Leaks, drips, dribbles, and transmission coolers

I had really put the old jury-rig on to the turbo oil returns through the front cover.  I had the best of intentions, I really did.  I carefully selected and drilled holes.  I bought a nice Chinese NPT tap set and tapped the 1/2″ holes through the aluminum front cover.  I picked out a nice set of 1/2″ NPT to 10AN elbows. Everything was going great.  Then, just like Johnny Cash said, “Up to now my plan went all right until we tried to put it all together when night, and that’s when we noticed that something was definitely wrong.”

I started threading the elbows in and they hit the raised center section of the front cover.  I stared in disbelief, then tried again like any rational person.  After failing a second time, I tried staring in disbelief again with the desperate hope that if I could somehow muster up enough disbelief the pieces would fit together.  Alas, they did not.  I hogged out the holes through the front cover and grabbed four romex connector nuts and four big o-rings.  I threaded a romex nut onto my elbow, slipped on an o-ring, jammed it through the front cover, then slipped on another o-ring and the other romex nut.  I tightened as much as possible and told myself that it would be fine.  I willed it.  Unfortunately I was not willful enough.  The solution leaked like a sieve once you spun up the motor.  Ugh.

I thought about alternatives, mostly involving JB Weld, but finally broke down and got junior to TIG the elbows into the front cover.  That worked.  Thanks junior.

The other pictures all involve ideas to place the transmission cooler.  I originally thought about sticking it in the space that would have been occupied by the heater motor but decided it wouldn’t get enough airflow, plus the hoses would look like crap.  I thought about mounting it up on the frame horn, also would look like crap.  I even kicked around the idea of mounting it in the center between the two frame horns, kind of floating in front of the harmonic balancer.  But it all looked like crap.  It went under the car, passenger’s side, hanging under the rear seat pan.  It still looks like crap but you can’t see it, so like a tree falling in the woods, does it look like crap?  I think not.  I bought some nice Chinese 3/8 braided line and 6AN fittings and plumbed it all up.  I put a GM two wire temperature sensor in the output line and hooked it to the ECU so I could see the trans temp as well.


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