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The original lines are 100% hard line from cooler to trans. They go down and route under the core support.

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:
View attachment 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.
I've noticed that older trucks tend to have coolers that are thicker with a smaller footprint while new vehicles tend to have thinner coolers with a larger footprint. I'm not sure if this is for efficiency/airflow or packaging. I pull coolers off junkyard cars all the time, different brands and styles. I have a few GMT400 stacked plate coolers, that's what my trailblazer runs. My Gambler car is running a 2nd gen exploder cooler. There's tons of coolers you can get to match your application. For ease of install I like ones that have barb connections, or short hardlines that go into hoses. Ive found you can get the same coolers with different size fittings too. Those GMT400 coolers came with 5/16" lines on earlier models and 3/8" on later models. Ive got a massive cooler with 3/8" lines from a 3rd gen (I think) exploder, but I've also seen them with 1/2" lines.
I ran a 1st gen exploder cooler on my bronco for years, when I went to the stock style cooler I used some flare to barb adapters to keep the 3/8" rubber lines I had.

Ford used those basic tube and fin PS coolers on tons of different vehicles, only real difference being the mounting points and lines. The jellybean 1/2 tons use the same cooler but it has these spagetti shaped lines. 2nd gen Explorers have the simplest connections, as they are straight off the cooler and not angled. the same cooler was used on vans but the lines are angled, which means less versatility.

Ford also used Massive Tube and Fin coolers as oil coolers on diesels.
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