Ultimate Diesel Builder's Guide - - Contents - Text / Pho­tog­ra­phy: J.S. Hansen

Trans­mis­sion Cooler and Line Up­grades

Is your truck used pri­mar­ily as a daily driver? Weekly tow­ing workhorse? Or maybe a com­pe­ti­tion-only drag racer or sled puller? In any case, it’s cer­tain that the au­to­matic trans­mis­sion used to trans­fer all of that horse­power and torque to the ground has un­der­gone its fair share of abuse. Stop and go traf­fic, long steep moun­tain passes tow­ing 15,000 pounds or hot, quick laps at the drag strip can all be ex­tremely hard on a trans­mis­sion and lead to hot fluid tem­per­a­tures. In both stock and built trans­mis­sions, ex­treme fluid tem­per­a­tures can lead to pre­ma­ture parts fail­ure such as burnt clutches and fried torque con­vert­ers, so keep­ing trans­mis­sion fluid tem­per­a­tures in a “safe zone” can pay div­i­dends in the long run.

BD Diesel Dou­ble Stack Trans­mis­sion Cooler

The new­est trans­mis­sion cooler sys­tem from BD Diesel of Ab­botts­ford, Bri­tish Columbia, Canada, should fill a large void in the per­for­mance diesel mar­ket, of­fer­ing a com­pletely univer­sal sys­tem for both daily driver and week­end tow rigs, along with full com­pe­ti­tion-only drag and sled pull trucks. Us­ing their al­ready pop­u­lar Xtruded core de­sign from their air-to-air in­ter­cool­ers, the Dou­ble Stack Xtrude trans­mis­sion cooler comes complete with a 800-cfm elec­tric fan, wiring har­ness, hoses, fit­tings and univer­sal mount brack­ets. The unique stacked de­sign al­lows for the use of two iden­ti­cal cool­ers to be mounted in a rel­a­tively com­pact sys­tem for max­i­mum cool­ing sur­face in a min­i­mum space. The elec­tric fan kit is wired into the sys­tem to be trig­gered on/off as needed, based on trans­mis­sion tem­per­a­ture, of­fer­ing ex­cel­lent cool­ing even at low speeds when con­sis­tent out­side air­flow across the cool­ers doesn’t ex­ist.

The univer­sal brack­ets supplied by BD al­low end­less mount­ing op­tions to fit any ve­hi­cle’s spe­cific re­quire­ments. While most will find the space needed un­der the truck in­side the

frame rails, the cool­ers could also be mounted in­side the truck bed on drag race and sled pull ap­pli­ca­tions. With more than 260 square inches of sur­face area and 40,000-btu/hr cool­ing ca­pac­ity, the Dou­ble Stack cooler can of­fer up to a 350% tem­per­a­ture drop com­pared to a stock cooler, ac­cord­ing to BD. BD claims their Mi­cro Ex­truded bar tech­nol­ogy of­fers ef­fi­cient air­flow across the core and tur­bu­lent oil flow in­side, which of­fers the best cool­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics. The 5/8-inch in­let and out­let of­fers max­i­mum flow with lit­tle re­stric­tion to fluid flow and en­sure a leak-free con­nec­tion tested to 300-psi of pres­sure.

Deviant Race Parts Al­li­son Re­place­ment Cooler Lines

Since the fac­tory GM Al­li­son trans­mis­sion lines are prone to fail­ure and leak­ing af­ter rack­ing up thou­sands of miles of on- and of­froad abuse, Deviant Race Parts, an af­fil­i­a­tion of Al­li­ga­tor Per­for­mance Diesel, de­vel­oped their own res­o­lu­tion with a complete re­place­ment per­for­mance hose kit. Us­ing your choice of ei­ther ½- or 5/8-inch ex­tremely heavy-duty 2,325psi rated hose and the re­quired fit­tings to con­nect your Al­li­son to the fac­tory cooler, leaks can be a thing of the past. Us­ing qual­ity An-style fit­tings with O-ring and washer style junc­tions, once in­stalled and se­cured, your stock or built Al­li­son can keep mov­ing your truck down the road worry free. DRP of­fers kits for 2001-05, 2006-10, 2011-14 and 2015-16 Du­ra­max/al­lisonequipped trucks, and while they’re de­signed to in­stall di­rectly to the stock fluid cooler, they can also be used with some after­mar­ket cool­ers de­pend­ing on their mount­ing lo­ca­tion and fit­ting sizes.

