Heavy Duty Transmission Cooler and Deep Pan Install
Following the installation of a new Class V hitch, trailer brake controller, and free-flowing exhaust system in Part Three, this time we’re replacing another vital component in our ’97 F-350’s towing equation: the transmission cooler. Amazingly, Ford used the same tiny transmission cooler on its Broncos as it did on its 1-tons—and our truck was still sporting it. Running around empty, we had no complaints. But hook a small trailer behind it and 200-degree temps were soon to follow. For a truck that would soon be regularly saddled with 10,000 to 12,000 pounds, there was no way we were sticking it out any longer with the inferior factory cooler.
For old body style Ford and ’99-03 Super Duty owners alike, ditching the factory transmission cooler in favor of one from a 6.0L application is extremely popular and highly effective. However, we decided to take things a step further by installing Mishimoto’s 37-row 6.0L cooler—an upgrade over the factory 6.0L unit in every way. To shoehorn the heavy duty transmission cooler into our old Ford, we once again enlisted the help of Flynn’s Shop in Alexander, Illinois. During the install we also treated the E4OD to a new filter, 14 quarts of fresh fluid, and a high capacity pan from Goerend Transmission.
Thanks to the addition of the massive Mishimoto transmission cooler, our old body style Ford’s transmission is running 30-45 degrees cooler than it used to, and the truck itself is more trailer-ready than it’s ever been. Tune in next month for the final installment, where we’ll be upgrading to an electric fuel delivery system for improved supply pressure and volume, added reliability, and more power.
[divider] First Impressions [/divider] As we mentioned, in 6.0L applications the Mishimoto cooler is known to drop transmission fluid temps by approximately 10 degrees. Considering we’d just installed a cooler roughly 10 times the size of the truck’s factory unit, we expected to see a much larger drop in ATF temperature. Our expectations were confirmed when we took the truck for its first test drive on a 90-degree day—where highway driving, stop-and-go traffic, and idling were all part of the test loop. Before the transmission cooler had been installed, we could easily see our transmission temp gauge read 100 degrees above ambient (the general rule of thumb for transmission operating temperature), but it didn’t take long to crest 200 degrees with a small trailer in tow on a 90-degree day. With the Mishimoto cooler in the mix, we’ve yet to see this same gauge read higher than 165 degrees under any circumstance. Across the board (in all driving conditions) the truck’s transmission runs 30 to 45 degrees cooler than it used to.
There was no way we were sticking it out any longer with the inferior factory