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tranny coolers

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by MATTHEW, Jul 6, 2001.

  1. MATTHEW

    MATTHEW Member
    from NE OHIO
    Messages: 47

    Tell me if i'm wrong, but when plowing snow,it
    doesn't seem to me that the cooler will be of much
    use since part of the time, the plow blocks the airflow
    to the cooler, and when pushing,you are not going fast
    enough to get much air across the fins. I had an idea
    about adding an external fan on the outside facing in
    just in front of the cooler. Is this going too far????
    I have lost tranny's in every vehicle I ever owned. And
    yes, I do change fluid and drive correctly. Any ideas?
     
  2. OBRYANMAINT

    OBRYANMAINT PlowSite.com Veteran
    from ohio
    Messages: 534

    tranny coolers help much and are practically mandatory to plow and not abuse transmissions
     
  3. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

    Best combo going is a decent cooler and a swap to synthetic fluid. The synthetic will handle more heat before it starts to break down. Since I started running synthetic fluid I have yet to have it get "stinky" and discolored from the heat.
     
  4. 75

    75 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,382

    Without having a temp gauge installed, I don't know exactly what temperature my transmission runs at but I've never had any problems with it running with a cooler mounted in front of the rad. If you feel it's worthwhile, you can certainly add an extra fan for the cooler - provided there's enough space in there!

    I don't know what truck you're using, but some transmissions are more durable than others IMO. (For example, the Turbo 400 in my truck is a more rugged unit than a Turbo 350 or 7004R)

    Something to be careful of when plowing, and whice I catch myself doing on occasion, is to make sure you are completely stopped before shifting from "D" to "R" and vice versa. Because of the amount of back-and-forth required in plowing, shifting before coming to a stop can cause a lot of wear in the transmission in a fairly short time.
     
  5. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    You don't need to add the extra fan. Just having the additional cooler will help reduce the temperature. It will radiate heat, and help keep the trans cooler. Any additional air flow, will cool it more. Not adding the cooler, your trans fluid will always be hot, due to the fact that the coolant in the radiator is hot, and that's what cools the trans fluid on a stock vehicle. Another mistake people make, is not letting the truck idle, after pulling a heavy load, or plowing. While the truck is idling, the trans fluid is being circulated through the cooler. When you shut the truck off, the hot fluid stays where it is.

    I have an article on Automatic Transmissions on my website. Much easier than typing it all here.

    http://www.snowplowing-contractors.com/automatic_transmissions_plowing_snow.html


    ~Chuck
     
  6. SlimJim Z71

    SlimJim Z71 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,031

    I would not recommend plowing at all without an aux. tranny cooler. Plowing is a "high pressure" profession. You've got a lot more weight on the suspension, and you're using the truck to push a large amount of weight. While pushing, the torque convertor is not locked, which means it's basically a heater at this point for your trans. That's a bad thing. Do yourself and your truck a favor... GET A COOLER!!!

    Also, listen to Chuck. After plowing, let the truck idle in either park or neutral for a little while to cool of the fluid rather than just shutting the truck off and letting it cook.

    You'll thank us later...

    -Tim
     
  7. MATTHEW

    MATTHEW Member
    from NE OHIO
    Messages: 47

    cooler

    Hope I didn't lead on that I do not have a cooler.
    I do! It came with the truck. I am ready for a fluid
    change. (31,000) miles. Should I bother to get the
    system flushed which would remove all old fluid,or
    should I just stick with the standard filter and 4
    quart change???
     
  8. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

    Matthew,

    If it was me I'd change fluid now and use synthetic, then change it again before plowing season, synthetic again. After two changes you'll be close to 75% synthetic fluid and the percentage will get greater with every change. Unless you've got burnt fuild in there already I don't really think there is a benefit to having the system flushed.
     
  9. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    GET IT FLUSHED

    Get it flushed now. Get it flushed every spring, if you do plow in the winter. Waiting 31,000 miles between flushes, with plowing, can shorten the life of the trans A LOT. Especially if you tow during the warmer months. Might want to just get it flushed every year in March. The cost of the flush is 15X cheaper than the cost of a new trans!

    If you have a severe winter, with many plowing events, you might even consider doing a mid season 4qt. change.

