Acura MDX SUV Forums banner

1 - 20 of 46 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,268 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello folks!


Well this is my DIY to install an Aftermarket ATF Cooler into our 2G MDX, this guide is similar to others like the Pilot or the Odyssey I just wanted to make a write up specifically for our MDX.

Background:
Now why you may ask? Why would we install an aftermarket ATF Cooler if our 2G MDX (12 or 13 I believe was optional?) comes with an OEM ATF Cooler?.. Well the answer is simple.. Our god damn radiator is a POS.... Yes the reason I installed an Aftermarket cooler was to bypass the Radiator ATF Cooler which is KNOWN to fail and mix Antifreeze into our ATF basically destroying the transmission.. There have been some people that have saved their transmissions because it suddenly slipped and they were quick to respond (Stop driving) but some other unlucky fellas haven't had the same luck. So I don't want to risk my luck and by pass it before its too late.

To the guide..
Now, I wanted to install a B&M Medium Sized cooler but after talking with a friend of mine that works in a trans shop he told me it would be just too overkill to add that specific cooler and our OEM in series. So he talked me down to a less efficient model that would not drop the temperature so much in the winter but by-pass the Radiator Cooler and be effective in the summer.
According to Him If I wanted to install the B&M Medium cooler I would have to by pass the OEM ATF cooler too! That good is the B&M Medium Cooler.

The unit I went for, is a Hayden 1404 TransSaver series.





This is the Unit itself, The camera lens cap is there for size reference:


Now the tools you will need for this job:
1.- ATF Trans Cooler (Your choice make sure isn't overkill, remember we have an OEM ATF Cooler, If your 12-13? doesn't have it then go bigger)
2.- Extra 4ft tubing, the included 4ft in the trans cooler isn't enough and the extra will work to unite both ends of the radiator cooler.
3.- 2x Tubing Couplers (To connect both ends of the tubes)
4.- Flat Screwdriver or Honda Plastic Push-In Clips Remover.
5.- 2x Extra Worm Gear Clamp that fits the size of the tubing.

Steps:
1.- Remove the Radiator Plastic Cover, They are all push in plastic clips.

2.- Remove the grille.. In the 07-09 you need to remove 2 push in clips on the top and 2 10mm screws, The grille is attached to the bumper by 4 push in clips. Remove those and the grille needs to be unclipped from the bumper.

3.- Use this picture for reference.. You will need to undo some 10mm screws so you can have play between the Radiator and Condenser for when you are installing the ATF Cooler.


4.- Remove the lower splash guard, Its held in place by several Push In Clips.. There are 4 below the radiator, 2 below the header, 2 on the far sides of the splash guard.

5.- Now this is the ATF Flow Diagram:


What we need to do is remove both ends of the Radiator Cooler IN and OUT and use those to feed the new ATF Cooler! This is not an easy task because of Honda STUPID tube pressure clamps which are always installed in the hardest angle ever... Work your way to remove both (Have a rag ready it will spit out ATF).

6.- Use the Tube Coupler to use the OEM Cooler IN as series for your ATF Cooler.. That end will be the one going out from your ATF Cooler. Then Feed the TRANS OUT to feed your new ATF Cooler.

You will need to tie both ends of the Radiator Cooler, This is to prevent future Anti-Freeze leaks if the Cooler decided to fail it wont leave you stranded. You can do this by using a single feet of tubing and connecting both ends.

This is the connection result:
I connected the Inlet for the ATF Cooler directly into the Trans OUT line so it will be cleaner


And the OUT of ATF Cooler into the OEM Cooler using the coupler.


You can see that the Radiator Cooler OUTLET Tubing is pinched? It doesn't matter that tube goes back to the Radiator Cooler INLET you just want to prevent Anti-Freeze leakage from those so tidiness is not necessary for that tube.

7.- Installing the ATF Cooler..
You can see the OEM Cooler here:


We want the new ATF cooler to be in the way of the airflow as much as possible, Due to the Grille and front bumper design 100% coverage is impossible so you will need to locate the cooler with as much airflow as possible.. This is my installation:




Airflow path:



8.- Once everything is tighten start the engine and check for any leaks! You will need to top off ATF because of the added displacement of the Lines and ATF Cooler. Its not much I filled about 1/4th of ATF quart.

