Derale Series 9000 Plate-Fin Transmission Cooler Kit Installation - 2010 Acura MDX

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How to Install the Derale Series 9000 Plate-Fin Transmission Cooler Kit on a 2010 Acura MDX

Today on our 2010 Acura MDX, we're going to be installing Derale Series 9000 Plate-Fin Transmission Cooler.This is what our transmission cooler's going to look like when it's installed. It's going to extend the life of your transmission by keeping your fluid cooler and at normal operating temperatures. This is particularly useful if you plan on using your vehicle for heavier towing that can cause extra wear and tear on the transmission and generate a lot of excess heat. This additional cooler will help dissipate that heat allowing the fluid to act as if you we're driving it under more normal conditions.It's a radiator-style cooler, meaning that it is air cooled. The air will flow through the various fins in here cooling the pipes that the fluid is running through inside just like the radiator on your vehicle. The cooler also features turbulator technology where it keeps the fluid continually agitated so you don't experience any drops in pressure and it's constantly dissipating heat.The cooler's simple to install.

You just hook it inline between the return line from your radiator to your transmission and the transmission itself. That'll allow you to get the cooling benefits from your factory radiator, and then from there cool it additionally to our supplemental cooler here. Once your cooler's hooked up inline between your radiator and your transmission, you can mount it up. It comes with included snap pins that'll hold it in place, and these simply just poke through the condenser and radiator and also through our cooler. They come out on the other side and there is a locking tab that is placed on them that keeps it pinched in place.

There are some rubber pads also that you can put between your cooler and your condenser to keep those separated and allow air to flow between them.We'll begin our installation by removing our cover here. There's a bunch of pins around the top we're going to remove with the flat-bladed screwdriver. You'll want to pop out the center and then you can pull the pin out. We'll repeat that for all the remaining pins. Now we can take our panel off and set it aside.

Now, as you can see here we've got plenty of space to work with. You can fit your cooler down in there and get it all attached. You can even get your hands in there and move around if you need to.I'm going to remove the fascia so you can see what I'm working on, but you won't need to do this at home. I just want to show you here that it will fit down in here nice and easily. So you can save yourself a bunch of time by just installing it here and not removing the fascia.

