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Hi all,

Im looking to purchase a new transmission cooler and would like some sort of assistance installing this device onto my taurus. Is there a link or video that anybody can provide that lists the steps to install a transmission cooler???

I just recently put a new torque converter in my car and transmission mount, now I want to make sure that I dont have any other issues with my transmission for a long, long time. I spent so much on this car already so I just want to make sure that I can prevent some things from happening in the future. Im going to get a tranny change with synthetic but I would like to install the tranny cooler first.

I heard this procedure isnt hard to complete, just want a little guidance on how to install a transmission cooler on my 1997 ford taurus gl?? Not much of a transmission guy, I dont mess with tranny's at all hahah

Thanks in advance for all your help and this is an awesome website!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D
 

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Most people keep the stock ATF cooler in the radiator and add an extra one down stream from it. So the ATF goes through the stock cooler and then though the aux cooler. You can also bypass the stock cooler and just go with the aux cooler.

The main thing you'll want to determine is where you can fit the aux cooler so that it has good air flow through it. If you can't get air flow naturally get it in front of a fan or add a fan just for the cooler.

The SHO atf coolers had a nice shape that fits in the air dam opening to get natual air flow as the car is moving. It may also get a little air flow from the radiator fan, but not much. I found a used SHO cooler on ebay and installed it:



Just had to make a couple simple brackets to bolt it on.



Most of the aftermarket stacked plate coolers will be thin and flat made to mount in front of the radiator or AC condensor. They will come with plastic mounting options to mount through the radiator or condensor fins. I don't like that mounting myself, and I always make a little bracket of some kind to hold the cooler and support it from flexing.

These are some of the best ATF coolers on the market: http://www.importperformancetrans.com/coolers.shtml
I have no affiliation with IPT but have used those same Long Tru-Cool LPD Transmission Coolers on my truck and they are great. The one on my truck (model 4454) cools the ATF very well just by itself (the factory radiator cooler is bypassed). I do have a fan mounted to it and a thermostatic control that turns the fan on at about 180* F. Some pics of that setup:

 

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Look here for how to install on a 1996 or Gen 3. http://www.niesens.com/hobbies/cars/1996-f...r/index.en.html
Very complete instructions.

Tried to follow this for my Gen 4 but the steel struts where niesens mounted his cooler are not present on my 2002 Duratec. I mounted mine to the passenger side of in front of the radiator. Used steel straps bent to attach to radiator support and passenger side bracket for stock AT cooler which is lower than the main bumper beam. Used a Long Tru cool 4454 but no fan. No space for fan. Stock AT cooler remains in original location and is still connected and working.
 

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Secondary/Auxiliary Transmission Cooler Installation on a 1996 Ford Taurus GL

I moved the above mentioned content into this thread since I no longer run the web server. I'm heating the house in a more cost effective way. :D

http://www.niesens.com/hobbies/cars/1996-ford-taurus/transmission-cooler/index.en.html said:
Secondary/Auxiliary Transmission Cooler Installation on a 1996 Ford Taurus GL
When I tackled the task of adding an additional transmission cooler I did a lot of research about recommendations and instruction but I found that some hints and tips that where not available which I have come to know through my experience as I installed the transmission cooler. Adding the transmission cooler is actually quite simple and can be done with a minimal amount of tools and without lifting the car.

As usual the disclaimer. I can not and will not guarantee that this information is correct, safe, or legal. I don't know if this will void your warranty, get you in trouble with your spouse, or get you killed. Please be smart and think before you do something. And yes, I might be incorrect with some of the screw sizes that I mention throughout the document. Remember I'm not a mechanic or in any other way really qualified to give advise. I just like to create web content. And finally this disclaimer disclaims from any responsibility for not disclaiming something that has not been disclaimed by this disclaimer but should have been disclaimed or any statements within these instructions or the disclaimer that doesn't make any sense. :)

The Need
Aka. the embarrassing story. When we bought our about 1200 pound heavy sail boat and trailer near Denver, Colorado I pushed the Taurus a little too hard. Thinking I'll be smart and watch that the engine temperature stays nice and cool I never paid attention to the transmission fluid temperature. To be truthful I didn't even know the transmission fluid was really a concern of getting hot. So after a while driving through the hilly plains of north eastern Colorado on I76 on a hot day, air conditioner running and doing about 70 mph we pulled off to get some gas. At the stop light off the off-ramp the car would not move when I accelerated. In fact it rolled back due to the slope. When I looked under the car I could see all the transmission fluid that had over boiled.

