How to make the 4L60E live and last longer - Chevy Impala SS Forum
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Old 12-06-2009, 08:47 PM
sherlock9c1 sherlock9c1 is offline
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Default How to make the 4L60E live and last longer

I'll start:
1. Buy a real line pressure gauge. Do a check on the transmission as soon as you get the gauge and see what it's reading. WRITE IT ALL DOWN IN YOUR MAINTENANCE LOG so you can check it a year later without having to remember what the values were at different throttle positions and gears. If the shifts change, suddenly get smoother or softer, put the gauge on and see what the pressures are doing. It's likely they've dropped. I got mine for $55 off ebay. with 6' of cord, I zip-tie it to the windshield wiper like a hood tach and then go for a drive. I can see everything the line pressure is doing. Tunercat/Datamaster numbers have only a loose correlation with what's actually happening in the transmission.
2. Drop the valvebody and replace the EPC solenoid filter. The original design was the finest filter in the trasnmission and it tended to clog with crap and eventually gets completely blocked, then the screen ripped and would allow junk into the EPC solenoid. If this happens, you may want to start thinking about replacing the EPC solenoid too. IMPORTANT - replace this screen with the NEW design screen with a coarser (bigger) filter mesh), available only from GM P/N 24209145. As of October 2012, all aftermarket rebuild kits should include this screen but be sure to check.

For longevity, the things I usually see broken on stock 4L60Es:
0. EDIT - I firmly believe that the number one cause of failures in the 4L60E outside of hard parts like sunshell, broken 1-2 accumulator, etc. is low line pressure. Fix the line pressure, and a whole host of other problems go away.
1. 3-4 clutchpack worn out. Replace with High Energy or Z-pack. EDIT - ALSO look at other areas that may cause leaks in the 3rd apply circuit. Sonnax has lots of fixes for these leaks: 77754-21, 77987-01K, 77777L-K, 77964-08K,
2. Sunshell broken or on its way out. Replace with reinforced one (either Beast, or a "reinforced" Taiwan sunshell, but if you look closely, they're both made in Taiwan). There's also a 4L70E sunshell that is heat-treated at the splines and uses a roller bearing instead of a thrust washer to cut down on particulate contamination generation at this location.
3. 2-4 band worn out. If you're going to replace this, if the drum isn't PERFECT, replace the drum too. Don't try to resurface it. Wouldn't use the Kevlar band. Can use a wide band but ONLY on a new drum.
4. Rear planet sungear's inner bushing is loose and is walking around. Replace with a Sonnax wide bushing.
5. Both the 1-2 and 3-4 accumulator pistons are worn in the center, and the 1-2 accumulator spring (the yellow one) is broken. Sometimes the 3-4 accumulator spring (purple) is broken too. Replace the pistons and the springs with GM parts or use the Sonnax pinless accumulators (best option) for better seal.
6. Pump spring has sagged and is allowing pressure to drop at WOT above 5500rpm. Replace with new spring or an aftermarket "high-rpm" spring but not one that basically is in coil bind. Sonnax makes one.
7. Pump stator shaft splines are worn where the converter engages them (from what???). If it's bad enough, replace the stator shaft. This is rare.
8. Tailshaft bushing is worn out.
9. Forward clutch piston tends to crack. Replace with stamped steel forward piston set (overrun, forward, 3-4) or the billet aluminum one from Sonnax. Requires spring compressor and snap-ring pliers to release them, and a feeler gauge to get the lip seals right.
10. Sprag lays over. This is rare behind stock motors. Replace with dual-cage sprag.
11. The pump bushing walks out of the case and causes a leak out of the front of the transmission ONLY when the engine is running. You have to disassemble the pump and use a press to fix this (replace the bushing). If you grind out two divots in the pump housing, you can stake this bushing in place.
12. The 1-2 shift checkball is stuck in the spacer plate. Use a Fitzall VB-101 collar kit to fix it. The Sonnax 4L60E-HP-01 kit also includes plastic checkballs that eliminate further spacer plate wear.
13. Low line pressure due to worn boost valve. Use this new boost valve to not only raise your pressure when you need it but preserve this over the long haul.