But as you can see . or you can't see, our camera can't get down in there for you to really see what I'm doing. So that's why I'm going to get the fascia off so you can get a better idea of how I'm getting this installed.Our transmission lines are right here coming out of the transmission where underneath of the center in the front there's an access panel here. And while you can reach your hand up in there to get them, it will be a lot easier to tap into those lines if you take this bottom panel off here. There're several pins that go across it. Just like our top panel, we used a screwdriver to pop up the center and pull those down. The fascia does not need to come off to remove this panel. It does have a couple of pins that goes through the fascia that also goes through this, but you can just slide this backwards out from underneath and leave the fascia on. Now we'll take this off and set it aside.We need to identify our hoses here. You've got two lines coming off your transmission. One is going to be the send and one is the return. The one that's warmer to the touch when it's running is going to be your send, and the cooler one is going to be your return. Our return is going to be this one here, and it's got this little filter that it actually returns into. So we're going to be disconnecting it from our line here.We'll now need to prepare our fittings to be placed into our cooler. We're going to use some thread tape to ensure that it seals. If you need some thread tape, you can pick some up at your local hardware store. We're just going to go ahead and wrap it around our fitting. You want to wrap it in a way that when you're tightening your fitting down into your cooler, it's actually twisting the thread tape on it making it tighter, not untwisting it. Then you'll thread it into your cooler. We're going to do the same thing on the other side of our cooler.We'll then tighten them down. I like to use an adjustable wrench for the large sizes because it is about a 1-1/16 wrench size, which is pretty big. If you don't have that around, an adjustable wrench usually works fine. Then you use a 7/8 on your fitting, and you'll want to tighten those down. You don't want to over-tighten it. Once it feels like it's nice and snug, you'll just want to stop. You can always snug it up later after you check for leaks, just in case.We're now going to remove the clamp that goes to our return line where the rubber hose meets the metal hose here. So we'll take this clamp off. We're going to take our clamp here, squeeze it and then push it back off of the hose just like that. Now that our clamp is out of the way, we can pull our hose off. I'm just going to pull it back until it's almost all the way off, and then I'm going to stop right there because I don't want to make a big mess, but it's right at the very edge.We'll now prepare our hose to go inline between the one we just took loose. We're going to be using the adapter that comes with it. This is designed to thread into the transmission, but we're not going to be using it like that. We're just going to be using the pipe portion of it. Spray a little lubricant on it. That'll make it easier to slide into your hose. Slide it down into the hose and you just need to go down far enough. You can kind of feel the bulge in it when you're pushing it down to get your hose clamp on it. Our hose clamp will be tightened down with a Phillips head screwdriver, and you want to make sure that you've got some hose on each side of the clamp that is over the shaft here. Our bulge should be on one side and we should have some excess sticking out on the other side. This will ensure you have a good seal.Now, to avoid making a mess, we're going to quickly remove that hose all the way off, slide this end into the rubber end of the hose that we took off, and then slide our rubber end here back onto the metal nipple that our rubber hose was on that we pulled off. Before we do that, I'm going to slide our hose clamps on just to make sure that those are there, so we can tighten them down after we get it on. We're going to quickly pull this off, poke that in there, bring our other end up, and slide it on there. And we didn't lose very much transmission fluid by sliding it on quickly like that. We then took both those hose clamps that we preinstalled and tightened those down just like we did the first one I showed you where you got a little space on each side.So, now we're going to run this hose. You're going to push it up. We got the fascia off, so you're going to easily be able to see it here, but you can run it without the fascia being off from the inside pushing it out here. We're just feeding it up first, and then we're just going to push it out. Now, we'll need to determine where we're going to mount our transmission cooler. We've got our hose here, so we can see about how long our lines are. We've got plenty length of hose to reach our cooler.It comes with these plastic straps that you can use to push through your condenser and your radiator and put a plastic nut tie on the other side, kind of works like a zip tie in a way. It locks in and holds it down. As you can see, it's very tight between our radiator and condenser, so we really can't get our hands in there to use those, and on the other side, we've got our fans here, cooling fans, which makes it very difficult to get to those. So, rather than trying to get these on and having to take apart several brackets and things to get all this loose to get these in, we'll just be using the bolts that already exist for the factory auxiliary transmission cooler that's installed on the vehicle.We'll take both of these out with a 10mm socket. With your fascia in place, you will probably be using a wrench or a short socket with a ratchet due to your tighter clearances. We're just going to take both of these out. We're then going to take our cooler and reinstall just the bottom one because it doesn't quite line up with our holes in our transmission cooler. So we're going to just thread this single one in here. Now that we've got that threaded in, we can take a pen, or we're going to use a hook here to just go in that hole and just kind of scratch it up, so we can see where our mark is so we can drill this out. Now, we'll remove this and drill out our hole. We're now going to use a 5/16 drill bit to drill out that hole. We'll now put our cooler back in place and thread the hardware through it.Our auxiliary cooler is now nice and secure, but it does have a little bit of forward and back movement. We're going to correct that by using one of the push pins that comes with your kit. Now, if you we're going to use all the push pins you would slide it through, and on the other side of your cooler you would put one of the rubber pads. But we need to take up a big gap and we're not going to be using all four, so we're going to use all four of the pads with just one of the hold-down ties.We're going to slide this through the top here. I'm then going to peel back the adhesive backing on one, going to slide that all the way down until it contacts there, and then with the rest of these we're just going to do the same thing. We don't need to pull the backing off of our center ones here. Our last one we're going to pull the backing off of that one and put the sticky side facing the opposite way. So, now that we've got all those on, we're going to line those up and push this through. It should push through nice and easy. If it doesn't, you may need to move it up or down, little bit left or right to a different spot.Now that we've got it through there, we're going to use a hook or something to pull that up out the top. We're just going to hook that and push and guide it up out the top. Now we've got it out the top, we can push this all the way in. Then we'll place the locking tab on the back side. Now we'll push that all the way down till it secures it against the backside of our condenser here. It made be necessary to use a pair of pliers to get it all the way down, and now there's enough on there. You can trim this off, but rather than trim it, we're just going to tuck it off to the side because we don't want to have any sharp edges that could potentially poke into the condenser or the radiator. So, by just pushing it off to the side like that, we can ensure that it's not going to have a sharp edge that'll do that. As you can now, it's nice and secure.Now we'll take our hose. We want to make sure we've got enough length to connect to each of these. It can flow either direction through this cooler, so it doesn't matter which one goes where. Just want to make sure you have enough length to get there. Since this hose here's got a little bit shorter of a run than this one, we're going to cut it a little bit uneven to make sure we've got enough. We're using hose cutters to make sure we cut it square and clean, so we're going to go ahead and cut it. Now, there might be some fluid in here, so you might want to hold it up like this just in case.We can take the hose clamps that come in the kit, slide them on. Now, your kit only comes with three clamps. Since we used the adapter that it comes with, with a clamp on each end, you are going to need to provide an additional clamp. You can pick those up at your local hardware store if you need one. Now, we'll slide them on our fittings here on our cooler. We'll use a little bit of spray lubricant, make it easier to get those on, and you just got to work them on there. A little bit of twisting and up and down motion can help get them on there, and now we'll do that with the other hose. Now we'll tighten down our hose clamps. You can use, again, the Phillips head screwdriver to tighten them down. We're going to be using a 1/4" socket just because it's a little easier. You can do that as well. Since it is tight for you since you still have your fascia on, you may have to use a ratchet with a short socket.Now, we'll start our MDX and we're going to check for leaks. You'll want to check all of your fitting points where we made our connections. So here at the cooler and down below where we hooked up our lines and we've checked ours. We've got no leaks, so we're all set and we can reinstall our under panel and our panel up here top and we're ready to go. Now with our fascia back in place, you can see that this is what it's going to look like when it's installed. That completes our installation of Derale Series 9000 Plate-Fin Transmission Cooler on our 2010 Acura MDX.

