Information On Your Imperial's Transmission Cooler

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Question from Anthony (1956):

Does anyone know where I could find an original transmission cooler for a '56 Imperial?


From Joe:

Can yours be rebuilt? If so any radiator shop can rebuild it, if it is rebuildable ..

From Ron:

No, but aftermarket ones are very reasonable, and will do a better job of cooling than the old-tech stuff that is likely clogged and corroded with age. Just get a new one, put it in an inconspicuous place, paint it black and enjoy your car.

Question from Anthony (1956):

I have a transmission cooler that is after market mounted in front of the radiator of my '56. I do not like the looks of it and have had no success finding an original. My question I have been told that I could put in underneath the car. Is that a good place? It is not going to the air draw of the fan there.


From Roger:

The first series of PowerFlites and Torqueflites were very badly ( barely ) cooled by the OEM heat exchanger that was inserted between the water outlet and the radiator. That is why MoPar (and others too) went to the tank below the radiator to cool the transmission. Later on for heavy duty usage they went from the transmission to the cooling tank to a finned cooler that was attached in front of the radiator and then returned to the transmission. What you may have is the by passing of the original heat exchanger to a poorly installed/attached low end after market finned cooler. Take a look at some OEM heavy duty styles and then inform a metal guy that you want one just like that one.

Reply From Paul:

Although I would agree that additional cooling is a very good idea, I would hardly describe the original transmission cooler as "very bad". I have had less trouble with the automatic transmission in my '56 Imperial than in my other newer Imperials, so the cooler must have been at least good enough to keep the transmission from overheating.

Even on the newer models, if the car was destined for trailer towing, an external cooler was always added.

The worst thing about the early style transmission cooler is that if something goes wrong with it, you can't buy a new one. It must be bypassed and an external cooler added. On the newer models, it can be serviced right along with the radiator.

Although I have never tried to find out about this, it may be possible to have a conventional style cooler built into the lower portion of the radiator if you feel that the external unit is unsightly.

My father mounted an external cooler under the front of the '60 Imperial and lost all of the transmission fluid when it was damaged by a high curb in a parking lot.

From Russell:

It should still dissipate heat pretty well. While the car is moving it would have enough air. Unless you plan to tow a heavy trailer at low speeds you should be OK.

From Philippe:

On my '57 I added a supplementary transmission oil cooler (bought new at PAW or Summit, don't remember, around 10 x 8 " dimension). First I wanted to install it behind the grille but I can't found a correct space which would be - well cooled - hidden. So I install it in the front right wheel well on the vertical sheet metal which protects the rear of the headlight cavity. It's a well cooled place (from wind under the car and also through the opening between the bumper but also with the wind of the wheel movement.) and it is hidden!! I've put a grille on it to protect it from road debris or pebbles.

Question from Mike (1967):

I want to install transmission coolers an my three imperial (all '67's) Is it better to mount the cooler directly the radiator with those plastic ties or mount it with brackets with a spacing between it ands the radiator or out front in front of the AC condenser? I really have no idea what is best.


From Brian:

It is actually better to mount it in a place NOT directly behind or in front of the radiator. I have one installed on my 69 300 that sits to the side of the radiator in front of the radiator support. Of course this car has much more room up there than the 67 Imps. I would suggest installing it in front of the AC condenser with as much space between as possible. Thats what I would do, of course others may come up with better ideas and find faults with my way.

From Dave:

It's best to make custom mounts placing it just ahead of the condenser, however, if space is limited installing it between the radiator and fan is the next best place for it and the most common. The plastic ties can lead to trouble if you ever have to take the radiator out. Also if you do install one do not by-pass the cooler in the radiator unless it's pluged or leaking as this will also aid in cooling the trans.
I have used trans coolers for years and have put them on every car I've had with an automatic. Your local parts store should carry them and they're not too expensive, between $35 & $50 depending on how big you want to go. Summit Racing and JEG's Performance are good sources too and they carry several different types. You can aslo add a temp gauge as well, just an idea.

Question from Chris (1970):

I'm in search of some information about transmission cooler lines. Are 300's and Imperials the same dimensions for trans. cooler lines? I know that they look somewhat similar; but, I need some help. The previous owner of my '70 Imperial damaged the cooler lines when he rebuilt the they're presently jimmy rigged w/ rubber lines in two different sections.

I called Classic Tube and they can make a set for a 70 Chrysler 300 (stainless for $80); but don't have the neccessary info to build them for an
Imperial. If anyone knows please help me out. I can bend my own; but, I prefer to have them professionally done.


From Pete:

Unfortunately the 1970 Master Parts Catalog does not list a part number for the transmission lines. The book indicates that replacement lines
are to be fabricated on site using a roll of bulk tubing.


I believe that the trans cooler lines will be the same for the Imperial and the 300. Probably others, too. I have few sets of lines from mid-'60s Mopars and I'll compare them to those on my '70 Imperial. I won't have any answer until next week, though.

From Steve:

If I am not mistaken the front clip on your car is longer than a 300 would be. This would mean the fabricated lines would be short a few inches... Can you pull your old ones and send them to the fabricators? Even with the rubber pieces added they may be good enough to make a new set from.

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