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Thread: Auto Trans Upgrade - External Cooler & In-Line Filter

  1. #1
    Member fast_dave's Avatar
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    Auto Trans Upgrade - External Cooler & In-Line Filter

    Just throwing this out there for discussion.

    I have a hard time dealing with the ONLY transmission for a 500X AWD being the 9 speed auto-trans built by Chrysler = The 948TE.

    LINK to two great presentations regarding this particular transmission:

    1) https://atracom.blob.core.windows.ne...troduction.pdf

    2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heDlHOPa-Yw



    I live in Northern California, where it is HOT 8 months of the year, and we do quite a bit of city driving w/ the A/C on.

    When I have a choice, manual transmissions are my "go to" - but in the case of the 500x AWD that is not possible...

    NOTE: FCA does offer a six speed manual on the Renegade with 4wd - if you want to be seen driving drive a "toaster" ...

    So, having worked in an Automatic Transmission rebuilder shop during my youth, I see two downsides to the 948te Automatic Transmission in my "environment."

    1) The "lifetime" transmission fluid gets hot as it is "cooled" by engine coolant passing over through a heat exchanger built in the radiator.

    2) The 948TE is "considered" a SEALED transmission that is not friendly to servicing by the AVERAGE owner. Additionally, the ATF FILTER is deep within the body of the transmission. The ATF FILTER is NOT accessible without taking out the transmission and tearing into it.

    My conundrum; I'm old school - I was taught by my Advanced Auto Shop Teacher and the Old Boys at the Transmission shop that for all it does, and compared to the price of a transmission; ATF is cheap (price wise) and to change BOTH it and the Transmission Filter every 2 years...


    • With all that said, has anybody on the forum cut into the transmission cooler lines going to the radiator, bypassed the coolant heat exchanger set-up, and mounted a transmission cooler to the front of their radiator? Picture shown is a Derale 8000 Series Model #13504 available from Summit Racing for $59 LINK: https://www.summitracing.com/parts/der-13504




    • Also, has anybody chose to add an inline Magnefine filter to their transmission lines to supplement the built in/non-serviceable transmission filter? Picture shown is for a Magnefine 3/8 inch in-line filter available from Ebay for $26. Link: https://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Magnefi...sAAOSwPWRZWnOl



    Link to Magnefine Homepage: https://www.magnefinefilters.com/
    Link to Derale Cooling Products: https://derale.com/



    Last edited by Fiat500USA; 02-10-2019 at 09:02 PM. Reason: embedded video
    2012 Sport 5 speed Manual Trans, ST Rear Sway Bar, CorsaStrada Lower Chassis Brace, 205/45/16 Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport Tires

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    5port (02-11-2019)

  3. #2
    Senior Member PLP's Avatar
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    Great info, but mine 2016 Trekking AWD has an external ATF cooler. It does NOT use engine radiator.
    Also, there is a check/bypass valve in the ATF cooler bypassing the ATF if it is too cold.

    I am not sure if adding another cooler will make any difference.
    From what I noticed with this one is that in goes into torque converter lockup very quickly and holds it tight despite even heavy load input.
    Hence, ATF does not get so hot after all.


    However, in my Forte ATF is cooled by going straight to the radiator, no bypass. I can see on some colder days that the ATF get actually warmed up by the radiator when in city driving... so in the matter of fact, I will be installing ATF cooler on it.

    As for adding filter - not so sure I want to do that as it will restrict the flow even more (the cooler is already restrictive enough).
    Just my opinion.
    2016 KIA Forte5 SX 1.6 T-GDI, A/T (me)
    2016 FIAT 500X Trekking Plus AWD with Roof and Beats, in Yellow... bumble bee (wife)

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    Intercooling with the coolant circuit not only warms up the transmission fluid faster, it also regulates the trans fluid temp to the same engine operating temp. What's "hot" is relative. At normal operating temp, the coolant temp may be too hot to touch, but it is the temp at which the engine is designed to function at peak efficiency.
    '18 500X Lounge AWD

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    Senior Member PLP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Volfy View Post
    Intercooling with the coolant circuit not only warms up the transmission fluid faster, it also regulates the trans fluid temp to the same engine operating temp. What's "hot" is relative. At normal operating temp, the coolant temp may be too hot to touch, but it is the temp at which the engine is designed to function at peak efficiency.
    I kind of agree to this.
    Too cold is just too cold; however, for ATF the colder the better. Basically, it does not like going over 100 deg C. You can find tons of publications of ATF degradation with temperature and the overall conclusion is - keep it cold, that is 60 deg C would be optimal.

