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4L60E Transmission Spotlight

4L70E Level 3

The 4L60E is a four-speed automatic transmission produced by General Motors. It has been considered to be the best rendition of the finest overdrive automatic transmission ever produced. General Motors first induced the 4L60E transmission in 1993 as a replacement/upgrade to the 4L60, which itself was an upgrade from the 700R4. The 4L60E is a very capable 4-speed transmission with a 3.059 first gear ratio and a 0.696 final gear ratio, making it ideal for off the line performance while still providing decent mileage in overdrive.

The Corvette is General Motors flagship car. The 5th generation Corvette was a huge leap for GM. It incorporated so many new state of the art components over its predecessor that there are too many to count. The 4L60E differs from the 700R4 by being fully electronically shifted, and it has many internal upgrades that make it both stronger and more durable. The 4L60E could be found in many General Motors vehicles, including the Chevy Camaro, the Pontiac Trans Am, the Chevy Silverado, the Cadillac Escalade and the Buick Roadmaster. It is probably best known for its use in the 1994 -2004 5th generation Corvette.

While it’s common for car owners to perform many engine modifications, few give much thought to doing anything with the automatic transmission. Did you know you can pick up a full second, or more time reduction in the quarter mile by modifying your 4L60E transmission in your Corvette? Yes, it’s true and it’s not difficult to do. Let’s take a look at a few modifications you can make to the transmission in your GM or Chevy vehicle!


Shift Kits – There are a number of different shift kits available from a variety of different companies. Most of them come with the option to set them up for towing, street or street/strip use. Street/strip mode will usually result in the chirping of the tire under full throttle in first gear, given the ideal rear end gear ratio and adequate power levels. Shift kits can be broken down into two categories: modified valve bodies and electronic shift kits. Modify valve bodies use special plates with different size holes and check ball, stiffer springs and plugs to change the shifter characteristics.

Torque Converters – The stock converter used in the 4L60E is of the lockup type. Because of this, it is recommended that a stall converter of no more than 2600 rpm’s be used. A non-lockup converter is also available for those that want a higher stall speed. A popular option on the higher horsepower applications is the use of a converter with the anti-balloon plate option.

Transmission Coolers – There are literally hundreds of different types of transmission coolers available. It is always recommended to use the largest cooler possible. Coolers are available in the standard tube-type configuration and a more rugged stacked-plate design. Coolers are also available with built-in fans and temperature switches.

Transmission Pans – Most aftermarket pans are designed to increase the fluid capacity of the transmission. They are available in steel, chrome plated steel, and aluminum. Some have cooling fins or cooling tubes built into them. Most of them include a drain plug. Aluminum pans are generally sturdier and dissipate heat better than steel pans.

Wire Harnesses –  If the car originally came with the 4L60E than use of the stock wire harness is fine. For retrofit applications, special customer wire harnesses are available to work with either the factory computer or an aftermarket controller.

Fluids –  You can use the organic oil called for in the GM manual or you can use a synthetic fluid that meets the minimum requirements. Be sure to check the requirements for your individual year transmission and don’t forget to change the fluid on a regular basis. There are many options to upgrade the 4L60E to meet your requirements and desires.