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Old 03-03-2012, 11:45 PM   #1
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Default 2400cfm trans cooling fan?

Sort of!

Transmission temp issues come up pretty regularly with the Chevy based class B's, and secondarily, engine temperature problems. They are intimately connected as all the cooling goes on in the radiator, oil, water, trans fluid. The only available auxiliary cooler is the factory add on trans cooler, unless you go aftermarket stuff.

We already had added the trans cooler, but others had mentioned they still got hot with the cooler, so I decided to add a fan to it. The cooler is of good design, plate and fin, but fairly small, so an add on fan would block a lot of it with its motor. The small fans also are on such a small diameter, the airflow isn't the best.

The stock trans cooler sits off of the AC condenser by a bit



Very near the center of the condenser



I decided to try to kill two birds with one stone and get air to the trans cooler and also more air to the radiator to cool the oil and water. I picked up a Spal 16" pusher fan that is rated at 2400+cfm (at 0"). It comes with mounting straps, and I bought a rubber pad/gasket that fits on the output side to cushion the condenser and keep the blades from hitting it. I took off the cooler brackets, and it moved very readily, so I could move it about to get the best new mounting position.



I mounted the fan with the two straps up to the radiator crossmember, and another down the passenger side to the frame below.





The fourth mount, for the inboard bottom goes down through the plastic shield to the lower cross frame of the van



The cooler goes back in place, overlapping part of the fan, so it will get forced air. The original brackets were modified to tie it to radiator crossmember on top, and to the plastic shield on the bottom.



What is looks like finished



And from the side



The fan will control from a temp sensor that comes with the Hayden relay control I got. It is made to go into the fins of a radiator, but I will silicone it to the back side of the trans cooler. The relay control has adjustable temperature capability and will mount in the engine compartment. I will also have a manual switch in the van, so we can give it head start at getting cool, when we are coming up to a big climb or stop and go traffic. Hope to wire it up tomorrow.

The mechanical fan in the van is probably doing about 6000cfm at 1500 and over engine rpm, so the 2000+ from the electric fan should be significant. It pulls a piece of paper tight into the cooler and with the engine not running, and it blows quite a lot of air through the condenser and radiator, into the engine compartment.

I am also going to get some dense styrofoam insulation and block of the openings the let air, coming in through the grill, to go out under the van without going through the radiator. I will leave a bit of opening on each side to let some air into the sides of engine compartment, by the battery on one side and the fusebox on the other. That should improve cooling while moving.

Hopefully, this will all be worth it if we get into the mountains and Alaska.
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Old 03-05-2012, 12:10 AM   #2
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Default Re: 2400cfm trans cooling fan?

What would some sort of a stone deflection system do to the air flow throughput,
assuming you're headed to Alaska at some point?
Apparently the (loose gravel) roadways are notorious for damaging rads and windshields.

Also, did you consider changing out the rad for a new one before adding the fan mod?
I can't recall what year your chassis is, sorry.
If you ever need to replace it out in the real world, what will a rad shop say about it, or
would you do your own replacement?

Nice mod, btw.
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Old 03-05-2012, 12:59 AM   #3
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Default Re: 2400cfm trans cooling fan?

We have thought of the stone protection, but it probably would only work in cool weather, as we would put a screen across the grill that would reduce flow. Probably would try if we get on a lot of gravel.

We have an 07 C190P, and there are not many options for a radiator change. If they add core thickness (nor room anyway) it restricts airflow, which is a big issue with the vans anyway, getting the air out of the tight engine compartment. No room to go wider with the radiator.

The only way I know of to increase the radiator capacity readily, to cool the water, would be to add fan cooled trans and oil coolers under the van, on the frame. Then you wouldn't be putting all the trans and oil heat into the water of the radiator.

I am hoping that by boosting the air, and closing off some of the areas that the air can "leak" to instead of going through the radiator, it will be enough. I also have room to add another fan (14") on the other side of the radiator, if it doesn't give enough.

