An automotive transmission generates a lot of heat during the course of normal operation. Much of this heat gets dispersed through the transmission fluid system, which often routes fluid past the radiator so that it can discharge its heat to the coolant. Yet during periods of prolonged or intense use, a transmission may still fall prey to overheating.
Overheating can cause a lot of serious problems for a transmission system and must be avoided at all costs. One of the most effective ways to prevent overheating involves adding an aftermarket transmission cooler to your system. A transmission cooler acts as a second radiator, one dedicated entirely to cooling down your transmission fluid.
To get the most effective results from a transmission cooler, however, you'll need to choose one that is well-suited for your particular vehicle. If you would like to learn more about the variety of options at your disposal, keep reading. This article takes a closer look at three different types of transmission coolers.
1. Tube and Fin Coolers
The simplest and least expensive form of transmission coolers go by the name of tube and fin coolers. As this name suggests, the two principal features of this cooler style are a tube through which the coolant flows and a series of thin metal fins that disperse its heat. In addition, the inside of the tube contains a device known as a turbulator.
The turbulator agitates the fluid as its moves through the S-shaped tube. This agitation promotes a greater dispersal of heat to the aluminum fins. This heat ultimately moves out of the fins into the air that circulates around the cooler. Tube and fin coolers make an excellent choice for older vehicles, as well as vehicles with relatively modest usage demands.
When it comes to high-performance and/or work vehicles, on the other hand, tube and fin coolers may not have what it takes to keep temperatures within safe thresholds. A tube and fin cooler simply cannot move heat as quickly as such vehicles demand.
2. Plate and Fin Coolers
A plate and fin cooler takes a slightly different approach in order to increase overall cooling efficiency. Instead of utilizing a central tube, a plate and fin cooler forces transmission fluid through a series of horizontal aluminum plates. This increases the surface area relative to the volume of transmission fluid, allowing more heat to move out into the fins.
In addition to their greater efficiency, plate and fin coolers also tend to be more compact. As a result, they can be more easily integrated into the already crowded space beneath your hood. Those who want - or need - these benefits should expect to pay somewhat more than they would for a tube and fin cooler.
3. Stacked Plate Coolers
Stacked plate coolers offer yet another step up in terms of cooling efficiency. In most regards, stacked plate coolers work much like plate and fin coolers. The main difference involve the amount of airflow. The design of a stacked plate cooler makes it easier for air to circulate around the plates, this dispersing heat more quickly.
Stacked plate coolers make an excellent choice for towing, off-roading, and racing applications. For especially high cooling demands, certain stacked plate coolers also integrate fans to further increase airflow. Stacked plate coolers also utilize non-threaded AN fittings for maximum ease of installation and removal.
Investing in a transmission cooler allows you to protect your transmission from overheating - provided you get the right type of cooler for your vehicle. For more information about the cooler type best suited for your vehicle, please contact the automotive pros at Auto Import Service.