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Installing transmission cooler in 3rd generation **Pictures!**

Discussion in '3rd Gen 4Runners (1996-2002)' started by ramonortiz55, Jul 31, 2015.

  1. Jul 31, 2015 at 9:09 PM
    #1
    ramonortiz55

    ramonortiz55 [OP] New Member

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    I decided to do a write up for the transmission cooler.

    Transcoolers are very important in 3rd generation 4runners to avoid the pink milkshake issue. (google it!)

    I went ahead and bought the B&M 70268 transcooler.

    Picked up a quart of transmission fluid, some hose clamps, and 3/8" inner diameter transmission hose from vatozone.

    [​IMG]

    First step is to make sure the 4runner is cool. Don't want to get scalded by any hot transmission oil while removing the existing transmission hoses.

    Next I removed the grille


    [​IMG]

    The grill is held in place by five support clips. Each support clip looks like this (pictured already popped out):

    [​IMG]

    If we look to the side of the support clip, well see its open. There is a little knub in there. This knub needs to be pushed back with a flathead screwdriver to disengage the support clip.

    [​IMG]

    Next we go under the 4runner and remove the skid plate. It is being held in place by a few bolts:

    [​IMG]

    Dropping skid plate:

    [​IMG]

    This will expose the bottom of the radiator and the transmission hoses:

    [​IMG]

    The driver's side transmission hose is the RETURN line.

    [​IMG]

    The passenger side transmission hose is the SEND line.

    [​IMG]

    Follow the hoses until you reach where they connect to hard transmission tubing. The transmission hoses are the ones with the sleeves in the picture below. I couldn't take a better picture because they are in a tight spot:

    [​IMG]

    Next I mounted the transmission cooler, notice that I had to remove the drivers side horn and placed it on the same bolt that holds the drivers headlight. I decided to do this because I didn't want to obstruct wind flow across the transcooler:

    [​IMG]

    I also went ahead and connected the hoses:

    [​IMG]

    I attached the transcooler onto the radiator using supplied zip ties.

    I ran the hoses thru an opening to the left of the radiator, it appears that some tubing runs thru there also.

    [​IMG]

    After removing the existing radiator hoses, I attached the upper transcooler hose to the SEND tubing.

    I attached the lower hose to the RETURN tubing. I made sure to not mix these two up.

    So what happens to the exposed inlet and outlet at the bottom of the radiator?

    I used some leftover transmission hose to connect them together.

    If I ever need to use the radiator in an emergency, I can always connect back to it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2015
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  2. Sep 20, 2015 at 4:40 AM
    #2
    RideFast

    RideFast New Member

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    B&M tranny cooler, 5'' deck plate, Airaid MIT
    Nice job!!
     
  3. Sep 20, 2015 at 6:52 PM
    #3
    ramonortiz55

    ramonortiz55 [OP] New Member

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    thanks bud!
     
  4. Sep 21, 2015 at 9:15 AM
    #4
    RussToy

    RussToy New Member

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    I concur...nice write up with good pictures.

    That said...I do have a question...I've seen a ton of guys doing this mod, and I completely understand about the issue of the dreaded "Pink Milk Shake"!! My question is..instead of buying an aux trans cooler...why not just buy a new raditor? Then everything is back to factory...and you're good for another 125,000-150,000 miles.

    The reason I ask is, how do we know that size aux cooler is the correct size needed to properly cool our trans...either too small or too big?? Are you running a trans temp gauge?

    Please don't take offense to my question...it's not that I'm trying to dog or sharp-shoot your write-up or your decision to do this mod. Just a question I've had and I won't do a mod to my Runner until I feel 100% comfortable and completely understand all the in's and out's. I've read several of your post...and you seem like you really know a lot about our 4Runners; therefore, I thought you'd be the best guy to ask.

    Thanks for taking the time to explain this to me...

    - Russel
     
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  5. Oct 16, 2015 at 7:56 PM
    #5
    ramonortiz55

    ramonortiz55 [OP] New Member

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    A few people do purchase a new radiator. But the problem with this is you never know when the pink milkshake can happen. Especially since you can't visually inspect the radiator to check it's condition. Then you have it in the back of your head...is it time to change? ..or should I wait longer? It would all be based on gut feeling.

