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Trans cooler installation in a 2002 Silverado 5.3L


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Greetings, usually I post about projects related to my Typhoon conversion, however, since acquiring EFILive (to tune both my '02 Silverado and Typhoon) I was shocked to see what the STOCK transmission temps were on my 2002 Silverado.


As you are aware, the PCM monitors transmission temps, and with a LS Model trim truck there is NO trans temp gauge in it from GM. (Bastages.. ) Anyhow, after acquiring EFILive and doing some datalogging on my truck, I was shocked to see that the transmission temps were around 187-190*F at cruise going down the highway at 75mph. With that said, I immediately turned my attention to the installation of a transmission cooler since there isnt anything other than the radiator style cooler on the truck STOCK.


The grille comes off quite easily, and I elected to modify the lower cross bar to support the cooler :



The installation went pretty well once I got a handle on the fitting & hose ends... Having the luxury of having the famed GASOLINE ALLEY here in town, I spent quite some time dealing with a very VERY helpful person @ North American Racing Parts, actually screwing fittings together to see what fit and what didnt. Altogether it took 1.5hrs to compile these parts shown here to make everything fit :




A sharp eye will notice that there is braided line in the picture, but I didnt use it, reason for this is that I didnt have enough in terms of LENGTH, therefore this was replaced by transmission fluid flex line from NAPA, its rated to 350psi and seems to work just fine.. There was very little 'fabrication' involved in this modification, the only 'cut and pasting' required was on the lower bracket that ties the radiator support together, this comes off with 2x 10mm bolts, I cut the angle in the width of the cooler and bent the angle part flat and drilled some holes in this to accomodate the lower bolts of the cooler. The upper holes in the cooler were tied to the stock core support using a bracket made from a 'universal exhaust hanger' that I had laying around and a couple of bolts. This setup suspends the cooler about 1-2" forward of the AC condensor and well behind the grill allowing for optimal cooling:





Turning my attention to the backside of the radiator proved to be the biggest headache of the trip, but like I said, the guy at NARP was awesome, he let me pull the truck IN THE SHOP, and we broke the lines apart and screwed everything together before I bought a single fitting :



After everything was together, I reassembled the truck and this is what you see now :



Hardly noticeable if at all.. And this lowered my Transmission temps from 187-190*F to 130*F !!!!


My testing involved bringing the truck upto temperature and taking it out on a 10-15mile cruise at 75+mph down the highway with temperatures that were within 10*F of each other.


Obviously the normal disclaimers apply here, and you will need to add more ATF after the installation, the cooler is fairly decent sized and the lines take some fluid as well.. I just thought I would pass along this information to someone that hasnt done this mod, and is contemplating it here is a complete list of parts that I used for the conversion:


Hose End -06 45* Push-On fitting (NARP part#012234506) 1 total

Union -06 to -06 Male/Male Aluminum AN815-6D (NARP part #01181506D) 1 total

Hose End -06 45* Double Swivel reusable ( NARP part #012204506) 1 total

Hose End -06 90* Double Swivel reusable (NARP part #012209006) 3 total

Adapter -06 x 1/2 NPT AN816-6-8D (NARP part #01181060608D) 2 total

Carb AD -06 *5/8-18mm Inverted Flare Fuel Pump fitting (NARP part#016702106) 1 total, this part screws into the radiator cooler.

Reducer -08 Female to -06 Male (NARP Part #01195008D) 1 Total



My hope is by using AN style fittings and hoses, I wont have any leaks for the life of the installation. Obviously you want to check the size of the fittings on your vehicle to make sure they are the same, the biggest PITA was the fitting to screw into the radiator, dang GM they went with and oddball fitting, the book shows that as a AC/Refrigerant style fitting, which sorta makes sense, because it LOOKS like the AC lines..


Anyhow, I have NO affiliation with North American Racing Parts, but I received OUTSTANDING service from them with the setup of the fittings I would recommend anyone contemplating this installation contact them and order these parts, their phone # 317-244-9694 I dealt with Stacey Hughes.


No the fittings are NOT cheap (about $120-130ish total) but I didnt want any leaks. Also, I went with the PUSH IN fitting on the hose that goes back to the radiator because of the oddball GM fittings, I cut the hose closest to the metal line I was deleting and installed the fitting. So far there are NO leaks and tranmission temps have dropped an astounding 60*F !!!


$120-130 in fittings

$60+ shipping for B&M 70266 cooler from www.summitracing.com

$20-25 in 3/8" transmission hoses from NAPA.


Money well spent I'd say for a 60*F drop in trans temps and a piece of mind that my tranny will be around for a very long time..

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