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March 2020

Ready to Modernize Your Chevy 4L60E Trans?

Ready to Modernize Your Chevy 4L60E Trans?-Gearstar

So, you’ve got a Chevy 4L60E trans and you think it can offer more power, speed, and even fuel economy? Then it’s time to make it happen. You may have taken the route of providing more horsepower to see that the car accelerates better.

However, if the transmission does not send this power to the wheels, you won’t really see a significant difference. But what if you could take the approach of making certain performance upgrades to this transmission, it’ll boost its power and give you the ride you desire.

And you’ll be surprised to know that a budget-friendly upgrade will enable the ride to handle up to 500 hp. Accordingly, we’ve outlined some tips that will help you to modernize your Chevy 4L60E trans.


About the Chevy 4L60E Trans

The 700R4 transmission gained several upgrades over the years which led to the launch of transmissions including the 4L60E/4L65E/4L70E. The 4L60E is an electronically controlled four-speed automatic overdrive transmission.

As an electronic version, this transmission may be a bit expensive to retrofit into an older car, but this version is easier to manipulate compared to dealing with TV cables and mechanical governors. On the other hand, the right performance parts can make the Chevy 4L60E trans a solid street overdrive automatic.


Modernizing the 4L60E Trans

Rebuilding the 4L60E can significantly improve its performance and this upgrade can be carried out using modern parts. Accordingly, the performance upgrades that can be implemented to modernize the 4L60E transmission include:


1. Replace the Pump

If the transmission’s pump is performing below expectations or is bad entirely, it calls for replacement. For starters, a pump that is underperforming can lead to low line pressure which can cause further problems.

This is because automatic transmissions apply clutches and servos with the help of hydraulic pressure. Hydraulic pressure is also essential for any performance-built automatic. But how do you begin?

Disassemble the unit and clean it before checking the clearances of the front pump. An elevated pressure regulator spring and boost valve may also help to improve the performance of the transmission.


2. Valve Body Modification

A simple 2-3 shift valve modification can bring about an improvement in durability, which is useful in performance driving. In this case, placing the shifter in “D3” uses the over-run clutch in the first three gears and this helps to improve durability since the input sprag is not abused. In contrast, the over-run clutch in OE configuration is applied when the shifter is in “D3” and after the transmission upshifts into Third gear.


3. Second and Fourth Gear Servos

Larger Second and Fourth gear servos can help to increase the piston apply area. The Second gear kit can offer as much as 18 percent more apply area compared to the OE Corvette servo.

As such, it could lead to a reduction in band slippage during upshifts and at the same time increase hold pressure. A customized Corvette-style servo, for instance, can potentially bring about a 35% increase in the servo apply area compared to a stock V-8 version. It can also offer better 1-2 and 2-3 shifts.


4. Enhance the Clutch Pack Clearance

Car rebuilders have noted time and again that a tight 3-4 clutch pack clearance (0.045-inch) could lead to excessive drag. This drag may occur in cases where the clutches are not applied in the first and second gears. What happens here is the drum spins but insufficient clearance can cause the clutches to glaze and fail prematurely.

Accordingly, a better approach is to set the 3-4 clutch clearance dry at 0.060-inch instead of 0.045-inch using return springs. These springs help the clutches to release fully. And for more increased stability, rear stator support, and wider sun gear bushings can also be used.


5. Wider Reverse-input Drum Band

A wider reverse-input drum band that is used with a new drum instead of an old one can also be beneficial. A wider band over a used drum allows the band to span the drum’s worn portion. A new reverse-input drum is useful to ensure that the band does not fail quickly.


6. Use a Reinforcement Kit

An input housing reinforcement kit is useful in preventing the transmission’s housing from cracking right where the input shaft is fixed. Clutches may be susceptible to certain problems and notable among this is an excessive backing plate flex once the clutches are applied.

On the other hand, an Ultimate 3-4 Smart-Tech housing can be used with a stronger input shaft to increase the housing depth with a 0.165-inch greater capacity. This capacity will allow more clutches to be supported but not at the expense of steel thickness.

Moreover, the 3-4 housing takes advantage of a 15-bolt retaining ring cap which shows renewed strength and, therefore, helps to eliminate deflection.


7. SmartShell Reaction Shell

One more way to bring about significant improvement in durability is to take advantage of a SmartShell reaction shell. A custom SmartShell reaction shell can offer improved durability compared to the original piece which is prone to failure. For starters, the customized variant may feature a thrust bearing as a replacement to the OE bushing along. This setup can also be paired with a custom roller clutch race.


The Bottom Line

Performance parts can help to build a Chevy 4L60E trans that will meet your heart’s desire for power and speed. It’s not all about boosting the horsepower and at the end of the day, not still get the required performance. Rather, it involves taking the extra time to revamp this trans to handle modern-day driving needs.

Moreover, the upgrades to be made using these parts are inexpensive, and as such, you can get them fixed in no time. And if you do not have great expertise to handle this rebuild yourself, let an auto shop handle it on your behalf. That being the case, you’ll still have a ride that is better than what you started off with.


6 Ways to Prolong the Life of Your Performance Transmission

6 Ways To Prolong The Life Of Your Performance Transmission-Gearstar

There are several ways to prolong the life of your performance transmission, and if you employ them, it’ll save you from making huge expenses in the long run. A transmission is one of the most expensive components in a car and as such, a replacement could take a huge chunk out of your wallet.

