- Dan's Performance Page


Installing a B&M Transmission oil cooler
updated: February, 2002

Got an automatic transmission? Got a performance engine? Then you have the potential for some seriously overheated fluid! Especially if you are going to be running your car on a road race track, or you plan on towing a boat, or run an aftermarket torque converter.
>Click on the pics for a bigger view<
The B&M cooler doesn't come with an easy install kit, so you have to make one up yourself! It's not hard. In fact, all of the parts needed are listed at the bottom of the page. It took me less than two hours to install it, and I didn't even have a handy internet guide to go by! As for the effect, between the Griffen radiator, engine oil cooler and the trans cooler, I never see the high side of 190 degrees anymore. I'm going to pull out the 160 thermostat and re-install the 180 degree 'stat, except for racing at the track.

The B&M Supercooler is designed as a general-purpose plate cooler that has a very low pressure drop, and can flow a lot of fluid. Therefore, it is suppled with 1/2" NPT fittings. 1/2" NPT means that you can thread in a steel pipe with 1/2" i.d. It's NOT the size of the thread, by any means! Therefore, you need to use a 1/2" to 3/8" NPT brass reducer to make the opening small enough for the 3/8" NPT to hose barb fitting. I got mine at the auto value parts store, and at the True value hardware.
Some nifty fittings that I found from Earl's Service Shop in Indianapolis screwed into the transmission's stock cooler so that I could install it in-line. I'm considering buying another of the female fittings so that I can bypass the radiator oil cooler altogether. It's your choice. They are only about $2.25 each from Earl's. You'll pay more for shipping than the cost of the parts. One idea for you: Buy Earl's oil cooler instead of the B&M Supercooler and you'll save $4.50 in postage.
The first step is to remove the fan shroud. Just remove the top screws from  your electric fan, then remove the cover. Gently lean your radiator back a few inches to make clearance for the cooler. If you have air conditioning, you will have to figure out something else; perhaps even remove the radiator altogether. Since I no longer have A/C it was a snap.
Because I already have a Derale engine oil cooler, I had to overlap the coolers by about half an inch. If you plan on running an engine oil cooler, here's some advice: Buy another supercooler instead, along with an oil cooler adapter ring. Same advice goes for Earls stuff. You won't have to overlap the coolers and the installation will look more elegant. The lines are oriented upwards in order to keep the tube bends nice and gentle.
Here's the orientation of the supercooler. Lines pointed up.
Add your fittings to the transmission lines. I used the upper transmission line which, I believe, the inlet to the stock cooler. Therefore, my oil goes through the B&M unit first, then the radiator. You may want to buy more oil cooler hose than my suggested four feet, and run your lines to the bottom line. It might keep the oil temperatures down a little better. 
Since the Earl's barbs are quite aggressive, it helps a lot to lubricate them first. Use some transmission fluid, and they will slip in like a dream.
Nice, gentle curves on your hoses. Notice the radiatorcrossmember: It's a potential leak waiting to happen as it slowly saws through the hose with vibration. You will want to find a piece of 1/8 inch rubber tubing, slit it lengthwise, and slip it over the sharp edge. This should help reduce the possibility of a hose failure due to abrasion.
My cooler sits about half an inch from the radiator. It would have benn closer had it not been for the long, tube-style Derale oil cooler. If you can afford it, buy yourself two plate-style oil coolers as they are more efficient & compact, albeit heavier in mass. They are also probably more robust in case of a crash or road debris.
Here's the interference. I've used some rubber stand offs to separate the two coolers. They are quite secure with the plastic ties that I bought at Autovalue. They push through that nice & new aluminum radiator, and secure the whole assembly. I cringed at the thought of messing up those beautiful fins, but they push through without too much damage or grief.
Parts Sources:
Auto Value Parts Store (AVP)
Auto Value East
Park Lake Road
East Lansing, MI

Summit Racing Equipment
Akron, Ohio

Earl's Service Shop (Earl's)
302 Gasoline Alley 
Indianapolis, IN 46222 
317-247-1128 FAX

Parts list & Source: 
1) P/N 292-0608 1/2-20 I.F. x 3/8 Push barb (Earl's)
1) P/N 290-0608 1/2-20 Male x 3/8 Push barb(Earl's)
2) 3/8 NPT to 3/8 Push barb (AVP)
2) 1/2 NPT to 3/8 Reducer fitting(AVP)
4) Ft. of Dayco transmission Cooler line (AVP)
4) Hose Clamps (AVP)
1) PartsMaster Nylon Mounting Rods (4/pkg.) (AVP)
4) 1/2" thick rubber standoffs (no souce: Home-made)
1) B&M P/N 70266 Supercooler(Summit)

Approximate cost of all parts listed above: $100.

I cannot say enough good things about Earl's. Every time I call and deal with them, they are very responsive. In fact, I called yesterday and they offered to custom-fabricate a full set of braided stainless brake lines for my Jeep Grand Cherokee, all for the best mail-order price I could find! Every time I have ordered something, it has been cost competitive with any other mail order shop, and they were prompt in sending it. I highly recommend you call them and get their catalog.

Return to the third-gen Hobbyist page
If you have comments or suggestions, just  email me!