So that's what I've seen on stock 4L60Es behind relatively stock motors. Anybody with modified motor experience want to discuss?
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Last edited by sherlock9c1; 01-08-2013 at 06:42 AM.
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Old 12-07-2009, 07:37 AM
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Great info Joel! I've got a question for ya:
I have a GM SRTA Trans/torque convertor (95 Caprice LT1) in the garage thats NEVER been in a car yet since it's rebuild. I bought it from a guy a couple of years ago. It's had the Transgo fix kit installed in the valve body (Not the shift kit) but that's about it. My car has a Stock LT1 in it. Any suggestions as to what you would do to this trans to extend the life and prevent any of the known failures of the 4L60E Before I install it in the car in the future? I'd rather put in ALL the needed fixes now, then have to pull it in the future and repair the trans. Again, the car is a Stock LT1. Thanks for any suggestions you have......Mike
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Old 12-07-2009, 07:52 AM
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Default Hd2!

Mike,
..excuse me for butting in here.
Based on outstanding service from both of my stock 4L60E's, I'd say without a doubt to install the full Transgo HD2 kit. Since it sounds like you're going to run a stock TC, use no shims in the 1-2 accumulator and go with minimum recommended hole size for the 2nd gear apply in the separator plate. I also wouldn't run without the 093 (Vette) servo. I tried it once without and could not get a 2-3 shift that satisfied me. I'm not sure if the servo is a durability upgrade behind a stockish engine.
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Old 12-07-2009, 08:03 AM
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Thanks for the reply and tips Pat. Yes, it is a stock TC that came with the SRTA trans. We have the tools, and can do pretty much anything at the house inc engine rebuilds and installing transmissions......But rebuilding them is something I've never tried before however, I have a very competant local rebuilder that's fixed several different transmissions for me so.......All I need to do is give him the info as to what I want done....Thanks again.
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Old 12-07-2009, 08:39 AM
tlynch tlynch is offline
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Well, I just have to say that everything you wrote is what the local trans guy told me and are some of the upgrades he did on my build. I have to say they made a world of difference to the SOTP feel in my car. Only mods I have are the original SRI and a PCMforLess PCM. Although, my wife doesn't like the harder shifts.
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Old 12-07-2009, 11:53 AM
Jeff Green Jeff Green is offline
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IMO there is only one guy that can build a 4L60E to levels no one else thinks they can take and that is Carl Rossler. What you get from him is not a kit installed but custom changes/parts that make it possible to do what kits are not able to do.

Still not sure if it will live in a Impala the weighs more than a stock one trying to run 8's but if will live at 9's all day. 9"s is more than most people will ever do. There is a reason Lingenfilter is using Rossler in all his twin turbo corvettes.

This is not needed in most Impala's out here but why mess with tranny problems when you could do it right the first time and let your friends have all the problems.

When a 4L60E fails don't blame the tranny, blame the builder.
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Old 12-07-2009, 12:04 PM
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Jeff,
I think roadracing and aggressive street driving is harder on these tranny's than pure drag racing. I know even Rossler has problems making them hold up to roadracing. I wasn't aware till now that you use his 4L60E build, so that's definitely a good data point for him!
I don't know of any others using it for high hp drag racing,....do you?
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Old 12-07-2009, 12:22 PM
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Not that I know of and there are not any others near the top of the ET page. I don't raod race so your point is taken. Do you know what fails on the road race version?

One note I left out was the tranny is much like the LT1 engine and the right tuneup/program can be the difference in them living or not. One item that has worked good on my tranny is not jacking the line pressures too high. What I have seen is if the pressure is too high it will break parts like drums. Drums are the one part that no one has made a bullit drum to replace the cast one. I do use a 4L70 drum instead of what came in our trannys. I bet I run less pressure than a lot of people but thats why it doesn't break those parts. Hook a pressure gauge up to the port on the drivers side of the tranny and see whats really going on and not just rely on what you are programming into the computer tables. What number you put in the table may not be the number on the gauge. These trannys are not like the old TH400 so what your program is telling them to do can kill the best built 4L60E you can buy.
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Old 12-07-2009, 12:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Green View Post
........ Do you know what fails on the road race version? .......
We'd have to ask Doc (John Dougherty) about that. It's more than just clutch/band wear, because he's had at least one build that failed before he made it to the track, and he's not one to horse around on the streets.
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Old 12-07-2009, 06:05 PM
Jeff Green Jeff Green is offline
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Maybe he will see this and chime in. I just I'm a little supprised because it takes my tires out on the street as there is not enough traction. That is a easy win for a tranny and no where near what it would see at a track when it's hooked up and the tranny has to take the load.
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