Questions and Comments about this Video


I followed this guide to install on my 2011 MDX, although I used a different manufacturer's transmission cooler. Just a few notes from my experience: -I recommend using the Derale 9000 eTrailer sells. The one I used was very similar but the mounting flanges are shorter so I had to fabricate some tabs to get it to bolt onto the existing transmission oil cooler like in the video. The Derale appears to be much easier to install. So please buy the Derale 9000 from eTrailer and save yourself some hassle. -When I installed the provided hose on the cooler hose barbs, the first one slid on effortlessly but the second was a battle, even with silicone lubricant. I fought it for about 30 minutes and still couldn't get it to seat all the way down. I ended up cutting about 3" from the hose and then it slid on perfectly. I examined the interior of the cut section and it didn't have any flaws. I can't understand why I had such trouble. Again, perhaps with the Derale I wouldn't have had this problem. -As in the video, I secured the right side using one of the provided plastic "zip tie" fasteners. -I think it is essential that you remove the plastic skid plate/cover from just behind the bottom of the front bumper to access the transmission lines. I also had to jack the front of the car up and put it on jackstands to get some clearance to maneuver my arms. -There is a flat, roughly triangular metal bracket right below the transmission lines that is held in with three 16 (or 17?) mm bolts. Unless you have incredibly small hands and/or a lift, I don't see how you can do this job without moving that bracket but in the video he somehow does. I removed the front two and loosened the back one and pivoted the bracket out of the way. There is also a small hose in the way that I disconnected 2 white clips from the car frame so I could move it around a bit. -I was concerned that there wouldn't be enough hose but there was about 9" more than you actually need for the MDX. Just be very sure where you cut so you don't come up short on one end. I used a pair of anvil pruning shears and they cut it beautifully. -On my 2011 (and in the video) the return line was the line that has a canister-style filter on it about 6" from the metal barb. As in the video though, confirm though by running your engine, shifting through the gears, then shut the car off and feel the two hoses. The cooler hose is the one you will tie into. -Slipping off the hoses results in transmission fluid loss. I probably spilled about 1/8 quart doing this. If you have another person with you it might help but the area to work in is so tight I can't imagine it would help much. I followed the video and slipped the new hose onto the newly exposed metal barb and then connected the old hose to the other length of new hose using the flared aluminum pipe provided and 2 hose clamps. Make sure you have the hose clamps on the hoses before you do the switch! You will need an extra hose clamp as well with this installation method. -When I turned on the car to check for leaks, everything was fine except I was getting a few very tiny bubbles at one of the connections on the flared aluminum pipe. I think the hoses on the Acura are about 1/16" wider than the provided hose. I tightened the clamp down further and the bubbles disappeared. -Remember that you MUST replace not only the transmission fluid you spilled but also you must add a little bit more as there is now more capacity due to the new cooler and hoses. I added about 200 millilitres to start and will check after driving for 15 minutes and top up as necessary. Adding transmission fluid to the MDX is a minor hassle - you either need to have a funnel with a long flexible tube to fill via the dipstick or you need to open the fill port on the transmission which requires a long socket extension and some brute strength. I hope this helps someone!

Info for this part was:

Employee Jacob T
Video Edited:
Jacob T
Employee Dustin K
Video by:
Dustin K
Employee David F
Test Fit:
David F

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