Chevy SSR Forum banner

1 - 20 of 28 Posts

·
Senior Privileged Member
Joined
·
4,100 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I recently ordered, and recieved today:

TCI part no. 378000 cast aluminum deep transmission pan (holds extra 2 qts) for 4L60-E / 700R4 – about $130

Derale 13401 Transmission cooler & TCI 378000 deep extra capacity transmission pan – also about $130

The TCI pan increases the transmission fluid total capacity from 11 quarts to 13 quarts, or about 18%, for more thermal mass, plus it exposes more surface area, and places it more in the air stream, for better cooling right at the transmission. It is cast aluminum, rather than chrome, for much better heat dissipation.

The Derale 13401 is a super high performance stacked plate (versus cheaper tube and fin) cooler, that is MUCH smaller than a conventional tube and fin cooler while cooling much better. It is only 3” x 10” x 2” but has TEN rows in it, and is rated for 20,500 lb GVW. The even larger 13402, which I could not find in stock anywhere, has SIXTEEN rows, is 5” x10” x 2”, and is rated for 22,500 GVW. Our SSR’s GVWR is 6050 lb. or so.

The cooler has the following significant features:

-6AN Male Ports
Non-restrictive Stack Plate Design
Noc-A-Lok Braised Construction
Can be used with high performance braided hose
Mounting hardware included

I will be using braided stainless steel lines.

The small external size will be a big plus in that it will not block off much of the air flow to the already burdened engine radiator. My resident wizard, Randy Peurifoy, says that the front mountin is the way to go for reasons that I will cover later when I have more time.

I need to ask Randy when he can install it! :)

Jim G
 

·
OP
Joined
·
8,225 Posts
rear mount

Hey Jim,
Why could you not mount it in the rear near the battery and put a fan on it for cooling? I would think anymore in the front just reduces airflow more and increase "chances" for overheating.
just a thought. :confused :confused :confused
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
269 Posts
also

I believe that the tranny really does not create heat unless under load/moving. You could mount it in the rear a probably don't even need a fan.

Scott
 

·
Senior Privileged Member
Joined
·
4,100 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Randy looked at the rear mount idea very seriously and stopped for a practical reason that surprised me.

He pointed out that the clearance between my transmission and the floor of the passenger cab was too tight to allow decent radius AN fittings to be installed and removable for service.

Plus, a rear mounted cooler would need its own fan and the wiring associated with that. Randy suspects that because the transmission temperature is monitored by the PCM so closely in our vehicles, the sensor circuit is low voltage and low amperage capacity, and so would not be suotable to use as a trigger for fan operation. It got pretty needlessly complex after that in the discussion.

He likes the huge open area in front of the radiator and AC condenser, and the small but efefctive hi tech Drale minimizes disruptino of the airflow to the engine radiator. Plus, the engine cooling fan will make it unnecessary to add a separate cooler fan.

However, he wants to beef up that engine colling fan a lot. He is examining the dual fan assembly in a Firebird that was totalled to see if it would be an easy or hard adaptation.

He will take a more detailed look Sunday after church (we go to the same church). Next progress will likely occur Monday.

Jim G
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
31 Posts
B&M Hi Tek Cooler

I have just finished installation of a B&M cooler with fan and thermal switch (#70298) on my 04. I mounted it next to the battery in the rear, and used the accessory power circuit for power to the fan. The thermal switch is set to come on at 175. When the trans gets to operation temp, the fan seems to stay running all the time and the guage never leaves the 210 mark. I'm wondering if the pcm is controlling the fluid flow so as to keep the trans running at 210 or what really is going on--any ideas?


Kenbob
 

·
Senior Privileged Member
Joined
·
4,100 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Kenbob: I don't get it. The fluid should be way below 210 if the fan is actually working. I didn't notice anything in the PCM programming for my 04 that looked like any attempt to control tranny fluid to 210 degrees.

Anyone else got any clues?

Jim G
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,502 Posts
JimGnitecki said:
He pointed out that the clearance between my transmission and the floor of the passenger cab was too tight to allow decent radius AN fittings to be installed and removable for service.
Jim G
You need to look at a few more catalogs. There are fittings available to suit just about any fitup problem.
 

·
Senior Privileged Member
Joined
·
4,100 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
beer100: Randy was concerned about future serviceability. It's awfully tight in there, at least on my SSR.

Stormcat: Photos will be a challenge, as Randy will be doing the work in my garage, without a lift, just using drive-up ramps, but I'll do the best I can.

