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Is the transmission cooler worth considering if I do not plan to use the Ody for towing?

How expensive is it? How does it work? How involved is the install? Does it present a reliability risk (leaks, etc).

Does the transmission have trouble staying cool during normal operation? I live in the deep south. It's something I might consider for our summers if the price is right.

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'01 SS Honda Odyssey EX
'99 F150 XL Supercab
'00 Kawasaki ZR-7
 

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The radiator has a tranny cooler built into it. It should be fine for normal driving, even in the South. I'm in TX. Summers here are just short of hell. We also plan on some extended road trips, so I'll be installing a generic cooler for mine soon. Total cost should be about $50.

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Jim
'01 GG EX

[This message has been edited by Jim F (edited 03-19-2001).]
 

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I'm all for tranny coolers even if you are not towing. Here's why: 90% of transmission failures are because of overheating. Your integrated tranny cooler uses the radiator which will basically cool your fluid to the level of your anti-freeze, which is still pretty hot. But you CAN OVERCOOL a tranny, so don't use a 12" x 12" cooler in Maine.
Here's my recommendation: 1) Use synthetic ATF, runs 20-30 deg cooler BY ITSELF. 2) Install a tranny cooler according to your tow needs and climate. You probably can't overcool in TX, so I'd go with the tranny cooler sized to the towing capacity of the van, you never know if/when you'll tow. It could also help the resale value. In the snow belt, Synthetic ATF would probably suffice if you are not towing.
On synthetics: People will say ONLY use Honda fluid, blah, blah, blah. I say do your own research!!! Compare lubricating quality, longevity, temperature resistance, etc. It's your car, your choice.
 

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I'm also thinking about a transmission cooler. The honda version is just too darned expensive.
I think MEL has posted here about flex-a-lite.com which has a frame rail model that looks similar to the factory model but you would need to fabricate brackets for a proper install. I don't like the ones that bolt through the radiator or a/c condensor.

I beleive the flexalite model is #4109.
Has any one installed one of these? If installed on the honda brackets this should work great.

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Edmonton, Alberta
2001 Fern LX
 

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I called Lordco, a local auto supply store and they also refer me to flex-a-tite for transmission cooler. But the downloaded instruction also instructs the user to anchor the cooler through the fins of the radiator which is a bad mounting method and can potentially harm the radiator. The list price for cooler is $89 CAD through http://www.lordco.com.

A class III hitch can be had at the same place for $149 made by draw-tite, a far cry from $450 CAD the dealer wants.
 

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The Helm manual says the tranny capacitys are 2.9 US qts. for fluid change and 7.5 qts. for overhaul, which leads me to believe there is a lot of old fluid remaining in the tranny on a "change". This might be useful info if you are considering changing to synthetic.
I had the Honda tranny cooler installed at purchase. It cost me $185 inc. installation. It's nothing more than a U-shaped tube with fins on the upper section and is mounted to the front cross member.

Regards
Al

[This message has been edited by albaby (edited 08-12-2001).]
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by albaby:
The Helm manual says the tranny capacitys are 2.9 US qts. for fluid change and 7.5 qts. for overhaul, which leads me to believe there is a lot of old fluid remaining in the tranny on a "change". This might be useful info if you are considering changing to synthetic. Regards
Al

[This message has been edited by albaby (edited 08-12-2001).]
</font>
I'd bet most of the fuid that remains in the transmission on a change is in the torque converter. In times past, manufacturers, at least the American ones, used to have a drain plug on the torque converter. They don't do that any more. I suppost they saved themselves 10 cents in production costs with that little change.

Drive Safe,
Steve
 

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I am a strong believer in trans coolers and have used Hayden brand coolers with great success over the years. Go to www.haydenauto.com
Also check out http://www.flex-a-lite.com/auto/trans.htm
They have a small cooler that might work well in tight spots.
We have had a trans cooler in front of the radiator for the last 65k miles on our Windstar (since I bought it used) and with 97k miles on it, the trans. is still in great shape according to the shop where I recently had it serviced. The mechanic stated flat out "the cooler is the best thing you could have done for this transmission"! Well worth the investment even if you never tow IMO.

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On the waiting list for my '02 EX Nav in RED!

[This message has been edited by ody (edited 08-13-2001).]
 

