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Old January 20th, 2013, 11:03 PM   #1
chevyk10
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Default 4L60E junk or good trans?

99 Silverado 4x4 4.3L 4L60E 163k miles supposedly the original trans. Fluid looks / smells clean, and seems to shift fine. My question is go for it or run far away? I hear non stop stories all day long about the 4L60E being the worst trans ever built. I'm a bigger Ford guy than Chev, so figured I'd ask the Chevy guys here.
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Old January 20th, 2013, 11:13 PM   #2
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great question I have been wanting to know about this trans as well.
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Old January 20th, 2013, 11:42 PM   #3
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i have a 93 4x4 chevy ext cab 6 foot bed v8 350 and i have the 4l60e truck has almost 300,000 knock on wood but it shifts fine i have never had an issue with it.

my buddys dad had a 96 2wd chevy single cab long bed 350 with the 4l60e with almost 411,000 on it when he sold it to a farmer a couple houses down from him and their still useing it as a farm truck.

i dont know if this answers your question or not but just my.02

Last edited by muddinman56; January 20th, 2013 at 11:46 PM.
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Old January 20th, 2013, 11:53 PM   #4
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i have a 93 4x4 chevy ext cab 6 foot bed v8 350 and i have the 4l60e truck has almost 300,000 knock on wood but it shifts fine i have never had an issue with it.

my buddys dad had a 96 2wd chevy single cab long bed 350 with the 4l60e with almost 411,000 on it when he sold it to a farmer a couple houses down from him and their still useing it as a farm truck.

i dont know if this answers your question or not but just my.02
thanks for the .02 i guess it really just depends on how it was maintained. the guy knows almost nothing about the truck, but from what i see it appears someone kept up on it. most trucks that were neglected wouldn't have an extremely clean interior either... usually completely trashed.
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Old January 21st, 2013, 12:46 AM   #5
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thanks for the .02 i guess it really just depends on how it was maintained. the guy knows almost nothing about the truck, but from what i see it appears someone kept up on it. most trucks that were neglected wouldn't have an extremely clean interior either... usually completely trashed.
i wouldn't go just by that at all.

my moms car is extremely clean on the inside and out but she will call me saying my car is making a weird sound and it hasent gone away in 2 weeks can u look at it.

im just saying i wouldnt base the mechanical history of a car based on how clean the inside is
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Old January 21st, 2013, 05:27 AM   #6
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The 4l60 is based on the old 700R4 which had some trouble when it was first introduced in the early 90's. They worked most of the bugs out after a few years and it turned into a pretty good transmission for stock or mildly built applications. I don't know about the 4l60 but the 700R4 used in S series trucks was lighter duty and had a tendency to fail if the tranmission was used for high performance or installed in a full size truck.

I personally think the 4l60 is a good transmission and is not too expensive to repair compared to other rear wheel drive transmisions out there. The can also be beefed up quite a bit should you decide to put some power in front of it. Another option is using a 4l80 transmission but these are pretty beefy units and weigh a lot more than a 4l60.
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Old January 21st, 2013, 06:02 AM   #7
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i have a 99 silverado with a 5.3 4l60. it has 187000 miles on her and ive never had a problem with it as long as you take care of it it should last a long time...
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Old January 21st, 2013, 07:05 AM   #8
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700's sucked. 4l60E's can take a little abuse. Ive built a few of these for hotrods the biggest problem ive found is the 3-4 clutch doesnt like high rpms, and the infamous sunshell breaking.if you upgrade the sunshell, they will take some abuse.
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Old January 21st, 2013, 07:27 AM   #9
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Nuggets, i'm not sure where your got your info from; but 700R4's were used in a lot of fullsize applications, just generally not trucks. They came in blazers, jimmy's, and surburbans; but yes, they did have issues back them

The only difference between most 700R4s and 4L60Es is that the 4L60E is shifted through solenoids and not hydraulically. There is a Late model 4L60E that is what your truck actually has chevyk10; the only big difference between the early model 4L60E and late model is that the late has a removable bell housing and a 6 bolt tail shaft. That being said, the 4L60Es are a great transmission because with regular maintenance, they will last just as long as the Vortec engine that it's bolted up to, if not longer. It is perfect for light to medium duty work such as towing heavy loads, right from the factory. If your looking at a 4.3L then I can only assume that it wouldn't see much heavy duty or medium duty work so it should be perfect for what you need. The issues that were mentioned about the 700R4s were basically all taken care of when the switch was made to using the 4L60E transmissions (the 3-4 clutch pack was horrendous for going out, along with the band constantly need re-tightening).
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Old January 21st, 2013, 08:38 AM   #10
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I dont know where you heard 4l60e transmissions suck but someone has no clue.
The 4l60e is a great trans and like others said it is decended from the 700r4 and 4l60.

