The cooling system on any vehicle is vital for its survival. If you happen to have one that isn’t functioning properly, then it can incapacitate its ability to maintain a consistent
and safe operating temperature for any of the components involved. As drivers, it’s more about preventing the cook before it happens; otherwise you may end up limping home once the damage has already been done.
Similar to engine oil, taking care of the fluid inside the transmission is just as critical to maintain longevity. Put it this way: Transmissions are constantly under load and any vehicle enduring the demands of stop-and-go traffic, including highway jaunts can generate an ample amount of heat. Add in spirited driving at the autocross or flat-footing it down the quarter-mile, and there’s a good chance you’re already taxing the system. It’s excessive heat in the transmission that can damage friction plates, burn seals, and destroy gaskets.
Since it’s the fluid’s job to lubricate and dissipate heat from the transmission, this is something you don’t want to neglect or take for granted. Aside from adding a deeper-sump transmission oil pan to hold additional fluid, installing an external transmission oil cooler will also help by offering a greater amount of surface area. This allows the fluids to cycle through the heat exchanger and cool down quickly before returning to the transmission. The end result is longer fluid life, and more importantly, this will help keep the internal transmission temperatures to a more manageable level without sacrificing performance.
To showcase a typical install, we acquired a Hayden universal transmission cooler kit from Gearstar Transmissions. The package included longer lines, allowing us to mount the cooler to our liking. In no time we attached the cooler onto the front radiator support with simple home-fabricated brackets. By placing the oil cooler up front, it provided a direct flow of air to the cooler at all times. Read on to see how we installed ours, and the tools we used to get the job done.