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Discussion Starter #1
Is there a recommended kit? I like the idea of having most of my parts come in one complete package instead of having to piecemeal a bunch of individual parts.

I'm leaning toward this one from Raybestos.


It's a stock LT1, might see a very mild cam someday but installed in a 3600lb 1963 C10 it doesn't really need much more power. 3.73 gears out back and 27"-ish tall tires means I don't think it's having to work too hard.

Additionally, I'm planning on Sonnax's Smartshell, pinless accumulators for upgrades, still need to peruse the "While it's out" thread some more.

I'm still debating what do do about the valve body and the pump, if I have somebody local go through them or if I just buy Sonnex reman units with their parts in them.

-Brian
 

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I used this one in my car for my trans rebuild - only I didn't need a new sun shell so was convenient that this didn't come with one. YMMV.

My car has a LE custom cam - 223/230 .566/.565 110LSA with ported heads and a 2600 stall.
I've done numerous autocross events, and did road racing at Nats last year, as well as it being my daily driver March - November, with many 10-hour round trip road trips and its holding up great! would recommend!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for that link. Turns out the Raybesto's one I originally posted was only available at Autozone and they don't carry it anymore.

On furlough for the week so instead of work, I've been doing alot of reading and comparing of kits. Lot of marketing BS in transmission kit world. I'm now leaning more toward piecing it together so I can control exactly which parts I'm installing and not end up with doubles of things I want to upgrade from "all in one" kits.

This transmission had pretty much no line pressure rise and appears to have smoked most of the forward clutch packs along with the Sunshell and 3-4 accumulator spring failures.

-Brian
 

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Yeah, plenty of time for research that's for sure!
I felt mine bust after my engine build during an autocross run. last one of the day on the last stretch and it just rung 1st gear allll the way out!
I only had 1 and 3 so it was a high RPM drive back haha. my accumulator wasn't actuating, the 2-4 band was TOAST along with a few clutches and steels.
I also ended up buying a new valvebody and some solenoids just for reassurance.

I didn't know anything about transmissons and bought that one on a whim and due to availability/quick shipping. ended up being a REALLY nice kit and my trans builder was impressed with it. there was some leftover parts but I just gave them all to him.
 

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Yes there is a lot of marketing crap in the transmission parts business. Honestly any name brand Borg Warner / Raybestos / Toledo kit will be fine. Allomatic is at a lower price point but put together carefully on a stockish power level it'll probably be fine.

Definitely replace the reverse input drum if you put a straight edge across it and see wear.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So I went with a BorgWarner kit, a new reverse input drum, and then added Sonnex's Smart Shell, HP-4L60E kit, and the 3/4 backing plates. Reassembly will hopefully be this weekend.

-Brian
 

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Nice. BTW here's a great video on 4L60E rebuilds. I'm not a big fan of installing clutches dry, but otherwise it's a good video. Make absolutely sure you air-check everything as you install it. From the front of the input drum, the feed holes are overrun, forward, 3-4. I use a rubber-tip blow gun. Cover the forward with your finger as you test the overrun piston as it is designed to feed into the forward clutch as well.
 

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So I went with a BorgWarner kit, a new reverse input drum, and then added Sonnex's Smart Shell, HP-4L60E kit, and the 3/4 backing plates. Reassembly will hopefully be this weekend.

-Brian
Hi i see you said you got "HP-4L60E kit". Was it the level one kit from this site ?

If i can swing it i would like to do option A &B for level one.
Thanks.
-ALF out....
 

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Nice. BTW here's a great video on 4L60E rebuilds. I'm not a big fan of installing clutches dry, but otherwise it's a good video. Make absolutely sure you air-check everything as you install it. From the front of the input drum, the feed holes are overrun, forward, 3-4. I use a rubber-tip blow gun. Cover the forward with your finger as you test the overrun piston as it is designed to feed into the forward clutch as well.
WOW. This video is awesome.

I got lucky and had the help (he did everything as I watched in awe and passed tools) from a 30+yr GM world certified transmission technician. we had the trans out of my car (on jackstands) in about 40 minutes, had it on the bench and torn down in another 30 minutes. and if we exclude waiting for parts, had it rebuilt and back in the car in another 2 hours! I give major props to anyone tackling this on their own.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Alf - I'm have so far selected all of the option B items and am considering if I should add the input drum reinforcement kit as well. It's about an additional $100 dollars. Also the heavy duty 2-3 valve is also about an extra $35 from what I can find online. However other than the reinforcement kit and the Kevlar band (not on my preferences list) the rest of the level 2 additions can be done in the pan with the trans in the vehicle if I feel the need to add them later.

However a new to the yard 94 Caprice with gray interior just hit today so I may be out pulling Grandpa fresh dash panels instead of assembling my transmission this weekend.

-Brian
 

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Definitely pull interior parts; you can always buy/install transmission parts later.