9.- Install everything back together and enjoy!

Summary: Afer the cooler and a 100 mile steady 60mph trip in 58°F Outside the ATF Cooler was about 49°C the OEM Cooler was about 57°C which tells me about that efficiency difference between both.. So far I haven´t seen any lower numbers so its perfect! not excessively cool but not as hot as the OEM Setup either.

Hope this helps anyone attempting to By-pass the radiator cooler for future failure prevention.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,268 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
I went ahead and test it on very steep inclines several times and check for temps.
(I will call the aftermarket cooler just ATF Cooler)

Max Temp: 78°C on the OEM Cooler and 69°C on the ATF Cooler.
That was doing about 5-10mph inclines about 35~45° angles this was to push the TC into heat oblivion but the coolers keep up just fine with little to no air flow.

Just for reference the "Transmission Hot" light comes up at around 95°C and the usual temp just driving in stop & go traffic for the OEM Cooler was about 71°C so doing inclines just make the oil heat up 7°C with this setup.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Hello skirmich

I have a simple question would like to ask. you just disconnect the return line of OEM cooler to connect the new atf cooler in then the atf cooler out connect to transmission .

It that the way you do. Just want to make sure before I like to do mine.

Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,268 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
If you wanted to add another ATF Cooler in series after the OEM Cooler then yes, But mine is BEFORE the OEM Cooler because its replacing the Radiator Cooler completely..

BEFORE: The OEM Flow (With OEM ATF COOLER)
Trans > RAD > OEM COOLER > Trans

AFTER: This is my Setup (By-passing the Radiator with Aftermarket cooler and OEM Cooler) as described in the DIY
Trans > ATF Cooler > OEM Cooler > Trans



What you are describing is when you add another ATF Cooler into the system
Trans > RAD > OEM Cooler > ATF Cooler > Trans.

If you wanted to add another cooler into the setup you will have to remove the return line from the OEM Cooler which is a long metal tube as long as the Radiator Cooler IN to OUT length.
Removing it and using a pair of couplers will get your ATF Cooler up and running.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,268 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Optionally you can also replace the radiator cooler by using the OEM Cooler First:
Trans > OEM Cooler > ATF Cooler > Trans
You will need to replace the OEM Cooler Return line to the OEM Cooler In Line (Just swap places) and use the OEM Cooler Return line to feed the ATF Cooler then to the Trans..

This setup involves a little more time and effort but is completely doable. For the sake of simplicity I opted to keep the OEM Cooler Flow after the ATF Cooler..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Thanks for the input. May be I will do like you told OEM cooler to aft cooler then trans.

How you plug the rad in & out .. Just hook up tubing in to out .. and leave it .

Thanks ..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,268 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
yes just put a tube connecting both ends of the radiator cooler.. In case the rad cooler fail it wont leak the Antifreeze this way.. If you leave both ends open you can lose all Antifreeze it the cooler fails.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Hello skirmich

Need help. Would you please take a look of my diagram and give me the advice. On the diagram that the way you connect to by pass radiator for new atf add on.

Thanks
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,268 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
That seems to be alright, seems like mine but reversed (OEM Cooler first).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
338 Posts
skirmish,
Thanks for the link to this post.

I was speaking to the service tech today and he would not give me a reason as to why Acura Dealership would not off this solution. I did this years ago with my 98 Accord, bypass the rad altogether and insert a cooler.

Questions...

1) Did you block off the original trans cooler holes in the bottom of the rad?
2) Cooler comes with 3/4" hose, the extra hose you purchased was it 3/4" also?



I was going to use the B&M one I have sitting in my garage that is destined for my 58 Chevy but will pick up the one you recommend.

It will be a bit tough to do as the temps up here in Toronto are now hitting in the minus Celsius numbers.


EDIT:::
Here in Canada the part number is 404 has a slightly different name..

