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2002 T4 atf temperatures while towing
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Abscate Premium Member
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 2:39 am    Post subject: 2002 T4 atf temperatures while towing Reply with quote

Just some data to report on my T4

I had a 1998 Volvo v70 follow me home, load was 3500 pounds

Towing in about 65F ambient, I saw AtF temps, monitoring data block 5 , of 98-117c on a five hourtrip.

95% of the time on flatland it ran at 103-5C, Tow speed 60 mph

The 117 C was peak at the top of the Berkshire Spur 15 minute hill pull. The T4 took that at 60 mph
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 4:26 pm    Post subject: Re: 2002 T4 atf temperatures while towing Reply with quote

Is this with an external/after market ATF cooler. SOrry I am new to this forum and do not know everyone's mods.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2020 2:02 am    Post subject: Re: 2002 T4 atf temperatures while towing Reply with quote

Attained 18 mpg In hilly country.

All stock, no aftermarket crap.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2020 11:20 am    Post subject: Re: 2002 T4 atf temperatures while towing Reply with quote

This would be an interesting topic for people with original transmission heat exchanger setup to post their experience:

As for me: Based in NorCal, 8 years ownership of a 2001 EVC, 30K miles driven since my ownership all over the western states and many trips to the sierras. 90K miles total on the EVC. Just this year I start to monitor my transmission temp using Torque Pro. The transmission operates mostly in the 210F to 230F range. The transmission is serviced with OEM fluid and filters at 30K interval.

My uncle has a 2000 EVC with about 160K miles all original setup. No issues.


Last edited by orbeamike on Sat Sep 26, 2020 1:15 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2020 11:43 am    Post subject: Re: 2002 T4 atf temperatures while towing Reply with quote

Abscate wrote:
Attained 18 mpg In hilly country.


Might be hard to compare with all the vans out west who deal with real mountains. But thatís a nice statistic for long mostly flat drives while towing.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2020 2:18 am    Post subject: Re: 2002 T4 atf temperatures while towing Reply with quote

It reached steady state of 115-117 in about 2-3 minutes on the hill pulls, so a longer one wouldnít change much. I was pleased to see the stock config handled the heat so well.

The EVC is a heavier beast of course, so more heat generated.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2020 8:14 am    Post subject: Re: 2002 T4 atf temperatures while towing Reply with quote

I haven't towed yet, but my normal ATF operating temperatures are around 170 - 180 Fahrenheit (76 - 82 Celsius) with a tranny cooler. When going up a hill, i try to keep it around or below 200F (93C).

117 Celsius (242 Fahrenheit) seems quite high to me. Or perhaps I'm overly conservative with my atf temps?
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2020 1:12 pm    Post subject: Re: 2002 T4 atf temperatures while towing Reply with quote

sagavan wrote:
I haven't towed yet, but my normal ATF operating temperatures are around 170 - 180 Fahrenheit (76 - 82 Celsius) with a tranny cooler. When going up a hill, i try to keep it around or below 200F (93C).

117 Celsius (242 Fahrenheit) seems quite high to me. Or perhaps I'm overly conservative with my atf temps?


This is the question that never gets answered, with the stock setup what's considered normal operating range? Assuming regular OE fluid service intervals and proper level.
People with external trans coolers all start to freak out when trans temp climbs above 200F, and yet there are people running stock setup with 200K+ miles for the past 20 years or more. I can guaranteed trans fluid temp almost always operate above 210F with stock heat exchanger.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2020 2:29 pm    Post subject: Re: 2002 T4 atf temperatures while towing Reply with quote

Itís supposed to. The coolant temperature is close to 100C So the exchanger will be warming the ATF in winter. The transmission is designed for this

Excursions to higher temperatures are ok as long as you avoid breaking the oil down. Iíve been replacing mine at 50k intervals and I am now using synthetic Pentosin

If I had an EVC and was in the mountainous West, I would hang a cooler, but not in my flatland under standard use.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2020 12:27 am    Post subject: Re: 2002 T4 atf temperatures while towing Reply with quote

Just installed a scangauge in my 02 and completed a quick (2000mi) road trip through west coast mountains and a fair amount of fast passing. Not towing anything and with an aftermarket cooler, I was seeing coolant temps max around 198 and ATF temps max around 185.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2020 8:03 am    Post subject: Re: 2002 T4 atf temperatures while towing Reply with quote

Abscate wrote:
Itís supposed to. The coolant temperature is close to 100C So the exchanger will be warming the ATF in winter. The transmission is designed for this

Excursions to higher temperatures are ok as long as you avoid breaking the oil down. Iíve been replacing mine at 50k intervals and I am now using synthetic Pentosin

If I had an EVC and was in the mountainous West, I would hang a cooler, but not in my flatland under standard use.



So itís degraded oil that causes most transmission failures? Doesnít excessive heat sometimes throw a code? This is good to know. I sure would like to drop a gear and go a little quicker up some of the highway climbs and passes.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2020 1:33 pm    Post subject: Re: 2002 T4 atf temperatures while towing Reply with quote

Abscate wrote:
Itís supposed to. The coolant temperature is close to 100C So the exchanger will be warming the ATF in winter. The transmission is designed for this

Excursions to higher temperatures are ok as long as you avoid breaking the oil down. Iíve been replacing mine at 50k intervals and I am now using synthetic Pentosin

If I had an EVC and was in the mountainous West, I would hang a cooler, but not in my flatland under standard use.


