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Old 04-10-2017, 12:24 AM   #1
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Default Oil and tranny coolers, particularly Chevy

Our 07 C190P Roadtrek is very typical of the Chevies (up to at least the 6 speed change anyway) in that it has a tendency to run hot on long climbs, or stop and go. It started out as a non towing option van, so no extra trans cooler, but with oil and trans coolers in the radiator. Once we had a Scangauge it got pretty obvious it was getting hotter than I was comfortable with, which would be about 210* on both water and trans, and we saw 220* quite quickly sometimes. Added a Chevy OEM cooler, with minimal benefit, I think. Put in a 2000+cfm Spal fan in front of the AC condenser but behind the trans cooler and that helped a noticeable amount. Added a second Spal fan and closed up all the air bypasses around the radiator and got a larger improvement, and that is where we have been for a while. It really is more of the trans temps now, with the water secondary. What was of particular interest was that the electric fans made a noticeable difference at 60 mph in both trans and water temps, and the normal rules say fans don't do any good above 35 mph. To me that meant air restrictions somehow.

To get better water cooling, it made sense to get all the extra heat from the trans and engine oil out of the radiator by going to standalone oil coolers. The norm for doing this is to mount big cooler underneath, with big fans on them, but space and packaging made that a not very attractive option. I went looking for information about putting the standalones in front of the radiator, and really had a hard time finding any decent information on sizing them properly. Nearly all the information is based on how heavy you are, or how many btu you need to get rid of, with no other attachment to reality. The only real information I found was from Setrab, for engine oil coolers only, that based the sizing on how many horsepower the engine would actually be running at when the max cooling was needed, and that allowed me to size that appropriately, I think. Almost all the manufacturers just tell you to put in the biggest trans cooler you fit, when you actually contact them, as they don't have a clue beyond that. When I contacted Setrab, the application guy I was communicating with was very interested when I asked why they didn't have a similar hp chart for transmissions, as that is what really counts because a relatively constant % of the power is going to be lost in the trans to heat. They don't have such a chart, but expressed interest in going to see what they can find out. I hope they do as it would be a huge benefit to the dealers and customers. I had done some guesstimate calcs and come up with a btu number I thought might be close, and it was only one size below his recommended (based on experience not data) size. I had room for what he suggested so decided to try that size for the trans.

With no water heating of the oil and trans fluid, I did also get 180* thermostats for both the trans and and engine oils, as well as checkvalves to keep the coolers from emptying at every shutdown.

From here it is pretty straightforward, just finding a good place for everything. Two coolers, two big fans, two thermostats, two big checkvalves, and a bunch of AN fittings and stainless hose in 06 size for the trans and 08 for the engine oil.

I found that I was best to swap the side of the van for the coolers, so the trans in on the driver side and engine oil on the psg side. This give room for the thermostats and checkvalves by running the crosswise below the radiator inlet area. I mounted the thermostats and checkvalves to a piece of 2X2X.125 aluminum angle that bolts up to the bottom of the frame rails just behind the bumper and ahead of the radiator. It is all built as bolt in subassembly.



The checkvalves point opposite directions and cross in the middle. The two oil circuits are offset on the angle to clear each other



This is one of the thermostats



Here the assembly is mounted in place in the van, with hoses, in the checkvalve center area.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg thermostats-chks subassembly.jpg (57.2 KB, 133 views)
File Type: jpg Checkvalves in place.jpg (65.7 KB, 132 views)
File Type: jpg trans thermostat mounted.jpg (63.5 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg check valve area installed.jpg (498.9 KB, 133 views)
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Old 04-10-2017, 12:35 AM   #2
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Nothing particularly special in mounting the coolers, and left the fans where they were. It is nice that the fans will blow through the condenser and radiator and also such air through the oil coolers, so we get double use from them. I just made some top and bottom brackets to hold the coolers. They do not touch the fans or radiator at all, which IMO is important from a vibration standpoint.

Everything in place.



From the psg side, so can see air baffles.



This shows the clearances to the fans and grille, and it is close to both.