Not until the weekend was over and I had taken the car to the transmission shop on Monday (two days after the incident) did I learn that the transmission was luckily not damaged and had only to be refilled with transmission fluid. Needless to say, the remainder of the trip I took nice and slowly. So, now that we are planning to go on another 1000 mile trip with the boat in tow I wanted to ensure the transmission fluid will stay cool. I hope the additional transmission cooler will do the trick. Yes, I know the Taurus is not the proper towing vehicle, but I don't want to pay the $$ for a monster truck. Let's see first how this will work out.



UPDATE: The 1000 mile trip from Iowa to Michigan and back went uneventful. The car pulled the boat perfectly. I did however take it easy going uphill. Speed ranged from 45mph through 70mph. I suspect the average speed was somewhere between 60 and 65 mph. I also installed a manual switch that allowed me to turn on the engine fan whenever we went off the interstate. This should keep the airflow through the coolers and help cool down the transmission fluid and engine at low or no speeds.

The Transmission Cooler
After a lot of research I decided to buy the B&M SuperCooler 24,000 GVW 11"x6"x1-1/2" (Product No. 70264) from Summit Racing. If I already install a cooler then why not the biggest one, especially with towing the boat I might need the extra cooling capacity. Also through the bypass that this cooler has the transmission fluid shouldn't be over cooled.

The cooler from B&M comes with the necessary accessories for the installation. From the accessories I used two of the four installation brackets, the 4 bolts, nuts and lock washers, and the ATF (Automatic Transmission Fluid) hose.

Installation Instructions


The left and right head lamps need to removed. Below the lamps are two screws that have to be removed so that the bumper can be taken off. Here the Haynes Automotive Repair Manual has wasted quite a bit of my time and added some frustration with false information. The instructions says to "detach the bezel retaining clips and remove the bezel". An image pointed two clips that hold the black rubber seal around the front of the head light. However, I found out the hard way that a) it is nearly impossible to remove the clips and b) that this is totally unnecessary.

To remove the head light just remove the four 10mm hex screws that the red arrows point to. One of the screws has a long stem that leads to the bottom side of the light. Slide the head light forward until you can disconnect the wire. Viola, now you can put the head light to the side.

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Now that the head lamps are gone two screws are revealed that hold the bumper to the car. On each side there are two screws, one horizontal the other vertical (see red arrows). Both are 9mm hex screws and need to be removed.

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Next the radiator air deflector panel is removed. This panel is the big black piece of plastic that sits under the engine compartment. A total of 14 screws have to be removed. Two 6mm or 7/32in hex screws are at the outer edges and attach the panel to the wheel well plastic cover (red arrow furthest to the left). Nine 6mm or 7/32in hex screws that attach the radiator air deflector panel to the bottom side of the bumper (remaining red arrows of the picture). Three 8mm or 5/16in hex screws in the back center of the panel (green arrows. Note that the screws at the far side (left side) of the car are not visible in this picture.

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I didn't have a good picture of the screw that attaches the bumper to the fender but the Haynes Automotive Repair Manual actually helped out for this one.

I found this part the hardest since I insisted not to jack up the car to remove the weels. Instead I turned the weels to the extreme right when I was working on the right side and to the extreme left when I was working on the left side. It actually works really well, just be patient as there won't be much space to work.

To get to the screw remove the philips screw from the front bottom of the wheel well liner. This will allow you to pull the liner far enough back so that you can reach the pumper to fender screw. Reaching in you will find the bumper-to-fender screw. Actually we aren't removing a screw here but a 11mm hex nut. The screw part is permanently attached to the bumper. As mentioned there won't be much space to turn the wrench thus it may take a while to remove the nut. Also some WD40 helps to loosen the rust and dirt which this screw seems to attract.

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The last set of screws are the five 10mm hex screws on top of the bumper. Once these screws are removed the bumper can be pulled off. To do so pull the bumper-to-fender screws out of their whole and pull the bumper up. There are some plastic bumps that hold the bumper snapped into place, which is undone by lifting the top of the bumper upward. These plastic pins are by the five screws you just have removed. It's harder to describe than it actually is. Once you see it you'll figure it out.

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Now to the most important part. Celbrating the sucessful removal of the bumper. Actually to be 100% correct we haven't removed the bumber but the bumper cover. For simplicity I was just refering to the big flimsy plastic piece that collects bugs and holds the license plate the bumper instead of what it really is: the bumper cover.

Now if you take a close look at your car you'll be able to see the actual bumper that has styrofoam attached to it. Luckily though we only need to remove the bumper cover to gain enough access for the transmission cooler installation. So be sure you celebrate this achievement. :).