Folks seem to have the trouble only on long climbs, in hot weather, fully loaded, or in stop and go traffic when it is hot, so it isn't a severe problem, just under some conditions.

There is always the ace in the hole of running the heater full blast, which is amazingly effective. The problem with the Express vans is that the AC runs in all positions (don't want the AC on if you are running hot) of the heat control except floor and vent, so blows right on you. We changed ours, so we can shut the AC off in all positions, if we want, so with the heat on full through the defrosters, it will go right out open side windows (most of it anyway).

We have found we really like the fresh air, no AC, coming out of the defrosters when driving in moderate weather, as it is less drafty and you don't have a lot of hot air coming down off the dash.
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Old 03-05-2012, 10:18 AM   #4
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Default Re: 2400cfm trans cooling fan?

Quote:
Originally Posted by booster
....................There is always the ace in the hole of running the heater full blast, which is amazingly effective. The problem with the Express vans is that the AC runs in all positions (don't want the AC on if you are running hot) of the heat control except floor and vent, so blows right on you. We changed ours, so we can shut the AC off in all positions, if we want, so with the heat on full through the defrosters, it will go right out open side windows (most of it anyway).

We have found we really like the fresh air, no AC, coming out of the defrosters when driving in moderate weather, as it is less drafty and you don't have a lot of hot air coming down off the dash.
Brilliant idea. Maybe a new topic for Tweaks, Mods & Projects if you get the time.
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Old 03-05-2012, 12:44 PM   #5
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Default Re: 2400cfm trans cooling fan?

I know what you mean about the under hood engine compartment air having few intake/egress routes.
The whole Roadtrek design has issues dissipating heat from underneath, with the additional skirting
and external storage compartments. Both engine and exhaust heat from routine driving is trapped
underneath the vans. If there's a breeze when you stop for the day, it's less of a problem. Or, if you
camp routinely in cooler climates, it can be a bonus. However, when you stop for the day and it's hot
and humid and the air is still, it's a problem.
Then there's the placement of the generators under the sleeping area. I realize there aren't many
options there, but perhaps moving the fresh water and holding tanks aft and moving the genset
forward might help. It sort of defeats the purpose by the positioning of the generator under the rear
end of the van so that if you're dry camping and want to run the A/C to cool you, you have to fire up
the generator right under the bed, which generates heat which just sits under the floor under the bed
with nothing to move it along.
It's a problem in any small footprint RV. Some of the bigger rigs can place their gensets forward, so it's
less of a problem.
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Old 03-06-2012, 01:08 AM   #6
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Default Re: 2400cfm trans cooling fan?

I've been concerned with this heat "trap" issue under the hood of our C190V R/T.
On long drives, especially leaving Arizona - I've gotten into the practice of leaving the hood unlatched. Secured by the lever hook only & two rubber bungies hooked onto the center grill support. It all stays in place with no bounce or rattle. Gives a sorta' Ram Air effect (I Hope).
The temp. gauge rides a little lower and my imagination convinces me that we gain 1 or 2 mpg. Then when we arrive at the evenings destination I open the hood (or is it a bonnet - eh?) to dissipate all that trapped hot air & let 'er cool down.

I like the trans. cooler & fan setup. Not sure I'm qualified to do the installation & my mechanic already holds 2nd mtg on the R/T...
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Old 03-06-2012, 01:31 AM   #7
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Default Re: 2400cfm trans cooling fan?

Sounds a bit risky, driving with the hood only partially latched.
I find the temp gauge creeps up if we're on an especially steep climb and losing speed as we climb.
I'll usually try to mitigate engine stress by allowing us to lose some momentum, and slow as we climb,
unless it's not safe or may cause more grief by doing so. In warmer weather, it's better to keep our
speed up, to keep air flowing through the grill.
So at that point it can become a catch 22, if you put the hammer down, to try to maintain speed and
air flow through the standard rad setup, it increases the rpms and the engine heat. If it ever got to a
critical point, I'd pull over and let things cool down, but that's not a solution, as you'll eventually have
to start your climb again when you've cooled down, but this time from a standstill, with no inertial momentum to get you started uphill.
I like booster's rig.
I wonder if there might be some way to increase or focus the air flow through the grill into the rad?
Using some sort of deflectors? Or is the factory setup best of breed for overall cooling performance?
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Old 03-06-2012, 01:53 AM   #8
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Default Re: 2400cfm trans cooling fan?

