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Old 03-29-2011, 05:02 AM   #1
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Ford Freestar and Tran cooler

I know many of you will say I shouldn't tow with my freestar but my kids are young so we don't go far. Its flat here a but most importantly I can't afford to buy a TT and a TV in the same year so it will have to do for two years.

I am installing a trany cooler as I didn't need one with my pup. What size is reasonable to put in?

Thanks for your help.
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Old 03-29-2011, 07:26 AM   #2
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Question Ford Freestar

You may want to check out the specs of the year Freestar that you have and see if it was offered with a tow package, if so ask a dealer what size it was, or maybe your autoparts store has a listing. You may be able to check one of the" on line parts" houses to see if there is a listing specifically for your vehicle since "size does matter", too big, too cold no good for the trans. I don't know what size tt your going to pull, but the other things you may want to concern your self with arerear suspension, brakes, tires, & mirrors that you will need for towing.I know what your saying about the $ but a junk trans or an accident is not good. Good luck.
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Old 03-29-2011, 09:13 AM   #3
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Based on my "limited time" research....

The Freestar mini-van comes with a built in ATF cooler (build into the main rad). This cooler is for normal driving / NO towing conditions. With this in mind, an "additional" ATF cooler must be installed for towing &/or heavy hauling. And, installed "in-line" with the factory's main rad's built-in ATF cooler - to ensure ATF is quickly heated up at initial start up.

Note about Ford mini-van transmissions:
"Freestar/Montery has much better drivetrain. Windstar uses basic drivetrain as Taurus. Freestar/Montery uses a transverse mounted version of the same V6 used in the F150 truck & E150 van - which is much better for towing. "

The Freestar mini-van can tow up to 3,500 lbs. Some say up to 3,800 lbs - depending on the exact year and driving conditions. Their factory transmission is better than previous Winstar transmissions but like all mini-vans, cannot take "high heat". Heat kills all transmissions. If towing (even a little PUP or utility trailer), an additional ATF cooler should be installed. In my books, that means "must" be installed.

IMO, the LPD (Low Pressure Drop) aux ATF transmissions are the best. Good brands are Tru-Cool or Hayden. Many say that Tru-Cool brand is the best. For sizing, I'd recommend the install of aux cooler rated for 5,000 lbs trailer. Especially if you travel in hotter temp regions or in hilly regions. For example: http://www.transmissioncoolers.us/Me...ansaver-cooler

How to install ATF aux Cooler (sucking it against existing AC rad): http://www.ehow.com/how_5630882_inst...-freestar.html

If living in colder region (like me), I'd recommend installing the ATF aux cooler on vertical steel rails approx 1.5" "away" from the front AC rad. During winter months (when temps are below freezing), simply wrap a thick winter plastic bag around the ATF cooler. When hotter spring months finally come, simply remove this outer water resistant bag. Think of this outer bag as a thick winter coat - to stop its internal ATF from getting too cold during the harsh winter months. To view the ATF aux cooler on my mini-van, surf:
Winter time: http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w...interRAD-2.jpg
Summer time: http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w...ummerRAD-2.jpg
Vertical support rail gap: http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w...rSupport-2.jpg
Note: If installing 1-1.5" gap away from AC rad, always install 1 size larger. For example, install aux cooler for 5,000 lbs trailer (instead of needed 3,500 lbs trailer). When gaping is used between different rad layers, larger size ATF aux cooler is better.

Always remember the more weight one puts inside the Tow Vehicle, the less weight is allowed on the trailer. For example, if 500 lbs of passengers & cargo in the mini-van, then max weight of connected trailer is really 3,500 - 500 lbs = 3,000 lbs. Many folks forget about subtracting the internal cargo weight of the Tow Vehicle.

If your Tow Vehicle's automatic transmission "hunts" for 3rd (D) gear too much, manually put the shifter on D, and slow down. Especially when fighting a head wind or climbing up steep hills. A transmission runs much better at higher RPMs compared to "stress & high heat" of its lower RPMs. With my mini-van, it pulls nice in "double D". Only need to manually force it into "D" when climbing up the steep Kingston hills.

Also remember that "towing stress" (like hills, wind, stop/go traffic, wind drag from attached trailer) is very hard on the Tow Vehicle as well. The more "stresses", the increased risk of mechanical problems. For example, buring out transmission or front bearings. Unknown to some, a loaded 3,000 lbs utility trailer pulls much easier (less wind drag) than a flat frontal design 3,000 lbs Travel Trailer (even though both items are of same equal scale weight).

IMO, any trailer weight 1,500+ lbs connected to a mini-van needs "brakes on the trailer". Electric trailer brakes are the best (compared to surge brakes). With mini-vans, do ensure your attached trailer has brakes.

As with any brand of mini-van towing anything, drive it slow and steady. Especially when climbing up hills or fighting a head wind. The gentler you treat your mini-van (while towing), the more it will thank you in return....

Hope these items help....

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Old 03-29-2011, 01:41 PM   #4
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Thanks

Thank you so much for the advice.

First I have thought about what we are towing. We considered a 19ft but after reading the forums decided quickly against it. We purchased a 17z. I know I am right at my limit but with weight distribution(reese) and the fact we will drive slow, no hills, no more then 2.5 hours I think I will be okay. About safety, I am concerned for myself, especially for my children, wife and others. I have a timed break controller so when I bought the trailer I had the dealer throw in a prodigy. I hope that helps.

Spike thanks again. I have little to no knowedge about vehicles and am not the most handy person but your information was invaluable. I am going now to get some quotes to figure this out.

Once again thank you.
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Old 03-29-2011, 03:13 PM   #5
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Here's some additional info on aux ATF cooler items that might help as well....

