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Tweaking The Tranny…

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by GeeMC, Mar 12, 2003.

  1. GeeMC

    GeeMC Member
    Messages: 51

    Hi Everyone, :waving:

    I know, I wrote another book here…sorry.

    I am looking for some suggestions regarding the transmission my Z71. I think it is the 430 with the deep factory pan. After the 24” storm we had around here a couple of weeks ago, the transmission fluid was starting to cook. We had just changed the fluid not 500 miles prior to this so I know this occurred from plowing.

    I was thinking of taking the pan off and having a removable plug put in it so I could change out the fluid more regularly, but someone suggested getting an aftermarket finned cooled deep pan. I know these come with plugs in them but how much more fluid will it hold? Is a bigger reserve going to help? Will I have to put a skid plate on the truck to protect it from damage? Does anyone know how much these pans cost and where I can pick one up if I decide to get one?

    One of the things that always bothered me was when you change the fluid is, you can only get about 7 quarts out of it. The whole system holds about 14 quarts or more altogether but you can’t realistically drain the converter, but by changing the fluid more often, I’ll be able to get the junk fluid out eventually.

    I also put in a tranny cooler over the weekend. After taking the grill off, I was able to mount it in front of the AC condenser to get maximum exposure for it. I didn’t mount it the way the destructions called for though. They want you attach it directly on the condenser with these plastic wire ties that you stick through the fins on both the condenser and the radiator then use these push on buttons on the other side to hold it in place. I didn’t like that set up at all because after some time, I’m sure the radiator tubes would start leaking from undue stress and vibration.

    What I did was make brackets out of some heavy-duty perforated hanger stock I got from Home Dope. It worked out great. I was able to wrap the perforated stock around the cooling tubes and bend it to mount to the radiator support. Another benefit that came from this was to leave about a 1 ½” space between the condenser and the cooler. This air space left plenty of room for circulation. I have not noticed any increase in engine temperature even though they said it could increase by 10 degrees and this increase was considered normal.

    After installing this, I would like to monitor the temperature on a regular basis, so now I am looking for gauges. This is a little tough because there really isn’t much room on the dash for a gage without having one hang down on a bracket under the dash. I was wondering if they have small digital gauges out yet for transmission temperature? I have 3 options for locating one. On the picture below, my first option would be to install it in the removable panel at #1. That would be ideal. The second place would be to put it at #2 but that is going to involve cutting a hole in the dash. I have no problem doing that, but I would rather not. The third option is to put it on the widow pillar with one of those aftermarket shrouds that bolt on. Does anyone have any other suggestions? Does anyone know where I can get one? Where would the best place to install the sending unit?

    Again sorry about the long post and so many questions. I really appreciate all the help you guys and this site has to offer.

    Thanks,

    Bruce
     
  2. GeeMC

    GeeMC Member
    Messages: 51

    Here is the cab.

    cab1.jpg
     
  3. cat320

    cat320 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,224

    I would go with option 1 but depends on how big of a digital guage you got .The plate comes off easy if you mess up you can get another,plus easy to run the wires to it.
     
  4. Dockboy

    Dockboy Guest
    Messages: 0

    Bruce,

    Don't know much about the Chevy tranny, but can give some info on pans and gauges.

    1- I have a Mag Hytec tranny pan for my 4R100. It holds 8 qts. more than stock for a total of 24 qts. The extra fluid does not help as much with temps as it does with fluid longevity. An extra cooler is best for temps. $325 for the pan.

    2- Why can't you drain the converter:confused: I drain my converter and flush the cooler every time I change the fluid.

    3- I use SPA Technique Digital gauges and love them. For the drivetrain, I monitor Tranny and Rear End temps. They are mounted on the A-piller.

    Greg

    Tranny pan

    p3120062.jpg
     
  5. Dockboy

    Dockboy Guest
    Messages: 0

    tranny pan

    p3120064.jpg
     
  6. Dockboy

    Dockboy Guest
    Messages: 0

  7. TLS

    TLS PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,425

    GeeMC,

    You have the 4L60E automatic Transmission. Not as beefy as the 4L80E, but no slouch as long as you keep it cool!

    How do you know the fluid was "cooking"?

    Here's what I'd do. Install a 12V powered trans cooler under your passenger seat (under the truck). They have a 12V electric fan mounted to them. My Dad has had his for about 5 years with amazing results. He has sending units mounted both on the "IN" and "OUT" of the trans cooler lines. He can also switch off the cooler manually in addition to an automatic thermostat. Lets just say it REALLY works well!

    Back to your gauge situation. Simply get an A pillar (forget which # that was) molded gauge pod for it. Install a gauge and be done with it. These are all things that a working plow truck should have.

    Just get your tranny fluid flushed at a garage. They remove your cooler lines and run it till all old fluid is out. May want to think about a synthetic fluid. The aluminum finned pans are real nice too. Most add 2-3 quarts more capacity. The Derale brand has cooler rods cast into the bottom to allow air to cool better.