Mike; I can't swear that my part'l open hood is effective or not (wishful thinking - maybe).
But it is secure even at freeway speeds.
When we are approaching very steep inclines I take it off Cruise Control so the trans. doesn't keep shifting - down, up, down. I use the foot feed/throttle to try to maintain speed & control shifting, let speed decrease slowly then let it shift down - at about 55 mph. I do shift Down for long/steep descents to save on braking (some).
We also turn off Air Cond. (even in Arizona or Mojave Desert). Before we start a climb.
It's a little different technique than driving my Honda Accord. But seems to work for me.
Ric.
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Old 03-06-2012, 02:26 AM   #9
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Default Re: 2400cfm trans cooling fan?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike
I like booster's rig.
I wonder if there might be some way to increase or focus the air flow through the grill into the rad?
Using some sort of deflectors? Or is the factory setup best of breed for overall cooling performance?
As I mentioned in the earlier post, the grill/radiator opening setup is not ideal for forcing air through the radiator and engine compartment. When you have the grill out, you can see lots of openings, other than the through the radiator, that the air coming in through the grill can go. Of particular interest are the ones that open down towards the road, for a couple of reasons. Obviously, you would rather have that air go through the radiator and engine compartment before going out the bottom. If the front air dam is low, like a Roadtrek with bumper covers, and doesn't have too many openings, it will block the low air going under the van. Air going down the side of van at road level will pull a vacuum under the van, so if most every route for the air is blocked, except for through the radiator and/or through the engine compartment, the vacuum will pull air through and help the cooing. That same vacuum will rob air from the radiator if there are opening between the grill area and the ground. I plan to plug up all those areas with the dense, pink foam insulation to see how that works. I may also tape up all the middle openings of the front bumper cover to help it pull vacuum better. I will leave the outside openings clear so air can get to the brakes.

AZ, a very common trick in the world of hot running muscle cars is to remove the rear hood seal strip that seals the back of the hood to the engine compartment. When you are sitting still, it allows hot air to go its natural way (up), and when you are moving it will push air into the engine compartment as the windshield base is a high pressure area at speed. Depending on how well the air can get out of the engine compartment at speed, it MAY reduce the air through the radiator by a small amount.

I am hopeful that the single fan will be plenty to keep us cool (with the heater in reserve), along with the blocking of bypasses, but we could still add another (14" this time) fan to the other half of the radiator. We should be able to get a good read on how it works by watching the trans temp on the Scanguage, as it always goes up before the engine temp for us.
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Old 03-06-2012, 12:36 PM   #10
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Default Re: 2400cfm trans cooling fan?

Ric: I do that stuff, too. There is also a suggestion that downshifting out of O/D is a good idea.
I've got a scan gauge and have engine load as one of my regular displays. My 2002 downshifts
around 37-38% load on the engine. So I can better predict the degree of difficulty the van is
experiencing as we head up a hill, and deal with it that way.
booster: I still haven't figured out the transmission temperature display for my unit and
year/make/model, but I think if the water temperature begins to climb, the transmission is
probably already there.

It's funny about folks who regularly drive in the southern States. If they go for a drive in the
summer heat, it's not unusual to see hoods popped and opened up at rest areas and other short
stop points like shopping mall parking lots. A couple of years ago, we saw a large GM pickup truck
with a large number of occupants at a Walmart in WV, early morning, cool in the 50F range with the
hood up to let air flow through the engine compartment. It struck me as odd at first, and I wondered if
they needed help, but then the lit up. They were doing it probably out of habit.
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