    I can for sure say that in my KIA, if ATF gets to 80 C or above - the performance drops. Oil gets so thin that acceleration drops. We are talking about 0-60 times being lower by about 0.3-0.5 second.
    But on the other hand, being at 80 C when pumping over 200 HP to the wheels - yes, ATF will take beating.
    Hence, I will be going for ATF cooler.

    In FIAT, though, the cooler is already there and coolant is not warming it up at all. Any temp increase in the transmission is from being mated to the engine and ATF getting its job in the torque converter.
    2016 KIA Forte5 SX 1.6 T-GDI, A/T (me)
    2016 FIAT 500X Trekking Plus AWD with Roof and Beats, in Yellow... bumble bee (wife)

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    Member fast_dave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PLP View Post
    Great info, but mine 2016 Trekking AWD has an external ATF cooler. It does NOT use engine radiator.
    Also, there is a check/bypass valve in the ATF cooler bypassing the ATF if it is too cold.
    Disclamer: I do not own a 500X.

    Just doing "the math" out loud - thinking of a future purchase between a FWD 6 Speed Manual 500X & AWD 9 Speed Automatic 500X

    Interesting - I wonder is all trim levels/model years of 500X AWD have an external ATF cooler?

    Anyone have a picture of what the 500X AFT cooler looks like - perhaps a diagram from an online FIAT parts dealer?
    2012 Sport 5 speed Manual Trans, ST Rear Sway Bar, CorsaStrada Lower Chassis Brace, 205/45/16 Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport Tires

  7. #6
    Senior Member PLP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fast_dave View Post
    Disclamer: I do not own a 500X.
    I must have missed that...

    https://store.mopar.com/2018-fiat-50...285108AA-item/

    Sits in the upper part in the front of the condenser. You can see it through the upper grille.
    2016 KIA Forte5 SX 1.6 T-GDI, A/T (me)
    2016 FIAT 500X Trekking Plus AWD with Roof and Beats, in Yellow... bumble bee (wife)

  8. #7
    AWD enthusiast Premium Member 5port's Avatar
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    500X transmission oil cooler

    https://www.fiatpartswebstore.com/sh...rimLevel=28694

    500X transmission

    https://www.fiatpartswebstore.com/sh...rimLevel=28694

    Not sure if the above links will work. You may have to drill down. I like the "toaster" comment.
    Last edited by 5port; 02-13-2019 at 03:36 PM.
    2016 Fiat 500X Easy/nero cinema, go pedal, LED headlights and reverse, Osram amber DRL, carbon fiber shift gate, ST T9 wheels, PIAA silicone wipers, '17 motor mounts

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    Senior Member Mikeyjm1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fast_dave View Post
    Disclamer: I do not own a 500X.

    Just doing "the math" out loud - thinking of a future purchase between a FWD 6 Speed Manual 500X & AWD 9 Speed Automatic 500X
    Take a 1.4t manual car for a drive. I love mine other than missing a sunroof. A car this slow (and check the numbers the 1.4 is the fastest 500x) would’ve bored me to death and an upside down trade by now otherwise.
    16 500X Pop, Rosso Passione, M6
    13 500 Abarth, Bianco Gellato, 17" M5, Wife's

  10. #9
    Senior Member PLP's Avatar
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    Another reason for 1.4T - it gives you much more room for tunning improvements. NA engines cannot really gain much power from a tune...
    2016 KIA Forte5 SX 1.6 T-GDI, A/T (me)
    2016 FIAT 500X Trekking Plus AWD with Roof and Beats, in Yellow... bumble bee (wife)

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