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Hey yall. I want to install a transmission cooler on my 2018 traverse. Local shop wants $450 to install one. Fortunately I found this topic on a first gen traverse install.
The downside is none of the original photos are available. I plan on buying a Derale 13502 Series 8000 cooler and Derale 13035 adapter. I'm hopeful that it will work with 2nd gen traverse.

Have anyone install on a 2nd gen traverse and got some good pictures? For instance where are the transmission inlet and outlet to the radiator? I plan on installing the cooler in series with the build in transmission cooler on the radiator. Also, does it matter what transmission fluid you put back in?
 

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I'm installing a trans cooler and trans filter/thermostat over the July 4th weekend. I'm using 3/8" hard line to AN-8 adapters and fabbing up my own SS lines. Also gonna go in series with the oem radiator cooler. Gonna pull the front bumper cover off and install in the bottom opening on the front end.
 

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My parts are coming this week. I'm planning on picking up some Dexron VI and tackle this on Friday. I'll definitely take some pictures.
 

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Folks often don't get the expected results from aftermarket transmission coolers, because their was no added airflow. I strongly suggest doing it right, and installing a cooler, with it's own fan to ensure proper airflow.
 

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If the 2018 camer with the tow package then it already has a heavy duty cooling system. With digital readouts of ATF temperature people are much more inclined to freak out when they see a reading of 220 degrees. Flash point of ATF is 350 degrees so 220 is not even close to being a problem.

eTrailer.com only sells Traverse ATF coolers for 2015-2017 model years. I have gotten good information and advice from talking with them over the phone.

 

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220 is very close to being a problem. The fluid temp is measured at the pan. a TRUE fluid temp reading would be at the outlet fitting, heading towards the cooler. A pan reading of 220 is prolly closer to 275 degrees discharge temp.

Also, transmissions rarely "wear out". They fail in two ways. A hard part failure like a planetary gear or bearing breaks, or, it's the result of fluid failure.
The fluid is the transmissions coolant , lubricant, and provides working pressure. When the fluid fails, your transmission is "Toast" as they say in the rebuilding industry. Not worn out, TOAST.

How does the fluid fail? 2 ways. One is when the cooler fails, and the trans fluid gets contaminated. The other way. Heat. Plain and simple.

Other things inside tranny hate heat too. Electrical solenoids, plastic parts and wiring just to name a few.

You go drive around at 300 degrees on the gauge for awhile, and see how far you get.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Folks often don't get the expected results from aftermarket transmission coolers, because their was no added airflow. I strongly suggest doing it right, and installing a cooler, with it's own fan to ensure proper airflow.
I placed the cooler infront of the AC condenser. It will get decent airflow because the only way that air move through the radiator fan is first through the tran cooler, ac condenser and radiator. I barely above 200F while towing. My goal is to simply be under 200F.
 

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I would think you would want it to get to 213 degrees once in awhile to boil off any moisture, should any be absorbed by the fluid.
 

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Ok. Finally got around to doing this install. I installed a Derale 13502 Series 8000 cooler. I like the cooler build, but if I have to do it over, I'll buy a different cooler with slightly bigger hoses. The ones that came with it was really tight when trying to connect to the traverse transmission line. This took me about a full day of work because I was figuring stuff out as I go.


First step is to remove the front bumper. I recommend watching this youtube clip on removing GMC arcadia first gen bumper.

