A lesson in KISS? You decide.
I couldn’t ignore it any longer those Leaking Trans Cooler hoses were leaving tracks under my 2006 Sierra. This is a typical problem, but how to fix it right at least cost, how to ignore the hype of costly after market fixes?
Climbing up under the front, I noticed that the front frame rail passenger side was bare shiny metal, not a bit of rust, although the leak was small, it stripped a bit of paint over time.
If you haven’t looked, the stock trans cooler hoses are made up with pipes and fasteners at each end, the pipes (tubing) have a hose barb that slips inside the 5/8 ID hose, and then a piece of metal is crimped in place over a lip at the beginning of the hose barb, and towards the head of the barb.
Above: Here’s one of the stock hoses removed, the crimped on sleeves cut off over the tops of the hose barbs, and pried off
Step one of any fix is research, and of course there’s multiple ways to fix anything right. But my approach is to do it KISS, and what’s simple has everything to do with your skills and the tools you have on hand.
But first we read the stories of people who went to the dealer for the fix, $500 for new factory hoses installed and they failed again at just over a year later according to some testaments online.
What causes the failure you ask?
I think it’s a materials issue, I’m not sure the hose is held in enough compression to resist leaking at below freezing temperatures, there’s way too many reports of leaks discovered when it is freezing and below. But once it does leak, it‘s possible that the outside of the hose degrades with ATF exposure, it may get spongy and the connection then leaks at above freezing temperatures? I think that is likely the case, but I’m not sure.
Now.. I’ve heard the Dealer knows the old assemblies are a problem, but will that stop them from putting another old one on your truck? I don’t know, one guy said he’s had three sets of bad ones. That’s about $1500 worth?
I invested some time to study after market fixes, some are very expensive at $350 plus for the hoses and ends, and then you do the work. This more expensive solution causes you to cut off the hoses and hose barbs, I’m not sure I like this solution since it costs more money, and you have a slight chance of contaminating the inside of the pipe with a metal burr? Is that the smart way? Do you really need 3000 PSI hoses and fittings like some offer, and for big money?
I made a trip down to NAPA, what a disappointment, the guy offered me some heater hose, I then went to a second automotive place, and the guy said he could only look up by year make and model… are you kidding me?
Time to get serious, so I go to a place in the Kent Valley called American Hose. http://www.americanhose.com/inventory/index.php
With the help of the knowledgeable counter man, I chose a parker hose branded with these markings: Parker 801-10 WP 2, 1 MPA 300 psi 5/8 1407251736
Yes, even 300 PSI is overkill, but this hose is rated for fuel the man says.., so ATF likely no problem. This is $3.50 a foot, way better price than other stuff people use at $15 and more a foot. And a quality band type fastener is all you need.
In my case, the first hose I replaced was two clamps at $4 each, and 8 1/8 inches of hose. I’ll watch this hose for a bit, the counter man says no need for constant tension clamps, but I got them if I see a weep anywhere.
Now we get to the KISS part, I had a die grinder ready, with a composite blade mounted, I have a steady hand, and enough experience to keep it steady so not nick the radiator hose. You’ll need this or similar to cut off the crimp, and to make absolutely sure you don’t crush, bend or nick the tube with the composite blade. You need carefully insert a screw driver into the slot you cut, and expand it till you can peel it all back, and break that last tiny bit by the lip at the beginning of the hose barb. Once this is cut off, it’s all easy to fit back together.
Above: The new hose is blue, old hose has the crimped on pipes, and at this joint they leak, first at low temps, and later at any temp according to many.
But maybe you ask, what were the marking on the hose that failed? Here’s all the markings on mine: 502U5F-1 CM, RY, CM 5/8 ID GM626OM DF
Some notes on this fix, there’s a plastic skid pan under my truck that comes off quickly with 15mm socket, this gives plenty of access to cut off the crimps, and do your work under the truck on a creeper, no need to remove pipe ends, just be ready to drain out the ATF in a catch when you remove the stock hoses, plan for about a half pint per hose.
Having read this post might save you a hundred dollars..
PS, I bet you thought I’d never post again…..