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I installed the Honda tranny cooler on my Ody in anticipation of using a cargo box or trailer. However, I have a 96 Ford F-250 Diesel that I have used to tow my medium profile 7000# travel trailer all over this country and Canada, including Alaska, for about 35,000 miles of 136,000 total with no problems and no aftermarket cooler. I realize it's a different type of vehicle, but there are others with the same type of vehicle who are reporting tranny failures every 40-60K with little or no towing.

I think a lot has to do with how you drive the vehicle and how you mantain it. For instance, I don't let the tranny "hunt" when going up grades etc, I put it in a lower gear because not only does the shifting cause wear, it also creates heat. I use a no silicate anti-freeze that doen't require additives (needed for Diesels with other brands) because I have read that the addtives tend to precipitate and form a sludge in the bottom of the radiator (where the pancake tranny cooler is located).

Others on a truck site say they wouldn't use that type of anti-freeze in their trucks and say they push the pedals and leave the truck worry about the hills. Some of them are on their 3rd $2000 rebuild.

I know this is off topic, but the point is, a tranny cooler will help,(particularly because this tranny shifts a lot) but so will good maintenance and driving practices.

Regards
Al
 

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For anyone who has actually mounted an aftermarket transmission cooler: is there room to mount a rectangular aftermarket cooler? How many "passes" (i.e. loops)? Do you have to fabricate brackets to hold the cooler? Do you only have room for more than a two pass cooler, similar to the factory part?

I saw an earlier post where the aftermarket tubing to the cooler rubbed a hole in the water radiator due to routing of the hose.

Can you have too big a cooler that will keep the fluid from reaching operating temperature, like in the winter? What is the designed operating temperature of the fluid?
 

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Those who live in cold country should install the cooler in the line BEFORE the OE cooler. That way, it will never be overcooled, even in very cold weather. This always is cause for discussion, but, it makes sense to me. Perhaps, if one had just the right capacity cooler, such as the Honda item, it would not matter. With the aftermarket stuff, you never can be sure how much cooling effect there will be. Just thinking........

Jerry O.
2001 GG LX
 

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From the Hayden cooler site FAQ's:



TRANSMISSION OIL COOLERS

Q. The trans cooler in the radiator is leaking and is expensive to repair. Can I use a Hayden transmission cooler to eliminate it?
A. Yes. Always choose one of the larger Hayden coolers when eliminating the radiator cooler to compensate for the loss of cooling from the radiator. In most installations we recommend use of the radiator tank cooler to provide maximum cooling and to comply with most manufacturers warranties.


Q. Should the cooler be installed before or after the radiator?
A. Hayden recommends installing the auxiliary cooler after the radiator to return the coolest fluid directly to the transmission. Installing the cooler before the radiator will still provide additional cooling and may be necessary in some difficult access applications.


Q. Can you over cool the transmission fluid?
A. Transmissions are not highly sensitive to cool operating temperatures. However, in sub-zero (20-30° F) weather conditions transmission fluid can actually gel up in an external cooler and cease to flow, causing damage. Use of the radiator cooler actually helps warm the fluid under these conditions. It is critical in extreme cold conditions to use the original equipment cooler in series with the auxiliary cooler and allow the vehicle to warm up before driving.


Q. What is the difference between an Ultra-Cool® and Rapid Cool® trans coolers?
A. Ultra Cool® is a tube and fin (serpentine) design that is a time proven cost effective design. The round tube design is the strongest and most reliable cooler design but only gets cooling air on the forward facing side. The Rapid Cool® design is a plate and fin design similar to most radiator designs. The flat plates allow more contact with the cooling air. This provides a design that is about 1/3 more efficient size for size than comparable Ultra Cool® models.
 

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What's the typical labor cost for installing a trans cooler? What's the time involved if you do it yourself, provided that you're "mechanically-inclined"? Thanks.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by petern12:
What's the typical labor cost for installing a trans cooler? What's the time involved if you do it yourself, provided that you're "mechanically-inclined"? Thanks.</font>
Depending on the vehicle, I wouldn't think the labor cost would be much over an hour. The Honda factory tranny cooler for the Odyssey is very easy to install and I don't think it would take an experienced mechanic even close to an hour to install. With the front facia already removed, it took me about 30 minutes to install mine and that was the first time I'd done one. With a little experience, it could be done a bit quicker. Knowning what I know now, I beleave I could do the entire installation from start to finish in that 30 minutes without any trouble.

FWIW,
Drive Safe,
Steve
 
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