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1986 Bronco, 351w, Edelbrock aluminum top end, Holley 600, 4" BDS lift, 35" Maxxis Razr's, stuff..
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all - it looks like someone added and second trans cooler to my 86 at some point. I’m assuming the silver one is just and add on - correct?


I don’t tow anything significant and hot weather isn’t really a big concern here so I’m thinking about removing it, leaving the stock one in place, and using the aftermarket one as a steering cooler instead of the cooling tube which is subject to bashing and damage. I actually bent mine pretty good while out snow wheeling last year - broke through some ice that was a couple inches thick and the bog was just the right depth to drive the ice into the cross member as I bashed my way out.

Anyway, that is not factory correct?

Any issue with using that as a steering cooler?

Cheers


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Premium Member
84 Bronco, 351w, c6, custom doubler, np208, 5.13’s, TTB44, 9”, locked f/r
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Yeah, sounds like a good plan to me. The silver one isn’t factory, and looks a little bigger than the one I use for my steering cooler. Should work good
 
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Premium Member
1986 Bronco, 351w, Edelbrock aluminum top end, Holley 600, 4" BDS lift, 35" Maxxis Razr's, stuff..
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Discussion Starter #4
And as a follow up - I have a Saginaw from that I plan to install - does that even need a cooler? I know the one on my CJ did not have one.


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84 Bronco, 351w, c6, custom doubler, np208, 5.13’s, TTB44, 9”, locked f/r
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I dunno on the Saginaw, I’ve always run stock Ford ones
 

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95 5.8L MAF XLT, Hedman Shorties/MF SS Y & Muff, E4OD, Man hubs, KYB Quads, 31x10.5x15, 301K miles
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Why not use the smaller factory one for your steering and the larger aftermarket one for your Trans. Just that the Aftermarket one is quit large for use as a PS cooler. It's your choice just my 2 pennies.
 

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Ford Hoarder
78 & 92
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Agree likely work decently. Though maybe hard to bleed if it is higher then pump. I ran into this once on my 78, not completely apples to apples but close...

Also that added cooler is decent, however it is a fin and tube, The factory trans cooler is of a stacked plate design, usually they are a bit more effective. So while it is smaller, it might actually do just as much or more then the "bigger" aftermarket one which was added on. That is more just for info. I think for what your doing it is more then fine.
 

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ate lug
88 + 96 broncos, 96 F250
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Take both off and hit up the junkyards; you can get a very big OEM trans cooler out of p/us that will fit in place of your little one.

I got this one out of a 94ish xcab F150 for a whopping $10.50:


(ignore the p.steering cooler on the driver side)


IMO you should always go with the biggest cooler you can fit. Ive never hurt a trans from running one too cold, but i have melted parts from running one too hot.
 

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Definately aftermarket. IME most tube and fin coolers (aside from power steering) you find on vehicles will be aftermarket, as OEM is almost always plate and fin or stacked plate. Using it for power steering won't hurt at all though is likely overkill TBH. The stock coolers on most power steering systems are only one loop. I would replace that stock stacked plate cooler with the larger one that came on later model trucks.You'll have to shorten the hard lines a bit but other than that should be bolt on. Its a very easy upgrade and even if you don't tow it will keep your trans much cooler and happier.

Side note for everyone. I read recently that it's a bad idea to use a stacked plate or plate and fin cooler for power steering, as they cause turbulance and therefore aeration in the fluid which can be trouble for power steering. Tube and fin doesn't have this issue because its a straight shot. IDK how much truth there is to this, but every OEM Power steering cooler I've seen is a tube and fin design.
 

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1986 Bronco, 351w, Edelbrock aluminum top end, Holley 600, 4" BDS lift, 35" Maxxis Razr's, stuff..
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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks everyone. For now, I’m going to install a Saginaw pump that I got from Big Blue and just tie it into the stock cooling/capacity line.

As for the trans cooler, another big difference is that the stock one also runs into and out of the radiator. Does that circuit just run up and down the side of the radiator? How does that work? Is that intended to provide additional cooling?


I like the looks of that larger stock upgrade.


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Why not use the smaller factory one for your steering and the larger aftermarket one for your Trans. Just that the Aftermarket one is quit large for use as a PS cooler. It's your choice just my 2 pennies.
It would totally work, but the smaller one is of a more efficient design, and likely dissipates heat as well as the larger one, and maybe even better.
 

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78 & 92
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The rad loop for the trans is basically a smaller tube inside the radiator.
From my understanding it is there to normalize the fluid temps. Warming it up if it is cold, and cooling it down if its hotter then the radiator temp. The are typically in the more cool side of the radiator, so likely usually able to bring it down to less the coolant temps.
 
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Thanks everyone. For now, I’m going to install a Saginaw pump that I got from Big Blue and just tie it into the stock cooling/capacity line.

As for the trans cooler, another big difference is that the stock one also runs into and out of the radiator. Does that circuit just run up and down the side of the radiator? How does that work? Is that intended to provide additional cooling?


I like the looks of that larger stock upgrade.


