Transmission Coolers

Best Transmission Coolers

Why do I need a transmission cooler?

The vast majority of automatic transmission failures are a direct result of overheating. Because your transmission relies solely on the transmission fluid to keep it cool, you need to ensure that the fluid is always at the optimum temperature. Even a relatively small drop in fluid temperature can almost double the life of your transmission and will increase its performance.

Derale Dyno-Cool Tube-Fin Transmission Cooler Kit - Class II - Economy

Most factory cooling systems are adequate at best, rarely causing your fluid to reach even an appropriate temperature, let alone the ideal operating temperature range of 160 to 200 degrees. If you have a modified engine, or if you often tow with your vehicle, then reaching that optimum range can be even more difficult because your system is likely being overtaxed.

A supplemental cooling system can work to ensure that proper temperatures are maintained so that your vehicle's transmission functions at its best.

Types of Coolers

The heat exchanger is the cooler itself, the core that works to maintain proper fluid temperatures. There are three basic types of heat exchangers.

Tube and Fin

Tube and Fin

  • Fluid flows through tubes and transfers heat out to fins
    • Copper tubing offers superior conduction
    • Aluminum fins allow for maximum heat dissipation
  • Fins transfer that heat out into the surrounding air - greater airflow results in faster transfer
  • A tube and fin cooler is moderately efficient and often larger in size

Plate and Fin

Plate and Fin

  • Fluid spreads out along finned chambers to cool faster
  • Turbulators agitate fluid continuously to facilitate heat transfer and prevent pressure drop
  • A plate and fin cooler is very efficient and relatively smaller in size

Stacked Plate

Stacked Plate

  • Fluid spreads out over maximum surface area for superior cooling
  • Plate core can cool a greater volume of fluid faster than other heat exchangers
  • A stacked plate cooler is the most efficient and typically smallest in size


cooler diagram

Cooler Kits

The cooler kits are designed to be mounted flush against either the radiator or the AC condenser core. For maximum cooling ability, the heat exchanger must receive the most airflow possible.

Position A

Mount cooler between your vehicle's grille and the AC condenser core for the greatest efficiency.

Position B

Mounting the cooler between the condenser and the radiator still allows for ample airflow, but cuts effectiveness by 25 percent. Installation of a larger cooler unit in this position may help make up for that loss.

Position C

Mounting the cooler between your engine and radiator considerably decreases the available airflow and causes the cooler to be 40 percent less efficient than if mounted in Position A. It is recommended that you purchase a larger cooler to make up for that loss if using in Position C.

Other Mounting Options

Frame Rail Cooler

Frame Rail Coolers

  • A frame rail cooler mounts to vehicle's chassis with low-profile design
  • Allows for extra cooling, even in crowded compartments
    • Lacks the efficiency of other Cooler Kits

Pan Cooler

Pan Coolers

  • A pan cooler mounts underneath your vehicle for out-of-the-way placement
  • Uses the airflow beneath your car to cool the fluid as it sits in the pan
    • Not recommended for vehicles that sit in traffic as ample airflow is required
  • Can result in a temperature drop of up to 50°

Remote-Mount Unit

Remote-Mount Units

  • A remote-mount unit provides ultimate efficiency with a high-powered fan mounted to cooler - superior airflow no matter where you mount it
  • Choice of heat-exchanger core lets you customize your cooler
    • Tube and fin
    • Plate and fin
    • Stacked plate
  • Great for environments where steady airflow is limited - heavy traffic, off-roading


radiator adapters

Radiator Adapters

  • Transmission line fittings let you connect to a heat exchanger unit without the need to cut or flare lines
  • Derale Insta-Dapt radiator adapter works on most vehicles that have 5/16" lines
    • Included with most transmission cooler kits
  • Vehicle-specific adapters may be required for cars, trucks or SUVs that do not have 5/16" lines - consult our Fitguide

flared fitting

Flared Fittings

  • Used in high-pressure applications that require an exact fit
  • Flared fittings must be matched with the same type of fitting
    • AN to AN
    • JIC to JIC
    • SAE to SAE

Cooling Other Automotive Systems

Should I be worried about keeping other systems cool too?

Absolutely. Most of Derale's coolers can be used not only for transmissions, but for engine oil, power steering and fuel systems as well. A power steering cooler will extend the life of both the pump and seal, drastically reducing heat-related pump failures. Installation for power steering and fuel systems requires only the heat-exchanger core and basic accessories.

Read more about engine oil coolers



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