And that may be the least to worry about since serious issues that arise in your transmission may be difficult to repair. Nonetheless, you can cut costs and at the same time, avoid potential transmission problems just by applying certain tips. These tips will help to extend the life of your performance transmission.


A Great Performance Transmission

Transmission in a manual or automatic car helps to transfer power from the engine to the wheels. What this power transfer does is to enable the car to change its gears and also move in the desired direction.

Now if your transmission is in bad shape, it either has to be overhauled or replaced entirely. The process is expensive and may become a bitter pill to swallow. But the good news is, it can be avoided by carrying out certain checks.


How to Extend the Life of Your Performance Transmission

You can extend the life of your performance transmission by doing the following:


1. Check the Transmission Fluid Regularly

Transmission fluid helps in cooling and lubrication, and it transmits force and pressure, while also preventing build-up. Therefore, one surefire way to prolong your transmission’s life is to check its fluid regularly.

The transmission fluid may run low or contain impurities as it gets old. When either of these happens, it could lead to common transmission problems such as overheating. Nonetheless, overheating can be avoided if you know just the right time to refill or change the fluid entirely.

Now you may be wondering, how often should you check the transmission fluid? You can inspect the fluid once every month to ascertain its level and condition.

Pick up your dipstick and check the level of the transmission fluid, and if it looks opaque instead of clear red, then the fluid is bad and needs to be changed. Similarly, if you give the fluid a good whiff and perceive a foul smell, then it could be a sign of a problem.


2. Use Synthetic Fluid

Synthetic transmission fluid is more preferable than ordinary fluid for a number of reasons. For starters, a synthetic fluid is better at resisting cold, heat, oxidation, and shearing. Heat, on the other hand, can break down the organic compounds in a regular fluid thereby making it less effective.

Therefore, if you want your transmission to last longer, synthetic fluid would be your go to option. Heat-resistant, synthetic fluid will help an aging transmission to still offer good performance over time.

A good number of manufacturers are already replacing regular fluids with synthetic fluids in a bid to ensure that the vehicle is not impacted by certain elements. In line with that, it is worth noting that poor quality fluid can harm your transmission; hence, the high-quality fluid must be used at all times.


3. Service Your Transmission Every 30,000 Miles

Your transmission can last for 300,000 miles or more if it is serviced regularly. The reason can be tied to the fact that the transmission can fail within 100,000 miles. What this means is that if you tend to drive around 10-15,000 miles a year, the unit could be down in seven years. Here’s what we’re getting at:

Another way to extend the life of your performance transmission is to get the unit serviced every two years or 30,000 miles. During the servicing process, one of the most effective maintenance procedures will be carried out on your vehicle and that is changing the transmission fluid.

Accordingly, the old fluid will be drained from the transmission, and the pan will be cleaned.  The filter will then be replaced before new fluid is poured into it. At the end of the day, you would’ve been able to enhance the performance of your car just by changing the fluid and allowing its filter to work better at trapping dirt.

Interestingly, a service of this nature would cost you around $60-$100 or less depending on where your car is being serviced. If you want to reduce the cost of servicing your transmission even further, learn to carry out the process yourself.


4. Use an External Filter

You may have taken the needful step to clean your transmission’s filter. But an external filter to the cooler lines can also help to keep dirt away from the fluid. This is because the original filter may be unable to handle all the particles it may encounter, hence an external filter will help it to do a better job.

In the end, more contaminants will be trapped and the transmission fluid will be as clean as possible. Much more, the fluid will be clean for a longer time compared to when a single filter is used.


5. Maintain the Cooling System

Your car’s radiator also serves to cool the engine since heat can cause a lot of damage to the transmission. While you may have a radiator in place, its level of performance may reduce with time, which is why it is advisable that you maintain it every two years.

These maintenance checks will involve inspecting the coolant levels, changing the antifreeze, and inspect the hoses and belts. Other checks you can carry out include carrying out a radiator cap pressure test, and a thermostat check.

A transmission cooler might also prove very useful if you tend to travel in environments where the temperature of the transmission might be raised to high levels. The same applies if you drive with heavy loads frequently, or in heavy traffic.


6. Practice Good Driving

It is important to drive your car more easy. Especially on a cold start since transmission fluid is thicker when it’s cold. If the fluid does not move well from the bottom to the top, it could lead to friction thereby causing damage.

What’s more, the transmission takes time to warm up and if it doesn’t, you may be putting too much strain on it. The point is, don’t drive even before the transmission has warmed up.

If it is in cold weather, let the car idle. When the engine’s RPM has lowered, the vehicle can be put into gear. Asides from being easy on the unit, you can use the emergency brake when you’re parking on an incline, and avoid resting your hand on the gear lever as you drive.


The Bottom Line

These are the easy steps on how to prolong the life of your performance transmission. It revolves around checking your transmission fluid regularly, setting scheduled fluid changes, band adjustments and using more than one filter.

There’s also the need to ensure that your radiator is functional. This will help to minimize the heat produced by the engine while in operation. Try each of these and you’ll be able to extend the life of your transmission for a couple of years if not more.

Most importantly, it’ll help you to save thousands of dollars that would have been wasted on premature transmission failure.