Jim G
 

·
Las Vegas Mob
Joined
·
1,370 Posts
Kenbob said:
I have just finished installation of a B&M cooler with fan and thermal switch (#70298) on my 04. I mounted it next to the battery in the rear, and used the accessory power circuit for power to the fan. The thermal switch is set to come on at 175. When the trans gets to operation temp, the fan seems to stay running all the time and the guage never leaves the 210 mark. I'm wondering if the pcm is controlling the fluid flow so as to keep the trans running at 210 or what really is going on--any ideas?
Kenbob, did you bypass the cooler in the radiator or are you using both in series?

Blast
 

·
Las Vegas Mob
Joined
·
1,370 Posts
Kenbob said:
blast

using only the rear cooler--trying to reduce the load on the radiator--
Well then, I'm at a loss to explain your consistant 210 degree temp. :confused Transmission fluid temp ordinarily varies substantially depending on torque loads.

Blast
 

·
Supporting SSR Hobbyist
Joined
·
10,062 Posts
Series is good

Kenbob said:
blast

using only the rear cooler--trying to reduce the load on the radiator--

I have experience with additional trans cooling..... I highly recommend putting the two coolers in series with the auxilary cooler FIRST to dump the heat and the radiator cooler second to provide a consistent oil temp back to the trans. This will be especially beneficial in cold weather when the transmission is slower to warm up than the engine. With the two in series, you won't put much (if any) heat load on the radiator.

Mike
 

·
Senior Privileged Member
Joined
·
4,100 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
mikem-2005: I understand your reasoning, but since transmission fluid should ideally bet at or below 170 degrees (lower is better), it's hard to see how you can get there when running it through that engine radiator strucutre at all.

Our tranny fluid overheating issue is more important than getting the tranny fluid heated up in really cold weather for most of us.

Jim G
 

·
Supporting SSR Hobbyist
Joined
·
10,062 Posts
Jim,

I came across some nicely packaged coolers that may be a help.

http://www.flex-a-lite.com/auto/html/remote-mount.html

My aux gauge package has an engine output torque indicator (cute, but not of much use) and an outside air temp indicator (totally useless in Phoenix). I'm going to look into replacing one with a tranny temp gauge and I then will probably be following your lead with a tranny cooler.

On a similar note, what do you think about putting a fan cooled engine oil cooler in the rear also? The loop in front of the radiator is probably adequate to keep the oil at a reasonable temp, but the engine oil could be used to pull BTUs out of the engine with a large heat exchanger.

I also wonder how the 6.0 engine and trans compares to the 5.3 system for heat retention.

Mike
 

·
Senior Privileged Member
Joined
·
4,100 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
mikem-2005: Those ARE nicely packaged and pre-engineered. Note that they are tube and fin versus stacked plate design, so are a little less efficient and much larger in size than the stacked plate ones.

A rear mounted engine oil cooler would certainly help get more heat out of the engine bay area, but I personally want to try first a better engine cooling fan as a higher priority because it provides better what we really want: more engine coolant and engine bay cooling.

Jim G
 

·
Senior Privileged Member
Joined
·
4,100 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Update!

Good news and bad. And, a theory.

Randy finished the prototype install of my TCI hi-cap transmission pan (pn 378000) and the super efficient Derale stacked plate cooler (pn 13401).

He mounted it in the space behind the grill bars and in front of the AC condenser. He disconnected the factory tranny cooler, secured the rigid factory lines properly, added the correct (beautiful!) fittings for stainless steel braided line (6AN fittings), and made up custom length stainless lines to and from the cooler.

He ran into significant problems with the TCI deep pan. NOT where you would expect problems. No problem getting it physically in there, BUT one of the 2 sensors had to be removed (carefully!! They break very easily!!!) and the pan, pn 378000 as shown earlier in this thread, which is specifically suppsoed to work with either a 700R OR 4L60-E transmission, would not mount because the transmission filter hangs down too far and hits the standoffs cast ibto the pan (which were cast there specificallly to support that filter!). Randy called TCI, and they admitted that a different filter must be substituted, and gave Randy the part number. After a 45 minute return trip, Randy discovered that this new filter was ALSO incorrect, as the filters came in two diameters, and the part number given him by TCI was the wrong one. So, a nother trip to the autosupply. The 3rd part number filter did fit.

Draining the tranny without a flushing machine (I don't have one :) ) got 5 quarts out of the transmission (holds 11 quarts total). We replaced that with 7 quarts of Amsoil Universal synthetic (do NOT use Amsoil's OTHER "racing" synthetic transmission fluid - it won't work with GM Dexron III already in the transmission). Notice we needed 7 quarts, not 5, because the new pan holds 2 extra quarts.

No leaks!

We then went on a purely scientific "road test", where any fun was purely for the sake of scientific research. Randy drove.

It ws 95 degrees in Austin at the that time of day. We did 30 miles or so, in suburban highway traffic (50 mph and 60 mph speed limits, traffic lights, and one 16% (yes, SIXTEEN percent) prolonged grade.