    Look in your owner's manual, and follow the service intervals for "severe duty". You also might want to add a magnet to your trans pan if it doesn't have one. That will help trap more metal particles.


    ~Chuck
     
  10. SlimJim Z71

    SlimJim Z71 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,031

    Oh good. I though you didn't have a cooler. Even if the plow is blocking the air, the cooler is still doing it's job, just not as effectively. I would have to say that getting a flush done is by far the best thing for your trans. Not only does it flush out all the old fluid, but also anything that happens to be floating around in it. Since I work in the service department of a dealership, I just change the fluid and filter at about every other oil change (we don't have a flushing machine... crazy, I know). It's very cheap insurance. If you can afford it, get it flushed. BUT... don't get it done at Jiffy Lube. Go to a reputable trans shop. They usually have better machines, and chances are you'll have an experienced mechanic doing it... not a 16-year-old making minimum wage.

    Just my opinion.

    -Tim
     
  11. nsmilligan

    nsmilligan PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 704

    I agree with what's been said, a truck needs a tranny cooler to plow snow and have the tranny live. My gm 98 2500 454 doesn't seem to heat the tranny up when plowing, it was speced out for plowing and the tranny cooler is part of the towing pkg, but my Dodge 2500 V10, both have Fisher V's, will overheat the tranny pushing anything but light snow. The first sign is the engine temp will rise, all auto tranny's are cooled by the engine rad, and then the computer will switch on the O/D off light, and if you continue to work it the tranny overheat light will come on. The truck does have the towing pkg and an aux. cooler. I did install an electric fan in front of the aux. cooler with a switch in the cab, at the first sign that engine temp is climbing I switch it on, and I can plow most average snow with out overheating. If it is a big event, or wet and heavy, I HAVE to use low range to keep the tranny cool. I've always changed the fluid each fall, and keep an eye on the temp gauge, if you're plowing and the engine temp starts to climb it's a good sign the tranny is working a little hard, not the engine. Never had a tranny apart since the 70's.

    Bill
     
  12. nsmilligan

    nsmilligan PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 704

    fluid change

    Just a quick after-thought, if you're changing fluid if possible get it flushed, because simply draining the fluid in the pan, doesn't drain the fluid in the converter, the pump and valve body, there's usually 2-4 more quarts you can change by flushing.

    Bill
     
  13. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    Except in our big trucks 19K or more GVW. We change the trans oil, 2 times a year on gas trucks, 3 times a year on diesel. Or every 25K miles. We sometimes rack up a lot of summer miles and need to change the fluid in the summer.


    Gas Trucks Once in the fall before the season, once in the spring after the season.

    Diesel, Once in the fall, Once mid winter, and again in the spring.


    Oil is cheap, trans are not.

    Geoff
     
  14. wxmn6

    wxmn6 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,037

    Just a question, I have heard that alot people suggest that anyone who plow and have an automatic should have a heavy duty tranny cooler. But I have not heard anyone saying about having it for manual. Do manual use tranny cooler or what?
     
  15. SlimJim Z71

    SlimJim Z71 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,031

    Manual transmissions don't generate as much heat as automatics do. When you're in drive, stopped, the torque-convertor is "slipping". One side of it is spinning, while the other is stationary, which generates heat. The clutch in a manual trans slips a little between gears, but not usually enough to generate too much heat.... I think. Someone in here will correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure they don't get as hot as automatics do.

    -Tim
     
  16. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    As long as you don't ride the clutch, or "slip" it when shifting, the trans should stay much cooler than an auto trans. Also, the fact that most manual transmissions use 80w-90 gear oil, which doesn't break down in high heat as quickly as ATF, and the fact that there is no internal pump to circualte oil, doesn't allow for any kind of a cooler. Some manual transmissions have raised fins cast into the housings, to help dissipate heat. If you overheat a clutch, it can crack the material on the clutch plate, as well as glaze the flywheel. Once that happens the clutch will begin to slip.

    After owning a Jeep with a heavy Western plow on it, and often slipping the clutch to get going, I can say, that a standard trans in a small truck , and a heavy plow or heavy load don't mix well. I replaced the clutch in my Jeep when I bought it, and smoked it pretty bad in a short amount of time trying to plow with it.

