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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone know why the tow package requires the install of a new PS cooler? I believe the MDX has one already. Is the new one larger than the stock one?
Can the PS and ATF cooler be purchased separately from the hitch? You could probably purchase and install all three items for about 1/2 of the tow package option price.
 

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The "towing PS cooler" has some air cool fins, and I understand is slightly larger diameter. I really question its design.

I am debating the issue on my MDX, I installed a hidden hitch, and am now considering the transmission cooler add due to reports of overheated transmissions. The Acura units can be bought separately, at least the pair of the PS and trans cooler. Do not expect a big cost break though. Believe they are around $300 as a pair

I am thinking of an aftermarket transmission cooler, because I do not believe the Acura one is a good design. Afraid there could be warranty issues though. Wish Acura would do a little better in this area. May be a weaker design than the roof rack!
 

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PS & AT Fluid Coolers

Funny how some people who are not Automotive Engineers think they know more then the professionals who use analytical state of the art software programs to determine the design parameters used in automotive designs. Glad to see you took on this task by yourself. Did you have any problems taking the front end off? Was thinking of doing it myself, but probably will have the dealer accept the responsibility. Not worth my time. Good luck with your "inferior" factory coolers.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Coolers

To all those who responded to my question with helpful information, thank you.

It is probably not worth anyone's time to service, maintain, or add accessories to your vehicle of choice. Some of us are automobile enthusiasts who actually enjoy spending a Saturday morning with a cup of coffee in one hand and a wrench in the other. That is why we support this site and others like it.
Just because a factory designed part is used by a manufacturer does not mean it is the best. It merely means that it performs the job adequately and is produced at a minimal cost to the manufacturer. If we all just wanted to drive adequate vehicles we would have purchased a Civic, not an MDX.
 

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JMK4300,

I happened to be by an Acura dealer, so I inquired on the PS and transmission cooler prices. Got a fair amount of pressure on how the "dealer should install....." etc, but did manage to get prices. The Trans cooler was $195 and the PS cooler was $185. These are dealer prices, I did get a much better combined rate from Tim at HondaAcuraworld for the combined pair. Above provided for you reference...

They really wanted to sell the entire hitch kit, that was what "Acura wanted from them....". They beat HondaAcuraWorlds price by nearly $3 as well. Of course, that was only if installed by them as a kit for a little over $500 labor, plus the $500 parts. Figured not too bad for an SUV that comes with a 3500lb tow rating!:eek:
 

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Re: Front End Removal

deltajetfixer said:
Was easy just following the instructions.

Whole kit took about 3 hours.

I would say that it was DEFINITELY worth my time to do it rather than having the Dealer do it. First, it was FUN, and second, it save d me at least $150 before sales tax.

If you can have fun and get paid well for it, in this case $50 an hour, why not?

Only thing I would caution anyone on is to NEVER install a threaded fastener dry. I lubed all mine with engine oil and started them by hand. Would've sucked to have crossthreaded any of them!
deltajetfixer,

I've purchased the hitch & coolers from Tim. I'm planning on doing the hitch myself. Possibly the coolers. I've got some questions for you about taking apart and putting back together the front bumper:

1.) Were the clips easy to remove and reinstall without damaging them? (I'm worried about breaking them with I take them out.)

2.)How much fluid did you have to add to each system after the installation?

3.)Any problems with leaks? (I imagine that your road test came after you reassembled the front end.)

Thanks!

rflagg
 

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Thanks for the pix, DeltaJ, I'm sure the missus appreciated the picture of her with the torque wrench.

I currently have the hitch on back, and coolers in the box in the garage, need to wait until the temperature gets above 9 to get these on, but glad to see you've tackled it.

Thinking back to getting the hitch on, I recall holding that 70 lb hitch over head while torquing the bolts was a different definition of fun than I use. Here's a picture of the strategy that didn't work, then the one that did.

Bricks, 2x6's and 4x4's, markedly unstable:
 

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Brick support on the left, toe and knee support in the center, ghost uttering ancient slovak curses from his subconscious, children laughing hysterically in the driveway:
 

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Ghost,

Thanks for the humor. I think when our 'X gets here to put a hitch on, I'll use Deltajetfixer's "Wrenching Wife" method after putting the kids to bed and closing the garage door!!!
 

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Ghost!

Man, that's a good looking driveway and a very snappy attire for a Saturday of wrenching! I myself prefer the more 'holey pant' look.

