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Discussion Starter #1
I've never been a fan of radiator tank only cooling for trans fluid-even vehicles that don't tow can benefit from the much more stable temperatures from additional cooling provided by a transmission fluid cooler. I purchase a small Derale tube/fin type framraile style trans cooler from Amazon. It was $25 shipped, and came with almost everything necessary for installation.


I started by pulling the bumper cover. Not nearly as difficult as one would think.


Then I made a pair of 90 degree angle brackets out of some 12 gauge thick, 1" wide steel strapping, and attached it to the cooler and the front main bumper assembly with self-drilling #8 screws. I bent the cooler's brackets slightly to clear the humps on the bumper to allow the brackets to attach to the bumper secure and flat.



Next I had to figure out which trans line was leaving the trans and going to the OEM radiator tank cooler.


I drilled 2 small holes through the plastic shroud that directs air through the radiator to allow the cooler lines to pass straight through to the cooler.


The other side of the shroud with the lines attached to the OEM lines putting the cooler in series with the cooling circuit:


Lines attached to the cooler:


I took the opportunity to flush the old fluid out via the pressure line before I connected the cooler by removing the short OEM line and using a spare section of trans cooler hose and having my wife start the car and run it while I "aimed" the hose into an old oil container so I could determine how much fluid would need replaced. It pumped 3.2 quarts into the container and started sputtering, so I had her shut off the car. Then I pulled the trans drain plug to make sure none was still in the pan, and not a drop came out. So, I replaced the drain plug, connected the lines from the cooler by eliminating the short OEM hose and putting the cooler inline between the trans and the OEM radiator tank type trans cooler. This will allow extra cooling of the aftermarket cooler, and will eliminate some of the heat transfer from the trans fluid to the coolant via that cooler in the radiator tank. Being installed in this manner will also keep the fluid temp stable and prevent overcooling in colder air temps by using the radiator's in-tank trans cooler as a "preheater".
I did not change the filter in the trans since the vehicle is still under Kia's 5yr/60K warranty, and Kia does NOT recommend removing the trans pan at all unless there is a failure of the trans. I don't want to argue with them in the event of a trans failure if the trans pan has been removed. I did use the Kia SP-III fluid from the dealer. It was $6/quart, and it only took 3.2 quarts to refill to the proper level. A short road test to verify trans function, the eliminate any air bubbles and to recheck the fluid level after the trans was warm, and all was perfect.
JL
 

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I replaced the drain plug, connected the lines from the cooler by eliminating the short OEM hose and putting the cooler inline between the trans and the OEM radiator tank type trans cooler. This will allow extra cooling of the aftermarket cooler, and will eliminate some of the heat transfer from the trans fluid to the coolant via that cooler in the radiator tank. Being installed in this manner will also keep the fluid temp stable and prevent overcooling in colder air temps by using the radiator's in-tank trans cooler as a "preheater".
This was very wise.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
This was very wise.
With a stock stall speed torque converter,and if not towing heavy....it's a good idea. But in other applications that tow heavy or have high stall speed torque converters like my Thunderbird (4000 rpm), it's better to install inline after shedding as much heat as possible through the radiator cooler, then through the add-on cooler before dumping back to the pan. I have the largest aftermarket cooler made on the TBird, because it makes absurd amounts of heat when it's unlocked. But, it launches like it's been rear-ended by a garbage truck when the sticky tires are on it. :D
JL
 

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I did not change the filter in the trans since the vehicle is still under Kia's 5yr/60K warranty,
Great write up !

But,

I was under the impression any altering of said component VOIDS warranty

Does this not apply to transmision now ?

:think
 

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With a stock stall speed torque converter,and if not towing heavy....it's a good idea.
As a general rule of thumb, a modern computer-controlled automatic transmission should be setup in the manner you described. If the auxiliary cooler is installed after the radiator cooler, the fluid temperature can drop low enough to affect proper shifting. For example, some modern transmissions will not lock up until the fluid reaches a certain minimum temperature.

(Warning: topic shift ahead.)

But in other applications that tow heavy or have high stall speed torque converters like my Thunderbird (4000 rpm) ....

I have the largest aftermarket cooler made on the TBird, because it makes absurd amounts of heat when it's unlocked. But, it launches like it's been rear-ended by a garbage truck when the sticky tires are on it.
For kicks, let's talk about converter torture. I also happen to have a lot of experience here. :)

My screen name comes from drag racing my modified 1989 Dodge Caravan turbo and its OEM 3-spd automatic transmission. Other than the Turbo Action Cheetah reverse-pattern manual valve body, it was 100% bone stock, including the non-lockup converter. For this reason, I skipped the radiator cooler entirely and instead mounted the largest trans fluid cooler I could find on the planet. The box said it was designed for a big block V8 motorhome which would be towing a trailer; it was rated for a 20,000-pound GCWR IIRC. (My race weight with me on board was just under 3100 pounds.) This cooler was mounted to the front of my radiator, and it was nearly as large. I had installed an override switch so I could force the rad's fan to run whenever I thought it necessary; I would leave it on full time at the strip for the sake of the transmission.

