Thread: Transmission cooler question

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  1. #1 Transmission cooler question 
    Senior Member Ken L's Avatar
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    '96 ZJ, 4.0, 42RE

    I currently have a big tube and fin transmission cooler mounted in front of the radiator. I've moved the stock (tow package) transmission cooler over and am using it as a power steering cooler, as I've boiled the power steering fluid on the trail in the past. This set up seems to be keeping the trans cool, but I've got so much stuff in front of the radiator that it gets warmer than I'd like going up some mountain passes. I have louvers and vents all over my hood in an effort to keep the under hood temps cooler, and I've wrapped the header and exhaust with fiberglass header wrap. I also run a 3.8L Taurus electric fan.

    At this point to get the engine/radiator temps down a bit I think I need to free up some space in front of the radiator. The only way I can see to do that is to go to a smaller transmission cooler. I don't want to do another tube and fin type, as from the research I've done I figure I can get more efficient with something else. That leaves me with either a heat sink type or a stacked plate type. From what I've researched, the heat sink type are popular with the hot rod crowd, but seem to be "light duty". I'm looking for heavy duty, or at least thermally efficient at transferring heat. So that brings me to the stacked plate coolers.

    My question is this.... are any of my ZJ/WJ brethren running a stacked plate style (or heat sink for that matter) cooler, and if so where did you mount it? A stacked plate cooler is a thicker cooler than a tube and fin type, so it takes more fore and aft real estate. If I mount it in front of the radiator, will I have gained anything over the tube/fin that I have there already? Anyone have a trans cooler mounted in an odd place and run a fan to cool it? I don't see much extra real estate under the hood, even with the 4.0. That's one reason why I initially considered a heat sink type, as I could get a long double pass one and mount it near the bottom of the grille., but again I'm not into light duty.

    Oh, my ZJ is still full-bodied, although it's a little wrinkled. So I can't do prerunner style and hang it from a roll cage.

    Thanks!
    Ken L
    '96 ZJ with stuff
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  2. #2 Re: Transmission cooler question 
    Senior Member Grand Slam West Planner K2's Avatar
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    Sorry I can't help with your specific question. However, have you thought of using the underside of the hood with a cooler and fan? If there are vents there already just mount the cooler under one and have flexible lines that will move with the hood.

    Like this but under the hood.



    Also once this is done let me know what you think as this was my plan for my inline 6 that runs hot as well.
    02 WJ, Lift, dents, noise and smoke.
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  3. #3 Re: Transmission cooler question 
    Senior Member egg's Avatar
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    I have the same problem, I've been thinking about moving the power steering cooler just somewhere in the engine bay.

    Hope you find a good solution for me to copy
    4.5" front custom 3-link, dual triangulated 4 link, 35s, custom front bumper. upcoming: custom belly skid, rear bumper, rocker cutout/boatsides, half doors
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  4. #4 Re: Transmission cooler question 
    Senior Member Ken L's Avatar
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    If and when I get something figured out I will definitely post it up. I haven't thought about putting a cooler with a fan on the hood, but the more that I think about it the more I don't like that idea. It'll need long hoses to get there, and on the 4.0 the trans lines are on the driver's side....and so is the exhaust. I just see bad things happening with that combination. I'll be studying under the hood for real estate this weekend.
    Ken L
    '96 ZJ with stuff
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  5. #5 Re: Transmission cooler question 
    Senior Member Grand Slam West Planner K2's Avatar
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    I am pretty sure mine are on the passenger side (95). As for the distance you are already going to the front of the radiator. The hood would only be a turn up and then forward, I think it would be closer. If yours are on the drivers side with the exhaust, they are already on the side with the exhaust, I don't understand your concern?
    02 WJ, Lift, dents, noise and smoke.
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  6. #6 Re: Transmission cooler question 
    Senior Member Ken L's Avatar
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    My concern is with the slack in the hose when the hood is shut. The hard lines end at the front of the engine, I'd need to route the hoses to the fender and allow enough slack so I can open the hood. The slack in the hoses has to go somewhere, and I'd rather not have that "somewhere" be on the exhaust. I don't want to cut the hard line off shorter, say at the back of the engine to route them up the firewall and to the hood, because then I'd lose the check valve that's in the end of the pressure side hard line.

    I will consider it, but it's not at the top of my list at this point.
    Ken L
    '96 ZJ with stuff
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  7. #7 Re: Transmission cooler question 
    Senior Member Grand Slam West Planner K2's Avatar
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    I have not tried but I don't think there would be that much slack, and I understand not wanting to cut the hard lines. Maybe find some lines from a 95? I just checked mine and they start at the trans on the driver side go under the bell housing to the passenger side, head up to the lower part of the radiator across to the drivers side and into the radiator.
    02 WJ, Lift, dents, noise and smoke.
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  8. #8 Re: Transmission cooler question 
    The class retard Lifetime Supporter ajmorell's Avatar
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    I'm not crazy about mounting them to the hood either. Think about what's going to happen if that thing leaks near the cooler. It's going to fall right on something really hot. Personally I'd try to find a way to mount it under the vehicle, maybe a really long heat sink type cooler mounted to the frame rail?
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  9. #9 Re: Transmission cooler question 
    Senior Member Grand Slam West Planner K2's Avatar
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    I had my cooler line pop off on the highway, it smoked like crazy! I lost almost a gallon of fluid before I got pulled over.
    02 WJ, Lift, dents, noise and smoke.
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  10. #10 Re: Transmission cooler question 
    Senior Member Ken L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajmorell View Post
    I'm not crazy about mounting them to the hood either. Think about what's going to happen if that thing leaks near the cooler. It's going to fall right on something really hot. Personally I'd try to find a way to mount it under the vehicle, maybe a really long heat sink type cooler mounted to the frame rail?
    That's what the hot rod guys do, mount a heat sink type on the frame rail. One thing I was considering with a heat sink type is to mount it in front of the radiator on the top of the unibody rails, but that would end up behind the winch. But, what I've read about the heat sink type is that they don't need air blowing over them to cool effectively.

    Maybe the solution is to put a double pass heat sink unit behind the grille on the bottom, which would be behind the winch. If that doesn't cool enough, add a second smaller heat sink or stacked plate unit somewhere under the hood.

    At first glance, I think I could fit something like this along the front. http://www.summitracing.com/parts/der-13266
    Ken L
    '96 ZJ with stuff
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  11. #11 Re: Transmission cooler question 
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    I have an Atomic Derale cooler in the front....cant figure out how to attach picture....
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