:)

Ard

BTW, I've got the hitch and coolers. Got a 'deal' from Acura: in the 'beginning' (Oct 2000) the owners manual said the coolers were only required for over 2000 lbs (i think). I said fine, lets buy a hitch for bikes. Then acura wouldn't just sell be the hitch. I took it to Client Services and they agreed to provide coolers and labor for free if I purchased the hitch. Within 4 weeks of introduction, all manuals were updated to eliminate this discrepancy.

Oh, dealership gouged the rear bumper trim when they installed the hitch- replaced at no charge... all in all, I'd have saved time doing it myself.
 

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Thanks Ard! Can you tell I paved my own driveway too? (In my defense, I only paved the forward part with the small cracks and sparring, and inherited those rift valleys that run into the garage)

I can't tell you the language I used the first time I dropped one of the nuts down that 7 inch deep crack.

I really can't tell you the language I used the second time I dropped one of the nuts down that crack. Doh!

BTW - I first asked Buerkle Acura if they would install the hitch & coolers I bought from Tim. No way, they said - Tim's price was so low, they were obviously 'hot'. Quote: "He's selling them below wholesale". Buerkle's hardware & install price was somewhere around $870. Tim's probably a wanted man among Acura dealers...
 

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Having moved from PA 16 years ago to CA, I forget what a 'real' freeze-thaw cycle will do to concrete, brick, etc...

Regarding Buerkle:
"He's selling them below wholesale".

Morons or liars?, take your pick...

I actually don't think they really communicate very well among dealerships- maybe here or there in the same city, and I'll bet Tim is known. I wonder what kind of pressure Ray Laks gets from Acura corporate on their pricing??? By virtue of the 'safe harbor' rules, Acura cannot 'set' pricing (or even assist in dealers colluding to set pricing) since the dealers are 'independent.

(We know how that worked in Oct 00 with the accessory pricing fiasco.)

(Tim, you can take the 5th..)

DeltaJ-
Don't get me going on VW motors- I can't tell you how many I pulled in and out back in the 70s and 80s... I got so I could do the valves by feel.

Ard
 

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Probably the wrong logic, but I had the towing kit installed in lieu of a roof rack on my '02 since the roof rack made more wind noise. Problem is, I hear a circulator pump kick on when the engine is warm and it makes more damn noise than the engine. No more stealth trips through the park, sounds like my old Jeep.
 

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Jon Walworth said:
Probably the wrong logic, but I had the towing kit installed in lieu of a roof rack on my '02 since the roof rack made more wind noise. Problem is, I hear a circulator pump kick on when the engine is warm and it makes more damn noise than the engine. No more stealth trips through the park, sounds like my old Jeep.
Have you checked the fluid levels? I remember when I first fired up my engine that my power steering pump was wailing. But the reservoir was normal. The level did not go down until the truck warmed up. I then added fluid and it quited up.

My .02 cents worth!


rflagg
 

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Naw-

I'd probably not have purchased a roof rack 'cept it came with the Touring. I like the hitch mount tow systems, although I use the roof ski rack.

The extra cooling is always worth having.

The sound you are hearing is likely the electric radiator fan, but still... check the fluids.

Ard
 

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Power Steering Cooler and ATF cooler

Is this standard equipment for an X w/ nav or an option that goes with towing package?
I will be in the market (soon) for a new X and just looking at what I will get as standard.
 

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There are standard coolers for both the ATF and power steering in the standard MDX.

If you buy a dealer-installed hitch package, you also get "upgraded" replacement coolers for both power steering and ATF.

The standard PS cooler is a long U running side to side in front of the radiator . The replacement PS cooler in the hitch package is a long U, with two sections of cooling fins on one line of the U: each finned section is about 14inches long.

The standard ATF cooler is integrated in the radiator. If you get the hitch package, you also get another U line in front of the radiator, mounted higher than the PS cooler. THe ATF cooler has fins on both sides of the U, almost the full length.

hondacuraworld.com has a section of installation instructions. Download the cooler instructions, and you will see drawings of the standard PS cooler, and the upgraded PS and ATF coolers.

If you do buy the hitch package, check to see that the dealer installs both upgraded coolers.

I will tell you that even light towing will increase the heat thrown off underneath the car by a noticeable amount.
 

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psuilon,
It is an option with the towing package. It can be purchased separately, however. Good luck with your decision.

edit: Like shootist said, these are upgraded coolers.
 
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