You're right: a slipping converter generates lots of heat. Goodness knows I tortured that poor thing. Here was my standard procedure for making a pass:

1. Pull though water box, set parking brake, wait for official's signal to proceed.
2. Put left foot on brake, floor throttle with right foot. Focus attention on boost gauge.
3. As the needle crosses 5 psi, take left foot off brake and begin burnout.
4. As tach hits 5000 RPM, manually shift to second.
5. As tires begin to bite, release parking brake; 5 or so feet later, roll out of throttle and return to first gear.
6. Stop, flip boost control switch from LO to HI, wait for official's signal to proceed.

(staging)

7. Roll forward to pre-stage (after other driver if he's willing).
8. As soon as we're both pre-staged, place left foot firmly on brake. Apply ~75% throttle and focus attention on tachometer. Bring engine to 2800 RPM and maintain that exact engine speed.
9. Gently bump brake pedal to creep into full stage. Maintain 2800 RPM at all times.
10. Once fully staged, apply full brake. Continue to maintain 2800 RPM. Turn focus to tree.
11. At first yellow, floor the throttle.
12. At third yellow, release brake pedal.

... and I'm off. With good grip, I might cut a 1.9x short time. I'm sure your RWD 'Bird can launch much harder than my FWD shoebox did, though. On pump gas, I could run 18 psi and generate a low 14 ET; with a little 100 octane mixed in, I could run 24 psi and hit a 13.5 ET.

Anyway, for each pass I would spend a lot of time melting the converter. Ahh, memories.
 

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Great write up !

But,

I was under the impression any altering of said component VOIDS warranty

Does this not apply to transmision now ?

:think
Legally they can only deny coverage for work if they can prove that it caused the failure. If one of his lines came off and caused a the tranny to fail then they could deny coverage. Plus with it not being at the transmission they might not even notice the cooler in the event of an issue
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Great write up !

But,

I was under the impression any altering of said component VOIDS warranty

Does this not apply to transmision now ?

:think
The difference here is that I haven't modified the operation of the transmission in any way. Dropping the trans pan when Kia very distinctly states not to during normal servicing is asking for trouble. Altering the operation of the trans or using the wrong fluid would be legitimate reason to void the warranty. Adding a transmission cooler is not.
JL
 

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Discussion Starter #8
As a general rule of thumb, a modern computer-controlled automatic transmission should be setup in the manner you described. If the auxiliary cooler is installed after the radiator cooler, the fluid temperature can drop low enough to affect proper shifting. For example, some modern transmissions will not lock up until the fluid reaches a certain minimum temperature.

(Warning: topic shift ahead.)



For kicks, let's talk about converter torture. I also happen to have a lot of experience here. :)

My screen name comes from drag racing my modified 1989 Dodge Caravan turbo and its OEM 3-spd automatic transmission. Other than the Turbo Action Cheetah reverse-pattern manual valve body, it was 100% bone stock, including the non-lockup converter. For this reason, I skipped the radiator cooler entirely and instead mounted the largest trans fluid cooler I could find on the planet. The box said it was designed for a big block V8 motorhome which would be towing a trailer; it was rated for a 20,000-pound GCWR IIRC. (My race weight with me on board was just under 3100 pounds.) This cooler was mounted to the front of my radiator, and it was nearly as large. I had installed an override switch so I could force the rad's fan to run whenever I thought it necessary; I would leave it on full time at the strip for the sake of the transmission.

You're right: a slipping converter generates lots of heat. Goodness knows I tortured that poor thing. Here was my standard procedure for making a pass:

1. Pull though water box, set parking brake, wait for official's signal to proceed.
2. Put left foot on brake, floor throttle with right foot. Focus attention on boost gauge.
3. As the needle crosses 5 psi, take left foot off brake and begin burnout.
4. As tach hits 5000 RPM, manually shift to second.
5. As tires begin to bite, release parking brake; 5 or so feet later, roll out of throttle and return to first gear.
6. Stop, flip boost control switch from LO to HI, wait for official's signal to proceed.

(staging)

7. Roll forward to pre-stage (after other driver if he's willing).
8. As soon as we're both pre-staged, place left foot firmly on brake. Apply ~75% throttle and focus attention on tachometer. Bring engine to 2800 RPM and maintain that exact engine speed.
9. Gently bump brake pedal to creep into full stage. Maintain 2800 RPM at all times.
10. Once fully staged, apply full brake. Continue to maintain 2800 RPM. Turn focus to tree.
11. At first yellow, floor the throttle.
12. At third yellow, release brake pedal.

