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4L60E Transmission Swap Tips and Tricks

4L60E Transmission Swap Tips and Tricks

If you have questions about a 4L60E transmission swap and wondering what’s the best way to do so without any hitch, then this is your ultimate guide.

The 4L60E is a series of transmissions that were introduced for cars, trucks, and SUVs in 1993 by General Motors. And it was an improvement on the 4L60 transmissions earlier made–the improvement was the upgrade from hydraulics to electronically controlled transmissions. It is a perfect fit for retrofitting and street performance since they can be easily modified.

Its main characteristics are:

  • Electronic valve body with varied ratios for optimal performance
  • Four forward gears
  • Longitudinal mount
  • 60 relative torque rating of 360 lb-ft
  • 8.4 quartz fluid capacity
  • V6 and V8 engine compatibility

This transmission has had notable improvements and additional features over the years, and some of them include:

  • Pulse width modulated torque converter was added in 1995
  • Six-bolt tail shaft and modified downshift solenoid in 1996
  • Increased torque capacity in 2001

4L60E transmissions are efficient when you need to restore a vintage car or give a recent one an upgrade, especially when the use of these vehicles will be mostly on rough terrains or long road trips. Ordinarily, you can choose to use a manual gearbox, but with the fantastic capabilities of the 4L60E, it might just be your best shot.

What Vehicles are Suitable for the 4L60E Transmission?

It is important to note that there are vehicle configurations that are specific to the 4L60E transmissions; they include Buick Rainer, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Hummer, and Isuzu.

Comparing the 4L60 & 4L60E Transmissions

While the 4L60 is controlled with a TV cable, the 4L60E gets its own control from a computer. This difference can be sorted when the latter is placed in the position of the former; for this reason, all that is needed is for you to get a new transmission controller so that you can override its control mechanisms. Furthermore, another notable difference is that the 4L60 transmission requires the use of a custom bracket for the TV hook to fit in properly, which would not be a problem for the 4L60E transmissions since it would be controlled by a computer.  

In comparison, both transmissions have a few similarities–and topping this list is the fact that they are of the same length and have the same number of gears and gear ratios. Also, their bell housing bolt patterns are also similar.

Pros & Cons of 4L60E Transmissions

Before making a choice of whether to override your existing gear with a 4L60E transmission, you might want to take a break to ascertain if it is going to be a worthy investment. Let us delve into the pros and cons of this transmission.

PROS

  • Controllers of the 4L60E make it very easy; the establishment of exact shift points
  • Adjustment of shift firmness is also easily controlled
  • Full and firm control of all aspects of the shift
  • Changes can be easily made to the line pressure and shift points
  • Shift points can be adjusted from the interior, and this makes it less stressful
  • Calibration of the speedometer is super easy
  • Increased torque capacity
  • Fuel economy performance is solid
  • Super-fast transmission

CONS

As good as the 4L60E appears, there are certain disadvantages that have been identified. And, it is important to have an idea of these things before investing in them:

  • Expensive to set up because of the need for an external controller, which in this case is a laptop
  • Users must add a TPS input along with a carburetor
  • To spin the speedometer, you would need to add an adapter or run it electronically
  • Push-in clips often leak and might require constant replacement
  • Some users encounter issues with reverse clutches
  • Shifts are sometimes harsh and delayed while some completely stop working or get worn out

Users that have had previous issues with their 4L60E transmissions noted signs to be aware of when the transmission begins to fail so that it can be quickly managed. When you notice one or more of the following signs, please have an expert take a look at your vehicle:

  • A fluid leak occurs, and you occasionally get the ‘low fluid’ notification which in turn might make the transmission slip
  • The transmission might fail to move out of gear
  • Automatic transmission is affected, and the gear would neither upshift nor downshift

Handy 4L60E Transmission Swap Tips

Below are the tricks to successfully using 4L60E transmissions on vehicles and the difference in the process depending on the year of the vehicle:

4L60E year + Vehicle Year Required Processes
94 4L60E + 95 Vehicle There would be no need for any serious reprogramming and changes in mechanical or electrical configurations are not needed. The process is smooth and bolt ins are direct
94 4L60E+ 96 Vehicle The tail shaft housing and VSS of the vehicle would have to be installed on the 4L60E transmissions before it is bolted into the car. The 3-2 downshift is recommended for swapping too
96 4L60E+ 95 Vehicle The TCC lockup would have to be adjusted before the transmissions are done on the car as failure to do this might produce more heat during transmission as a result of the gas mileage that would have been affected
95 4L60E+ 94 Vehicle The tail shaft housing plus VSS has to be installed on the 4L60E before it is bolted into the car

Please note that the swap from a different transmission to the 4L60E requires the interchange of flexplates and torque converters which could be a herculean and confusing task for nonprofessionals.

Lastly, another important thing to note is your vehicle’s mile time before switching to a 4L60E so that you do not waste money on the switch and end up with a car on borrowed time.

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