Mishimoto Transmission Cooler - first impressions - Dodge Cummins Diesel Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-15-2019, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
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Mishimoto Transmission Cooler - first impressions

I picked up a Mishimoto transmission cooler during the pre-sale and finally got around to installing it a few days ago. My reason for upgrading the cooler is I was having problems with the transmission getting hot while slowly crawling up grades in the back country. It happened when the truck was either loaded and unloaded. It was worse when pulling an ATV or raft trailer on hot days. The OEM cooler works fine as long as there's plenty of air flow. It even works better with a Dynamic Thermostat delete Kit. My needs are a little unique in that I need even more cooling capacity to help out with climbing twisty, switchback trails at 20 mph (no air flow) on a 100+ degree day. I have a 100 mile back country trip planned and wanted to increase the cooling buffer a bit.

The Mishimoto cooler is a high quality stacked plate design. It's much larger than the OEM cooler but bolts perfectly into the stock location. Installation took me about two hours with me working slowing and methodically. The installation video on Youtube is spot on and easy to follow. The kit is complete with no additional parts needed. After installation, I added 1 qt of transmission fluid to make up for the loss when I cut the old hoses.

I installed the cooler as it came from the factory with the thermostat installed. That was a mistake. I took the truck for a test drive with an ambient air temp around 90 degrees F. In stop and go driving, my temps briefly peaked out between 200 and 205 degrees, which was pretty much the same as the OEM cooler, except the OEM cooler would go past 200 and stay there. The new cooler did take longer to heat up and it cooled down quicker, but the peak temps were similar. Note that my temps were taken form an Edge CTS gauge display that in my case consistently reads at least 15 degrees hotter than my infrared temperature gun on the transmission pan. I have plenty of buffer for local driving, but not enough in my mind for climbing rough back country grades to 8,000 ft on hot days.

I decided to install the thermostat delete kit that came with the cooler to see if that would help. The video made it look simple but in reality it's a bit more complicated when the cooler is installed. To access the thermostat, you first have to loosen or remove the top support bracket. There's not enough space to work underneath it. I also removed the intercooler mounting bolts. The thermostat has 5 small, slippery parts. I managed to drop and lose a spring and a cap between the trans cooler and the intercooler. It took me 15 minutes to locate them with a flashlight and fish them out. When you put the delete kit in, the assembly is spring loaded and the small parts try to launch to points unknown during installation. I recommend saving yourself the trouble by installing the thermostat delete kit before the cooler is installed in the truck.

Once the delete kit was installed, it was time for a test drive. I decided to climb a local 6000 ft mountain with a windy, switchback paved road. Truck was empty with no trailer. I intentionally kept the transmission in drive (tow/haul not engaged) to let it slip and build heat. Air temp was 83 at the bottom and about 70 at the top. Transmission temps were about 20-30 degrees lower overall than the OEM cooler under similar driving conditions. I peaked out a 192 on a particularly steep stretch. For the most part, I stayed in the 170-185 range. Speed ranged from 20 to 30 mph. Overall I was pretty happy with the performance, especially when you factor in the gauge correction. As soon as the grade flattened out, I let off a bit or drove in a shady stretch, the temps would start to go back down.

So far it looks like it was a pretty good mod. I plan to do a little more testing before the big trip but it looks good so far. If needed, I'll add an "under the box" auxillary cooler. The Derale kits look pretty good and aren't as expensive as some of the others I've seen. Hope this helps others who may be considering a similar purchase. I'll try to add to this thread as I get a little more experience with this cooler.


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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-16-2019, 01:50 AM
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-16-2019, 08:53 AM
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Awesome review! Thanks for posting it.

While reading it one thing stood out immediately, your fan clutch. Is it working correctly? Many swear by the OEM fan setup vs e-fans on the slower mtn grades which makes me think yours might be weak?

Do you still have the block exchanger?

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-16-2019, 11:25 AM Thread Starter
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Fan clutch still working?

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Originally Posted by steve05ram360 View Post
Awesome review! Thanks for posting it.

While reading it one thing stood out immediately, your fan clutch. Is it working correctly? Many swear by the OEM fan setup vs e-fans on the slower mtn grades which makes me think yours might be weak?

Do you still have the block exchanger?
I'm not sure about the fan clutch. I don't hear it kick on and off. Is there an easy way to test it? I still have the block exchanger / torque converter cooler on board.

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-16-2019, 11:45 AM
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I'm not sure about the fan clutch. I don't hear it kick on and off. Is there an easy way to test it? I still have the block exchanger / torque converter cooler on board.
Yeah you ground one of the pins... its detailed in the manual, I've never actually had to do it... I knew my clutch was weak but it still kept up with the load my truck sees.

Also, FWIW, when I'm heading up a dirt mtn road I'll jump out and set the e-fan on temp much lower to effectively keep them on. Saturday I had a 3300' climb at 15~18 mph & no CT issues with the fans on low. From what I recall when I had the clutch in there I never had an issue in the mtns at all regardless of driving situation... slow, hill climbs, dirt roads etc.

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-03-2019, 12:41 PM Thread Starter
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Fan clutch not working

Quote:
Originally Posted by steve05ram360 View Post
Awesome review! Thanks for posting it.

While reading it one thing stood out immediately, your fan clutch. Is it working correctly? Many swear by the OEM fan setup vs e-fans on the slower mtn grades which makes me think yours might be weak?

