Fitting a transmission oil cooler. (Full Version)

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Pheasant Plucker -> Fitting a transmission oil cooler. (3/8/2009 14:18:17)

Here's one I did on Sunday. As I'm going to be towing a trailer tent soon - next month Steve, now I've got this fitted - I thought I'd take some pictures too.
Found a company called Alders Automatics, Unit 5, Northfield Business Park, Lower Dicker (don't snigger at the back), Hailsham, E. Sussex, BN27 4BZ. 01323 848448
They do exchange 4L60-E trans @ £1125, repairs & also build racing transmissions (seen at Santa Pod & Shakey) They sell parts too, like a Hayden H/D trans oil cooler for £50 + vat, delivery £10. Quite reasonable I thought. 2 days later it was at my door.
Opened the box & the full kit was quite well packed. It's the largest oil cooler that Hayden make, so it should do the job well.


Pheasant Plucker -> RE: Fitting a transmission oil cooler. (3/8/2009 14:22:52)

As for the contents there's a lot to look at. Plenty of hose, 8 hose clips, foam pads(outlined in red), plastic mounting clips, 4 metal strips for brackets (outlined in blue), self tapping screws and 2 pipe fittings (outlined in yellow) - one for the cooler neck in the rad & one for the pipe itself. The fittings are neat in themselves, male & female threaded in each end, one fitting does both jobs. Cool!


Pheasant Plucker -> RE: Fitting a transmission oil cooler. (3/8/2009 14:30:25)

Sunday morning, off with the grille. After removing the 3 screws on the top edge, take out the 2 screws holding the lower indicator/sidelight units, unplug the lights and then remove the 2 screws behind to remove the whole grille assembly.


Pheasant Plucker -> RE: Fitting a transmission oil cooler. (3/8/2009 14:49:38)

This is where it will go! Note the centre bar support for the upper radiator support, just enough room for the cooler.


Pheasant Plucker -> RE: Fitting a transmission oil cooler. (3/8/2009 14:52:34)

Looking from above the radiator, to your left just below the coolant filler cap, there's the upper oil cooler union in the rad end tank. Using a 11/16 UNF spanner remove the nut. There shouldn't be much fluid leakage, if at all.


Pheasant Plucker -> RE: Fitting a transmission oil cooler. (3/8/2009 14:56:03)

The new pipe unions go into the hole you've just removed the pipe from, and onto the pipe you just removed. 11/16 UNF spanner on the pipe nut, 5/8 UNF spanner on the pipe union nuts (the new one's). Tighten securely, but not TOO tight, if you see what I mean. You should now see this! A bit of pipe sealant or thread tape on the fittings won't go amiss, either. The first hose fitment goes on the pipe arrowed in red, to the bottom neck of the oil cooler.


Pheasant Plucker -> RE: Fitting a transmission oil cooler. (3/8/2009 15:16:35)

Now you have to fit the oil cooler itself. After measuring & head scratching it turns out there isn't room to fit the cooler with the black plastic ties that come through the rad core. I decided to use the metal brackets, suitably bent & mount them to the upper core support & lower panel behind the bumper. Spacing the cooler away from the condenser makes sense to me! Stick a rubber pad to the back face of the oil cooler inside the tube of the cooler, then place a metal strip/bracket onto the rubber pad. Secure with the black plastic tie. This will isolate the cooler core from most vibrations and allow a fairly easy hose run.
I drilled through the upper support & fitted the brackets to the panel with the supplied self tapping screws. Put a 90degree bend in the lower strips & attached them to the lower panel just behind the bumper cap. Secure, with just a little movement to absorb some shocks.
Next come the hoses, slide the hose clip/s over the hose end & fit the hose onto the new pipe fitting (see red arrow in previous picture). Tighten the hose clips then run the hose out the front panel where the condenser pipe comes through. Make sure you put a 5" or so loop in the hose so as not to kink it, making sure it doesn't rub on any other pipes/hoses etc. There is room for the hose to come through the hole without chafing on the side. I secured the hose to the condenser pipe with a couple of zip ties to stop any movement.
Run the hose to the lower end of the oil cooler, cut the hose & fit to the cooler with more hose clips (Jubilee clips!) A little bit of salive on the end of the hose will help it slip onto the oil cooler.(Spit on it!!)
I then used a hole cutter to make the exit for the other hose. Painted the bare metal & put a grommet round the edge of the hole. The new fitting on the pipe came through the hole and I fitted the new hose in the same way as the first one. This picture should show everything in fair detail. (Hoses in red, brackets in yellow)


Pheasant Plucker -> RE: Fitting a transmission oil cooler. (3/8/2009 15:20:45)

All you have to do now is to start the engine, check for leaks & top up the transmission oil level. Refit the grille & lights. Road test & Good Luck.

WOODY -> RE: Fitting a transmission oil cooler. (3/8/2009 15:32:41)

George, Well done, very detailed, very well explained and easy to follow instructions, brilliant [:)][:)]

Astroshepawd -> RE: Fitting a transmission oil cooler. (3/8/2009 22:46:14)

Nice one George!

andyp -> RE: Fitting a transmission oil cooler. (4/8/2009 1:52:24)

£50 + vat and it comes with all the bits !


