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Transmission Cooler

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by IA Farmer, Nov 10, 2004.

  1. IA Farmer

    IA Farmer Senior Member
    Messages: 410

    I have a 1997 Dodge Ram 1500 and was wandering if anyone new if this year and model had a transmission cooler from factory? How hard is it to install a trans temp gauge and do you have to have a pillar for the gauge? Any help would be great as I know Dodge's older transmissions were weak and I dont want to rebuild if I dont have to. Thanks
  2. johntwist

    johntwist Senior Member
    Messages: 415

    Well, I can tell you that the 97 1500's were one of the models/years that Dodge had some problems with. Hopefully your truck is one of the good ones.

    As far as the aux. tranny cooler goes, I've never heard of one factory on a 1500. I have a 2500 and it does have one factory installed, but you don't get a gauge, just an idiot light. So, I'll tell you what I do know. You don't want to let your trans fluid temp get and stay above 250 degrees for any length of time and an aux cooler and gauge is a good idea to have added.

    With the season starting up, this issue as well as plowing with a 1/2 ton truck or not have been flying around PlowSite faster than the leaves outside. The rule of thumb is yes, you can use your 1500 with the right plow for it, see your local dealer. If you don't beat the hell out of your truck and you are not doing heavy commercial work, you should be alright. You should also be prepared to fix a 1/2 ton more during and off season simply because the truck was not built heavy duty and plowing is heavy duty use.

    Alot of guys here recommend you follow the severe use maintenance schedule in your owner's manual. Before you even start you need to make sure you've done your preventative maintenance. Start with a fresh oil change and complete lube. Tranny fluid and filter change and a band adjustment. Cooling system flush and fill. If your battery is old, replace it and make sure your connections are clean and dielectric greased. Check your serp belt for cracks, as well as all hoses. Replace any worn or cracked. You could also change the fluid in your differentials and xfer case too, but that's only if it really needs it. On a 97, if it's never been done, you probably should.

    This is just to get going. If you plow alot, you may need to change your oil and tranny fluid again during the season. Being down even a quart of oil can make your truck much more likely to overheat. Check the tranny fluid frequently, if it is getting brown or smells burnt, change it. Keep coming back to PlowSite and read, read, read! Hope this helps you out, good luck. :waving:
  3. Moosehunter

    Moosehunter Member
    Messages: 75

    A Dodge 1500 "MUST HAVE"!!


    I used to own a 97 1500 Ram with a 5.9 auto... From what I remember, the only way you got a factory "aux" trans cooler is with a certain H.D. towing package.... which my truck had.... minus the cooler. :rolleyes: Go figure...

    Anyway, to install an aftermarket cooler is no big deal. You just install it inline with the stock "cooler" that's already in the bottom of your radiator. The trans hardlines are on the lower, right side of the radiator. Just splice the new cooler into the line that returns fluid back to the trans. REMEMBER that with the addition of the cooler, you add more oil capacity to the system. Try your best to "pre-fill" the cooler before startup. It's a slow and messy deal, but a good insurance policy for your trans...

    As far as a gauge, I used an Autometer 2 1/16" electric gauge. The mounting cup attached to a panel screw on the bottom of the dash, to the right of the steering wheel. It's out of the way of your knee and won't hit the transfer case lever... As a bonus... You don't need to drill any holes...

    The sender for the gauge, mounts into the pan with a supplied bung. You need to drop the pan, (good time for a fluid and filter change) drill a hole and either "bolt" it in, or have it welded. Put the sender in a place that's always bathed in fluid. Another way is to buy a special bolt that replaces your drain plug that is drilled and tapped to accept a temp sender. I think this would also be available through Autometer... I went the "drilled hole and bolted in" route with no problems and no leaks. Then it's just a matter of 4 wires and it's a done deal....

    Plain and simply... heat kills trannys!!! With the installation of a nice big cooler, and the gauge, even under severe loading, 200* was as much as my truck ever saw. I sold the truck recently with close to 90,000 ticks on the clock... Same trans as it came home with from the dealer....No rebuilds, no repairs...
  4. Frozen001

    Frozen001 Senior Member
    from Rome NY
    Messages: 908

    I have always heard the the coolers should be placed in the line that comes from the transmission to the factory cooler in the radiator. The reason behind this is to prevent the oil from being "over cooled".
  5. danno

    danno Senior Member
    Messages: 401

    I`ve got a 96 1500 that has the HD service group - Aux.transmission oil cooler, HD battery, skid plate.
    Trailer tow group- just a hitch and HD flasher
    Snow Plow Prep - HD front suspension, trans warning light.
  6. sonjaab

    sonjaab PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,425

    GUYS......Most new trucks GM, Ford, Mopar have a aux. cooler if you get the factory tow pkg or plow prep.. Easy to find out tho. Mounted in front of the rad. anyway.

    Wanna laugh? On the early build 01 GM trucks GM must of run short of aux. coolers and shipped the plow prep./trailer tow pkg. trucks without them even if they were listed on the RPO sheet !!!!!!!!!!!!

    There was a big todo on some of the GM truck sites about them being missing and some fellas went back to the dealer beefing and the dealer installed one free on GMs dime!
    I sure checked my 01 real quick to be sure mine had one!......geo
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2004
  7. cja1987

    cja1987 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,407

    Great advice about the maintainance thing. Only thing is, i would not *expect* to make more repairs on a 1/2 ton. The plow alone just is not going to kill the truck. I have made NO repairs to my F-150 except for following the severe useage maintainance schedule. Plowed and towed with it, not a single problem.
  8. johntwist

    johntwist Senior Member
    Messages: 415

    Thanks Chris!
    After the nonsense in the plowsite stickers thread earlier it's nice to be back to more friendly posts. Actually, the part about fixing the 1/2 tons I got from Mick, I don't know if you saw that thread where he related his costs to keep up with the maintenance on his half ton. Of course, I'm sure it all depends on the 1/2 ton, yr, make and lots of other stuff. Glad you had no probs w/yours. I was just glad I said I'd "never heard" of a 1500 with a factory aux tranny cooler, because of course a guy chimed in that his had one. Learn somethin' new everyday here. :nod:
    No snow for me tonight, just rain! :cry:
  9. fernalddude

    fernalddude PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,106

    Hey guys got the best trans cooler. Had a4ld beefed up to the max.. Trans guy did the works on this one Kevlar lined bands , 3 coolers , 6 gear steal planetary gears 5 gal of trans fluid, pumped milled for constant max flow with u valve so flow can go both ways. Its a ford racing trans but should not bust this winter.... :waving:
  10. cja1987

    cja1987 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,407

    Got it from Mick, that guy??? He is nothing but trouble, don't listen to anything he says....

    Just Kidding Mick ;)

    Yea, it depends, but the 1/2 t issue always gets me fired up so the truth is somewhere in between. I and other guys I know, run 1/2tons and lighter for plowing, without too many problems. Granted we do driveways and very light commercial, if any. My truck has seen some heavy plowing though. Obviousley the bigger trucks have their advantages, i would not consider making a living completely on snow plowing without at least an F-250.

    About factory aux trans cooler on a 1500, it usually comes with the tow package, i think.

    John, i think you may get some snow. They are saying up to 2" of slush in Randolph then everyone is going to ice over, i know your below the line, but they really don't know. I was just at my towns DPW yard and they are getting their spreaders redy and mounting some of their plows just in case the main roads need to be scraped. They expect to have to sand late tommrrow night. Whatever happens I know i will be redy.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2004