    So why not just separate the two by installing a transcooler? Leaves the guess game out of the picture.

    In regards to sizing the transcooler, I picked out what everyone else is using: Seems like everyone is pretty happy with it.

    If you don't feel confident you can try this:

    Tundras have transmission coolers also. Maybe you can find one online and use it for the 4runner. Its obvious that the Tundra has more towing/hauling capabilities than the 4runner. Therefore, a transcooler from the Tundra would be MORE than enough for the 4runner transmission.

    Make sense?

    I thought about this also, and considered the tundra transcooler. Then I just noticed everyone else used the cooler in the writeup I did.

    Another thing you can do is install an aftermarket temperature gage or buy a scan or ultra gauge to measure you transmission temperature after you install your transcooler. This will help you keep an eye on the transmission temperature.
     
  6. Oct 16, 2015 at 7:58 PM
    #6
    ramonortiz55

    ramonortiz55 [OP] New Member

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    Sorry it took me forever to reply to this.

    I need to get on here more. lol
     
  7. Oct 17, 2015 at 12:01 PM
    #7
    4RunJET

    4RunJET New Member

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    Thanks ramonortiz55, if I had only known about this with the Xterra it would have saved me boku bucks. I guess it's known as raspberry shake, strawberry shake, pink shake, etc., but whatever it's known as it will take a lot of your green bucks if the tranny completely goes. Nissan had a warranty on this problem but (naturally) didn't tell anyone. I missed the warranty by 4,000 miles. I didn't know that the problem could happen with Toyotas. Now I know - by pass the radiator and install an aux trans cooler.
     
  8. Oct 19, 2015 at 2:58 AM
    #8
    RussToy

    RussToy New Member

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    Oooooouch...@4RunJET, that totally sucks!! And I'm sure Nissian didn't cut you a break...and cover it under warranty since you were only out by 4,000 miles...did they?? Man that hurts!!

    What I did...I went to the aftermarket sector to fix my problems and worries. I purchased a custom made aluminum AFCO radiator. This way I still get the super fast trans warm-ups and the much more efficient fluid to fluid cooling...but I also don't have to worry about anymore Pink Milkshakes! It's a win win!

    The only down side is cost, but I lucked out on this. I purchased my radiator used. A 4th gen owner had the radiator built for his V-8 4Runner. He had problems of overheating the engine and trans...while 4wheeling out in the desert in Arizona on long slow trail rides. Therefore, he spent $1700+ to have a radiator (the cost was for the whole set-up..radiator, dual electric fans, wiring harness, aluminum fan shroud, aluminum overflow tank w/ AN fittings and SS braided hoses...top dollar and no expense was spared) especially built for his 4Runner. Once installed...no more worries. Now his temps never went over 195*!! He only had it installed for 4 month...when he sold his 4Runner for an FJ. But before he traded in his rig...he swapped out all the mods...and reinstall the OEM radiator. He put the aluminum radiator 4sale...hoping to get some of his money back. After a year of advertising w/ 4th gen...I ran across it. He gave me all the dimension..which it was a little bit bigger...but I figured I could make it worked. So we worked out a great deal and I bought it.

    Took a bit to get it, the dual electric fans, aluminum overflow tank and everything else all in there...but with some creativity we got her in there. All I have to say is...Wow!! I'm Very very happy!! I can't say I myself would have dropped $1700 in this system...especially since I really didn't need it. But for what I paid for it....I'd recommend everyone should!!

    image.jpg

    image.jpg
     
  9. Oct 19, 2015 at 10:22 AM
    #9
    4RunJET

    4RunJET New Member

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    Thanks everyone. Nissan is installing a new radiator and transmission at 1/2 price. Said the 80,000 mile warranty is out, but a new one to 85,000 miles is in effect in which I pay half. Then I sell the Xterra and get ready for a 4-Runner. Had one once before and I really liked it. So far, every Toyota that I have had, 3 Camry's, 1 Rav4, 1 Tacoma, 1 Tundra, and 1 Avalon have never given me a problem. Change the oil on schedule and we're good to go. I think a Gen 3 will do for me.
     
