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Old 05-08-2006, 10:35 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: MA
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2006 VUE 3.5L
Default 06 Vue V6 Transmission Cooler Install

I have an AWD with the Honda V6 that I bought to tow my 17 ft. boat and had not been able to find too much from anyone who had installed a trans cooler. So, I thought I would post what I came up with for anyone else who was interested.
First, my reasons for installing: The vehicle is rated to tow 3,500 lb but that includes trailer, gear, and passengers. With a boat about 2,700 lb., I will be up near the limit with people and stuff. Saturn says it doesn't need any additional trans fluid cooling. It does already have a fluid cooler that runs a loop inside the radiator. However, Honda says that the Pilot can only pull 1,000 lb without an add on cooler then 4,000 if you have it. Thats about 7,100 lbs total weight including the vehicle that Saturn says the drive train can pull without additional cooling and only 5,600 lb from Honda (who designed the thing). I'm not sure if the Pilot already has some sort of cooler in the radiator, but I know Honda had problems with this tranny back around the 00-02 time frame on the CL and TL. They even extended warranty on some to 100k due to failures and I think they were related to excessive heat. So, I vote for additional cooling capacity.
If you want selection on transmission coolers, go to the summit racing web site. They have literally hundreds of options. I couldn't find a convenient way to add some sort of bracket that would really be robust in front of the radiator without some major disassembly. I was also not too keen on the type that is attached to the face of the radiator with the plastic pins that go through it. So, I elected to go with a heat sink type cooler. It is Summit p/n AFC-37750 and is about 12 in. long and 2 in. diameter (about $70 with shipping). It appears that this type and some others like it are designed to attach in places without high airflow such as the frame rail. It comes with brass fittings on either end for attaching hoses that I replaced with 90 degree 1/2 NPT fittings to make routing the hoses easier. I mounted it onto the end of the bumper rail inside the front drivers side corner of the bumper. I cut into the original trans cooler return line to route the fluid through the heat sink after it goes through the radiator. That's the line that goes to the top of the radiator (at least I'm 99% positive that's the return). I replaced the two 8mm bolts that hold the end of the bumper together with longer ones so that I could use the extra length to attach a bracket I fabricated.
I've been running it for a week and it gets pretty hot once the fluid warms up so it is definitely dumping some excess heat. I want to get a little more air flow over it so I plan to drill some holes in the plastic insert where the fog light would be if I had them. I figure that I may want to tape them closed for the winter when I'm not towing and it's cold anyway. I figure that one of the small tube and fin coolers right in the front would dump more heat, but I think this buys some good insurance and wasn't too difficult to do. I have some pics of the items I used, but they exceed the file size limit for the forum. I'll see what I can do to reduce them or get some others of the final install if anyone is interested.

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