Steel transmission cooler lines.

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2,205
Location
california
I need to replace a leaking rusted 5/16" diameter transmission line on a Dodge van with an A-500 transmission. Currently the steel lines run from TX input/output, to right around the engine pulleys, then flex hoses goto the barbed fittings on the radiator. Not sure if steel lines originally completed the whole fluid circuit and this was changed at some point before my ownership. I saw Napa has preflared prefitted 5/16" brake line, but the fittings are for brakes, not for the coupler( 11/16 nut size) on the transmission. Can I cut the new brake line, remove preinstalled fittings, and slide this existing threaded coupling shown in pic below over the tubing? then bend the tube as the old rusted one? I know there are several other options but I would prefer to Keep it clean with minimal added couplings. I have no issues using a tubing bender, or flaring the end which the flex hose is to be clamped to if necessary. I plan on doing a pan drop/ filter change and new ATF+4, along with remote filter mount to delete the weeping magnefine all at the same time. Temporarily, a length of split hose covering the weeping area on compromised steel line, held tight by multiple hose clamps is not leaking, but I need to get this fixed proper. I also see that there are prebent steel tubing available, but not for my specific make and model Some will say they fit a A 727 or an A 904, but What about an A-500?
 
Messages
4,047
Location
Chicago, IL
I don't think I'd use brake line: since its double walled its a lot thinner inside. just get some steel tubing, bend it, and flare it - or use compression fittings. for short distances, there is nothing wrong with hose. a lot of custom cars use stained less braided line and AN fittings....
 
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956
Location
North Carolina
You may be better served to purchase a length of tubing and bend and flare to the shape needed. Is the entire replacement tube assembly not available as a replacement unit?
 
Messages
5,550
Location
Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: wrcsixeight
Can I cut the new brake line, remove preinstalled fittings, and slide this existing threaded coupling shown in pic below over the tubing? then bend the tube as the old rusted one? Some will say they fit a A 727 or an A 904, but What about an A-500?
Yes, You can reuse the flare nut on a new line then bend it to shape. A727,A904,A500,A518 are all about the same when it comes to cooler lines. Especially the front one.
 

wrcsixeight

Thread starter
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2,205
Location
california
Thanks for all the input. There might be replacement units available for about 50$ shipped, but made for dodge D and W series trucks of the late 70's with a904's and 318's. Appears they are not intended to employ flex hose for hooking to radiator like mine currently employs. Not sure fittings included on that end would mate. https://www.summitracing.com/parts/rsd-t...rqueflite-a-904 I'd love to get a roll of that nickel copper and do it myself, but my budget is pretty tight and i do not need 25 feet of it and am unlikely ever to need the leftovers. I'll see if the flaring kit I have access to is double flare, and then decide which route I will go.
 
Messages
133
Location
Milwaukee, WI.
Did you check with Classic Tube ? They have templates for literally thousands of vehicles. They offer them in both stainless and mild steel. Just got a pair for my buddies Silverado, they fit perfectly.
 
Messages
36,407
Location
ME
You gotta have rubber hose in there somewhere b/c of vibration. The double flare should be the same and the nut should work.
 