    Hate to say it, but with all this work your doing to a 1500 series, you really should have considered a 3/4 or 1 ton truck! You'd get a bigger front axle, bigger tranny, bigger cooler, bigger brakes, bigger rear, larger/stronger frame, and more GVW. The ride isn't much different either!

    Good luck with your mods!
     
  8. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    You've made the first step,by installing a cooler.Stay away from the ones with external 12V fans,as they tend to fail in harsh conditions like snowplowing,especially mounted under the truck.

    The pans are available from most speed shops.Not sure on exact capacity,they have many different ones.It won't help as much as the cooler,but it can't hurt.You can also get them with the hole for a temp sensor.

    The best place for a trans temp sensor is in the trans cooler out line from the tranny,but you will have to fab a line and fittings to do so.Be careful not to restrict cooler flow when you do this,or it won't last long.

    My gauge recommendation would be a cheap mechanical gauge mounted in the pan.Simple,easy,and no wires or senders to corrode.Mount it under the edge of the dash,as you don't have to stare at it all day.Just check it every once and a while when plowing or towing.

    NEVER flush a trans by disconnecting the cooler lines,as if you run it dry,you can damage it.It can be done,but you have to be careful.Check the convertor,there may be a hidden drain plug to drain it.
     
  9. porkhead1

    porkhead1 Member
    Messages: 70

    GeeMC........
    Protecting that tranny is a REAL GOOD idea. If you can lower the operating temp 20degF., you'll double the life of your tranny.

    What was the GVW rating on the aux. cooler you installed....?? Go as big as will fit. Good idea for the 1" air space....

    As for the tranny pan.....check with your local GM parts dealer...there may be a factory pan with a plug already in it. Or, buy a magnetic drain plug & have someone weld a nut (usually 1/2 nut) on the inside of your pan when you have it off next.

    As for the guages....try "autometer.com" for the guages & pillar moulding.

    Where's all the fluid..??? Good guess would be the convertor.
    You're off to a good start with this truck....just keep it up....take care of the little problems & you may not have any big ones..

    I have to agree though, you may have been better off starting with a 3/4ton, but next time you'll know. So, for now, spend some time over the summer getting this one all ready for NEXT winter $$$$...
    :drinkup:

    If you're running you OEM tires now, I would look into getting a set of winter-only tires for next year. You did good this winter only because of the new tires with deep tread. By next winter, some of that deep tread will be gone.

    Good luck....:waving:
     
  10. GeeMC

    GeeMC Member
    Messages: 51

    Hi Greg,

    Nice pics! When did Ford start putting in coffee cup holders…eh eh eh ! Just kidding. I like your cab. Well dressed out. Is that a mobile GPS system to track your help? I forgot about the drain plug in the converter. I have been away from automotive world for about 20 years now; I just simply forgot that one. I’ll look for it at the next change.

    I checked the SPA web site and it looks like all they carry are diesel products. I’ll keep searching though. I think for $325.00 I’ll stick with the stock tranny pan. I have a friend of mine that owns a radiator shop and I’ll have him put in a drain plug for me. The truck already has a factory deep pan, so I’ll just use that one.

    Thanks for the info,

    Bruce
     
  11. Dockboy

    Dockboy Guest
    Messages: 0

    Thanks Bruce:D

    The Head Unit is an Eclipse 7002 and a 6-Disc changer. It does have the capability for a GPS module, unfortunatly, I don't have it YET! LOL! Right now it's the FM, XM, TV and CD controller.

    Yeah, there should be a plug to drain the TC;)

    The SPA gauges can be used on any vehicle, not just diesels. You could get a DG210 Temp/Temp gauge and monitor tranny and water temp. The combo's are endless! The gauges are programmable, so depending on the type of sensor you use, you can do just about anything.

    Try looking at YourCovers . You can get a 4 qt. over stock 4L60E cover for $170:) or Mag-Hytec

    Greg
     
  12. GeeMC

    GeeMC Member
    Messages: 51

    TLS,

    I just checked and I have the 4L80E transmission in this truck. I knew the oil was cooking a little because when we checked it, it had a slight brown color to it and it smelt a little burnt. Not real bad but enough to raise the eyebrows.

    I already installed the cooler but I’ll keep the other models you mentioned in mind for the next truck that we are getting this summer.

    As far as the pillar gauges go, are they mechanical or electric, or can you install either in that location?

    With regards to the
    “Hate to say it, but with all this work your doing to a 1500 series, you really should have considered a 3/4 or 1 ton truck!”

    Well first off a little background might help you with that. My efforts with this truck is to help my son Jason who is 21 years old now get this part of his business started. He is a sub contractor and well motivated so this is my small contribution. I own the truck and he does most of the plowing. (I used to plow years ago when you had to get out and change the blade angle…blah blah blah…you know the rest here.)

    I used the truck to go to work and back, tow my boat, and some construction work I’m doing around the houses. Since I left my real job, the truck just sits in the driveway now and only comes out once in a while. It is paid for and this was the most economical way to help him start out.

