Vehicles and other industrial machniery goes through enomours amount of heat generations during their operations.
The heats generated, if not taken care of, have the tendncies of shortening the lifespans of machines, especially, automatic transmission systems, and in some rare caseswe have seen, destroy a whole engine, in an automotive application.
Many auto manufactures, have device various means possible to help reduce this heat, by employing the following strategies(this may vary on vehicle models on your vehicle):
1.1 Water cooled.
This method has being in existence for a long time now. In this procedure, the supply and return pressure hoses(and pipes in some vehicles), are routed directly an aluminum casing(the configurations of the casing varies from cylindrical, to rectangular in shape), embedded beneath or at the sides of a water cooled radiator system.
Water cooled system, without an external trans cooler
During operations, coolants flowing flows across the aluminum casing embedded in the radiator system, in order to cool the transmission fluids, at every heat exchange by the car’s enfine cooling system.
1.1.1 DISADVANTAGES OF SUCH SYSTEM
1. There’s always a risk of wrongly connecting the transmission system tubing to the wrong port, if the various pipes were not marked out initially before disconnection.
2. The risks of transmission system damage is just too high. This does not entails that all such systems are prone to transmission system failures.
Although, this depends on the material compositions of the transmission system cooler casing embedded in the radiator system, and the age, and number of cycles it has undergone.
An old radiator system with such a set up, might require some level of inspections now and then.
3. They are easily affected by overheating, seeing that the transmission’s system heat dissipation capability is dependent on the coolant in the engine’s cooling systems.
A low leveled coolant in the transmission system, would heat up the engine, and subsequently, the transmission system too.
Making sure your car’s engine cooling system is intact, is the sure way to prevent transmission related problems.
4. The risks of transmission system damage abounds, if the transmission system cooler in the radiator system is compromised.
I know you have being expecting this. People always want to see what’s in it for them.
That’s human nature though.
1. Transmission system gets heat exchanges pretty much more than the aircooled one, because its cooling capability is not dependent on the uncertainty in ambient air temperatures.
1.2 AIR COOLED
Some modern vehicles have incorporated into them, what we called, an external cooler system.
Such coolers are mounted in front of the condenser(that’s front of the engine), with (or) without an electric cooling fan, and the transmission’s system pressure hoses connected to the cooler.
Front view of a 4runner V8 2008. Notice the trans cooler placed at left driver side
Air cooled trans cooler system. Notice the fins are not distorted from their vertical orientation
Their cooling efficiencies are dependent on environmental (or ambient) temperatures. For instance, in very hot environments like Florida in the USA, or up North in Nigeria, where temperatures could get up close to 40-50°C, without a fan aiding to cool down the ambient incoming air temperature, the heat exchange of such a transmission system is reduced. This puts the transmission system in pretty precarious state.
Insufficient fluid exchanges encourages transmission system fluids breakdowns, which in turn, would reduce the potencies of additive ingredients in the transmission system. This I bet you, would be terrible for your transmission system, if that’s the method installed on your vehicle.
1. In some applications with an electric cooling fan, mounted over the external cooler in front of the radiator, any failure in the electric cooling fan,would cause transmission system overheating.
2. Expensive, and prone to failure, when using high stream washing pressure to wash them up.
Yes, there are advantages to this system.
1. They last longer than the water cooled ones, because they are not exposed to frequent heat exchange cycles as their water cooled counterparts.
2. They can withstand a lot of abuses from environmental agents(debris,etc).
3. Labour hours (time) requires for their disassemble, repair(or replace), is low, compared to the water cooled one(you have to have the radiator system removed, and disassembled, before getting access to the cooler).
1.3 HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT SYSTEM YOUR VEHICLE HAS?
1. Air cooled? Look at the front of your car’s condenser. Do you see something resembling a small radiator, or a condenser? In some applications, there’d be an electric cooling fan attached to the cooler.
2. Water cooled? Yeah, almost the same, but you for to look out for pressure hoses going through the lower or side radiator system casings to identify it.
Asian vehicles are known for using the lower radiator system covers(the plastic under the radiator), for the hose routings, while their American counterparts, sometimes utilized the side radiator arrangement.
1.4 HOW DO YOU KNOW THE TRANSMISSION SYSTEM IS AT RISK OF DAMAGE?
1. Your car’s engine cooling system goes down. I mean, the level of coolant, always goes down, each time you top it up.
Removing and inspecting the transmission system dipstick gauge, would display a milky colouration, showing that’s where the coolant has being holidaying.
This would damage the transmission system, if proper care is not taken to fix the problem.
It would behoove you guys, that a lot of car owners have lost transmission systems, just because of this problem.
It mostly prevalent with the water cooled cooler system.
2. Milky colouration of the transmission fluids, when checked.
Coolants in the transmission system, would portend lots of problems, and eventual seizure of the system.
Identifying this problem in the initial stages of the coolants transmission fluid mixing, would help avert a major transmission system replacement, or job.
3. In some vehicles, when the transmission system fluids temperature exceeds a certain threshold, the “A/T TEMP” indicator is lit on the dashboard.
Seeing such lights lit on the dash, indicates a problem with the transmission system(its basically telling you, “can you please check me? I’m running on steroids”. Driving with such an indicator on, would cause damage to the transmission system.
1.5 HOW TO PREVENT THAT TRANSMISSION SYSTEM FROM FAILURE
1. Ensure coolants are in the radiator cooling system. Make sure its gauged, because, some transmission system share engine coolant for their heat exchanges.
2. Remove all debris, leaves, or polythene, stuck to the external cooler fins(I mean those tiny holes on the cooler).
This would prevent proper air flows.
3. Do not directly point a high pressure steam washing nozzle directly on the fins, when washing the engine bay.
Regulate the exit pressure of the spray nozzle, to some few PSI, or stay some distance, before steam washing a radiator/transmission cooler. That would prevent the fins from distorting out the orientations.
4. Always ensure that the transmission system cooler engine protectors are in place.
If you own an RX 330 vehicle, would notice the car’s external transmission cooler, is located by the driver side front fender area.
Check to see if it’s covered with mud.
Wash with soap, and a steady stream of water using a garden hose, until the coooker is free of muds.
RX330 transmission cooler exposed, without a fender covering. Can cause transmission temperature rises.
Example how a fender covering looks like on a different vehicle
Transmission systems don’t just go bad. There are a lot of underlying symptoms, that may have not being taken cognisance of, during their early manifestations.
Being able to know what kind of transmission system your vehicle has, and how to spot the early signs of a potential problem, would go a long way in averting an expensive repair, or replacement.
Always flush through all transmission system coolers, in the event of a transmission system replacement, as a result of mechanical failures, or contaminations.
Not performing this, would void any warranty, you may have on a replacement transmission system.
Use only appropriate fluids to flush the transmission system hydraulic lines, in such an eventuality.