Is It worth It?: Increasing trans oil capacity

Darkrider_LS

Well-Known Member
Since it looks like I will be working out of town more and traveling more as well as eventually towing a camping trailer, I am giving some serious thought towards running a mag hitec aluminum transmission pan to increase fluid capacity and to add a trans temp gauge. Will these mods be helpful enough to be worth adding? Maybe adding an aux transmission cooler as well?
 

STLtrailbSS

Well-Known Member
Go with a Trans Cooler its the more effective you are also adding extra fluid to the overall cap. if you do a lot of stop and go off the highway an aux fan will never hurt. You can add a huge pan but you are still running through a stock cooler. Which I see as garbage. My expirence with coolers comes from 2 blown 4l70e trannys. I would say any towing or high stress in the SS case an AUX cooler is a no brainer Also if you have an android phone you can just run torque app for your trans temp although a permanent gauge would be nice. I just mounted my tablet.
 
OP
OP
Darkrider_LS

Darkrider_LS

Well-Known Member
STLtrailbSS said:
Go with a Trans Cooler its the more effective you are also adding extra fluid to the overall cap. if you do a lot of stop and go off the highway an aux fan will never hurt. You can add a huge pan but you are still running through a stock cooler. Which I see as garbage. My expirence with coolers comes from 2 blown 4l70e trannys. I would say any towing or high stress in the SS case an AUX cooler is a no brainer Also if you have an android phone you can just run torque app for your trans temp although a permanent gauge would be nice. I just mounted my tablet.
Thanks for the info! I was hoping someone with an SS or other high stress use application would chime in. I'm currently running the torque app for monitoring now but plan on getting a Bully Dog Watchdog in the future. I did not know that there was a trans temp signal from the Ecm though.

So how does this plan sound?

Mag hitec pan
trans temp gauge installed to allow the torque app/bully dog to monitor other info.
Aux trans cooler with fan
 

STLtrailbSS

Well-Known Member
Cant really go wrong. The cooler is going to be the best buy I can still get the 4l70e to 200 but that's hard driving in 98-99F ....My SS does not get babied "Made to break" lol

For Torque
"To get the GM PID's, open Torque, get into the menu, scroll down to Manage extra PIDs/Sensors, hit the menu button again and press Add predefined set then press Pontiac/GM/Opel/Vauxhall. " Thats from a member Matt ( all credit to him) from another thread. Thats what I did and you will see Transfluid temp with active readings in your torque when you add a gauge.
 
OP
OP
Darkrider_LS

Darkrider_LS

Well-Known Member
STLtrailbSS said:
Cant really go wrong. The cooler is going to be the best buy I can still get the 4l70e to 200 but that's hard driving in 98-99F ....My SS does not get babied "Made to break" lol

For Torque
"To get the GM PID's, open Torque, get into the menu, scroll down to Manage extra PIDs/Sensors, hit the menu button again and press Add predefined set then press Pontiac/GM/Opel/Vauxhall. " Thats from a member Matt ( all credit to him) from another thread. Thats what I did and you will see Transfluid temp with active readings in your torque when you add a gauge.
Thanks for the info! Just tried to add the trans temp pid and I keep getting told check parentheses before it will save. Is there any changes I need to make to the equation in this area?
 

CaptainXL

Well-Known Member
How much are you planning to tow weight wise and how often?

I have 3.42 gears and tow a 6000 lb travel trailer and my tranny temps rarely get over 220F in the summer with the stock cooler.

My tranny temp when not towing varies between 145 and 175F.

If you are bent on saving money just skip the extra cooler and stick with what you have. Besides it's best to focus on changing the fluid and filter on a regular basis instead of worrying about adding this or that cooler or deep pan, etc... You can add a cooler and deep pan if you want but it won't alter the fact that the fluid should still be changed every two years or ever 30,000 miles. Whichever comes first.
 

Tiggerr

Well-Known Member
I would do both....Never hurts to have extra capacity....can't go wrong with a good trans cooler either..the aluminum pan with the cooler and the extra fluid will definately extend the life of your trans
 
OP
OP
Darkrider_LS

Darkrider_LS

Well-Known Member
CaptainXL said:
How much are you planning to tow weight wise and how often?

I have 3.42 gears and tow a 6000 lb travel trailer and my tranny temps rarely get over 220F in the summer with the stock cooler.

My tranny temp when not towing varies between 145 and 175F.