This trans has been put in millions of GM products from corvettes to every 1/2 ton truck and van on the road. The 4l80e is a bigger, better trans only available in 3/4 ton and up trucks.
The 4l80e and allison trans are part of the reason 1/2 ton trucks can pull down close to twenty mpg and the 3/4 tons get 10-12 mpg. They are a heavy duty trans and require a lot of power to spin them. The 4l60e is one of the most efficient trans ever made.

My best freinds wife drives a 94 z71 with the earliest 4l60e. It has towed snowmobiles, a 22' boat, car trailers, and about 10-12 cords of firewood every year since they bought it in 1995. The truck has 390,000 miles and has never had any trans work other then fluid and filter. Knock on wood. The motor is untouched original also.

The problem with 4l60e or any trans shows up when some idiot puts 38" tires on his stock truck, doesnt change the gearing, and overheats the trans wheeling , over, and over again.
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Old January 21st, 2013, 09:51 AM   #11
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Thanks for the info guys! I've heard from a few different people that the max you'll ever see out of a 4L60E is like 140k miles if your lucky, but people don't always know what they're talking about either. The trans actually just went out completely at random in my friends 02 Suburban with only 135k miles last week too. Trans fluid in this truck I'm looking at seems clean and doesn't smell burned. And yes I'm specifically looking for a W/T silverado with the 4.3 single cab to use as my DD for gas mileage and light duty work.
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Old January 21st, 2013, 09:51 AM   #12
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http://flint.craigslist.org/cto/3555460457.html
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Old January 21st, 2013, 10:21 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chevyk10 View Post
Thanks for the info guys! I've heard from a few different people that the max you'll ever see out of a 4L60E is like 140k miles if your lucky, but people don't always know what they're talking about either. The trans actually just went out completely at random in my friends 02 Suburban with only 135k miles last week too. Trans fluid in this truck I'm looking at seems clean and doesn't smell burned. And yes I'm specifically looking for a W/T silverado with the 4.3 single cab to use as my DD for gas mileage and light duty work.
140k at the most? i know a TON of people with trucks with the 4l60 that are well over 140k. between myself and my dad we have had 4 in the last 10 years and neither of us have had any issues. there is one in my buggy i am building also.
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Old January 21st, 2013, 11:04 AM   #14
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It sounds like the truck is gonna be just what you need; even if the PO wanted to beat on it, there isn't much to beat on considering its powered by a 4.3L

At 140k miles a well taken care of 4L60E would probably have another 100k miles before it would show any well noticable wear. And no, i'm not exaggerating; the majority of people that complain about 4L60Es being junk (and 700R4 for that matter) are either beating the piss out of it by towing 10,000 lbs everyday or don't know how to flush the fluid
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Old January 21st, 2013, 03:29 PM   #15
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I had a '96 Tahoe with 260,000 miles on the original 4L60E trans when one of the heads cracked. With 260K on the truck, engine and drivetrain I did not want to replace the engine (could not find a 350 Vortec at the time). I gave the trans to a friend that had the one in his '93 PU go bad and he is still using it 2 years later! Never been rebuilt, just regular fluid changes and well over 300K!
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Old January 21st, 2013, 09:06 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wave_crusher View Post
Nuggets, i'm not sure where your got your info from; but 700R4's were used in a lot of fullsize applications, just generally not trucks. They came in blazers, jimmy's, and surburbans; but yes, they did have issues back them

The only difference between most 700R4s and 4L60Es is that the 4L60E is shifted through solenoids and not hydraulically. There is a Late model 4L60E that is what your truck actually has chevyk10; the only big difference between the early model 4L60E and late model is that the late has a removable bell housing and a 6 bolt tail shaft. That being said, the 4L60Es are a great transmission because with regular maintenance, they will last just as long as the Vortec engine that it's bolted up to, if not longer. It is perfect for light to medium duty work such as towing heavy loads, right from the factory. If your looking at a 4.3L then I can only assume that it wouldn't see much heavy duty or medium duty work so it should be perfect for what you need. The issues that were mentioned about the 700R4s were basically all taken care of when the switch was made to using the 4L60E transmissions (the 3-4 clutch pack was horrendous for going out, along with the band constantly need re-tightening).
What I failed to convey in my previous post (It was about a quarter to six this morning if I remember right and now I just finished a 15 hour day) was that if the S series transmission were unknowingly installed in a fullsize V8 truck they tended to have some issues
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Old January 21st, 2013, 09:34 PM   #17
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What I failed to convey in my previous post (It was about a quarter to six this morning if I remember right and now I just finished a 15 hour day) was that if the S series transmission were unknowingly installed in a fullsize V8 truck they tended to have some issues
Wake up earlier next time lol
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Old January 21st, 2013, 09:36 PM   #18
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A lot of failers with any electronically controlled trans are solonoid related. If the fluid isnt burnt, and you just lose a gear or two , it may be fixable without pulling it. If you find a good trans guy a lot of bad 4l60e trans have many miles left in them. I dont mess with auto trans much but I have repaired a few just by researching the exact problem and replacing a few parts.
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