    I don’t think this is a lot work either to be honest with you. I think what we are doing now is to prevent a lot of unnecessary work in the future. When doing large lots, this lil” truck has impressed quite a few big truck owners going head to head. It piles high, is agile, and moves quickly. It gets a lot of the smaller drives that the bigger trucks can’t fit into, and runs a route very fast. Yes it’s only a 7 ½’ plow, but it moves the wet stuff well. With the work we are doing now, we should be able to get quite a few years out of this truck. It has always been taken care of and that makes a big difference also.

    This business has gone very well for us right now. We have had to actually turn away work because we couldn’t get to it. We just started the beginning of February and have almost everything we put into the truck paid for. It owes us nothing. We are currently looking for another truck. We have enough work in the market to keep that one busy full time also. We are looking for 2500HD probably 2-4 years old.

    Thanks,

    Bruce
     
  13. GeeMC

    GeeMC Member
    Messages: 51

    Hi Chris,

    As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am just modify the existing factory pan with a plug so I can drain it without going through the hassle of removing the whole pan. I will continue to change the filter on a regular basis as normal or a little more frequent, but I can’t see the additional cost of another pan right now.

    I’m a little confused with respect to the location for the gage sensor you talk about. You recommend putting it in the out line, but then recommend it in the pan, or am I reading this wrong? I assume you are referring to the sensor in both cases. If you are, I can have them weld in a fitting for that also when I have the pan done.

    I have always mounted my gages under the dash in an earlier life, but I was just looking for a place in the dash where it wouldn’t get bumped by legs. I thought the newer digital ones would be smaller and fit somewhere in the dash.

    Thanks again for the valuable info.

    Bruce
     
  14. hyperpack

    hyperpack Senior Member
    Messages: 108

    Drain Plug

    A good way to install a drain plug is to sharpen a punch to a slow taper, With the pan mounted drive the punch through the pan, Find a sheet metal screw that fits tight put a gasket under the head and screw it in tight. By driving the punch through rather than drilling, It dimples the pan in a little so the screw gets a good bite. I have done this dozens of times and have never had one leak and the head of the screw doesn't protrude much, It doesn't even need to be repainted.
    Hyperpack
     
  15. kawdude

    kawdude Senior Member
    Messages: 105

    there are tons of aftermarket trans pans on ebay with plugs in em. Id go with mechanical temp gauge mounted in a pod on the a pillar.
     
  16. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    My recommendation was actually two parts,one for the best performance,the other for ease of installation.I should have clarified it better.My bad.

    The most accurate place,which is also the hottest,is in the cooler line.It's just not the easiest place to mount a sender sometimes.If you want the most accurate readings,and the best performance from the gauge,then put it in the cooler line.

    The pan solution is much easier,and will read a little lower and more steady.Will still give you an idea when it's overheating,and the general temp of the fluid.

    After a while the trans temp gauge will be something you only check now and again,when you need to,it loses it's novelty very quickly,so that's why I recommended a cheap gauge,and stick it somewhere easy,like under the dash.Just my .02 cents.
     
  17. GeeMC

    GeeMC Member
    Messages: 51

    Hi Porkhead,

    I put in a 10,000 GVW cooler. It should be plenty for this size truck. Thanks for link on the gages.

    Bruce
     
  18. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    Bruce, i have 16000 GVWR cooler on my 2500LD,it has the 700R4,basically the same trans you have with mechanical controls.It isnt big enough,i feel I need a 22000 minimum .I have a temp guage,I installed it in the cooelr line (hot line,torque convertor discharge) line. I run at 210 hot line plowing a light storm,and it hits 250 regularly in deep snow. Also I try to keep the cooler less than an inch away from the condensor,,this cooling fan will not pull air around the cooler,it has to pull it thru it.This is very important with the stacked plate coolers especially,since they dont flow air as well as the tube and fin style. Here is the best place to get a trans pan,besides mag hytec http://yourcovers.com/newindex2.htm. Id combine a deep pan with what you've done,then monitor temps and go from there. You can mount the temp sender in the pan,if you do,you dont want to see over 200 in the pan for any lenth of time.230 degrees is the turning point with regular ATF. If you choose the hotline you can put a tee in the existing line under the truck.I put mine right under the starter motor,280 is the critical temp in the hot line,go above it and all bets are off.
     
  19. jspivxl102

    jspivxl102 Member
    Messages: 46

    I've heard great things about those Mag-Hytec tranny covers... more tranny fluid, less transmission stewing... When I cook something for dinner, it sure ain't my transmission.
    JP
     
  20. GeeMC

    GeeMC Member
    Messages: 51

    Hi Guy's!! Happy Winter!

    We put in the tranny gage over the summer and I was wondering what the normal operating temperature is supposed to be. It's running at 150 (F) almost all the time under normal driving conditions (no loads). Also, what would be the red line temperature and a temperature to let it sit idle if it gets to hot.

    A local shop has equipment to flush out a tranny and converter and they charge 80 bucks to do this. Anyone ever have this done? The procedure sounds good.

    Thanks for you help,

    Bruce