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1993 Camry SE,V6-5MT
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400 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
1994 I4 Camry, 97k miles but pretty rusty. Developed an oil leak where the flex hose attaches to the cooler (bottom of the radiator). Already replaced the rubber hose in hopes that was it (no joy).

My concern is how rusty the radiator mounting bolts are, and the sheet metal they are threaded into, and the likelihood of them breaking when I try to replace the radiator.
The radiator was replaced within the past 10 years, with new noses.

Option 1) get a Denso radiator from Rock Auto and take my chances that the R & R goes smoothly (no broken bolts, etc.). Worst case scenario this could take hours to do.

Option 2) get a $40 A/T aux radiator from RA and zip tie it behind one of the fans and re-route the AT flex lines to it instead. Would be done in 15 min.

I've searched for past discsussions about this, but mostly find people adding cooling for towing trailers and mountains, not using one in place of the original as a bodge/bandaid on an old beater. Unfortunately, I've only ever owned MT vehicles, so have tended to ignore all discussion about things automatic, over the years, and so this question is a new one for me.

Anyone with experience with something like this scenario got advice for me about it?

My natural inclination is to do it right, suck it up and deal with whatever breaks/rust fails during replacement with a new Denso radiator to the rusty car, but I bought this as a winter beater, not as a new project to occupy my every waking hour. :)

PS: everything else about this car is amazingly nice. Very well bought for $1400. I fixed everything else and then this leak came up. :p

Norm
 

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01 Avalon XL, 03 Avalon XL
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986 Posts
Can't imagine why an add-on AT cooler would not work. The one hitch is that your transmission will warm up more slowly than if using the built-in cooler in the radiator. Mounting the add-on after the radiator, that is, against the radiator and closer to the engine, might ameliorate that issue, but it might be tricky to accomplish.

If your add-on choice does not specifically state that it completely replaces the built-in cooler, then it's designed to be placed in line with your radiator cooler. In this case, you want one with a larger cooling capacity.

OTOH, a new Denso radiator isn't much at Rock Auto. You'll want lots of penetrating fluid applied over many days before starting, with gentle love taps with a hammer or wrench after each application. Lots of people say that a 50-50 mix of ATF and acetone is superior to any commercial penetrant, but I'd pair the ATF with naphtha (Coleman fuel, lighter fluid, white gas) because acetone is very aggressive around plastic and rubber.
 

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short-throw dipstick
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Adding to this, to eliminate transmission warm-up problems, install a transmission tstat. Or get a cooler that has a built-in viscosity bypass (such as a Tru-Cool LPD), but realize that will only work if you are using original Dex II or Dex III-spec fluids; will not work when using water-thin fluids such as Dex VI.

+1, I'd do this by dousing the two bolts in penetrating fluid and replacing the rad with a Denso. Did that a few days ago on my '99 manual, only one bolt broke (headlamp mounting, I was sending those out for clearcoating).

Can't imagine why an add-on AT cooler would not work. The one hitch is that your transmission will warm up more slowly than if using the built-in cooler in the radiator. Mounting the add-on after the radiator, that is, against the radiator and closer to the engine, might ameliorate that issue, but it might be tricky to accomplish.

If your add-on choice does not specifically state that it completely replaces the built-in cooler, then it's designed to be placed in line with your radiator cooler. In this case, you want one with a larger cooling capacity.

OTOH, a new Denso radiator isn't much at Rock Auto. You'll want lots of penetrating fluid applied over many days before starting, with gentle love taps with a hammer or wrench after each application. Lots of people say that a 50-50 mix of ATF and acetone is superior to any commercial penetrant, but I'd pair the ATF with naphtha (Coleman fuel, lighter fluid, white gas) because acetone is very aggressive around plastic and rubber.
 
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