... and I'm off. With good grip, I might cut a 1.9x short time. I'm sure your RWD 'Bird can launch much harder than my FWD shoebox did, though. On pump gas, I could run 18 psi and generate a low 14 ET; with a little 100 octane mixed in, I could run 24 psi and hit a 13.5 ET.

Anyway, for each pass I would spend a lot of time melting the converter. Ahh, memories.
Warning..still a bit off topic...
Yes, the Tbird launches harder. It weighs right at 3700lbs without me in it. 60' times are mid 1.6's, and it runs through the lights in the 12-teens @ 112mph. The torque converter is a custom built 4000 rpm stall lockup converter. It's VERY loose when unlocked, and the only time the clutch is unlocked is in 1st gear when launching. After 1-2 shift, I command lockup .5 seconds after the shift is completed, and it's the same for the other gears. The PCM controls lockup via a solenoid in the trans (4R70W). You can distinctly hear the torque converter lock after the 1-2 shift in some of my track videos.
Here's one from Fun Ford Weekend in the final round of a 12.50 index class I used to run a few years back:


Just so we're staying on topic...
I used this trans cooler on the TBird:
Tru-Cool MAX transmission cooler with external thermal bypass | Tru Cool Heavy Duty | Transmission Parts by Bulkpart
It's a 45K BTU/40K GVWR rated cooler that's 22.75" wide, 8.5" tall, and 1.5" thick, and had 3/8" IF fittings on it. It's a serious trans cooler, but is able to keep the temps under control in a full day of hot-lapping the car at the track.
JL
 

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60' times are mid 1.6's, and it runs through the lights in the 12-teens @ 112mph.
Nice. I was only trapping 101, though I was also doing this with just four pistons, 8 valves and 2.5 liters. ;) Your Bird looks really sweet.

That is a fantastic trans fluid cooler. To any Soul owners who are still following our conversation, this cooler is overkill for your Kia. Way, way overkill.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Nice. I was only trapping 101, though I was also doing this with just four pistons, 8 valves and 2.5 liters. ;) Your Bird looks really sweet.
That Tbird is a V8-the 4.6L 2V version, and doesn't have any type of power adder at all.


That is a fantastic trans fluid cooler. To any Soul owners who are still following our conversation, this cooler is overkill for your Kia. Way, way overkill.
Yes, and Yes.
JL
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Wow! What did you do to it besides the converter? PI head swap and cams? Gears? I am impressed.
Non-PI F5AE '97 heads that have been ported
Comp cams(270AH)
4.30 gear
Kooks mid-length headers
Underdrive pullies
75mm throttle body mounted to a ported/port matched upper elbow
Custom tuning
It's using an aluminum block from the 2V Explorer with Ross flat-top pistons yielding approx 10.2:1 CR, and Manley Sportmaster I-Beam rods.
4000 stall torque converter
Hand build 2.5" exhaust with converters (made from a box of mandrel bends and alot of time. I run 3 mufflers on the car-a dual-in/dual-out Magnaflow in the center of the chassis, and a pair of smaller Magnaflow mufflers in the rear. Sound is nice, drone is non-existent.
It puts down right at 300 hp/300 ft-lbs to the rear wheels on the dyno. The car still has every creature comfort in it, and gets 20 mpg driving it on the highway. Around town it gets less of course(around 12-13mpg), but that's what you compromise with when you run a converter that stalls that high.
JL
 

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That's a nice hardware list, and it obviously all works well together. My van engine was all factory hardware from the valve cover to the oil pan; I basically just added an intercooler, swapped to a larger turbo and cranked the boost. (Full disclosure: I did swap to an earlier cylinder head just so it would lower my compression ratio a bit, thus allowing me to run higher boost.)

Someday I would love to seriously modify an engine just for kicks.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Back on topic.....
The ambient temps here in the summer are HOT. 100+ degrees most days, and humidity is horrid in the 90%+ range. Even the best designed cooling system can use some assistance in handling heat rejection on days like this.The problem I have with "radiator only" trans fluid cooling is that when the coolant is 205-220 degrees, then absolute coolest the trans fluid can get is 205-220 degrees. This will seriously shorten the life of any trans fluid, and by a large number of miles. The trans fluid breaks down quicker at temps above 180 degrees. Basically, a small cooler like this will extend the life of the trans fluid so that when you're due for a change, it's not already broken down to the point that it's damaging the trans by having lost the important additives that are in fresh new fluid.
JL
 

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Discussion Starter #15
That's a nice hardware list, and it obviously all works well together. My van engine was all factory hardware from the valve cover to the oil pan; I basically just added an intercooler, swapped to a larger turbo and cranked the boost. (Full disclosure: I did swap to an earlier cylinder head just so it would lower my compression ratio a bit, thus allowing me to run higher boost.)