If you are bent on saving money just skip the extra cooler and stick with what you have. Besides it's best to focus on changing the fluid and filter on a regular basis instead of worrying about adding this or that cooler or deep pan, etc... You can add a cooler and deep pan if you want but it won't alter the fact that the fluid should still be changed every two years or ever 30,000 miles. Whichever comes first.
Most likely will be towing a camper trailer and at least once or twice a month. Not looking at these mods as ways of saving cash, just trying to extend the trans life as much as possible.

Tiggerr said:
I would do both....Never hurts to have extra capacity....can't go wrong with a good trans cooler either..the aluminum pan with the cooler and the extra fluid will definately extend the life of your trans
Thanks! Thats the exact reason I want to do these mods.

Note: I did not edit the trans temp pid at all, just left it as I found it. I'm guessing the display will start reading once the trans is over 0, I know the mpg display will not read till I start driving a distance so im guessing the trans temp will be the same.
 

CaptainXL

Well-Known Member
the aluminum pan with the cooler and the extra fluid will definately extend the life of your trans
It will help in cooling by adding a reserve capacity. But extending the life of the trans?? Eh.. Very anecdotal. Changing the fluid and filter on a regular basis is the most important thing which will. The 4L60E transmissions can go 200K+ and operate upwards of 250F on a part time basis.
 

gmcman

Well-Known Member
The stock pan is considered a deep pan but not compared to aftermarket high-capacity pans, holds plenty of fluid. I honestly wouldn't go with a deeper pan to avoid having it lower to the ground, I personally like it tucked up there further away from road hazards.

If you're after added capacity, go with a larger aftermarket cooler with a high row count, installed after the factory cooler. I don't know how cold it gets there but after the cooler install, If your trans temp stays above 150, preferably 160 then you will be fine, reason is to burn off any moisture. I doubt you will have those excessive cooling issues with this trans though.
 

hockeyman

Silver Supporter
STLtrailbSS said:
Also if you have an android phone you can just run torque app for your trans temp.
I just got an android 2 weeks ago and I'm amazed on all of the app's you can get for it. I literally just read your reply (above) and ordered the OBD / Bluetooth plug a few minutes ago.

Great part to have, and thanks!! :thumbsup:
 
OP
OP
Darkrider_LS

Darkrider_LS

Well-Known Member
gmcman said:
The stock pan is considered a deep pan but not compared to aftermarket high-capacity pans, holds plenty of fluid. I honestly wouldn't go with a deeper pan to avoid having it lower to the ground, I personally like it tucked up there further away from road hazards.

If you're after added capacity, go with a larger aftermarket cooler with a high row count, installed after the factory cooler. I don't know how cold it gets there but after the cooler install, If your trans temp stays above 150, preferably 160 then you will be fine, reason is to burn off any moisture. I doubt you will have those excessive cooling issues with this trans though.
So to make sure i understand what you are saying correctly..the aux cooler would be installed in the return line between the rad and the transmission correct? Oe cooler to aux cooler imput and aux cooler output back to trans? One of the main reasons i want to use the particular pan im looking at is to have the ability to add a permanently mounted gauge. I also plan on adding some skid plating under the trans to protect the new pan. One thing that is nice is the fact that it is in fact tucked way up there which gives me a bit of space to play with in terms of deeper pans.
 

DocBrown

Well-Known Member
Personally I'd skip the larger pan. I doubt you'll gain anything from it. I also don't believe you need to have an extra cooler, but they are cheap and easy to install so that's certainly worth it. I just put one one since I went from a 3500# trailer to a 4700# one. I'd also recommend some transmission upgrades. Also fairly cheap, but a bit more involved. See the links in post #4 of this thread: http://gmtnation.com/f79/early-sign-transmission-failure-7833/. I bought all the parts but haven't had time to install them yet.
 

HARDTRAILZ

Moderator
CaptainXL said:
How much are you planning to tow weight wise and how often?

I have 3.42 gears and tow a 6000 lb travel trailer and my tranny temps rarely get over 220F in the summer with the stock cooler.

My tranny temp when not towing varies between 145 and 175F.

If you are bent on saving money just skip the extra cooler and stick with what you have. Besides it's best to focus on changing the fluid and filter on a regular basis instead of worrying about adding this or that cooler or deep pan, etc... You can add a cooler and deep pan if you want but it won't alter the fact that the fluid should still be changed every two years or ever 30,000 miles. Whichever comes first.
You just said it hit 230 in another thread... No one argues that fluid changes are important.

