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well it all depends... i mean if you live somewhere at gets really cold and want to do this mod, you could always find a block heater and wrap your trans with it, or just park it in the garage so that it could stay semi warm... i mean its cool to be able to analyze this stuff with engineering techniques that i am being taught in my classes.
 

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I was thinking more along the lines of adding an electrical heat trace line to the tranny cooler(s) and piping that could be switched on and off in cold weather / cold starts.

What's really fun when doing compact heat exchanger design is that there are often many approaches to find an optimum solution, lots of emperical performance data out there, yet it always turns into an iterative process in order to calculate the optimum solution... the approach also depends on how accurate you really need to be. For this case, I don't need to be accurate, only determine if its mo'bettah or not.
 

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I was thinking more along the lines of adding an electrical heat trace line to the tranny cooler(s) and piping that could be switched on and off in cold weather / cold starts.
Thats a really good idea...can i steal this from you...lol..i like it better than mine. :geek:
 

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Would simply letting the truck warm up for 10 minutes or so on a cold morning allow the transmission fluid to heat sufficiently? Or am I way off the mark?
 

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It would but that's a pain...I personally wouldn't wanna wait ten min every cold morning I had to start the truck....especially for the price of some heating wire or a heating pad.
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Discussion Starter #27
You could always try a cheapo peltier from a computer. 115w one might heat it up nicely. Maybe 2 or 3 stacked on top of each other? I will say that I haven't noticed any difference in tranny function. Mornings here in the mojave all week have been low to upper thirties. I do warm the truck up for 10 mins In the mornings when I feed the dogs before work though...
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See I really don't like that heat it up at idle deal. I only idle about a minute at the most, then drive off real easy. Lightly loaded engines warm up faster than no load idling engines.

All of the pan heaters I've searched on so far are for plugging into a 120V AC outlet. Need to find something rated for 12VDC.
 

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gpz guy, what about a power inverter?
 

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See I really don't like that heat it up at idle deal. I only idle about a minute at the most, then drive off real easy. Lightly loaded engines warm up faster than no load idling engines.

All of the pan heaters I've searched on so far are for plugging into a 120V AC outlet. Need to find something rated for 12VDC.
I hear ya on the idling thing. I'd rather not do it either. I just worry about doing the bypass mod and harming the transmission by driving with it too cold. I'm curious how long a pan heater would take to warm the trans fluid. Also, maybe it could be hard wired into the truck? Any ideas?
 

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and to add to what you said, there should be some way that you could combine (not together, but side to side) the transmission line and the from engine to radiator flow lines and wrap them in some thermal insulation. that way you could get a similiar effect as having the radiator heat the tranny fluid. it may be hard to accomplish because of the necessity of running more lines, but if you were able too, i believe that you could accomplish the same task, heating the fluid, while maintaining parallel systems.
I am no mechanical engineer at all, currently in school for foreign relations, so forgive the noob question, but is the idea quoted above all that far fetched? Are normal hoses able to exchange heat in a similar fashion? The only reason I ask is because I normally live in Japan, but go home to Montana every few months where I can drive my Xterra. When I'm not there though my family occasionally drives it and I want to keep things as simple as possible so they can't screw it up. For example, just a few weeks ago my cousin and her family were visiting and took my X because it is good on snow. Somehow her husband couldn't figure out how to turn the headlights on. He did, however, find the rocker switches for the after market roof lights....he was promptly pulled over after blinding half of the motorists on the road. If headlights are challenging, then switching on a heater for the transmission will prove insurmountable for them. Thanks.
 

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the idea that i suggested is to wrap the lines that come from the transmission with the thermal tape or what not and the return line so that it would be combined under the hood. there would be nothing to switch. just a one time thing. but now that i think about it, the hoses are pretty well insulated so it wouldnt work as well as i was originally thinking.
 

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I will be doing this mod in three weeks...I WILL be incorporating a heater into my setup one way or another....expect pictures and a how-to...now off to go find something that will work to heat up my tranny cooler tubing..................

^and for the PITA it would be to integrate steel lines.....I personally will be just keeping my rubber tubing...you would need ALL NEW fittings...

^ Mccormick, I do not let anyone use my X except me or someone who is servicing it. In which case I am present (90% of the time). You should sit down with your family when you are home and go over operation of the switches inside the X so they can relay this info to any extended family/friends that use the X. If it is a switch they cannot remember to hit on a cold day per your family's instruction...they prob shouldn't be driving it. Wiring and installing the heater is much harder than remembering to flip a switch for a min before you start driving the X around. Just my .02. It gets down to below 0 in the winter here in NJ...so I basically have no choice but to find some sort of heating solution for the new cooler arrangement... :dontknow:
 

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Discussion Starter #35
for all you guys that want the heaters. unless you have a serious heat output, in a short amount of time, you will be driving with cold trans fluid. even WITHOUT this mod, your transmission takes at least 10-15 mins to get warm. if cold trans fluid is scaring you that much, buy this, slap it on your pan and plug it in when darkness falls. its probably the easiest solution. i just dont want people to over think this mod. its a quick and easy stop to the radiator/transmission issue we have.
 