Someday I would love to seriously modify an engine just for kicks.
Just for reference sake..that TBird when stock...would only run a best of a 15.96 @ approx 86 mph. They're 3800lb lead sleds that were only equipped with a 210hp 4.6L. Smooth and torquey, but down a bit on power compared to most modern 6-cylinder engines.
JL
 

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Just for reference sake..that TBird when stock...would only run a best of a 15.96 @ approx 86 mph. They're 3800lb lead sleds that were only equipped with a 210hp 4.6L.
Yeah, I'm familiar with the platform and even somewhat familiar with the stock engine.

For comparison, I never ran my Caravan at the strip when it was bone stock; right after purchase, I had a custom 3" mandrel exhaust installed (with a hi-flow cat & UltraFlo bullet muffler). Even still, it's best ET in that configuration was a leisurely 17.79 @ 74.7 MPH. After that, the bolt-ons began.

BTW, I once owned a '95 Caprice 9C1 LT1 and I absolutely loved it. I didn't modify it too heavily, but I was pleased with its ultimate setup. Someday, I would like to pick up a CVPI and modify it more extensively. Whenever that day comes, I'll have to talk to you again about your 4.6L setup. ;)
 

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Set your camera to minimum megapixels when taking photos
to post on line. Photos were much to large for this forum. Made
it diffcult to view them.

$25 is a great price. Thanks for the info.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Set your camera to minimum megapixels when taking photos
to post on line. Photos were much to large for this forum. Made
it diffcult to view them.

$25 is a great price. Thanks for the info.
Seriously, is there anything you DON'T bitch about?
800x600 sized images are NOT too large for ANY forum.
JL
 

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The difference here is that I haven't modified the operation of the transmission in any way. Dropping the trans pan when Kia very distinctly states not to during normal servicing is asking for trouble. Altering the operation of the trans or using the wrong fluid would be legitimate reason to void the warranty. Adding a transmission cooler is not.
JL
That depends on how and who installed it. If you had a licenced machanic install it ok, but if you did it and you have a problem having anything to do with the tranny you could be screwed. If the dealer thinks that cooler was installed wrong and has anything to do with the failure you could be buying a new tranny on your dime.
 

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I've never been a fan of radiator tank only cooling for trans fluid-even vehicles that don't tow can benefit from the much more stable temperatures from additional cooling provided by a transmission fluid cooler. I purchase a small Derale tube/fin type framraile style trans cooler from Amazon. It was $25 shipped, and came with almost everything necessary for installation.


I started by pulling the bumper cover. Not nearly as difficult as one would think.


Then I made a pair of 90 degree angle brackets out of some 12 gauge thick, 1" wide steel strapping, and attached it to the cooler and the front main bumper assembly with self-drilling #8 screws. I bent the cooler's brackets slightly to clear the humps on the bumper to allow the brackets to attach to the bumper secure and flat.



Next I had to figure out which trans line was leaving the trans and going to the OEM radiator tank cooler.


I drilled 2 small holes through the plastic shroud that directs air through the radiator to allow the cooler lines to pass straight through to the cooler.


The other side of the shroud with the lines attached to the OEM lines putting the cooler in series with the cooling circuit:


Lines attached to the cooler:


I took the opportunity to flush the old fluid out via the pressure line before I connected the cooler by removing the short OEM line and using a spare section of trans cooler hose and having my wife start the car and run it while I "aimed" the hose into an old oil container so I could determine how much fluid would need replaced. It pumped 3.2 quarts into the container and started sputtering, so I had her shut off the car. Then I pulled the trans drain plug to make sure none was still in the pan, and not a drop came out. So, I replaced the drain plug, connected the lines from the cooler by eliminating the short OEM hose and putting the cooler inline between the trans and the OEM radiator tank type trans cooler. This will allow extra cooling of the aftermarket cooler, and will eliminate some of the heat transfer from the trans fluid to the coolant via that cooler in the radiator tank. Being installed in this manner will also keep the fluid temp stable and prevent overcooling in colder air temps by using the radiator's in-tank trans cooler as a "preheater".
I did not change the filter in the trans since the vehicle is still under Kia's 5yr/60K warranty, and Kia does NOT recommend removing the trans pan at all unless there is a failure of the trans. I don't want to argue with them in the event of a trans failure if the trans pan has been removed. I did use the Kia SP-III fluid from the dealer. It was $6/quart, and it only took 3.2 quarts to refill to the proper level. A short road test to verify trans function, the eliminate any air bubbles and to recheck the fluid level after the trans was warm, and all was perfect.
JL


If you would have done some research our Souls come from the factory with a tranny cooler inside the radiator. This factory cooler is bigger than the one you installed. So now not only it will not cool as well but if there is a problem Kia wont be picking up the tab.
 
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