  10. Feb 12, 2016 at 6:58 AM
    #10
    irishfury

    irishfury New Member

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    Does anyone think it's necessary to flush any remaining transmission fluid from the radiator? I plan to follow the steps that
    @ramonortiz55 posted. In doing research, I stumbled on where he goes through the trouble of flushing the transmission fluid from the radiator. I am wondering where this falls between not worth the trouble and critical.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2016
  11. Feb 16, 2016 at 12:14 PM
    #11
    ramonortiz55

    ramonortiz55 [OP] New Member

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    i didnt flush the radiator.
     
  12. Feb 20, 2016 at 1:30 AM
    #12
    Ol'Blue

    Ol'Blue Moderator Staff Member

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    "Not all who wander are lost"
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    A few things here and there. Still dreaming up stuff
    Guys

    I work in shop that specializes in heating and cooling systems and we build Radiators still the old school way even with brass and copper. I'll go over a few things from above.

    First the OE cooler in a Radiator SUCK. They are small as crap and get no air flow across them when in the side of a Radiator tank I don't care who makes it. GM Ford Toyota etc. There crap. Think about it. You have a cooler inside a plastic tank and air flow.

    Next with the systems separated like this there is no worry of cross contamination between the systems. I have one on my 3rd gen and the Trans Temp sits at around 140 most days. Nice and cool even when I was pulling 12,000ft passes in Colorado it was only running 175ish.

    All that air across the cooler is what I like when cruising down the road.

    Now the only issue I'm having is with everything I have on the front on my truck bumper winch trans cooler etc etc the a/c condenser doesn't get as much air as my mostly stock 99 3rd gen. That ac will run you out almost. My 01 not so much but it keeps me cool on a hot day.

    The B and M's trans coolers have a solid track record also no matter what they are put in if installed correct. I tell people make a solid bracket of some type to install them on. It takes out the issue of wear on a AC condenser or Radiator when running the zip ties through the cores of either one like I have seen in the past.

    Hope this helps someone out.

    Blue

    PS- A pic of some of the Radiators we build and service still...

    20160219_105609.jpg
     
  13. Feb 20, 2016 at 1:31 AM
    #13
    Ol'Blue

    Ol'Blue Moderator Staff Member

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    A few things here and there. Still dreaming up stuff

    Post some more pics up of that Radiator for me if you would that's a cool build. I have not seen one like that...

    Blue
     
  14. Feb 20, 2016 at 2:58 PM
    #14
    ramonortiz55

    ramonortiz55 [OP] New Member

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    Blue,

    Could you give us some insight on acceptable transmission fluid temperatures?

    I have a scangauge on my 3rd gen to monitor the transmission fluid temp on hot texas summers..what would be an acceptable transmission temp range? what would be considered too hot?
     
  15. Feb 21, 2016 at 5:37 PM
    #15
    Ol'Blue

    Ol'Blue Moderator Staff Member

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    A few things here and there. Still dreaming up stuff
    Let me get back to you on that one. I know just the man to ask that. All he dose is build them all day long every day. I'll see what my buddy has to say about that. I like that 165-170 my self but my truck some times will run in the 180s too. I have had it as low as 125 but that was at zero out side and driving in the rockies mts. In the winter time.
     
  16. Feb 23, 2016 at 5:17 AM
    #16
    ramonortiz55

    ramonortiz55 [OP] New Member

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    thanks blue
     
  17. Mar 2, 2016 at 2:43 PM
    #17
    ramonortiz55

    ramonortiz55 [OP] New Member

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    :boink:
     
  18. Mar 18, 2016 at 3:07 PM
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    ramonortiz55

    ramonortiz55 [OP] New Member

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    Blue, any updates on this?

    Summer is around the corner and I would like to keep an eye on that temp - especially here in Texas
     
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  19. Jul 6, 2016 at 8:09 AM
    #19
    ramonortiz55

    ramonortiz55 [OP] New Member

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    :spy:
     
  20. Jul 7, 2016 at 8:08 PM
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    H2smokin

    H2smokin New Member

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    Glad this got pulled to the top. Thanks for photos, they will help a lot. Had my 2001 for 6 days now. Got my new radiator today and the tranny cooler being delivered tomorrow. First of the upgrades I'm doing over the next couple of weekends.
     