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Alot of vehicles (some of these trucks included) only have that radiator cooler.
When cold the radiator cooler will help bring the temp up, when warm it helps cool it down. They're always in the cool side so they can cool the trans down to around 150 or so IIRC. But when loads get higher they're not always enough on their own, that's why the auxiliary oil to air cooler exists. Alot of guys will bypass the radiator cooler completely and just run oil to air because they believe it only adds heat. I always leave it, as it will help bring down and stabilize temps unless your engine is going nuclear and the entire rad is over 200. It also provides cooling in situations of low or no air flow, like when backing up. Almost every manufacturer utilizes an in rad cooler, wether by itself or with the addition of an Auxiliary cooler.
 

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'92 Custom w/ '95 MAF 5.0, 33's, 4.10 LSD
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Did you run new hard lines for that, or did you use the lines from the pickup? I grabbed a very similar looking, if not identical, cooler from I think a '96 F150 a few weeks back, as the brackets looked like they would line up with the core support a lot better than the one I have in there right now. I need to figure out the fittings before swapping coolers, though, and I couldn't get the door open on the pickup to see what transmission it had. If not an E40D, the hard lines probably wouldn't make good donors, length-wise.

Take both off and hit up the junkyards; you can get a very big OEM trans cooler out of p/us that will fit in place of your little one.

I got this one out of a 94ish xcab F150 for a whopping $10.50:
 

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Did you run new hard lines for that, or did you use the lines from the pickup? I grabbed a very similar looking, if not identical, cooler from I think a '96 F150 a few weeks back, as the brackets looked like they would line up with the core support a lot better than the one I have in there right now. I need to figure out the fittings before swapping coolers, though, and I couldn't get the door open on the pickup to see what transmission it had. If not an E40D, the hard lines probably wouldn't make good donors, length-wise.
Those are definitely new hard lines. They have that new grey coating and they don't follow the stock hard line path. Ford installed the hard lines in such a way that you can easily swap in the cooler and hard lines onto a truck that didn't have one without replacing all of them. The line from the trans to the radiator is always the same either way. the line from the radiator to the aux cooler is solid. The line from the aux cooler going back to the transmission is spliced to the rest of the hard line under the core support. So basically you can cut the return line right under the core support, double flare it, then bolt in the cooler, rad to aux cooler line, and aux cooler return line. You'll have a factory style setup, no need to mess with lines all the way back to the transmission.
 

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'92 Custom w/ '95 MAF 5.0, 33's, 4.10 LSD
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I'll have to take another look at whether its hard lines routed through the radiator cooler. I thought they ran straight back through the core support, but maybe not.

I had to cut and flare my hard lines for the current aux cooler, and one of them I could never get to stop weeping fluid. I'd love to just swap over a full set of hard lines, if they're all the same length regardless of transmission. I wouldn't have guessed that. But, if the donor truck routes through the radiator, I'd have to modify that line, anyway, since I use it for the PS cooler. (Reading the info above, I'm now questioning whether that was wise.)
 

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ate lug
88 + 96 broncos, 96 F250
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The original lines are 100% hard line from cooler to trans. They go down and route under the core support.

Did you run new hard lines for that, or did you use the lines from the pickup?
Theyre new. Conveniently, Ford's transmission coolers use the same line/fittings as 5/16" brake line, so i bent new ones up using that. Just short sections to get thru the core support, from there i have a short rubber hose to connect to the original lines on the frame. I still put a standard double flare on the end even though theres no nut; it helps to keep the hose retained so it cant blow off. Been doing it that way for a long time, never had one leak.


Yeah i dont recommend stacked plate for p.steering coolers because the flow rate is way different in a steering system. Tube & fin is the way to go. Even Ford started using tube & fin coolers on their p.steering systems. Here is a p.steering cooler i pulled off a late 90s van for my green bronco, also dirt cheap in the junkyard:


You can get even bigger ones off of a Superduty (as in, twice the size).

The Superdutys have absolutely massive trans coolers too, so big theyre almost hard to fit behind the grill of a bronco:
163164


i still have the trans + p.steering coolers off that SD; im holding onto them just in case my big one needs a little more cooling once i get it all done and on the road.
 

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85 Bronco, 309ci I6 w/4bbl, np435, 4" lift, 37" Irok NDs, 4.56 w/ Detroit Locker and tru trac
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My 96 C6 F350 was not hardline all the way... It was rubber from the engine to the stand-alone factory plate cooler. That cooler is what im using as my PS cooler on the bronco.

Im running a cheap tube n fin one for my engine oil. Its a 5-loop model and was only like 30 bucks.
 

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ate lug
88 + 96 broncos, 96 F250
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I wonder if it was changed at one point? All 3 of my trucks were 100% hard line.

Ive also harvested several of this same cooler out of the junkyards this summer, and every one was 100% hard line all the way to the cooler:
163173

The one on top is now in my '88, and it was 100% hard line too, ive just already removed them when i snapped this pic.


Ford used a stacked plate oil cooler on the 460s too (in the late 80s at least), altho it was 3/4" inlet i think. I never put it in when i dropped the 460 in my 88, but i still have the cooler.
 
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