CaptainXL said:
It will help in cooling by adding a reserve capacity. But extending the life of the trans?? Eh.. Very anecdotal. Changing the fluid and filter on a regular basis is the most important thing which will. The 4L60E transmissions can go 200K+ and operate upwards of 250F on a part time basis.
250F for an EXTREMELY BRIEF basis maybe, but
"Automatic transmission fluid (ATF) has a life of about 100,000 miles at 175oF. At high temperatures, it oxidizes, turns from red to brown and exhibits a burnt smell. In addition to reducing the oil’s lubricating quality, high temperature produces a varnish on internal parts interfering with the operation of the transmission. Above 250oF., rubber seals harden, leading to pressure loss and leaks. Also, the transmission can slip. In the worst cases,
clutches fail and costly repairs result.
ATF manufacturers suggest that for every 20oF. increase in operating temperature above 175oF., the life of the fluid
is cut in half. Hence at 195oF., oil life will be about 50,000 miles. Above 240oF., it becomes nil."


So you would want to change the fluid after any trip up in that heat range right away as the fluid is no longer good.

Darkrider_LS said:
So to make sure i understand what you are saying correctly..the aux cooler would be installed in the return line between the rad and the transmission correct? Oe cooler to aux cooler imput and aux cooler output back to trans? One of the main reasons i want to use the particular pan im looking at is to have the ability to add a permanently mounted gauge. I also plan on adding some skid plating under the trans to protect the new pan. One thing that is nice is the fact that it is in fact tucked way up there which gives me a bit of space to play with in terms of deeper pans.
Yes. In the return line. A gauge would be nice, but I have my scangauge mounted and watch it every time I drive. Defintely watch for leaving some airflow room with the skidplating or you will bake the pan. With my skids we left plenty of ventilation to keep things cool.
 
OP
OP
Darkrider_LS

Darkrider_LS

Well-Known Member
HARDTRAILZ said:
You just said it hit 230 in another thread... No one argues that fluid changes are important.



250F for an EXTREMELY BRIEF basis maybe, but
"Automatic transmission fluid (ATF) has a life of about 100,000 miles at 175oF. At high temperatures, it oxidizes, turns from red to brown and exhibits a burnt smell. In addition to reducing the oil’s lubricating quality, high temperature produces a varnish on internal parts interfering with the operation of the transmission. Above 250oF., rubber seals harden, leading to pressure loss and leaks. Also, the transmission can slip. In the worst cases,
clutches fail and costly repairs result.
ATF manufacturers suggest that for every 20oF. increase in operating temperature above 175oF., the life of the fluid
is cut in half. Hence at 195oF., oil life will be about 50,000 miles. Above 240oF., it becomes nil."


So you would want to change the fluid after any trip up in that heat range right away as the fluid is no longer good.



Yes. In the return line. A gauge would be nice, but I have my scangauge mounted and watch it every time I drive. Defintely watch for leaving some airflow room with the skidplating or you will bake the pan. With my skids we left plenty of ventilation to keep things cool.
Thanks for the info trailz! Would it help if I had cooling slots with mesh in the skid?
 

HARDTRAILZ

Moderator
Darkrider_LS said:
Thanks for the info trailz! Would it help if I had cooling slots with mesh in the skid?
Have you seen the holes punched in MDB rad skids? Work gret. I would not put any holes under the truck.
 

gmcman

Well-Known Member
Most of us have migrated past the older Dex 3 to Dex 6 or an aftetmarket synthetic. To put things into perspective, Dex 3 burns at 260.

Being you are in Canada, i imagine winters are harsh....use Dex 6 fluid or a good synthetic and add an aux cooler after the factory. Also installing a dedicated trans temp gauge in the pressure test port of the trans would be a wise choice as well.
 

HARDTRAILZ

Moderator
gmcman said:
Most of us have migrated past the older Dex 3 to Dex 6 or an aftetmarket synthetic. To put things into perspective, Dex 3 burns at 260.

Being you are in Canada, i imagine winters are harsh....use Dex 6 fluid or a good synthetic and add an aux cooler after the factory. Also installing a dedicated trans temp gauge in the pressure test port of the trans would be a wise choice as well.
06 and newer require dex 6 I believe. I know mine does.
 

Online statistics

Members online
1
Guests online
159
Total visitors
160

Members online

Forum statistics

Threads
20,453
Messages
595,239
Unanswered questions
2
Answered questions
2
Members
13,556
Latest member
laslo105
Top Bottom