Can I Cool Power Steering With Radiator? - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old Sep 29th, 04, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
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Did not know where else to post this so I thought I would put it here.. Moderators, if this would go better in another forum, please move it!

I am running a manual transmission but have a radiator that has the built in cooler for a transmission. Since I am not using that internal cooler I was wondering if I could use it to cool my power steering fluid..

My thought being that on the return (low pressure) line, I could bend up 3/8" tubing and run it through the radiator, and then back to the P/S pump reservoir..

Does anyone see any problems with this idea? Any feedback would be appreciated. Thank you in advance!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 1st, 04, 01:51 AM
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You could. Use flexible tubing/High pressure (300 lb) hose.

Be forewarned, running through the radiator, the min temp will be what the outlet tank temp is.

Make a 15 mile run, come back to driveway, turn off engine and measure the reservior temp. This would give some idea where to start.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 1st, 04, 03:22 AM
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If you do this be sure to run the return line through the radiator. The pressure side maybe to high for the rad.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 1st, 04, 03:27 AM
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Mopars (at least my old AAR Cuda) used to have a heat exchanger that mounted right on the power steering pump. It was little more than 2 or three loops of 3/8" tubing about 5 or 6" tall with cooling fins on them. Since the cooler was an option I would assume they just bolted onto the back of the power steering pump. Maybe they can be adapted to a chevy PS pump.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 1st, 04, 04:18 AM Thread Starter
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Does anyone have any idea what the power steering fluid temperature normally is? I would guess that it is usually at or above the operating temperature of the engine??

Everett, I would actually be using 3/8" steel line that I would bend myself. I work at a transmission shop and we have the proper equipment used to bend up cooling lines, along with the proper fittings. My power steering pump just has a straight piece of steel pipe coming out of it for the return side. If I can flare that piece of pipe, I can make it an all metal deal and leave the hose clamps and rubber hose out..

I have also seen the P/S fluid coolers on some production vehicles. Ford Ranger Pick-ups use a frame mounted cooler that is basically just a loop with fins. I could go that route as well but was trying to avoid the hassle of mounting something to the frame.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 1st, 04, 09:26 AM
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No problem with your idea. But, you still have to leave flexible hoses between the pump & stg box and the return tubing to reservior.

The engine will still move, thus, fatigue will set in for the tubing. Unless you are using motor plates and the engine is solidily mounted to the frame.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 1st, 04, 05:50 PM
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Everett is right on, if you hard line it you will have leaks/cracks/damage. You need some flexible line to allow for movement.

One other concern I would have is, are you sure the power steering "pump" has enough capacity to move that much fluid, or should I say move the fluid that far without pressure dropping. I don't know the answer to that just something you always need to think about when adding distance/load to a fluid/pump system.

As far as using the heat exchanger in the radiator that should not be a problem.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 2nd, 04, 04:16 AM
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I wouldn't use the in-radiator cooler for P/S. There are several reasons which of course is just MHO. The first reason is that any leak puts coolant into the P/S system and P/S fluid into the coolant.

The in-radiator tranny coolers I've seen are a flat plate type. This type of cooler is not recommended for P/S systems as the pulsations fatigue the metal & joints. They then leak.

The 82-92 (3rd gen) f-body's use a loop of 3/8" tubing that runs behind/under the radiator support. The total length is probably around 6 feet (out & back across the vehicle).

I adapted this type of cooler to the '67. It wasn't that exact version but looks and fits nicely. Can also use a tube style tranny cooler to cool the P/S.

I don't even like the in-radiator tranny cooler for the transmission. Gets ugly when they leak.

Bob.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 4th, 04, 12:57 PM
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There's some information on the cooler that I use on my website.

Cooler capacity and type depend on what you are trying to accomplish. If it's just a cruiser then you may not need more than just the stock reservoir. If you have the stock AT cooler you may want to try it and see how it works.

The stock reservoir is a problem for track events, even for systems with a good cooler. According to Lee's removing the reservior is worth a 60* reduction in fluid temperatures, and after the destruction of my reservoir, I believe it. If track days are in your future you may want to consider either a dry P-pump (also on my website) or a TC style pump, both with a remote reservior and cooler.

The slick and easy way to connect the hardline tube from the back of the reservoir to AN line is to use a braze on fitting. They are less than $5 from Summit. Similar to automatic transmission lines, if there is a long unsupported length that is parallel to the motion hardlines can be used but it's usually pretty difficult to get the routing to work, especially around the belt train. It's also a short length from the pump to the lower AT cooler connection.

The stock pump and pulley will have more than enough capacity to handle the extra line length, cooler volume, and other associated restrictions.


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