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Now we have a clear view to determine where the secondary/auxilary cooler is placed and where the transmission hose will be spliced.

On this picture you see the transmission cooler which is a simple aluminium pipe above the power steering cooler (the alumnium with cooling fins). I placed the auxilary cooler right after the where transmission fluid flows through the stock transmission cooler. The red circle marks the spot. To verify the flow direction I disconnected the hose there and attached the new hose that is supplied with the auxilary transmission cooler to where the original hose was removed. Hold both open ends over a bucket and have the spouse or some other person start the engine. After a while the transmission fluid comes out of one hose. If you are at the right location is should come out of the new hose that is attached to the stock transmission cooler (aka the wimpy alumnium pipe).

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In my opinion the best place to mount the auxilary transmission cooler is right in front of the AC condensor. In the picture the two red arrow mark where the metal brackets are attached to. The cooler is slid from the bottom between the power steering cooler and the AC condensor up into its position. Before this is done, bend the brackets and attach them to the auxilary transmission cooler. To do so just hold the auxilary cooler with the metal brackets attached to the front and mark where the brackets need to be bend. Don't forget to use the lock washers.

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Here are two pictures of the auxillary transmission cooler with the bent brackets. Note that I directed the excess threads of the screws to the forward so that the screws will not be in the way when inserting into the gap between the power steering cooler and AC condensor.

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A quick view of the installed auxilary transmission cooler. You may want to compare this picture with the one above.

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A look from the bottom up. On top of the picture is the power steering cooler and at the bottom the AC condensor.

Oh, an important thing is to attach the hoses to the auxilary transmission cooler before you install it. There is no way to tighten the hose clamps in that small of a space. Also you might notice that I attached the sticky foam pads to the bottom of the cooler just in case, although they will probably fall of sooner or later. I doubt though that these really are needed since there is still enough space between the auxiliary cooler and the AC condensor.

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View of the hoses after the installation of the auxiliary transmission cooler. Again this picture can be compared with the earlier one.

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View of the hoses after the car has been assembled. BTW like the manuals always say: "installation is the reverse of removal"

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Resources & References
Before I purchased the transmission cooler and started the installation I tried to inform myself through the internet. The Taurus Car Club of America has an articles regarding the installation process secondary transmission coolers. There is another web site that has some more pictures with a brief description. Finally I brought up the topic in the Taurus Car Club of America (TCCA) Forum and got some good responses.


I hope this has helped you and had some valuable information. Good luck and best wishes with your installation.
BTW, 7 month after the transmission cooler installation the transmission failed. Ironically it happened when I tried to pull the sailboat out of the water. Only the backup gear worked at that point. The repair ended costing me $1,638. Six month later I sold the Taurus in favor of an 2003 V8 Ford Explorer which tows the boat much better.

Who knows why the transmission ultimately failed. It could have been due to the over-boiling of the transmission fluid in Colorado, towing the boat, or a normal Ford transmission failure. Most likely it's a combination of all of them.
 

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Towing at higher elevation has drawbacks:
1. Hills, producing more heat.
2. The cooling system boiling point temperature is lower due to lower atmospheric pressure. (Overheating the engine radiator, overheats the transmission.)
My 98 has a single tube external transaxle in addition to the radiator cooler.
 

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Even with a cooler I'd be very leery about towing anything of real weight any distance with a Taurus. It just has to many things working against it, the transmission is pretty light to begin with, and even if the oil is kept in the operating range of temp it is still doing much more work than it was designed to do. Then you have the car configuration itself, front wheel drive and adding tongue weight to the nondrive rear axle. I'd hate to drive that with a crosswind.




I used to own a Jeep Liberty - the worst towing vehicle I've ever attempted to tow with. It had the "heavy duty" tow kit - meaning a transmission oil cooler and trailer light hookup. Their light duty suspension, light duty transmission (originally designed for the K-Car - modified to RWD) and crappy handling in general made them a joke to use for any kind of towing. As my brother pointed out - the fact you have to remove the spare tire to use the hitch is Chrysler's way of telling you not to tow with it.
 

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Sam,

I can tell you that I am in the process of trying to install a Hayden 678 Rapid Cooler into my 1996 Ford Sedan GL . I am no mechanic so it is a slow process for me. Getting the bumper off for me was important as I just could not get a good view or room to work with it on. I have not progressed further as I discovered you might have the cooler and extra hose and what you thought were the correct adapters but I do not have the correct adapters and even tried Lowes and Home Depot in my area with no luck so everything is still off the car which is on Jack Stands and I am waiting probably a week before Fitting adapters for my Ford Car arrive. Just try and get everything ordered that you need before you begin. I also was hoping to install a Wix Transmission filter but I have no clue where there is a good location to put that on the Driver side of the car without having to remove the splash guard everytime I want to change it. Good luck and let me know how successful your installation goes. I am still worried about getting this completed and putting everything back in place. Bumper cover easy to remove, actual bumper was more difficult and I just hope I can get it plus the air bag sensors all back on in the right location.
 

