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4L60E Transmission Spotlight

4L60E / 4L65E / 4L70E Transmission, Level 5 "4L60E Extreme Raptor" (4L75E +)

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.

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700R4 Transmission Spotlight

Automatic Transmissions - 700R4 Transmission Type - Upgraded torque converter, servo, sprag and pressure valve

General Motors/HydraMatic introduced the 700R4 4-speed automatic transmission in 1982 (as a replacement to the TH350 3-speed automatic transmission) and used it in many of their popular vehicles with models beginning in the years through today. The 700R4 was one of the first overdrive transmissions used in General Motors vehicles from the Blazer to pickup trucks, and even the Corvette platform. The transmission is sometimes also referred by as the 4L60 (1990) or 4L60E (1993) for improved electronically-controlled models introduced later on. The 700R4 overdrive transmission platform is considered one of the best ever made.

The 700R4 automatic transmission is constructed of a single piece of cast aluminum. The part is 23.4 inches long, weighs 155 pounds, and holds approximately 11 quarts of transmission fluid. It is distinguished from the TH350 and TH400 in that it has a square oil pan, lacking the distinctive cut-off corner of the TH350 and the “Texas” shaped oil pan under the TH400. The transmission was primarily developed to improve fuel economy, which was achieved by the 30% overdrive capability, as well as the improved 3.06:1 gear ratio in 1st gear.

The first 700R4 had an input shaft with 27 splines, though this transmission design was prone to failure because it was unable to handle the load properly. In 1984, they introduced a 30 spline input shaft that was much stronger and reliable. The transmission typically has 1/4” pipe fittings on the passenger side for an improved cooling circuit. Later versions also use a pinned flare and o-ring design for the fluid cooling circuits. The 1987 and newer produced transmissions are considered to be refined and very reliable when performance is compared in 350 V8s in sports cars and trucks.

The physical swaps in the 700R4 transmission are straightforward to install, but the one component that confuses many owners and mechanics is the throttle-valve (T.V.) cable setup. If the T.V. cable is not set correctly, the transmission will underperform and cause its lifetime to be greatly shortened. Each time you adjust this component, you will need to reset the cable slider correctly while using the pressure gauge. This will ensure instantaneous pressure response with the new setup – this is critically important! If you operate the transmission with low hydraulic pressures, it can cause a transmission failure very quickly.

The front-facing TH700 unit is natively compatible with either the Chevrolet 90-degree “Small Block” & “Big Block”-patterned engines, including the V6, V8, I6 & Iron Duke I4 varieties. The General Motors 60-degree pattern engine can be mated to 60-degree style engines like those in the 3800, 3.4, and other engine families. These other transmission types are fairly rare since they were only produced for a few years for the Chevy S10 and Camaro with the 2.8L V6, prior to GM’s upgrade to the 4.3L V6 engine.

We offer 700R4 Transmissions with Torque Converter – Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, Level 4, & Level 5 as well as 700R4 Transmissions with Torque Converter – Level 2 for 4×4 vehicles on our website. Call us today or order directly through our website!

The transmission has the following dimensions and gear ratios:

Case to External HousingOverall LengthBell Housing to Mount
23 3/8″30 3/4″22 3/8″

 

Transmission1st Gear2nd Gear3rd Gear4th Gear Overdrive
Turbo 3502.521.521N/A
Turbo 4002.481.481N/A
2004R2.741.5710.67
700R4 /4L603.061.6310.7
4L80E2.481.4810.75

General Motors Vehicle Models Using the 700R4 or 4L60E Transmissions:

1982-1992 Chevrolet Blazer/GMC Jimmy

1982-2005 Chevrolet Corvette

1983-1996 Chevrolet Impala and Caprice police specials equipped with 350 engines.

1983-1985 Oldsmobile 350 Diesel equipped models.

1983-2002 Chevrolet Camaro/Pontiac Firebird

1985-2005 Chevrolet Astro/GMC Safari

1991-1992 GMC Syclone

1991-1992 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser

1989-2003 Chevrolet S-10/GMC S-15/Sonoma

1989-2005 Chevrolet S-10 Blazer

1989-2001 GMC S-15 Jimmy

1990-1996 RWD Cadillac Fleetwood/Cadillac Brougham/Cadillac Limo

2002-2009 Chevrolet TrailBlazer/GMC Envoy

1992-1993 GMC Typhoon

1984-2010 Chevrolet Suburban

1982-2012 Chevrolet Van

1994-1996 Chevrolet Impala

1994-1996 Buick Roadmaster

1982-2010 Chevrolet C/K

1993-2010 Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon

1999-2006 Cadillac Escalade

2002-2008 Chevrolet Avalanche

2003-2007 Hummer H2

2004-2007 Buick Rainier

2004-2012 Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon

1988-2006 Holden Commodore

2004-2006 Pontiac GTO

2005-2009 Saab 9-7X