For Tru-Cool ATF aux cooler that's good for attached 3,500 - 5,000 lbs trailer, surf: http://www.transmissioncoolers.us/Me...=tru-cool-thin

ATF heat range chart: http://www.tciauto.com/Products/Tech...expectancy.asp

If wondering, some folks install an Transmission Heat Guage. Thus, proactively showing when and how hot their vehicle's ATF fluid can get (especially while towing). For more details, surf:
http://www.etrailer.com/Accessories-...le/D13009.html
http://www.jegs.com/p/B-M/B-M-Transm...48099/10002/-1

Hayden LPD & Ford fittings: http://www.haydenauto.com/Upload/Hay...il-coolers.pdf

Before installing parts youself (if you like doing DIY installs), remember to purchase properly rated rubber hoses (don't use generic rubber hose), have another can of proper ATF (for your Ford) and if necessary, purchase proper connector ends for your main Rad (that one splices off of). And, have available 2nd vehicle - to visit your nearest auto store for needed parts. For details on RAD positioning, surf contents of http://www.haydenauto.com/Upload/Hay...il-coolers.pdf

Note: Some folks like to physicall install / mount on vertical galvanized rails, then get their local auto shop to connect its rubber hoses. Which ever approach works best for you.

Hope this helps as well....

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Old 03-29-2011, 05:22 PM   #6
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Wow thats alot of information. I went to one transmission place and they wanted to install a Hayden rated for 18000, I asked if a larger would fit. He also said that they come with a bypass valve if its running cool. Have you heard of a bypass valve.

Thank you.
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Old 03-29-2011, 07:27 PM   #7
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Yes. I heard of temp controlled "inline" bypass valves. And, even seen them installed on race sports cars - where their coolant must "heat up fast" and keep a consistent temp (during all engine RPMs). Personally, I don't trust in-line (spliced into its hoses) bypass valves. If wondering, valves are like thermostats in a vehicle. Majority of time, then work. And sometimes, they stick. If they stick closed, then ATF gets too hot (because no ATF is allowed into the aux cooler). If the valve sticks open, then ATF gets too cold. Too cold (which means thicker fluid) of ATF is as bad in freezing cold winter months as "too hot". Personally, I'd rather install the aux cooler 1-1.5" away from the AC RAD and "winter wrap it" during the winter months. Thus, pure mechanical (with no moving parts) solution. One can install an "in-line hose" temperature based by-pass valve is they want. From a white board design perspective, it's actually a great idea. Personally, I'm an "old school" person who still likes pure mechanical solutions. Just like I love Timbren SES units much better then air bags / air shocks. But that's a post for different thread.

If I remember correctly, Tru-Cool aux LPD design has a "built-in" bypass valves. Hayden doesn't. Some say that Hayden is a clone of Tru-cool. However, being a clone, it lacks internal by-pass valves (if I remember correctly). Even if I installed the Tru-Cool brand (with built-in temp controlled valves), I'd still wrap my mini-van's aux ATF RAD with a plastic bag during the cold winter months. As you can tell, I don't trust internal valves either.

Hope this helps - some how....

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Old 03-29-2011, 08:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bertscampers View Post
.... I went to one transmission place and they wanted to install a Hayden rated for 18,000, I asked if a larger would fit. He also said that they come with a bypass valve if its running cool. Have you heard of a bypass valve. Thank you.
To validate their "size" recommendation, surf:
http://www.haydenauto.com/upload/Hay...il-coolers.pdf
See Pag 83 > Ford Van 4.2L / Hayden 678 for Med towing, Hayden 679 for HD towing.
Surf Page 64 - Rapid Cool product.
See its 678 product
See its 679 product.
Picking 679 product (with same size connectors as 678) sounds like a great idea.

Reading their web site, I didn't see any details about internal "bypass" valves or bypass fluid flow. Or, some other fluid flow "temperature regulating" design.

----------

To view Tru-Cool coolers with and without bypass options, surf many items within: http://www.transmissioncoolers.us/Me...ool-MAX-cooler

---------

Surf lower page contents within: http://www.bulkpart.com/transmission-cooler.html

Focus on....

"GVW ratings are used as a guide only and rating system only. Having a 24,000 GVW cooler added to your car or truck does NOT mean you can go out and load 3 tons of dirt to the back of you 3/4 ton truck. What it does mean is that when installed properly, the cooler will help protect your transmission fluid from an overheating problem while towing a 5,000lb. trailer.

If you are in the Northern part of the country where you have extended periods of freezing cold weather, and you are installing a large cooler, we suggest the "Tru-Cool" self-regulating coolers. This will help warm your transmission up to operating temp. faster in the cold winter months. "

Also document at:
- Mid-size trucks & full size cars
- Towing up to 5,000 lbs.
- Coolers with GVW ratings of 18,000 to 24,000 lbs.

To me, it sounds like you need a 24,000 rated product and it must have "Tru-Cool" self-regulating coolers" feature. Or, some might say "built-in bypass valves". Don't think Hayden brand has this feature.

Regardless if using Tru-Cool, Hayden, Mr Transmission (sold at Canadian Tire stores), I'd still wrap the aux ATF cooler during the freezing winter months. Simply wrap it - just like a human body wearing a thick wind-break coat while playing in Canadian fast cold winds.

Hope this helps as well....

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Old 03-30-2011, 09:53 AM   #9
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Here is a suggestion... for as well as putting in an optional transmission cooler... go to a speed shop and buy a bottle of "water wetter" when your rad is COLD add this to the antifreeze.. it will help with the transfer of heat and help to avoid some overheating problems.
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Old 04-04-2011, 03:52 PM   #10
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Freestar towing

Bertscampers--- Berfore you tow to far you might want to check the weight rating of the tires including the spare . If the spare is not full size it probably wouldn't carry much more than the van.
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