Pros and Cons of Transmission Coolers : Agree or Disagree?

Discussion in 'GM Powertrain' started by ChevyFan, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. ChevyFan

    ChevyFan Administrator Staff Member

    I've been thinking of hooking up a transmission cooler to my Traverse and I just got off the phone with a manager at one of the local transmission shops and he said that it was my truck and my money and he'll put in whatever I want, but he wanted to steer people away from a transmission cooler for several reasons.

    • First, they tend to leak and if a line blows from the extra pressure created from towing, then you're in a whole new world of hurt on the side of the road.
    • Second, it's a cheap substitute for proper cooling like getting the factory towing package and cooling systems.
    • Third, most of the stuff that is made for these types of transmission coolers are junk and they have cheap aluminum fins that break and/or bend easily.
    • Last, they just don't work all that well. Waste of money compared to the risk of being stranded and/or frying your transmission.

    Thoughts? Discussion points? Argee or Disagree?
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2013
  2. RayVoy

    RayVoy Active Member

    Well, he is probably right, they are no substitute for factory cooling; but, imo, a whole lot better than not having any cooling. A 3rd party cooler can save a transmission.
  3. mfleetwood

    mfleetwood Moderator

    I off-road a ton and my transmission was exceeding 225+ degrees on a regular basis. My favorite trails are very aggressive, long and/or steep inclines, with many obstacles, and I have yet to damage or spring a leak in my after market cooler. Now, my tranny temp rarely breaks 170 degrees when off-roading, even on the hottest days. My personal opinion is that my transmission is taking a lot less abuse (thus will last much longer) and if my tranny cooler does fail, I'd rather replace that than my transmission.

    Side note though, and that is I replaced my stock tranny cooler with a much larger after-market one....I did not just add a cooler.

    - - - Updated - - -

    One thing I forgot to ask, at what temp does your tranny run under a load? It sounds like you are considering this for towing purposes?

    99'HEARTBEAT Moderator

    Steve, I installed a True Cool 40K "Aftermarket"Transmission Cooler, to replace.....The Factory(Small)Transmission Cooler, which is part of the Z82 Factory Tow Package.

    ....When Towing my Transmission Temps with the Factory Transmission Cooler were around 180, 190 and at times just over 200 degrees, and
    I was Not Comfortable having my Transmission running at these Temps.......even tho these Temp's are with-in the range expressed in the Owner's Manual.

    ....As I and Most of guys Know, the Biggest Killer of Auto Transmission's is.....HEAT!!!.
    ....and Now when Towing with the 40K Cooler.....My Transmission Temps have Never Gone over 150 Degree's.

    ....Next month will be 2-Years since I Installed this 40K Cooler, and over this time, I have Not 1 Problem and/or Issue with this Aftermarket Transmission Cooler or the Trans. has been Without Question, The Best Mod/Swap I've Done to help with Keeping my Transmission Temps Down when Towing my Boat.

    ....I'm guessing that are thousand's of Guys, who have Installed this 40K Transmission Cooler, and I Don't Know of and/or have Heard of anyone having Problems or Issue's with this Aftermarket "True Cool 40K Transmission Cooler"......for My Truck, this Transmission Cooler has been Worth Every Penny I payed for it.

    Edit:.....I should Mention, that the Aftermarket 40K Transmission Cooler, is 2-1/2 Times Larger than the Factory Transmission Cooler.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2013
  5. mfleetwood

    mfleetwood Moderator

    I installed the True Cool 40k as well....
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2013
  6. ChevyFan

    ChevyFan Administrator Staff Member

    Ok, good feedback. Let's keep the conversations coming in here.
  7. dsfloyd

    dsfloyd New Member

    I am planning to add the Tru-cool cooler, but as @mfleetwood and [MENTION=25593]99'HEARTBEAT[/MENTION] stated the cooler is/was replacing an already factory installed transmission cooler. Maybe that has something to do with it? You could pose that question to him.
  8. ChevyFan

    ChevyFan Administrator Staff Member

    I would love to hear more from people who have had good experiences and those who have had bad experiences. Also, if you have an aftermarket unit, what did you get and how many trouble-free miles do you have on it? Also, what did it cost to get installed?
  9. mfleetwood

    mfleetwood Moderator

    Tru Cool 40k; Trouble free; I installed myself; about 5,000 miles
  10. nonnieselman

    nonnieselman New Member

    All my vehicles have a Trucook 40K trans cooler.