2nd gen traverse has a small trim around the wheel that 1st gen traverse does not have. 1st gen arcadia has this trim.
  • Remove the black plastic cover. There are 12 plastic clip. I used a trim removal trim that I brought on amazon for $5.
  • 9416
  • Remove the 6 screw holding bumper. You have to use a star bit for this. I also remove the hood latch bracket, so I can remove the plastic cover under the hood latch. There are 3 screws that hold that plastic cover down. If you remove the cover you can now see radiator and ac condenser.
  • 9417
  • Remove the screws on the bottom of the bumper. There are some that hold the middle plastic and some on the side that screw into the wheel well. Most of the bottom screws holds the bottom trim to the bumper. You don’t have to remove those.
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  • Remove the screws from the front bumper in the wheel well. You should be able to pull the wheel well plastic back.
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  • You can also pull the edge trim off the front bumper by force. There are 3 green clips holding the trim to the front bumper. The trim will not come off the fender unless you compress the wheel clip on the inside.
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  • Under the headlamp there is a socket head screw on the front bumper that I removed on both side. I don’t think that matter. You should be able to pull the bumper off by force now. There are clip around the headlight that hold it on. You will have to disconnect the foglight, which is one big delphi connector.
Second step. Now that the bumper is off, remove everything that cover the ac condenser.
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Third step is to install the cooler. I recommend watching this video.
  • Unscrew the plastic trim on the edge of the ac condenser (4 socket head screws). The plastic trim should be able to move forward now.
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  • There are two clip that hold the condenser in place. Squeeze them to move the condenser forward. This will give you room to work behind it.
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  • I attached my cooler on the condenser. I cut out the plastic trim where my hoses would run.
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  • There are 4 lines going to the radiator. The two big hoses are coolant and the two small metal tubing are transmission fluid. I disconnect the top one which I believe is the return line. There is a “C” clip that hold the metal pipe in.
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  • I attached cooler hose to the metal tube I pulled out. I attached adapter Derale 13035 to the transmission hole where the tubing used to be. Attached the second cooler hose to the adapter.
The only thing I got left tomorrow is to run the engine and check for leaks. I’m at 50,000 miles, so I might also do a partial transmission flush. And lastly, to put the bumper back on.
 

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I would do the drain first so you do not pump old fluid into the new cooler. At 50k miles your due for a fluid change, the severe maint. sched. usually is 45k miles. Everyone usually meets at least one of the severe maint. sched. criteria's .
Refill with specified amount of fresh then run it to leak check. It's OK to idle it if level is slightly low as there is a substantial amount of fluid in it.
Cold fluid I would shoot for half way between add and full marks as your final set level. Cooler and line probably will not take much more than a extra quart if that.
In my Tahoe with tow package and in dash trans. temp. readout I've never seen it over 175 deg. towing a 18' pontoon on 90 deg. days in hilly terrain. Haven't checked my 'verse yet to see if it has the trans. temp. readout capability with tow package.
 

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  • There are 4 lines going to the radiator. The two big hoses are coolant and the two small metal tubing are transmission fluid. I disconnect the top one which I believe is the return line. There is a “C” clip that hold the metal pipe in.
View attachment 9425
This is the top line. Its hotter , which means its sending fluid from the tranny, to the cooler.
9427



This is the bottom line, which is returning the cooled fluid, back to the transmission
9428


This is how to hook an additional cooler up, correctly.
9429
 

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Discussion Starter #16
This is the top line. Its hotter , which means its sending fluid from the tranny, to the cooler.
View attachment 9427


This is the bottom line, which is returning the cooled fluid, back to the transmission
View attachment 9428

This is how to hook an additional cooler up, correctly.
View attachment 9429
Well I read from two different post that the top is the return line on the 1st gen traverse. One of them claimed to be a GM service manager. I guess for whatever reason, GM changed it on the 2nd gen.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I would do the drain first so you do not pump old fluid into the new cooler. At 50k miles your due for a fluid change, the severe maint. sched. usually is 45k miles. Everyone usually meets at least one of the severe maint. sched. criteria's .
Refill with specified amount of fresh then run it to leak check. It's OK to idle it if level is slightly low as there is a substantial amount of fluid in it.
Cold fluid I would shoot for half way between add and full marks as your final set level. Cooler and line probably will not take much more than a extra quart if that.
In my Tahoe with tow package and in dash trans. temp. readout I've never seen it over 175 deg. towing a 18' pontoon on 90 deg. days in hilly terrain. Haven't checked my 'verse yet to see if it has the trans. temp. readout capability with tow package.
There is no transmission dipstick on the 2nd gen traverse. There is a level plug near the bottom of the transmission.
 

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There is no transmission dipstick on the 2nd gen traverse. There is a level plug near the bottom of the transmission.
I haven't checked my '20 9 speed yet for a stick. Only 2 weeks old.
It's nice to have one on my 'nox, I just drain out and measure what came out when it comes to my ''stick less'' Malibu's and refill plus a touch according to spec. .
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I haven't checked my '20 9 speed yet for a stick. Only 2 weeks old.
It's nice to have one on my 'nox, I just drain out and measure what came out when it comes to my ''stick less'' Malibu's and refill plus a touch according to spec. .
Alisobob did a write up on how to change the transmission fluid and add the right amount of fluid using the level plug. I think a lot of the new vehicle are moving away from the dipstick. I have level plug on both my traverse and kia sorento
 
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