Do you still have the block exchanger?
Steve - You were right about the fan clutch not working. I got out my multimeter yesterday and ran the FSM troubleshooting tests. Didn't take long to find out it was bad. New Hayden 3282 fan clutch on the way.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-08-2019, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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Replaced the fan clutch replaced yesterday and things are running cooler as expected. Just in time for the hottest day of the year (102 yesterday!) If I can find the time I'll try to make the same run on our local 6000 ft mountain to see how much difference it makes. I also have another climb coming up to brush out a road and maybe set some trail cameras.
The AC is definitely working better so I'm pretty happy about that. Makes me wonder how long the fan clutch has not been working. For 9 months out of the year here it doesn't really make much difference, but July and August can get pretty miserable for us northerners!
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-14-2019, 07:22 PM
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Hey guys, Iím a little late to this thread, but thought Iíd chime in with my own experience with a Mishimoto trans cooler. (FYI, Iím running their radiator too).

I have to agree with the OP, the thermostat is a disaster! I recently rebuilt my transmission, and after talking with Dave Goerend, he recommended replacing the OEM cooler with an OEM mopar cooler. The reason being, especially with the newer 48reís aka (04.5 and up), any trans cooler pressure drop had a larger effect on the trans itself. He made a point to tell me it was really with the newer 48reís vs. some of the older ones....mine in particular. (Iíve got an 05 ). Youíll find the Mishimoto trans cooler (with thermostat installed) works well when running down the road at speed with the TC locked up. HOWEVER, I almost burned up my brand new billet trans because I got caught doing 35-40mph up a hill in traffic pulling my 20K 5er. After having a minor heart attack, I removed the thermostat as quickly as I could. The temps instantly dropped 30 degrees during acceleration and up hills, even when pulling heavy. More importantly though, the transmission itself started shifting better instantly. I donít notice it as much when really accelerating, but I do notice it at slower speeds and just when shifting into or out of a gear.

Long story even longer, I think the Mishimoto trans cooler is every bit as effective as some of the add on frame mounted coolers....while also being cheaper (relatively speaking of course). That said, DONíT use the thermostat. If you live in colder weather like me and are worried about the transmission warming up in the winter, just put a set of electric fans on the front with a manual ďoffĒ switch! As an aside, Dave also highly recommended against adding a 2nd frame mounted cooler as he said the pressure drop is too great and it reduces the flow. Granted if youíve got an older model 48re youíre probably fine, but if youíve got a newer one....itís up to you.

When it comes to my transmission, I trust the folks at Goerend transmission....especially the owner, Dave Goerend. (Heís probably forgotten more about them than Iíll ever know!). He can definitely give me an ďI told you soĒ when it comes to trans health and trans cooler fluid flow after my mid-adventure bringing my camper home.


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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-14-2019, 07:32 PM
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Why do you think the thermostat had anything to do with how the trans shifts? Are you implying that with the thermostat installed at a certain speed it is not letting fluid flow?

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-14-2019, 09:47 PM
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Basically, yes. Restricting the flow until it reaches temp is pretty much what itís supposed to do. But the problem is not that it wonít open, but that even when it does open it still restricts fluid flow through the system. I should have taken a picture of the thermostat and bypass plug side by side so you could see them. The thermostat is really large and sits inside a plastic ring inside the housing.

Just to be clear, as I donít want anyone to think removing the thermostat is going to fix their transmission. (Or that Iím suggesting that). When I removed it, I could feel the transmission go in and out of gear more solidly. Additionally, the transmission shifted just a little smoother as I accelerated.

I will offer this alternative though; I have noticed that the trans shifts as smooth as silk when the temp is 120-140 degrees (measured by my Edge Insight Pro). With that in mind, without the thermostat, the trans temps tend to stay less than 160, and typically down in the 140ís when driving around. (For reference, the trans temps hover around 180-185 with the thermostat installed....which is pretty much where they were at with the OEM cooler as well)


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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-14-2019, 11:31 PM
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Quote:
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Basically, yes. Restricting the flow until it reaches temp is pretty much what itís supposed to do. But the problem is not that it wonít open, but that even when it does open it still restricts fluid flow through the system. I should have taken a picture of the thermostat and bypass plug side by side so you could see them. The thermostat is really large and sits inside a plastic ring inside the housing.

Just to be clear, as I donít want anyone to think removing the thermostat is going to fix their transmission. (Or that Iím suggesting that). When I removed it, I could feel the transmission go in and out of gear more solidly. Additionally, the transmission shifted just a little smoother as I accelerated.

I will offer this alternative though; I have noticed that the trans shifts as smooth as silk when the temp is 120-140 degrees (measured by my Edge Insight Pro). With that in mind, without the thermostat, the trans temps tend to stay less than 160, and typically down in the 140ís when driving around. (For reference, the trans temps hover around 180-185 with the thermostat installed....which is pretty much where they were at with the OEM cooler as well)


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Thanks for your input I have the same setup and I been running high temps this weekend I will pull that thermostat and see how everything goes , I have a second cooler BD Xtruded double stack as well so you are saying I should pull it off?


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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-15-2019, 07:43 AM
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All I can tell you for certain is what I have personal experience with, and thatís the fact that the thermostat definitely restricts trans fluid flow.

As for the BD double stack cooler, I wouldnít recommend anything....or should I say, if it were me, Iíd employ the ďif it ainít broke, donít fix itĒ theory. I think whether you keep it or remove it is up to you. I know the BD coolers drop trans temps quite well too.

The best thing I can tell you is give the folks at Goerend transmission a call and talk to them. They can give you all the specific data points on flow numbers and how exactly trans fluid flow through the cooling system affects overall trans health/performance. (They believe in data points and testing, so I know theyíve got the data to back up their advice.). All I can do is relay what their guidance to me was regarding trans coolers.


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