Brian, what's the engine torque, converter STR (or diameter and stall speed), vehicle weight, rear axle ratio and tire size?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
It's going in a 63 C10. Weighs in around 3600lbs probably drop a little of that when I finally cut it into a short bed.

3.73 Rear Gears and 27" tall tires.

Intake, exhaust and tune on a stock long block. Your guess on torque and HP is as good as mine. At most my future plans would throw a cam and some 1.6RRs on it.

I haven't yet selected a TC for it. I'm leaning toward just a good replacement 95+ 4.3 S10 converter. It's got an Orielly's Reman version of that in it right now. It's just a cruiser. If I go racing it'll be in either the GTO or the Impala.

-Brian
 

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If you're not planning to tow with it, that setup will be pretty easy on the transmission. The S10 converter will probably be pretty well matched in that combo.
 

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Just to add for those shopping for a rebuild kit: I found that a lot of kits differ on whether or not they include the following items, and what performance level the items are, so don't shop just on price alone:
  • Stamped steel apply pistons (1000x more reliable, GM introduced in '97 model year)
  • spring pack for those stamped steel pistons, it has an additional lower retainer ring (or get a good used one from a transmission shop)
  • 2-4 band (stock, wide, or wide kevlar)
  • sunshell (any reinforced unit will do, whether from Taiwan, the Beast, or my favorite, the Sonnax SmartShell)
  • pan filter
  • bushings
  • Sonnax upgraded bushings (there are several available)
  • roller bearings, also known as "torrington bearings" (I rarely see these fail unless the trans has a lot of metal in it)
Stuff that normally doesn't come with the kit but you may end up buying anyway:
  • load release springs for the 3-4 clutchpack
  • EPC solenoid (these can soft-fail)
  • pressure switch assembly (NOTE - do NOT try to replace the o-rings on these, just leave it be; it likely won't work properly if you try).
  • boost valve (TransGo is good, Sonnax is more sealed) (this usually doesn't come with rebuild kits though)
As always, you never know what you'll find when you tear it apart; the pump and vanes might be all scraped up and need work, etc. Often the 2nd Accumulator spring is cracked and will need replacing too.

I'd strongly suggest having the valvebody rebuilt by a shop that has the Sonnax vacuum test plates, and just pay them to install a new Sonnax TCC regulator valve (in the '95-96 units) and whatever else they find leaking.

Finally, it never hurts to build a relationship with a local transmission shop and see if they might be willing to sell you parts. Even if you pay a bit more, the expert advice you get along the way will be well worth it. Always respect their time and don't talk their ear off.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
So for the piece of mind and the fact that it was only an additional $90, I added the Sonnax Input Drum reinforcement. I believe this means I will only need the steel 3/4 and forward molded steel pistons since the overrun gets replaced as part of this kit. I will also still need the 97+ Springs with the additional retainer.

-Brian
 

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Did you get the 77733-51K or the 77733-02K? The latter one allows you to use your stock overrun piston which doesn't tend to crack, but you'll have to put it in a lathe and open up the ID.

According to this, you will not need the later design return spring with the 02K kit, but you will with the 51k kit.

If you use the 02K kit, one trick when reusing the aluminum forward piston is to have all five apply lugs machined completely flat so that there's no unbalanced forces on it, which some builders believe contributed to those pistons cracking a lot. Once that cracks, it leaks into the overrun circuit and you can't use overdrive since the overrun clutches MUST freewheel in 4th gear.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I went with with -51K. I also picked up a pair of new 97+ stamped steel & bonded pistons for the other 2, with the dual retainer spring as well. Everything I had read online said that the relatively cheap upgrade to the steel bonded pistons was good insurance against having any issues with the forward pistons.

-Brian
 

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The stock aluminum apply pistons are junk. They crack and/or blow seals out. GM doesn't make changes unless there's a real good reason, and they switched to the steel pistons with bonded seals in '97 for a real good reason. Look at the center of this picture. This is the seal between the overrun and forward piston in a '96 with 170k miles. Blown right out.
194149


And here's the forward clutches... TOAST. Look ma, no friction material! Burn marks all over! Amazingly, the car still drove fine and didn't slip under load, although I suspect it was just a few days away from failing. It would bang shift into D the first shift of the day, but had no other symptoms.
194150
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Just a heads up. Typical rebuild kits seem to stick with the 6 friction 6 steel 3/4 Clutch Pack. This is not compatible with the Sonnax upgraded 3/4 clutch apply and retain plates.

-Brian
 

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Just a heads up. Typical rebuild kits seem to stick with the 6 friction 6 steel 3/4 Clutch Pack. This is not compatible with the Sonnax upgraded 3/4 clutch apply and retain plates.

-Brian
Which one did you end up going with? Knowledgeable 4L60E rebuild kit sellers will know to ask you and send you the right one. Although, the one I bought to put in my SmartTech input drum had the thinner frictions and I had to get the thicker ones to get the proper clearance. Fortunately the local trans shop had them in stock and basically traded them to me very cheaply.
 
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