This is the redone bottom air baffle that now has to let 4 hoses and the center fan support through. While I was there, I changed the connectors on the fans from the Spal Molex style to Delphi Weatherpacks.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg Done no grille.jpg (547.1 KB, 136 views)
File Type: jpg Done no grille psg side.jpg (582.0 KB, 137 views)
File Type: jpg trans cooler clearances drvr side.jpg (77.2 KB, 133 views)
File Type: jpg Done bottom baffle.jpg (566.8 KB, 135 views)
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Old 04-10-2017, 12:47 AM   #3
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The engine oil lines have to snake past a lot of steering parts, and needed a support in the driver side wheel well area.



Trans lines were much easier on the passenger side, just a simple anitbounce support.



All tucked in behind the grille.



All done.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg Done closup grille.jpg (361.7 KB, 132 views)
File Type: jpg Finished front.jpg (354.9 KB, 235 views)
File Type: jpg Trans hoses supt.jpg (369.8 KB, 132 views)
File Type: jpg Engine hoses supt.jpg (412.9 KB, 137 views)
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Old 04-10-2017, 01:07 AM   #4
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Of course, it doesn't say Chevy on it anymore, either

The stock Chevy grille has always kind of made me wonder, as it had so much blocked area by the big center bar and coarse crosshatch. I think it may be at least part of why the fans helped even at higher speeds.

I measured the clear air area of the Chevy grille, and it is only 45%. The GMC grille looked to be much more open, and it is, measuring in the low/mid 60s% range, so about 40% more clear area than the Chevy grille. Will it help, we will see. I should be able to see a difference in how much the fans help at highway speed if it does improve things.

This is all not really a cost effective, cost justifiable, modification, as we were able to get by OK without doing anything more. The gains will be in climbing speed, I hope, and in traffic, mostly in not having to watch for temps climbing, if we see good improvements. More enjoyable drive type benefits. I am also hopeful I will be able to fill in some of the blanks that are in the available information on the whole issue, including the grille open area questions. I used AN fittings and hose to be secure, even though the cost is quite high. I have never had an AN hose fail, even after 20+ years of turbo engine use in our old Challenger V8.

I chose the Setrab coolers because of the size first as they are just right to mount vertically, and they also have a sterling reputation, and were much more technically helpful and knowledgeable. I got a 915 for the engine oil and a 925 for the trans oil, plus two of their thermostats and fittings and hose. The checkvalves came from Summit. I was going to use Derale initially, or Earls, but the sizes weren't the best fit, and Derale quality has apparently badly slipped lately, and it was mentioned several places that the had changed suppliers.

Now we can't wait to get to some mountains. Maybe a test in rush hour traffic
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Old 04-10-2017, 02:24 AM   #5
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Great mod. I bought the GMC grille a few months ago for the same reason: more open than the Chevy. I have not installed yet. I will do that and see what that one change does.
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Old 04-10-2017, 02:50 AM   #6
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Were you able to find a decent used grille, or go aftermarket?
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Old 04-10-2017, 03:08 AM   #7
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.

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Old 04-10-2017, 03:24 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by booster View Post
Were you able to find a decent used grille, or go aftermarket?
http://www.autopartswarehouse.com/sk...y/G070116.html

Price has gone up. It had been $149. Got 15% off that as first time buyer. It does not have the GMC logo. I plan to remove the Roadtrek logo from the hood and put it where the GMC logo goes.
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Old 04-10-2017, 11:57 AM   #9
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Have you taken a good look at the the grille yet? I got two of the aftermarket ones that were badly broken in shipping, or maybe even before.

The markings and inserts on them indicated they were made in Taiwan and distributed by Sherman, who sells is huge into aftermarket and rust repair panel and such. On edit-I just looked at the broken remains and it has a molded in name of Profortune in Taiwan. If yours is the same, take a very good look at all the reinforcing ribs. Even if not in one of the completely broken areas, both grilles had big broken out pieces of the ribs, particularly around the lower mounting towers that get the clips on them.

Ours came in a coffin sized box, with the grille in a big plastic bag, with a layer of thin foam. At least the bag kept all the broken off plastic ribs and mounts from rolling around
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Old 04-10-2017, 08:35 PM   #10
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Wow, I really look forward to the "magical" mods you have achieved over the years. That garage of yours is really a "RT Improvement Center." Thanks for sharing, Ron
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