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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The automatic transmission cooler in my '87T has leaked for the better part of a year, but I had learned to live with it and keep an eye on the fluid level. This is the type that sits on the front crossmember by the radiator and is no longer available. I've had the parts to retrofit this for several months and yesterday I finally decided to do something about it.

What I used was a lower radiator hose cooler from an '88 automatic along with the lines, new lower radiator hoses from an '88 non-turbo (the turbo hose has the outlet for the water cooled turbo, mine is oil cooled), and a two foot section of transmission cooler line. I had to remove the radiator to get access to the transmission lines along with removal of the original lower radiator hose. After disconnecting the transmission line at the front of the transmission (closest to the radiator) I discovered the fitting was different that the one on the cooler. I cut the original line off about six inches from the end and then with a cut-off wheel, cut the crimp fitting off the hose, leaving the end that screws into the transmission. I had to do the same thing with the line on the new cooler. I then installed the previously purchased cooler line onto the fittings and clamped it in place with two hose clamps per end. Then it was just simply installing the new radiator hoses and cooler, attach the other cooler line (the one with the banjo fitting), and buttoning everything else back together.

I know that in the later years Saab got rid of the thermostatic coolers altogether and just ran lines straight to a cooler, but since I live in the upper Midwest (Minnesota) that just wasn't feasible....the transmission would never really stay at optimum temps in the winter. I know the lower radiator hose cooler is sort of a weird idea, but for my needs it makes very good sense. Not only will the transmission stay at a pretty constant temperature, but it will also warm up faster for those cold winter days. This car's transmission tends to be rather cold blooded in the winter and this should help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
automatic cooler repair, now coolant leak

So I guess I shouldn't be so smug about repairing my leaking auto box cooler thermostat. I got everything buttoned up on Saturday, on Monday my daughter drives the car to the mall and back. When I get home I see a trail of coolant from under the car and down the driveway. I pop the hood and see coolant by the a/c compressor. I removed, or more appropriately I guess, moved the compressor and tighted up all the hoses leading into the water pump. After putting things back together, I start the car and let it get nice and warm and no more leaks. Today, Tuesday, she takes the car to work and back and sure enough, there's coolant all over the compressor area again. I start the car up, let it get nice and warm again, take it for a spin, and no leak. I can't figure out where it's coming from! All new hoses, water pump is a year old, all clamps are tight but not overly so. Any ideas on what obvious things I'm missing?
 

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I had a similar problem once and it was a tiny hole in the expansion tank that was shooting or spraying the coolant a pretty good distance
 

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Given the location of the coolant leak, it might be that one or both of the plastic heater valve fittings, onto which the heater hoses go at the firewall, have crumbled with age.

Check this out by pulling off each hose--only a little coolant will be lost as you do this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I finally found it. I need to clarify again...I replaced all hoses except the one from the expansion tank to the water pump. After my daughter got home I immediately ran out, popped the hood, and gave it a look-see. Thar she blows!...A small pinhole leak from that hose, very close to the 90 degree bend leading into the water pump. I've got one on order, but in the meantime I took some rubber (the kind used on a rubber roofing system), placed it over the hole and held it in place with a hose clamp with just enough pressure to keep it from expanding out from pressure. It seems to be holding up.

BTW, the lower radiator hose transmission cooler is really working well. The temperature of the AFT is more constant, no more leaks, and it may be my imagination, but the shifts seems more crisp and clean.
 
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