One of the main concerns troubling the Lineartronic CVT (or any Autotragic Transmission for that matter) is heat. Heat is the enemy of these poor rubber band drivetrains. So what to do?
A few of you may remember that a while ago, I was having a real big issue with my tranny overheating. It ended up being a combination of the stock cooler being caked in mud, and the CVT Fluid being past its service life.
That process taught me many things. First off, I called a dozen different Subaru dealerships, and NOBODY could tell me either the temp that turns the light on (too hot) OR, the normal operating temp. So I bought a ScanGauge and programmed the CVT Temp. Thought that, I learned that the light illuminates at 265f degrees. I also learned that at 248/249f degrees, the computer begins limiting the engine speed to a max of around 4000rpm in an attempt to keep the tranny from overheating.
After getting it all taken care of and returning back to normal, I learned that the reason nobody could tell me the normal operating temp is because it fluctuates widely. Slower (55-65mph) flat roads can be as low as 190* on a cold day, to getting up into the 240's* on faster (and/or steeper) inclines on a hot day. And it's all perfectly acceptable, kind of...
I have personally noticed that my efficiency and acceleration both suffer with temps about 220. So what to do?
Well, an extensive google search revealed that Mishimoto makes a CVT cooler for 2015+ WRX's for $350. Hmmmm. I phone a friend that works at a Subaru Performance shop, and ask him. He contacts Mishimoto, and they confirm that it fits. Shweet.
Now here's where I ran into a couple issues that you most likely won't.
1). I'm a cheap bastard.
2). I like fabricating things.
3). The Mishimoto mounting brackets place the cooler behind the grille, which is an area occupied by horns mounted on a Paranoid Fabrications mount, as well as emergency flashers. (Supposedly, the Mishimoto mounts have provisions for mounting horns, but that didn't solve my flasher issue.)
So I begin researching what exact components make up the kit from Mishimoto?
- x1 19 Row Oil Cooler (P/N MMOC-19)
- x1 3/8" high pressure hose (6ft I believe, but I ended up using closer to 8ft)
- x2 -10AN Female to 3/8" Barbed Hose fitting (45* angle)
- x1 Mounting Bracket Set
So, referencing point #1 above, I total it up.
- Cooler $157 Amazon
- Hose $~3.50/ft ($28)
- Fittings $5/ea ($10)
- Metal for brackets, I have a ton of spare steel in my garage.
So for about $200, I can have the kit, minus the brackets? Yes please.
One little oversight was that finding the hose fittings was a total PITA. Took me HOURS of scouring the interwebz to find them, but finally found them for like $4.97/ea at Summit Racing.
Okay, next I had to figure out where to mount it. Found a sweet little spot in the lower grille area. And offsetting it allowed it to line up with an existing hole in the lower radiator support. #win
When I finally began mounting, I had originally planned on drilling a couple holes in the crash bar to mount to, but once I took it off to mark the holes, I noticed that it seemed to line up quite nice with the mounting bolt for the hood latch. So that's the route I went. It's mounted on three points:
- Aforementioned hole in the lower radiator support
- Second hole drilled into the lower radiator support
- simple L bracket leading up to mounting bolt for hood latch
Then you just need to run the hoses under the passenger headlight and back towards the stock cooler and trans, replace one of the cooler hoses with your fancy new hoses going to your cooler, tighten down the hose clamps, and fill her up with fluid.
This was the first modification that I've done in a LONG time that had me a little spooked. It was daunting to think about doing this. But it was actually really, really easy. I mounted the cooler yesterday before work, and routed the hoses and filled it up today before work. All in all, probably could be done in 2 hours, and most of that time will be spent trying to remove the hose clamp from the cooler hose on the tranny side. That little bastard was rough.
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