By run­ning the larger high-vol­ume 5/8-inch cooler line re­pair kit from DRP and mount­ing the new BD Diesel Dou­ble Stack cooler in the fac­tory lo­ca­tion (cus­tom mount brack­ets had to

be fab­ri­cated to do this) the two kits matched right up to­gether and made for a rel­a­tively easy in­stall that was com­pleted in just one day out in the garage. It should be noted that, while the in­stal­la­tion of the re­place­ment cooler lines is fairly straight­for­ward, be pre­pared to make a mess on the shop floor. Drop­ping a tarp un­der the truck may help, but with oil be­ing trapped in­side the fac­tory cooler lines, when it comes time to re­move the lines all to­gether you may cause some fluid to be lost and spilled all over the place. Un­for­tu­nately, there just may be no way to get around the messi­ness of this job.

2 Plan­ning to in­stall the Dou­ble Stack cooler on a 2002 Chevro­let Du­ra­max al­ready equipped with a built Al­li­son trans­mis­sion and large Ti­tan re­place­ment fuel tank, there was very lit­tle room un­der the truck in­side the frame rails to po­si­tion the cooler an

1 The BD Diesel Xtruded Dou­ble Stack Trans­mis­sion Cooler kit is a univer­sal sys­tem ca­pa­ble of cool­ing trans­mis­sion tem­per­a­tures by up to 350% over stock, BD claims. The dual cooler de­sign comes out­fit­ted with a ther­mo­stat­i­cally con­trolled 800-cfm fan to k

Since our truck was al­ready in need of trans­mis­sion cooler lines due to a cou­ple of leak­ing joints on the fac­tory lines, the BD Xtrude Cooler will be used in con­junc­tion with the 5/8-inch per­for­mance cooler line kit man­u­fac­tured by Deviant Race Parts, a d

3 BD Diesel spent a lot of time de­vel­op­ing a truly unique and univer­sal trans­mis­sion cooler sys­tem that could not only work well in a daily driver ap­pli­ca­tion, but with its stacked cores and univer­sal brack­ets, make a great up­grade for com­pe­ti­tion-style t

4 BD Diesel of­fers their dou­ble stack cooler for both ½- and 5/8-inch cooler lines, and by us­ing the supplied fit­tings and cou­plers, you can ba­si­cally tee into your fac­tory hard lines and loop fluid through the new Xtruded Cooler mounted in a po­si­tion on

8 With the cooler lines dis­con­nected, it was just a mat­ter of un­bolt­ing the fac­tory cooler from its four mount­ing points. The new BD cooler is go­ing to go di­rectly in place of the stock cooler and use the fac­tory holes and hard­ware, af­ter some cus­tom moun

6 While in a ba­si­cally stock ap­pli­ca­tion, the fac­tory trans oil cooler can be suf­fi­cient. Once run­ning at higher horse­power lev­els, the per­for­mance-built Al­li­son trans­mis­sion may see higher than stock fluid tem­per­a­ture due to the higher torque mul­ti­pli­cat

10 On the trans­mis­sion side of things, the fac­tory cool­ers use a unique push/ pull lock-style con­nec­tion that re­quires the re­moval of a metal C-style clip found un­der the plas­tic yel­low col­lars. By pop­ping the yel­low col­lars off of the con­nec­tion with a s

9 On Du­ra­max/al­li­son trucks, trans­mis­sion fluid is run through a cooler housed in­side the truck’s ra­di­a­tor. While avoid­ing ex­treme heat is al­ways the big­gest factor in a trans­mis­sion’s life­span, fluid that never warms up to safe op­er­at­ing tem­per­a­tures can

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