Cooling a HOT Transmission

Cooling a HOT Transmission

This is a discussion on Cooling a HOT Transmission within the RAM 1500 Diesel Transmission forums, part of the RAM 1500 Diesel Garage - RAM 1500 Diesel Mechanics Corner category; Bit of brief history for those unfamiliar. Bought my Ecodiesel at Firkins in Bradenton, Fl. a full 4 1/2 years ago. From the beginning I ...

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Thread: Cooling a HOT Transmission

  1. #1
    RAM Diamond Member Captainmal's Avatar
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    Cooling a HOT Transmission

    Bit of brief history for those unfamiliar. Bought my Ecodiesel at Firkins in Bradenton, Fl. a full 4 1/2 years ago. From the beginning I returned and complained about a hot transmission operation. Not towing, transmission temperatures were always near coolant temperature, which was in the 200-215*F range most of the time. Under tow with my little toy hauler, I towed around the country but had transmission temperatures always in the 230-255*F range. Multiple times at the dealer and two phone conferences with ZF transmissions techs at their plant in Ohio got me nowhere. Everyone claimed, though it seemed to run hot, it was within normal parameters and not going to cause problems.

    Around 71,000 miles I was towing and the transmission warning came on with temperatures up to 280*F. Home and back to the dealer for testing showed no problem. I changed the transmission fluid but never towed the toy hauler for an entire year. Wife got sick and we did not use the trailer. First use was a few weeks ago and we aborted that trip because:

    O66mTUKATb2XKRCOyAtzkQ by Larry Malinoski, on Flickr

    Took a trip without the trailer and on return, back to the dealer. No help. Thanks to some on this forum, I got the idea of changing out the three-way valve. It's a $2-300 part and cost me an additional $200 to have it changed. After that change I dissected the old one with a bit of dismay. It looked good and seemed like it was operating.

    fLTUiNdIT3uwdvgCOoHTCw by Larry Malinoski, on Flickr

    With that new valve on I took off towing and made less than 15 interstate miles when:

    omuARhfARxiH+1vvfDq2wg by Larry Malinoski, on Flickr

    No need to continue that mess as it would have gotten hotter.

    Now back to the dealer and left it there for two full days. During that time the dealer and FCA engineers in Michigan looked at the pictures, gathered information from their equipment as they tested my transmission at the dealership and came to a conclusion. The transmission and all its' parts were fine. No warranty repair for me and little comment about the new three-way valve but some negative comments about Amsoil synthetic transmission fluid. Nuts to them and FCA. I did ask about the thermal management unit and was firmly told it was tested and fine. Goodbye.

    Again thanks to some on this forum I found out that thermal unit was not inside the transmission but bolted on the outside. 6 inlets and outlets control both coolant and transmission oil with that unit. This is my old one as it would be positioned on the side of the transmission under the driver's feet area.

    wRgHkHPcRmWt8r3Gjn6mpA by Larry Malinoski, on Flickr

    These units are mechanical so don't fall for some dealer BS about hooking them up to electronic testing equipment. I heard that story from the service adviser during this saga. Anyhow, this morning I hooked and booked north on I 75 out of Tampa. As I passed the area I turned around at on the last test, I took pictures. Lots of pictures... but you only need to see this one.

    yckF75bBSc2w7W3hISZ15Q by Larry Malinoski, on Flickr

    Notice a couple things. Sure the transmission temperature is quite low. Far lower than anything I ever saw operating unloaded by at least 20*F. Now look at the speed. I was not taking it easy but hammering it a bit on upgrades and keeping the engine under strain in both tow haul mode and off it. To also prove I was under tow, look at the little gauge on the right and note the 900+* showing in my DPF. That's pretty much normal heat when under tow and not a sign of a regeneration. Actually when under tow that heat is so high I literally never even get a regeneration.

    There were times when I pushed the rig to near 80 mph trying to get things hot and in trouble. Think my wife said she glimpsed 190* transmission temps. for a second. I never saw it above 188 and then only under load, fast and up grades. Did near 60 miles and pushed most of the time during this test.

    Figured fuel mileage would be poor as I sure towed aggressively:
    EqTBH%rNSR+cBAEA95f8GQ by Larry Malinoski, on Flickr

    Normally I do 13-14mpg towing on Interstate roads and more if I can go below 65 mph. Still the EVIC is not that awful for how hard I pushed during this test, accelerating sharply and pulling hard up the few grades I found. Wife was oh so happy we can now tow and go places until I buy one of the new Ecodiesel models coming out this time next year. She had me stop to get her wine at Aldi's. Did take her picture but not showing as she is kind of rough-looking after all her cancer treatments and operation. Today put a smile on her face and an incentive to recover more for some toy hauler travel and motorcycle fun soon.

    o7Jg80AIT0O3J7vlJz%Gtg by Larry Malinoski, on Flickr

    This forum helped me find and end a 4 1/2 year saga that ZF, FCA and the dealer put together failed on. Thanks for all the help.
    If you wrestle with a pig you'll both get dirty and the pig loves it. .

  2. #2
    RAM Wizard Brokedownbutgood's Avatar
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    Glad you got it all worked out now go enjoy some traveling with your wife.

  3. #3
    RAM Veteran Manofmeyham's Avatar
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    So happy you got it fixed successfully! Enjoy your travels and my best wishes to you and your wife.

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  5. #4
    RAM Silver Member howie12's Avatar
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    That is great news and so happy that the problem is solved and you can move forward spending times on better things than stewing about the truck. All the best to both of you.

  6. #5
    RAM Sr Member 3DHawkeye's Avatar
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    That is awesome, I too have followed your frustration with your overheating transmission. Myself and others are hoping you have no issues with it long enough to get the next generation ecodiesel.

  7. #6
    RAM Regular Strider's Avatar
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    STELLAR BUDDY!!! To you, your truck and you wife’s better health. May they all remain good!

    Hopefully this thread can help someone else having high transmission temps fix there’s in one visit to a repair shop by just throwing one of the two parts (3 way valve part, which fixed my year long quest for cooler temps, or the transmission heater part that fixed yours) at it and then doing the other if the first one didn’t fix the issue.

    I too, would like thank this forum for helping with my trucks issues
    Captainmal and fxober like this.
    Rambox, 3.92, air suspension, anti-spin diff, Black Forest Pearl

  8. #7
    RAM Jr Member doenut's Avatar
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    Amen! Glad to hear things are going well for you two! Looking forward to reading stories of y’all traveling the country. My mom has survived two battles thus far and is one of the toughest women I know.
    TwoBobs likes this.

  9. #8
    RAM Jr Member Natural Sound's Avatar
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    You should send this thread link to FCA and tell them they need to write a technical bulliten.
    djr, Captainmal, Strider and 3 others like this.

  10. #9
    MAS is online now
    RAM Silver Member MAS's Avatar
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    Good news!

  11. #10
    RAM Regular CaptCliff's Avatar
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    Sorry if I missed it in an earlier post, but have you changed your transmission fluid from the high temp days?

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