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  21. Jul 7, 2016 at 8:24 PM
    #21
    ramonortiz55

    ramonortiz55 [OP] New Member

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    sweet!
     
  22. Jul 7, 2016 at 8:27 PM
    #22
    ramonortiz55

    ramonortiz55 [OP] New Member

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    From a T4R.org post:

    I emailed Valvoline about their Max Life ATF.

    Here is what I wrote:

    What is the maximum safe temperature for your Max Life ATF? I understand that the life of ATF is determined by the temperature that it's operated under.

    The reason I ask is because while 4wheeling last weekend, the temperature of my ATF got up to 280 degrees F at the send line to the cooler. I don't know what my pan temp was. I'm wondering if I should flush my transmission or if your Max Life ATF can handle operating at that high of a temperature.



    Thank you for your questions. If the temperature of the transmission fluid reaches 280*F for a long period of time, the life of the fluid would decrease quickly, within a few thousand miles. If the product in your transmission is a conventional fluid, Valvoline would recommend replacing that fluid with the Valvoline MaxLifr Dex/Merc ATF. The Valvoline MaxLife Dex/Merc ATF is a full synthetic fluid that will with stand temperatures above 280*F, but the life expectancy of the fluid would decrease slower than a conventional fluid.


    Thanks for the response. The fluid in my tranny right now is the Max Life Dex/Merc.How much of an improvement does your Max Life ATF offer over conventional ATF at high temperatures?



    Conventional transmission fluids are not designed to with stand high temperatures like synthetic fluids such as, Valvoline MaxLife Dex/Merc ATF. The flash point of the Valvoline MaxLife Dex/Merc ATF is 395*F. Conventional fluids can flash between 330*-350*F.


    So are you saying that my max life ATF is okay after being exposed to 280 degree heat for one hour?


    The Valvoline MaxLife Dex/ Merc ATF can easily withstand extreme temperatures of 280*F for an hour but, if your vehicle is maintaining this temperature you may want to have a transmission repair shop look in to why the transmission is reaching these temperatures. The transmission should run temperatures under 200*F.
     
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  23. Jul 9, 2016 at 6:41 PM
    #23
    H2smokin

    H2smokin New Member

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    Got my cooler installed today. Took forever it's so hot out here in Tucson. I'm not to keen on the little foam pads being the only thing keeping it from hitting condenser. I also put some pad on either for the locking tabs. I actually drained transmission at same time for about 1 1/2 hours. Question now is how much does the system hold now? I've put 3 quarts in and it still isn't showing full. I drove truck for about 10 miles with no leaks but then I checked level with truck at idle and it is at about the cool level on dipstick . I only drained tranny no filter change. Am I checking level correctly? Thanks
     
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  24. Apr 26, 2017 at 11:59 AM
    #24
    Rotorav8

    Rotorav8 New Member

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    I know the strawberry milkshake is a common problem so wanted to add to this thread. If you ever have this happen you need to flush the fluid out immediately. If you get any kind of water inside your transmission it will swell up at clutches and destroy it quickly. It is possible to flush it without a pump I did it myself. My technique was to open the passenger side line that comes from the transmission and run it to a bucket. The driver side line is the return line to the transmission. I run a few quarts out and the very first sign of bubbles I have a friend shut the vehicle off. Then I replace the fluid and do it again. You should also consider that there is fluid inside of the transmission cooler in the radiator. If your stock lines gave way like mine did you also need to flush your cooling system because the oils will eat away at your cooling system gaskets. Most new radiators that have the cooler built in have gone to a new design. The new design does not allow the fluids to mix if one or the other fails. The reason the old one caused mixing is because the internal cooler floats freely around inside of the radiator then an O-ring makes a seal to the inside of the radiator when you screw the lines into the cooler. I had the mixing and was later able to flush it within a few hours and have several thousand miles on my transmission since then so it seems to be OK. Just make sure if buying a combine radiator and transmission cooler that it is the new style not an old stock model .
     
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