The transmission fluid temperature guage got to 200 after a few miles and STAYED there. WE got it to reach 210 after the 16% uphill grade, and after a couple of exuburent bursts of acceleration (two of us aboard remember) from 20 to 70 mph.

The needle never went above 210, whereas before it would hit about 235 under similar conditions.

But .. .

I went out in traffic again later to run some errands. At city speeds, that guage never got above 210, but on the other hand, it never got below either! It just stayed there.

Then, I did some hill country acceleration blasts just outside the suburbs. Now remember I am ALONE at this point, not with 2 of us in the SSR anymore. I got the guage to hit the "0" in the "210" digits. so maybe 220 degrees actual. Never went any higher, BUT also never returned to 210 after those blasts.

What was even more interesting was that since I was watching the gauge closely today after the install, I saw something that verified what I THOUGHT I had been seeing in previous weeks, randomly. Sometimes, after a re-start of the ignition, the gauge would simply not regiter any temperature -even though it swept the face like normal on start-up. I had the gauge cluster replaced recently because of this random occurence!

Evidently, the gauge replacement did not solve the problem.

I think I know why.

It's not the gauge that is not working randomly. It is the transmission temperature sensor.

Randy and I looked it up in the Helms manual.

Do you know WHAT it is? It is a simple and probably cheap THERMISTOR (electrical resistance changes with temperature).

Do you know where it is located? It is fastened to the bottom of the valve body in the transmission. It is NOT in the pan, and it is NOT in the return fitting. It is fastened to a HOT internal transmssion part. Randy studied the schematics for the transmission, and cannot tell from them if it is even in the "river" of fluid flow through the transmission or in a "sheltered tributary" where the flow may not be exactly high volume.

My new theory is that this stupid sensor unit is:

1. heat soaked because of its location in metal mass versus in the fluid, and therefore slow to cool back down after any exercise of the transmission

2. prone to stop sending any signal at all at times

3. Not necessarily a good indicator of overall transmission thermal stress

I am pissed about this.

Randy tells me that it is not typical for street vehicles to have transmission temperature gauges from the factory. The general aftermarket approach is to install temperature sensors in the return fittings in the line from the cooler, or in the pan. Both approaches would give you the FLUID temperature as opposed to metal temperature and BEFORE it is run through the tranmission. If what Randy says is correct, the approach that GM has taken therefore gives us something different and NOT comparable to aftermarket readings.

What I mean by that is that the 200 or 210 degrees I am seeing on the gauge is NOT the temperature of the pure fluid, but rather the temperature of the metal plus fluid valve body environment that the GM sensor is fastened to.

I have no idea how that compares precisely to the temperature of the fluid in either the return line from the cooler or in the pan, but I'm sure it is HIGHER than either, since the whole point of the fluid is to be a hydraulic transmitter of pressure AND an agent to cool down the parts it is going through! Both activities would heat up the fluid way above is pan or return line temperature.

And, the fact that the sensor is unreliable (like the damn cooling fan), is just another irritation on what is mostly a neat vehicle.

How are we supposed to fix THAT problem?

Even if GM gives me a new sensor under warranty, if it is the same crap as the current one, what's the point?

And, it is unrelaible, what assurance do we have that it is ACCURATE, even when working?

As you can probably tell, I am not delighted with what I have apaprently learned.

As for the experiment, well I appear to have shown that we can reduce the heat spikes on our transmission by adding a true external cooler, but we really don't know what the true temperature of the fluid is.

And, the true temperature of the fluid IS important, because fluid kept below 170 degrees last maybe a 100,000 miles, but fluid allowed to spike to 210 or 235 loses life at the rate of HALF of the life per 10 degrees of increased average temperature.

Once again, another SSR "quirk".

Jim G
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
31 Posts
same results

Jim

remember my post earlier about this very thing--I installed a B&M Cooler with fan in the rear and disconnected the radiator cooler. The gauge gets to 210 and stays--I have tried to make the gauge go higher by "hot rodding" the car in various ways, but have been unable to make the gauge go higher....I have also noted that the gauge works intermittently---glad to see mine isn't the only one acting in this manner

Kenbob
 

·
Senior Privileged Member
Joined
·
4,100 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Another official quirk for the list . . . .

Cooling fan
Driveshaft
door handle mechanism
Transmission temperature sender
etc
. . .

Jim G
 

·
Senior Privileged Member
Joined
·
4,100 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Another update: On my 1000 mile trip from Austin to Atlanta, I could NEVER get the transmission temperature gauge to rise above 210, even after standing start WOT runs from zero to 80, and even when doing so UPHILL.

This mod really worked as far as preventing temperature "spikes".

Now, if we just knew exactly what we were measuring the temperature OF, that would be nice . . .

Jim G
 
1 - 20 of 28 Posts
Top