Most helpful critical review
45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
Good cooler, Wrong connections
on August 17, 2010
I suppose in order to understand how I gauge this cooler to be effective a little background info would be good. I have a 96 Dodge Ram 1500 RWD. This model and similar models of the same period are well known for having transmission failures due to excessive heat as the built in radiator cooler was not sufficient.
Prior to installing the cooler I installed a B&M Temperature Gauge kit on the pressure line coming out of the tranny, that way I have a better Idea of the actual transmission temp than if it were installed on the return line as the instructions indicate. The next day I decided put my truck through its paces to see what the temps would be, at 4:00 in the afternoon it was 86 degrees and traffic is fairly heavy during that time of day. Inner city driving for about 45 minutes showed that the temperature would be about 240. Taking it out on the highway at 70mph dropped the temp to about to 220 on long flat stretches.
About a week later I installed the cooler in series with the radiator cooler going first to the B&M cooler then the radiator cooler (Keep In mind that the temp gauge is on the pressure line out of the tranny so it measures the oil temp before it gets the coolers). When I finished it was again about 4:00 in the afternoon, only it was now 102 degrees in the shade. I took it out again to run it through the paces to see what the result would be. Again I drove around the city in traffic for 45 min or so. Initially it took the tranny a good bit longer to get above 200 and then didn't get above 220 until I really stomped it a few times between lights to push the temp up. I then took it out on the highway again and the temp settled at about 200. Considering the results to be good so far I wanted to get a little better Idea so I took it off the highway and back on some hilly dirt roads where I could do between 35mph and 45mph. With overdrive off the temp climbed to a mild 210 on long uphill stretches, with the overdrive on it would climb to 230.
The results of my testing showed to me that even with a 16 degree increase in outdoor temperature the cooler was able to drop my transmissions temperature by a minimum of 10 degrees even though under harder working conditions. Under the same working conditions it would drop the temperature between 20 and 30 degrees.
Mounting the cooler to the engine radiator, directly centered horizontally and vertically behind the AC radiator went fairly easily with the included plastic mounts. I mounted it there after considering some other locations but decided that the airflow to the cooler would be too restricted elsewhere. The hose provided was not sufficiently long enough for my chosen location so I needed about 2 more feet and appropriate hose connections.
My problem came when I attempted to connect the supplied brass connectors to my trucks OEM connectors. It was difficult enough explaining to the NAPA people what the problem was, and I ended up having to show them the OEM connections and the brass fittings supplied with the kit. The store manager at Napa immediately recognized the problem with the kits supplied connections when I showed him what I was trying to do and he set about finding the parts to make it work. As the connections were they did seat the threads but did not mate correctly and would have resulted in leaks that would have drained my transmission quickly. I am posting Images in the customer image area that should help in explaining why the connections provided couldn't be used and what parts were necessary to install the cooler.
Why 3 Stars
While the cooler itself is of good quality and does a good job of cooling my transmission I have to deduct some points for them not supplying proper parts to connect it to my transmission. The reason for this is a couple fold, first this is the kit that is recommended for my truck. Second when a kit is supposed to work with a certain set of vehicles it should come with the parts necessary to connect it to those vehicles or give some indication of the additional parts that will be necessary. Thirdly attempts to contact B&M prior to purchasing the kit to insure it would come with all the parts necessary were not responded to (so I knew there would be no customer service from B&M in the event of a problem).