Hayden Automotive 404 Ultra-Cool Tube and Fin Transmission Cooler
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,268 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Hi Northof49!

1.- Yes I put a 1ft tubing from the Inlet to the Outlet effectively closing the loop.
2.- I cant remember the exact size of the tubing but it was Gates and it was almost the same size, perhaps the exterior OD was slightly bigger but the Interior OD was the same.

Seems like its the same cooler from the Dimensions..
I wonder if you live in such a cold place you will benefit from simply by passing the Rad Cooler and keeping the OEM ATF Cooler only? Without adding another one in series.. I say this because here in So Cali we don´t have hardcore winters but our Summers are Terrible hitting 50°C in the shade!.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
338 Posts
ThanX, guess I'll gather everything I need before I start the tear down.

I still do the odd towing, so I'd rather install the second cooler.

Here's the kicker, the Dealer's Service Tech, was trying to tell me that my vehicle did not have a secondary cooler.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
338 Posts
In speaking with a mechanic that I know and owns a 2007 MDX, is saying all that has to be done is change out the threaded fittings on the rad.

Wondering if anyone has done this?

Just bypassing does not fis the issue of the washer rusting and pushing the original fitting out and allowing the coolant to mix with the ATF.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,268 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
If you by pass you will never have mixture of AF and ATF because ATF will no longer run through the system.. Worse case scenario is you lose Anti Freeze in case it fails but there will be no contamination to the Transmission.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,974 Posts
Hi skirmich,

Can you explain this a bit more. The description is a bit hard to understand.

http://i882.photobucket.com/albums/ac29/Skirmich/DIAGRAM_zpsesybitp7.jpg

"What we need to do is remove both ends of the Radiator Cooler IN and OUT and use those to feed the new ATF Cooler! This is not an easy task because of Honda STUPID tube pressure clamps which are always installed in the hardest angle ever... Work your way to remove both (Have a rag ready it will spit out ATF)."

For the blue line, is it the return line from OEM cooler back to transmission? Just want to make sure. Is it a hose, or internal piping of the OEM cooler & radiator?

The red line is the real trouble. It comes from transmission, then goes in the place for coolant? And the dashed line? then connects to the orange line? I am totally confused. Can you please help? Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,268 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Think of the colors as heat..
Red = Coming OUT of trans HOT
Dash Lines = Internal ATF Warmer in Rad
Orange = ATF cooled down
Blue = COOL ATF going IN the trans
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,268 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Now replace the Dash Lines with your Aftermarket Cooler. Use the end coming from the trans and route it to your aftermarket cooler and the exit goes to the OEM Cooler and you are done!

Trans Out > Red Line > Aftermarket Cooler > Orange Line > OEM Cooler > Blue Line > Trans In

The dash Lines are a simple circuit (Radiator warmer is a small tube heatsink that is why is represented as a straight dash lines) so you want to loop both ends so in case the ATF Warmer inside the radiator fails you don't lose any Anti-freeze! this is important!! You don't want to leave any ends of the ATF Warmer open. Close them, loop them, etc.. Just don't leave them open.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,974 Posts
Now replace the Dash Lines with your Aftermarket Cooler. Use the end coming from the trans and route it to your aftermarket cooler and the exit goes to the OEM Cooler and you are done!

Trans Out > Red Line > Aftermarket Cooler > Orange Line > OEM Cooler > Blue Line > Trans In

The dash Lines are a simple circuit (Radiator warmer is a small tube heatsink that is why is represented as a straight dash lines) so you want to loop both ends so in case the ATF Warmer inside the radiator fails you don't lose any Anti-freeze! this is important!! You don't want to leave any ends of the ATF Warmer open. Close them, loop them, etc.. Just don't leave them open.
Thanks. Now I get it. In that event, why not simply by-pass that dashed line and be done? The warmer is gone and you have the OEM cooler already. The risk of mixing with coolant is gone. Do you think the OEM cooler is not effective enough?

BTW, your color choice and words do not match. If OEM warmer works, you need to switch red and orange color. haha. But thanks a lot. :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: EyeTech
1 - 20 of 46 Posts
Top