    I suggest you get the lightest plow you can, not to mention that you have torsion bars up front, not really meant to carry a load. The CV joints won't like a heavy plow or heavy load either.

    You might want to check and see what weight your front axle is rated at too. I am not saying that it is impossible to plow with a small truck, just that you really need to know what you're doing. The learning curve here can be an expensive one.

    ~Chuck
     
  17. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    Two more things. First of all, I couldn't get my old Jeep into 4wd Low. The shifter was stuck in 4wd high, because the previous owner never took it out of that gear. He used it for years to plow, and let it sit all summer long in 4wd high. I went so far as to slip a pipe over the shifter, and try to get it into low. Oh well, I only paid $400 for the Jeep.

    Secondly, on my website, I have a snowplow comparison. Various brands, and how much they weigh. Might help you narrow down what you really want. I suggest a Sno Way myself.


    http://www.snowplowing-contractors.com/snow_plow_comparison.html


    ~Chuck
     
  18. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    Most automatics take 13-17 quarts of fluid in trucks,if you change the fluid in the pan only,you will get about 4-6 quarts out-if your lucky.If you are changing over to synthetic,get someone with a machine,and let them do a complete exchange,this way you'll have about 99% new,fluid in them,by just dropping the pan,and adding synthetic 4 quarts at a time,you will need about 5 changes to get 75% of the fluid to synthetic.All trucks have engine driven fans still,the fan ,even when disengaged,still draws enough air through the radiator to make an aux cooler very effective.I buy the 28K GVWR one that B&M makes http://store.summitracing.com/default.asp?target=Department.asp?d=5 .This is a ruuged cooler,if you have the room,Id use it,if not get a smaller one.With my lazer temp guage,I have seen a 40 degree temp drop across this cooler in plowing conditons,and my fluid never burns now,since it cant get hot enough to burn anymore.Manual trannys do not need coolers because there is no slippage,its just direct,constant meshing of gears.manual trannys will rarely run over 150 degrees while plowing,the clutch will heat up if you slip it,but that will have little to no effect on transmission temps.If you needed a std tranny cooler,you'd also need one on both differentials,and the T-case too.If you have a Dodge auto,and do your own tranny service,you can get 3-4 more quarts out of the tranny when you service it just by loosening all the valve body bolts 3 turns,3-4 quarts more will come out,then tighten them back up.Do not try this with a GM or Ford,the dodge uses no gaskets on the valve body,the GM and Ford do,so once if you did that to them,you would have to pull the valve boby and replace the gaskets,since they likely will tear somewhere.I think that,and my putting my Dodge in Neutral,is why I was able to plow with my diesel Dodge with no tranny problems whatso ever.I got 8 qaurts out of 17 when I serviced my Dodge tranny and loosened the bolts 3 turns.
     
  19. wxmn6

    wxmn6 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,037

    I never heard anything about slipping the clutch when shifting. Exactly what do ride the clutch, or "slip" the clutch means?
     
  20. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    I hear a lot of guy drive standards that dont let the engine rpm's come down match the transmission speed before they engage the clutch in the next gear,so every time they shift,they slip the clutch a bit as the engine/trans reconnect at diiferent speeds.This adds up after a few years and shortens the life of the clutch,and shock loads the whole drivetrain,U-joints,and T-case.Riding the clutch is when you drive with one foot on the clutch pedal constantly,even after your done shifting.This is a no-no.When you do this,you are forcing the throwout bearing to ride against the pressure plate,and spin for no reason,shortening its life,and heating it up,then eventually when its hot enough ,it will spit out all the grease,they it will get noisey,and seize to the tranny if its not replaced.It also lessens the clamping presure,making the clutch more likely to slip,on top of that it wears out the thrust bearing in the motor, the crankshaft main bearings will wear from applying a constant side load pushing forward on the crank while yor foot is on the clutch.I think operator abuse is the most common reason for clutch replacement,followed lately by very poor quality clutches,even the originals are junk anymore it seems,the springs fall out of the discs,pressure plates break fingers,and rivets fall right out of the friction discs.Many cars /trucks with less than 30K miles are having clutches replaced,and htye are defective,but the makers get to dodge the bill because no one warrantys clutches.