    I route the lines to the cooler and not the factory radiator.. see way too many factory radiator coolers leak and fill the trans with coolant and fills the engine with ATF haha its a bad mess to clean up.

    I have ~135,000 miles on my transmission cooler on my turbo silverado. Trans temps stay under 140* even in this 100* weather in Mississippi.
    My Z71 Tahoe would sit ~190-200* on our Loops around the farm hog hunting. Trucook 40 drops them down to 150* which helps a ton.
  11. mfleetwood

    mfleetwood Moderator

  12. CKNSLS

    CKNSLS New Member

    Apparently-the B&M #70266 bolts right in with the adapters w/o cutting any lines what so ever.
  13. steved

    steved Former Member

    The only downfall to running a cooler is it may cause extended shifting weirdness in cold temperatures until the trans warms up.

    I've got a cheap small cooler on my Subaru Outback because I sit in heavy traffic every day...used off-the-roll generic tranny hose from the local parts house, have not had an issue in over 70k miles. I only added it because I already had the radiator out, and it was an easy addition (in other words: I don't know if it was even needed; it was simply a good time to install one).
  14. Conlan Rose

    Conlan Rose Super Moderator

    If you're worried about blowing lines, B&M makes coolers with 1/2" fittings that you can buy some braided stainless flex hoses and use so you eliminate the possibility of a hose popping off, but based of so many people that have aftermarket coolers that haven't has a issue you should be fine.

    Also make sure you still go through the factory radiator cooler because in cold weather it helps bring the tranny up to temp.
    [MENTION=1]Steve[/MENTION] since you have a Traverse that has a Transaxle(axle that is part of the tranny) cooling is very important for you especially because you live in Texas! B&M is considered one of the best mfg of coolers in the US because they don't use tube and fin coolers they use only stacked plate coolers which are more efficient and much more durable. The Trucool is a stacked plate cooler as well.
  15. nonnieselman

    nonnieselman New Member

    Ive been running Aeroquip Pushlok hose for about 7 years now and its some good stuff but expensive. worth it!
  16. darnie1987

    darnie1987 New Member

    Im also running a 40k true cooler. I live in arizona 115° HEAT i have a fully built truck and a 3000 stall, pulling a 18ft boat it the mountians and in the heat i never hit 190° with the 4l60 or the 4l80. Ive had mine for over 2 years and and i abuse it pretty bad and havent had one issue yet.
  17. nonnieselman

    nonnieselman New Member

    Also if your trans temp is heating up when the torque converter is locked, you have other issues to be worrying about.

    Mine can be 150* goin thru town and soon as i get on the highway or interstate and get the TC locked, the temps go down fast. 90* day they run about 120-125*.
  18. ChevyFan

    ChevyFan Administrator Staff Member

    That's good feedback.
  19. CKNSLS

    CKNSLS New Member

    OK-here is real life. As some of you know I am pulling a 29foot-5,500 pound travel trailer around the country with my 2011-5.3 Silverado 1/2 ton. It's completely stock. We are currently coming towards the end of the trip. I pulled from the Mount Rushmore area to a small town called Glendo, WY. We went over several 5,000 to 7,000 mountain passes. The ambient temp was 80 degrees. The transmission temp. was 195 except slowing down over the passes saw 210. It seems it cools down once you start to descend.

    I am getting the B&M 70266 transmission cooler. It's about double the size of the OEM. So my real world experience tells me it will provide enough margin AND it bolts up without cutting the lines.

    In seven months we have traveled 17,000miles. The total towing miles have been 6,500 with about another 600 to go before we reach home.
  20. ChevyFan

    ChevyFan Administrator Staff Member

    Let's keep the conversation going!

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