a Canadian setting - is having an aftermarket cooler even advisable?
I would not tell you where to install it nor what choice of ATF cooler you have if it was unadvisable to do...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Originally posted by Laphroaig I would not tell you where to install it nor what choice of ATF cooler you have if it was unadvisable to do...
No, Laphroaig, I'm sure you wouldn't steer me wrong. That's not what I'm saying - I'm just trying to get to the bottom of all this.

Case in point - consider this phrase from your second-to-last post:
Originally posted by Laphroaig My cooler is never much hot..., so there could be some ATF flow in the last plates, but the flow and temp might be so low in them that I can't feel or read (IR) a temp difference between the cooler and, say, the frame.[/B]
This is the part that concerns me, as given the information presented in one of the those threads in my OP there appears to be a minimum ATF temperature as well. Your statement there sounds as if you're cooling below that minimum level. From what I'm able to understand, this minimum temperature becomes especially important in cold temperatures, during which time the in-radiator ATF actually acts to warm the fluid. So, viewed from that perspective, I had some pause with the concept of then once again cooling this now warmed fluid as it flows through the aftermarket cooler. Granted, the domain of my concern is probably only the first minutes after you've started going on a cold winter day but that same time period seems to be the same one that's at the heart of the majority of engine wear...

Am I just overthinking this? Or is my grasp of the basic underlying concepts flawed? I just want to have a good understanding of what I'm doing here. My whole goal is, after all, to ensure I'm doing all I can to protect my '03s transmission without doing anything to unknowingly create additional risk of harm.
 

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Laphroaig said:
On my Hayden, since it's (much?) easier for ATF to flow in the first plates than the last, ATF will flow more in them. I knew that it might flow like that, but not so much. ATF might even pass only through the first plates. What if I had one with a «bypass»!...
I think as long as the cross section of the end tank is at least as large as the cross section of the hose feeding it, you're in better shape than you think with these things.

Then again, I haven't put a bunch of temperature probes on one to find out...and it's much too hot out here lately to do anything once the sun is up! :(

OF
 

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This small distributor sells the MOCAL line of UK made oil coolers that are used by most Indy cars and other racers. Google and MOCAL is available from other distributors. I like the mounting brackets also.

http://www.batinc.net/mocal.htm

http://97.74.103.94/files/tools.pdf

Go to Main Page

Mocal Products

MOCAL oil coolers have earned a reputation for being tough, lightweight, and highly efficient- making them the obvious choice for high performance and motor racing applications. Cooler construction utilizes a variable number of pressed plates forming oil-ways, these contain "turbulators " to break down boundary layer effects in the oil flow oil Cooler allowing for maximum heat dissipation without undue pressure build-up. Oil-ways are interspaced with airway corrugations providing airways , between the plates. Airway corrugations are also louvered to optimize heat transfer. The entire oil cooler is made from aluminum alloy braised into a one piece unit. Each is then tested by water immersion to a pressure of 170 p.s.i., sample coolers are put through even more exhaustive testing to ensure their stability under all conditions. Coolers are available in 235mm (12") and 11 5mm (6") core widths, with an option on inlet/outlet -AN size (-8, -10, -10, -12, -16) and BSP size (1/2", 5/8", 3/4") male fittings. MOCAL oil coolers suitable for all engine, transmission and differential cooling applications.
 

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sinbad said:
...Cooler construction utilizes a variable number of pressed plates forming oil-ways, these contain "turbulators " to break down boundary layer effects in the oil flow oil Cooler allowing for maximum heat dissipation without undue pressure build-up....
It just occurred to me why this makes such good sense.

Laphroaig had mentioned a while back, in another thread, that one has to consider Reynolds numbers of ATF once it enters a plate in a cooler. I know, the first thought is, "WHAT did you just say? This is a minivan forum, not aero studies." Yes, this is a fluid dynamics issue (gases and liquids), but it bears looking at, because he's right. Considering the ATF is in a small space (an individual cooler plate), now at a slower speed (greater cross sectional area due to a good number of plates), it will be at a very low Reynolds number...the flow will be "laminar" (I'm misusing the word, but it's the easiest to use here for understanding), or close to it, until it leaves the plate. That's not good.

A rougher surface, or one with designed-in turbulence generation, will break this boundary layer, and allow all of the fluid to, at one time or another, contact the interior walls of the plate as it travels from one end-tank of the cooler to the other. That turns it back to good...or even better than good.

Sometimes the littlest design features are real winners.

OF
 

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Wow! I did not know that the "turbulators" were of such importance. Here is pic of the cut-a-way for those who did not follow the links:



 

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Laphroaig said:
...but the cooler always seems to be hot only in the first plates. An even flow would give the same temp profile on any plates, but it dosen't seem to be the case.....
Don't know the answer to that one. Do you have a picture of your installation?

OF
 

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No, but it's simply an Hayden 678 plate cooler, installed with the two connections on top.



I don't know if ATF flow would be higher with more rpm while in neutral. I could check if I can get the bottom of the cooler warmer (i.e. more flow in it). Worse, the bottom of the cooler is behind the bumper while the top of it is exposed to fresh air. But I think it doesn't matter much because there's a pressure buildup in front of the radiator and air must flow somewhat evenly across the radiator.
 

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RolHammer said:
This is the part that concerns me, as given the information presented in one of the those threads in my OP there appears to be a minimum ATF temperature as well. Your statement there sounds as if you're cooling below that minimum level. From what I'm able to understand, this minimum temperature becomes especially important in cold temperatures, during which time the in-radiator ATF actually acts to warm the fluid. So, viewed from that perspective, I had some pause with the concept of then once again cooling this now warmed fluid as it flows through the aftermarket cooler. Granted, the domain of my concern is probably only the first minutes after you've started going on a cold winter day but that same time period seems to be the same one that's at the heart of the majority of engine wear...

Am I just overthinking this? Or is my grasp of the basic underlying concepts flawed? I just want to have a good understanding of what I'm doing here. My whole goal is, after all, to ensure I'm doing all I can to protect my '03s transmission without doing anything to unknowingly create additional risk of harm.
-The tstat on a cold star will not open until the engine is hot and the ATF might get hot before the coolant. And even when the engine will be hot, the bottom of the radiator will be cold, if not very cold because there will be massive cooling (it is designed for more than 30C) and the tstat will not need much flow to cool the engine.

-I would guess than viscosity is more critical to engine lube than trans lube since there isn't much small clearance lube in an transmission while there is in the engine. And there is less shear. That's why you can change only 1/3 of the ATF at each 50 000 km while you'll change all engine oil much often. But since the transmission problems on the Ody seems to be a lubricating one, having a good viscosity might help

-if you worry, you may simple put something over the cooler in winter (I cut a windshield washer bottle and hanged a part of it with two tie wrap in front of my cooler last winter.

-you may order Pétro-Canada's DuraDrive MV Synthetic ATF from you local PC distributor. It's cheap, approx 5$/l. In fact, since Valvoline ATF is now 25$/5l, or even unavailable, this might be the cheapest ATF you can get!
 
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