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I will be doing this mod in three weeks...I WILL be incorporating a heater into my setup one way or another....expect pictures and a how-to...now off to go find something that will work to heat up my tranny cooler tubing..................

^and for the PITA it would be to integrate steel lines.....I personally will be just keeping my rubber tubing...you would need ALL NEW fittings...

^ Mccormick, I do not let anyone use my X except me or someone who is servicing it. In which case I am present (90% of the time). You should sit down with your family when you are home and go over operation of the switches inside the X so they can relay this info to any extended family/friends that use the X. If it is a switch they cannot remember to hit on a cold day per your family's instruction...they prob shouldn't be driving it. Wiring and installing the heater is much harder than remembering to flip a switch for a min before you start driving the X around. Just my .02. It gets down to below 0 in the winter here in NJ...so I basically have no choice but to find some sort of heating solution for the new cooler arrangement... :dontknow:
I understand what you are saying, but the reality is they wont really understand even if I explain it to them and therefore probably wouldn't use it. It's just like on their computer. I set up everything (antivirus, defrag, updates, etc.) to run automatically because no matter how much I tell them it is important they just wont manage it themselves. They are getting older if that helps. At any rate, I'm not going to deny my family use of my Nissan, which is better in winter than their other cars, just because they wont baby it like I do.

for all you guys that want the heaters. unless you have a serious heat output, in a short amount of time, you will be driving with cold trans fluid. even WITHOUT this mod, your transmission takes at least 10-15 mins to get warm. if cold trans fluid is scaring you that much, buy this, slap it on your pan and plug it in when darkness falls. its probably the easiest solution. i just dont want people to over think this mod. its a quick and easy stop to the radiator/transmission issue we have.
Honestly I'm not sure how scared of cold tranny fluid I should be, but I don't think people are over thinking it, just thinking it through. An oil pan heater is an ok solution, but not great if you park your car where there is no outlet for a long time.
 

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Discussion Starter #37
i mean overthinking solutions. i think its amazing the amount of knowledge all the guys have on fluid dynamics, thermal transfer, yadda yadda yadaa. honestly i am amazed. but for the avg joe, thats worried about cold trans fluid, a pan heater is probably the best solution. think about all the vehicles in the north and alaska that dont have a transmission heater. yea, they have block heaters, but that only takes care of the engine. as long as you monitor your trans fluid, driving on a cold trans isnt going to hurt you, provided you dont drive it like a dumb dumb. i will admit i am just using the general information that vehicles in the north dont eat their transmissions on cold fluid.
 

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for all you guys that want the heaters. unless you have a serious heat output, in a short amount of time, you will be driving with cold trans fluid. even WITHOUT this mod, your transmission takes at least 10-15 mins to get warm.... .
And would take much longer to warm up otherwise, if it ever would get fully warm in frigid weather. Plus I'm not sure about this. My coolant starts warming up within 5 minutes, and some of that heat is then being absorbed in the transmission fluid. Yes, I know all about how vehicles have been designed and operated in Alaska and other frigid environments without transmission heat. But I have to assume that there was some design requirement that made Nissan Engineers design it this way. Since it would have been easier and cheaper to simply install a larger cooler with more passes and surface area if the only requirement was rejecting heat, ADDING heat must have been a requirement. I just don't know what those requirements are (yet). Different type fluid, different transmission design, something.

And yep, I'm thinking about adding electric heat to the transmission, but I want it to be 12V DC powered, not 120V AC home powered (at least not completely.) I don't want to deal with remembering to unplug anything in the morning, and my Audi and Mercedes live in the garage, the Xterra gets parked in the driveway.

i just dont want people to over think this mod. its a quick and easy stop to the radiator/transmission issue we have
Occupational and genetic hazard. But we engineers don't call it 'over thinking'. We call it analysis, and we can't help ourselves ;)

Question for you: Was there a reason why you selected that size cooler? (A larger one wouldn't fit as easily?)
 

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Discussion Starter #39
Yes. That one was chosen for the size. The factory plate style trans cooler is leaps and bounds over what most auto makers do for their vehicles. I just wanted to add a little extra since the mojave sits in the upper 110's during the summer. I'm glad everyone is tossing their input into this. After reading my posts some of them sound like me being a douche. Totally didn't mean it that way!
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Logisense, you did a great job with the mod! In fact I will be trying to mimic it to a t....the whole one cooler behind the other is absolutley brilliant..I will however, try and put a rook spin on it ( as I do with nearly every mod) and try and incorporate some sort of heater...if it is indeed plausible...of it isn't..I will scrap the idea..ultimatley..the more control over my x's systems the better..and...this is also coming from a guy who is installing solar panels in his roof for trickle chargin (while camping) so I am pretty sure ill figure something out...anyway ill post up what I figure out...and again...great work...

Happy modding.

Rook
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