wrcsixeight

Thread starter
Messages
2,205
Location
california
Ok, job is done. with flex hose bridging the pulley area and double screw clamps on each end. The flare nuts were threaded into a brass coupler which threaded into TX. The aperture of this brass coupling was about 3/16. I spent a good while cleaning the area with a micro wire brush and Pb blaster and Q tips so I could try and see what I was really working with and not contaminate it on reassembly. Should bought a can of brake kleen. I could not get the old steel lines off without ruining them, and had to remove brass coupler with the rusted steel lines. The flare nuts were firmly stuck to steel lines, and a LOT of torque was required to unthread steel flare nut from brass coupler, after it was removed from vehicle, and mounted in a vice. There was NO way I could have held the brass coupler in TX and unthreaded steel flare nut from brass coupler in place. Glad I did not try very hard to do that. It turns out I had my Magnefine filter on backwards for the last several years as I assumed incorrectly, the direction of flow. duh The inside of the magnefine's pleating was slightly dirtier than the outside, but there was little debris in filter or in pan or in the filter in the pan. I did use the 5/16" Napa brake line and reused the old flare nuts and brass couplers, though the pressure nut was really tight on the brakeline, and was tryng to scratch the polymer coatng on the brakeline. The dang sticker on the brake line caused more cursing than I am proud of. I mounted a Derale external filter mount with 3/4-16 threads, and plumbed the TX pressure port ( front)to radiator cooler then Aux cooler then to external filter then back to TX return port(rear). I used a fram Ultra XG16, but I could fit on the larger XG8a size easily. I dropped the pan, changed the in pan filter with a Wix, and cleaned the magnets which did not have a significant anount of ferrous sludge, but it was squishy soft and about 1/8" thick on the neodyium magnets I placed next to much weaker donut magnet, which had much less ferrous sludge on it in comparison. Bending the new lines was a bit more difficult than I planned, as I had to cut the old lines to unthread them from Tx, and could not use old as an exact template for the new. Also, I had to make the one line longer to meet the filter output on the passenger side. I put 4 quarts in the pan, Started it, ran it through the gears, foot firmly on brake and then put it in Neutral and let it warm up. While warming I transferred used ATF into the 4 individual quart jugs and found I had drained well in excess of 4 quarts. I added 5th quart while idling in neutral warm and some unpleasnant noises emanated from the tranny pan which freaked me out, but then dissappeared and after a few minutes the level appeared in the middle of the dipstick while reading 110F. I shut engine off, and filled the 5th quart container with used ATF and found I had aanother pint left to put somewhere. Restarted engine, ran it through all gears and reverse then neutral, and found dipstick dry again and added a 6th quart with engine idling in neutral. Again there were unpleasant, almost grinding noises, that disappeared after 20 seconds. Fluid level stayed in the middle of the dipstick at 105 to 115F filter temp idling in neutral after 6 quarts, and I saw no leaks, and went for a drive. I use a raytek IR thermometer to take temp readings. The 1-2 and 2-3 and 3-OD gear shifts seem to occur quicker and firmer, but especially noticeable difference is the 2-3 upshift. Not sure what was going on with the unpleasant noises emanating from pan when level was still low and while adding more with engine idling, Tx in neutral. My old ATF+4 fluid, and a bottle of lubegard red, had about 25K miles on it since last refreshing, which I believe was just a pan drain and refill as I have added a drainplug. ATF Color was red, not Quite pink, nowhewre near brown. Definitely not burnt smelling but not as sweet smelling as new ATF. No large metal grey or brass colored chunks or sludge in the pan. But there is some sort of hardened dark grey varnish ~1/32th inch thick, that seems to spread out from the fill tube. Acetone and mineral spirits had almost no effect on its removal. I need a better dipstick seal. Anyway new metal lines, New external mount tranny filter, new in pan filter/rock catcher, and 6 new quarts of ATF+4. 4 valvoline, 2 Supertech. No leaks, so far. Only concern is the Noises when it was low and idling in neutral when I added more ATF. Aftewards, It was very noticeable that it shifted differently, with faster more authorative shifts, but far from harsch or abrupt. Anybody else ever hear weird noises when adding more fluid while Idling? I'd be much happier to never have heard them.
 

wrcsixeight

Thread starter
Messages
2,205
Location
california
It Was kind of like the noise when one grinds gears in a manual transmision, but was not that loud, and the hertz was faster. It lessened to a whirring in 10 to 15 seconds then disappeared.
 
Messages
5,651
Location
Iowa
Pump cavitation, due to air from low level. When you hear that noise it's pretty safe to assume you need to add more fluid soon and run it through the gears.
 

wrcsixeight

Thread starter
Messages
2,205
Location
california
Thanks. It was quiet when it was 2 quarts low, and as I poured in another quart with it idling in neutral, then it started to make noise. After the noise dissappeared and I shut off the engine and let it sit for a bit, then restarted it, the noise was back, then disappeared, then I found the dipstick dry, and while adding another quart the noise returned, then disappeared. I heard the same noise very briefly after driving ~2 miles right after shifting from park to drive, but not since, and I've been listening hard for it. Perhaps some weirdness with the empty new lines and hoses and external filter, which is horiziontally mounted. Do transmissions, or at least my a500/ a904, always pump fluid to the cooler at a consistent rate/psi or does it send out fluid in relation to fluid temperature? I thought the former.
 
Messages
5,651
Location
Iowa
Originally Posted By: wrcsixeight
Thanks. It was quiet when it was 2 quarts low, and as I poured in another quart with it idling in neutral, then it started to make noise.
That's what they do when they're low. Same thing with a power steering pump- ever notice a bunch of noise when you add oil to a very low pump reservoir?
 

wrcsixeight

Thread starter
Messages
2,205
Location
california
Thanks again. I have had low PS fluid before, But I cannot refill it safely with engine running, and never notices that same noise upon restarting. BUt the noise I heard, at some points, certainly sounds like the mid 90's Ford PS steering pump whine.
 
Messages
10,061
Location
Bye
FWIW, my Dakota (46RH/A518) had flex hoses for about the last 6" of each trans cooler line at the radiator. The noise is the pump purging trapped air...unsettling as heck but harmless. Note: to the best of my knowledge, NO Dodge van ever used the A500 transmission. The V6 used the 904/32RH (until the end in 2003!), the V8's used the 518/46RH/46RE.
 

wrcsixeight

Thread starter
Messages
2,205
Location
california
I think they only put A500's in Vans in 89 and 90. I was kind of bummed to learn it had a 'light duty' transmission. I figure extra coolng and filtering capacity, and not using worn fluid are what i have to do to keep it alive long term. The rebuild has ~75K miles on it.
 

4WD

Messages
16,599
Location
Texas
I have added aftermarket coolers to four trucks and now use remote filters. Running Gates hoses and Ideal hose clamps - no issues. Doing pan volume/filter yearly - and 3rd year pull the pan (has plug) and change the short hoses then. ($20)
 

wrcsixeight

Thread starter
Messages
2,205
Location
california
A remote Transmission filter, certainly provides a good amount of warm and fuzzies, that the magnefine lacked. I was a bit surprised at the difference in shifting feel with 1/2 new ATF+4 circulating.
 
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