In the last couple trips out here on the west coast in my EVC I have not seen my transmission temp surpassing your 117c (242f). Most of the highway miles are between 104 to 110c (220 -230f). No shifting issues.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2020 3:26 pm    Post subject: Re: 2002 T4 atf temperatures while towing Reply with quote

orbeamike wrote:
Abscate wrote:
Itís supposed to. The coolant temperature is close to 100C So the exchanger will be warming the ATF in winter. The transmission is designed for this

Excursions to higher temperatures are ok as long as you avoid breaking the oil down. Iíve been replacing mine at 50k intervals and I am now using synthetic Pentosin

If I had an EVC and was in the mountainous West, I would hang a cooler, but not in my flatland under standard use.


In the last couple trips out here on the west coast in my EVC I have not seen my transmission temp surpassing your 117c (242f). Most of the highway miles are between 104 to 110c (220 -230f). No shifting issues.


Thatís not surprising. Remember I was towing 3500#
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2020 2:43 pm    Post subject: Re: 2002 T4 atf temperatures while towing Reply with quote

Abscate wrote:

Thatís not surprising. Remember I was towing 3500#


Do you also monitor your trans temp not towing? Does it get noticeable cooler?

My EVC only got to 117c (242F)when I was going up a steep grade in manual mode in 2nd gear, transmission still shifts well afterwards. Collectively I am trying to figure out what's considered "normal" operating temp range of a stock setup.

My transmission still seems to operate without issues between 210F to 245F. Just wondering with your experience? Thanks,
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2020 4:35 pm    Post subject: Re: 2002 T4 atf temperatures while towing Reply with quote

My input on the temps pre vs post cooler installation.

Approx. 70F outside
Stock: ATF temp. 100-120C
Aftermarket: ATF temp. 80-90C

Highly recommended.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2020 6:50 pm    Post subject: Re: 2002 T4 atf temperatures while towing Reply with quote

midwestOutreach wrote:
My input on the temps pre vs post cooler installation.

Approx. 70F outside
Stock: ATF temp. 100-120C
Aftermarket: ATF temp. 80-90C

Highly recommended.


I don't think there is any dispute that external cooler lowers the transmission temp compared to stock. Question has always been what's considered standard operating temp range. I know there are EVCs with over 200K miles with stock setup and all is still running well. 210F to 240F is fairly common with stock setup, if this temp range is detrimental then how do you account for many many properly maintained vans with this mileage? People install coolers because that's what online forum and groups recommends, but is it really necessary? external cooler is not without its own set of issues.

Below is a post from 2018 that I thought would be an interesting refresher related to this discussion:

markcm2 wrote:

I monitored temps on our recent trip down and back on the west coast while ambient temps were around 60-80 during the day. I have a German Transaxle kit without t-stat. Average transmission temps were 120-150, lows were around 100.

Normal climbs like a pass where I could maintain average speeds of 60mph or better (assuming the torque converter was fairly well locked up) my temps would rise up around 205.

In one case entering the sequoia national park from the southern (Three rivers) side the climb is pretty brutal. Speeds range from 10-35mph while elevation climbs several thousand feet. Ambient was probably around 60 while transmission temps hovered in the 240-250 range for the last 20-30 minutes of the climb. Our 2001 MV weekender Westy was loaded with 4 people, all our gear for 2 weeks, a rooftop space box, and a 5' wide aluminum hitch mounted cargo box on a steel swing hitch (the hitch weighs 40lbs alone).

I'm pretty sure my transmission has Redline D4 in it which led me to wonder what the operating temps are on such a fluid. I didn't find it directly on the site so I gave them a call and spoke to an application engineer who was very friendly and helpful. Here are some points I picked up from my questions that ya'll might be interested in if you don't already know:

Q: Is 240-250F for 20-30 minutes enough to degrade the performance of the D4 fluid, and should I change my fluid now?
A: Not at all, D4 will not be compromised at 250F. Generally speaking though, seals may begin to soften around 295, and hard parts such as clutch discs could start to see surface effects around 325-350; you'd be advised to keep your temps below 300.

Q:Some of us are using thermostats (set at about 190) in our Transmission cooler circuits (recommended by GoWesty); do you see this a benefit and is this a good temperature?
A: Yes, a thermostat is a good idea and 195 is perfect. Benefits of running a Tstat at this temp are reduced friction compared to cooler fluid such as the 120F you mentioned which can reduce lubrication and increase fuel consumption (effects of the higher viscosity at lower temps); both negative impacts. Running cooler also prevents heat from evaporating off any condensation in the ATF that may have accumulated. I would advise installing the thermostat for best performance.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2020 8:22 am    Post subject: Re: 2002 T4 atf temperatures while towing Reply with quote

orbeamike wrote:
Abscate wrote:

Thatís not surprising. Remember I was towing 3500#


Do you also monitor your trans temp not towing? Does it get noticeable cooler?

My EVC only got to 117c (242F)when I was going up a steep grade in manual mode in 2nd gear, transmission still shifts well afterwards. Collectively I am trying to figure out what's considered "normal" operating temp range of a stock setup.

My transmission still seems to operate without issues between 210F to 245F. Just wondering with your experience? Thanks,


Mine stays nailed to the coolant temperature when I am not towing. Thats by design of course. Good Post above on this
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