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Transmission Cooler Installation - 2011 Chevrolet Suburban

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How to Install a TranSMIssion Cooler on a 2011 Chevrolet Silverado

Today on our 2011 Chevy Suburban, we'll be installing the Derale Series 8000 Plate-Fin Transmission Cooler, part number D13503. To gain access to the front of the vehicle near the radiator, we're going to remove the front clip. To do this, there are multiple fasteners along the top edge of the front clip. We'll go ahead and remove those first. Next, we'll move to the wheel well where there are multiple push pin and screw-in fasteners to remove. Now, we'll go ahead and get underneath the vehicle where we'll have several more fasteners that need to be removed.

Here on the passenger's side, we'll need to remove the bolt that is behind the wheel liner and front clip. Next, we'll go ahead and remove the electrical running to the front fog lights, and finally, the final fasteners with a lower brace to the front clip which is another screw-in fastener. Now with all our fasteners removed here on the passenger's side. We'll go ahead and repeat the same process on the driver's side. With that completed, we can now go ahead and remove the front clip and set it aside for reinstallation later.

As you can see, we now have access to the front radiator and core support. We're mounting the transmission cooler in this area. To make room for the transmission cooler, we're going to go ahead and relocate the ambient air temperature sensor sensor. To remove it, we'll simply pop it free and set it aside for now. Now, before we install the cooler, we're going to go ahead and prep it.

To do this, we'll remove the rubber caps off the end of the cooler inlet and outlet so that we can install the hose. To make it easier to install the hose, we'll go ahead and take some transmission fluid, pour it into the line to give it some lubricity to slide it on to the transmission nipples. Before I put the hose in place, we'll go ahead and slide on a couple of hose clamps. Now with one side on, we can go ahead and take our hose clamp and tighten it down. Now, I'll go ahead and repeat the same process on the other side.

Now with our cooler prepped, we're ready to go ahead and install it. We'll fasten it here to the cross brace with two self-tapping fasteners. Next, we'll go and use the Derale Universal Ridge Mount Bracket Kit, part number D13002, to secure the top side of our cooler. We'll be using a bolt, two flat washers, and a nylon lock nut to secure it to the cooler so that our bracket fits a little better. We'll go ahead and trim off one of the corners. Now, let's go ahead and fit it to the cooler and the cross brace on the vehicle. As you can see, it's a little longer than we need so we'll go ahead and draw a line and cut of the excess from the bracket. Now, we can go ahead and attach it to the cross brace using a self-tapping screw. Now with our transmission cooler mounted and secured, we're ready to go ahead and start running the lines. Next, we'll go ahead and get underneath the vehicle to mark out the section to be cut out. We'll need to cut out part of the lower air cowling to make room to remove the transmission line from the manufacturer's cooler. Make room for Derale GM adapter and also make our connections in line with the manufacturer's cooling system. Then we'll use a rotary zip tool to cut out this area. Now, we're ready to go ahead and remove the line from the cooler. First, we'll remove the clip cover and then we can remove the clip, securing the line into the cooler. Now with the clip out, we'll go ahead and remove the line. It's recommended to put a drain pan underneath the cooler as some fluid will drain out. With that done we'll go ahead and take our hose from our new transmission cooler and route it over so we can cut our length. Once we get our length marked we'll go ahead and take a pair of side cutters or snips and cut the line in half. Now we can go ahead and install the Derale GM adapter part number D13035 into the hose that we just cut. Again, I recommend to use a little transmission fluid for lubricant when installing a nipple. Now with our nipple on, we'll go ahead and install the clamp an d tighten it down. Now we'll go ahead and take the clip cover and install it on the new nipple. Now we're ready to go ahead and install the new nipple into the manufacturer's cooler. Then we'll go ahead and reinstall the clip and reinstall the clip cover. Next, we'll take a clamp and install it over the manufacturer's line and then take the other end of our hose that we just cut in half and install it under the manufacturer's line. It may be necessary to go ahead and remove the line from the bracket so that it will give you more access and room to install the hose. With the hose on, go ahead and clamp it down and then reinstall the line back into the bracket. Now with the cooler secured and the lines installed and secured, next I'm going to go ahead and take a pair of tin snips and cut off the excess from the hose clamps. This will prevent them from rubbing, chaffing or squeaking on other parts. Quick tech tip, after you cut these clamps, it can create sharp edges. Now go ahead and take some black zip ties and secure the transmission cooler hoses. Now that our hoses are secured, we'll go ahead and clean up our install look by cutting off the excess from the zip ties. Now we'll go ahead and reinstall the ambient air temperature sensor using a zip tie here to secure it near its original location. Next, to clean up our install look we'll just go ahead and cut off the excess from the zip tie just like we've done previously. Quick tech tip, now that everything is installed it's a good opportunity to go ahead and start the vehicle and check for leaks. Now with that done, we're ready to go ahead and reinstall the front clip. It's a good idea to get an extra set of hands to help you hold it as you reinstall it. Now with the front clip in place, we'll go ahead and reinstall the fasteners and don't forget the fog lights. With the front clip reinstalled, that will complete the installation of our Derale Series 8000 Plate-Fin Transmission Cooler, part number D13503. We also used the Derale GM adapter, part number D13035, and the Derale Universal Ridge Mounting Bracket, part number D13002, on our 2011 Chevy Suburban.



Hi dose this work for 07 gmc Yukon Denali 6.3

Victoria B.


@Rene Yes, you could install this transmission cooler on your 2007 Yukon Denali. If you have room, you could even install a larger, Class IV cooler like # D13504 for even more efficient cooling.



How much cooler does the transmission run while towing.

Etrailer Expert

Chris R.


You can expect the fluid temperature to drop at least around 20 degrees Fahrenheit while towing with an aftermarket cooler like this, though in reality it's likely to be more. The exact temperature change will depend on a number of factors including its actual mounting location on your truck, air flow, etc - but I can tell you that just a 20 degree drop will greatly extend its lifespan.

Carlos G.


Which is the transmission fluid return line in a 2007 Chevrolet tahoe LS? Top or bottom? Bottom feels cooler.

Etrailer Expert

Rachael H.


Sounds like you are on a great start because we generally recommend the best way to verify which line is the return line is by starting the car and putting it in drive for a few minutes. The cooler of the two lines will be the return line.



will I have an issue of over heating the engine coolant by placing the Derale cooler infront of the radidator and blocking airflow to cool the engine coolant?

Etrailer Expert

Rachael H.


We have not hear of this issue. Since transmission coolers are not solid, and some allow air to pass through them they will not completely block all air flow. Depending on your mounting position available there can be a reduction in efficiency by up to 25 percent. If you are concerned about air flow to your radiator you could use a remote mount style,frame rail style or pan style cooler.



Good afternoon,I have ordered all the parts from the video and Im preparing to install as described. My question is I cant tell from the video does the drivier side transmission cooler port run to the top line on the new cooler. Does the bottom line from the new cooler run to the existing transmission line?

Patrick B.


The fluid should flow out of the transmission, through the OEM cooler, through the Derale cooler, then back to the transmission. If you orient the ports on the Derale cooler to the side, like we did in the video, the fluid need to come in at the top line, and out at the bottom line. You can mount it like the OEM cooler with both ports facing down.

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