That won't be Made in England then. That would be £50 + vat. Hose Sir? That will be £7 extra. Clips Sir? Certainly, 90p each. Cables ties? Yes we do those in a pack of 7 for 99p.

Very useful write up George.

andyfanshawe -> RE: Fitting a transmission oil cooler. (10/8/2009 18:32:13)

Nice one.
Miine is done slightly differently. If your engine is running at 220 degrees (which it most likely is when towing uphill), and the trans fluid goes through the cooling system rad, guess what temp your trans fluid will be!1[;)] 200 to 200 degrees is too hot for me for an auto trans, so I removed both pipes from the rad and ran flexible lines from both to the trans cooler.
So the cooling system radiator doesn't see the trans fluid at all.
I'll get my infra red gun on it to see what temp is does run at now.


joeastromatt -> RE: Fitting a transmission oil cooler. (2/3/2011 21:08:23)

can i get some advise on these oil coolers....first i have to say great write up george and i fancy tackling this job myself i just have a few questions...

the way i thought oil coolers worked was TRANSMISSION OIL went throught the radiator style OIL COOLER this getting cold air as it was mounted up front  was air cooled so when the van had extra load while towing it helped keep the transmisson oil cooler.....

i see from u pics u seem to be piping into the radiator ??so where does the actual transmission oil get extra cooling
im right in thinking engine oil is seperate to the transmission oil[:(]

forgive my ignorance here and any help is greatly appreciated

cheers guys

i did just have a thought is the pipe u show diconnected from RAD actually feeding transmission oil and cooling via the the radiator [:(] fitting the oil cooler in this way it get its own dedicated cooling system...

chevydancer -> RE: Fitting a transmission oil cooler. (2/3/2011 22:14:56)

Clive, The radiator is in two section, one for the engine water coolant and one for the transmission oil.
The transmission oil part is to the left as shown in George's pics, under the coolant filler cap, the engine oil goes in at the other end.
The two oils run in different galleries through the radiator.
I beleive the kit is designed to be in series with the existing rad but Andy F. left that out as he says for extra cooling, sounds reasonable from his thread.

Well spotted sundance!

joeastromatt -> RE: Fitting a transmission oil cooler. (2/3/2011 22:26:44)

i did think that phil after id posted ..thanx for the confrimation ..i think ill get one ordered now n tackle the job with george's write up i think i have the tools n ability to take it on out side the house

chevydancer -> RE: Fitting a transmission oil cooler. (2/3/2011 22:34:52)

Yep, looks that easy I wondered about getting one myself, although we don't have a caravan ......................yet.
Sharon's getting fed up of putting the tent up and down for just a weekend.

sundanceuk -> RE: Fitting a transmission oil cooler. (3/3/2011 6:28:58)

clive, you are right that the additional transmission cooler is run in series with the stock engine coolant radiator, there are various schools of thought about doing it that way or just piping to the new cooler, I figure that GM think that their design is OK so I run mine in series.
Important points to remember are that you get the flow to and from the radiator/cooler/gearbox the right way around otherwise you get no benifit as the transfluid is the same temp as the engine coolant (which is what you are trying to cool down)

Mount the new trans cooler in a place where it will get maximum air flow, and make sure it is spaced away from the A/C condenser radiator by at least 1 inch, otherwise the air cannot pass thru the cooler itself.

Route the new hoses away from hot or sharp areas to aviod damage.

when finished, run the engine for about 15 mins before driving off, just to check for leaks as everything warms up, then take a test drive and check it all again when you get back.

when towing I found that it was better and easier to select D drive rather than OD overdrive, because in overdrive I noticed that the torque converter was locking and unlocking (hunting) and also that the gearbox was shifting between drive and overdrive at the slightest gradient or increase in speed, cruise helped, but all those uneccesary shifts just build heat and wear your box out.
using drive rather than overdrive returned about 17-18 mpg on a mixture of motorway and A roads.

Just a question to chevydancer, do later astrosafaris have engine oil coolers as standard?, new one on me if they do!

chevydancer -> RE: Fitting a transmission oil cooler. (3/3/2011 12:44:57)

Hi Sundance, no they don't, sorry about the confusion, I meant the coolant water for the engine which indirectly keeps the engine oil cool---ish.

Pheasant Plucker -> RE: Fitting a transmission oil cooler. (3/3/2011 15:36:25)

Just a point of warning, on later Astro/Safari's - I think it's '96 or '97 onwards the cooler pipe fittings into the rad/cooler were changed i.e. no more threaded unions. So check first!

chevydancer -> RE: Fitting a transmission oil cooler. (3/3/2011 18:39:53)

I think they have a spring clip to hold the union on, which apparently breaks when you take them off, don't know where you can get them from, but some-one mentioned it before, might have been Andy Fanshawe.

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