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Towing at higher elevation has drawbacks:
1. Hills, producing more heat.
2. The cooling system boiling point temperature is lower due to lower atmospheric pressure. (Overheating the engine radiator, overheats the transmission.)
My 98 has a single tube external transaxle in addition to the radiator cooler.
Point #1. If you drive in gear 3 = direct drive=no gears the extra heat is minimal. The TQ is locked. The TQ will be unlocked during shifts but otherwise no slipping so minimal heat difference.

Tow anything in OD and you are at high risk. I have towed with '92 and '95 but none since, no plan to. I have had/have 8 Bulls and 5 Lin Cont and they use the same basic tranny but firmer shifts. Only 1 tran issue and that was dumb on my part. Dedided to tow a '92 Essex in OD in 95 degree weather at 65-70mph. The TQ was constantly locking and unlocking and it cooked the shaft seal. High mile car with big U-Haul. Replaced the TQ and towed again in gear 3 and all was good. No need for others do repeat my stupid OD thing. :D

-chart-
 

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These cars have a 1500lb maximum gross trailer tow limit. That isn't much weight capacity in the tow picture. Small utility trailer is about all they will handle safely on a regular basis. My empty 6x12 enclosed cargo trailer weights 1500lb for example. Transaxles are just plain weak when it comes to towing.
 

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Can anyone tell me what direction the fluid flows in the radiator tank fluid? I want to put an external cooler, but want to also keep the tank cooler. I need to know which line on the tank cooler is incoming and which one is outgoing. I have searched and searched and I have yet to read where anyone has commented on that.

Thanks for all your help.
 

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Thank You,
So is the top pipe coming out of the trans also the top pipe going into the radiator tank cooler?
Yes it should be but if you view this link https://web.archive.org/web/20050430133348/http://www.niesens.com/hobbies/cars/1996-ford-taurus/transmission-cooler/

you will see a picture that shows where he is going to splice the hose. That is the factory transmission cooler that is heading back to the transmission so if you follow that line you should be able to get a solid knowledge of which hose is flowing into the radiator and which is flowing back to the transmission. Good luck and let us know how your install went.
 

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I looked tonight and it appears on my 2004 that the pipe coming out of the top of the trans goes to the bottom of the radiator and the return line is coming out of the top of the radiator and going to the bottom of the trans. These are all hard lined in there which means I will have to cut them with a tube cutter and either use compression fittings or a flaring tool to hook my external cooler in there. I looked in my shop today and I have a B+M super cooler still new in box from 18 years ago when I was buying parts for my firebird hot rod. Firebird is still in the shop and still not done, so the Taurus is going to use the parts instead. I hope I can find a place for it up front somewhere.
 

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Thanks for the right up. My 04 doesn't have that external cooler on it, it just goes to the radiator tank and back. So I think I am going to go to a pick and pull and see if I can find some cooling lines to cut up and make the fittings I need to get this cooler in there. The cooler that was used in that write up looks just like the one I have, so hopefully I can find a place to put it.

Thanks for all the help.
 

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Lol, that line you mentioned is the oem cooler, just not much of one. Should be 2 cooler lines running top/bottom pass. side of the radiator. Atf/ps.
 

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I ended up finding a duratec version at the pick and pull that had a little external cooler at the bottom of the radiator. The top line coming out of the radiator tank curved around and ran down the bottom front and into the cooler. So I yanked out that hose and found a much bigger cooler from an Escape and shoe horned that thing in there to cool things down. I just ran it today, and it definitely gets hot, so it must be doing it's job.
 

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I ended up finding a duratec version at the pick and pull that had a little external cooler at the bottom of the radiator. The top line coming out of the radiator tank curved around and ran down the bottom front and into the cooler. So I yanked out that hose and found a much bigger cooler from an Escape and shoe horned that thing in there to cool things down. I just ran it today, and it definitely gets hot, so it must be doing it's job.
For others, fine a Lin Cont at the JY, they use a double pass finned cooler, large tube, standard ends. Looks like it would fit right in the Bull front bottom of the rad. Since it is double pass both ends on the same side so some rubber hose needed.

-chart-
 
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