Is the GM 4L60 (and 4L60E) really as dogshit as people say?

Is the GM 4L60 (and 4L60E) really as dogshit as people say? They used it in fricking everything that didn’t warrant a 4L80

Thalidomide Vintage Ad Shirt $22.14

Tip Your Landlord Shirt $21.68

Thalidomide Vintage Ad Shirt $22.14

  1. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    It can be. I've had mixed luck. Overall they're fine though. People use them for high horsepower builds.

  2. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    4L60E: Worst possible transmission choice. Very wide first to second gear spread. First gear is a 3.06 ratio Second is a 1.62 ratio. This nearly equates to skipping from first to third gear with a manual trans. This kills acceleration when these trans go into second gear. Compare this to a TH350. First gear at 2.52 ratio and second gear is 1.52. Do the math. The 3.06 first gear is so low that any final gear of above 3.55 or numerically higher will have you right at the max rpm at around 35 mph, only to then have your car fall on its face when it hits second gear, feeling like it skipped a gear. Wheel spin is uncontrollable upon hard launches, unless you have a very tall final gear, and then you can for sure count on going nowhere quickly when second gear comes in. Overdrive would be totally useless at highway speed regardless of detuning with a tall final gear, unless you were cruising at around 100 mph. Huge cost to build up. Don't even consider a stock rebuild to handle 500 hp or more. Under hard use, the 4L60E will fail quickly. High performance transmission builders don't recognize it as a serious transmission. More complex to build than a TH350 and far more expensive. The overdrive is useless with engines running decent cams. Stall converters are double the cost of the TH350. Could be classified as the worst mismatch of parts known on a true street car. Most of us have owned a regular stock street car with a 700R4 trans, or its electronic likeness, a 4L60E, and didn't find much of an issue with the way they operated, especially if the vehicle was fuel injected. This is because stock car engines are designed to operate totally different in the very low rpm range. They have huge amounts of off idle torque compared to the average carbureted street rod that makes 400 hp or more. This off idle instant torque allows the vehicle to keep its speed up decently when the 4L60E drops into second gear, and also allows the overdrive gear to operate normally at very low rpm.

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Not OP, but what do you think about a th350 with a grand national turbo 6?

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        TH350 is perfect for it because the TH350 does not require a computer.TH350: Best transmission choice, hands down. Excellent gear spread between all three gears. Very low cost to build up to various levels of power handling. Can be built up to extreme power handling capabilities. Most all transmission shops are capable of building these to at least level 1 or 2. No TV cable to deal with. Stall converters are low in cost, and the selection is broad. Very reliable and simple to repair if needed. Cons: None, simply none! Select a final gear that will allow you the best overall performance and one that allows a decent off the line acceleration, and one that will be in a tolerable rpm range at highway speed. You must have the correct stall converter for optimal performance. This can make a huge difference in the way your vehicle accelerates. These are becoming scarce, but there are still plenty of them around, and high performance parts are easily obtained.

        • 4 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          >TV cable
          imagine paying for cable in 2024

        • 4 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          4L60E: Worst possible transmission choice. Very wide first to second gear spread. First gear is a 3.06 ratio Second is a 1.62 ratio. This nearly equates to skipping from first to third gear with a manual trans. This kills acceleration when these trans go into second gear. Compare this to a TH350. First gear at 2.52 ratio and second gear is 1.52. Do the math. The 3.06 first gear is so low that any final gear of above 3.55 or numerically higher will have you right at the max rpm at around 35 mph, only to then have your car fall on its face when it hits second gear, feeling like it skipped a gear. Wheel spin is uncontrollable upon hard launches, unless you have a very tall final gear, and then you can for sure count on going nowhere quickly when second gear comes in. Overdrive would be totally useless at highway speed regardless of detuning with a tall final gear, unless you were cruising at around 100 mph. Huge cost to build up. Don't even consider a stock rebuild to handle 500 hp or more. Under hard use, the 4L60E will fail quickly. High performance transmission builders don't recognize it as a serious transmission. More complex to build than a TH350 and far more expensive. The overdrive is useless with engines running decent cams. Stall converters are double the cost of the TH350. Could be classified as the worst mismatch of parts known on a true street car. Most of us have owned a regular stock street car with a 700R4 trans, or its electronic likeness, a 4L60E, and didn't find much of an issue with the way they operated, especially if the vehicle was fuel injected. This is because stock car engines are designed to operate totally different in the very low rpm range. They have huge amounts of off idle torque compared to the average carbureted street rod that makes 400 hp or more. This off idle instant torque allows the vehicle to keep its speed up decently when the 4L60E drops into second gear, and also allows the overdrive gear to operate normally at very low rpm.

          A+ posts

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Switched out the 200R for a Turbo 400 once, and went back to the 200R because Turbo Regals are a bit overgeared with 3.42's and the Buick drones like hell at highway speeds. Further, a hard-running Buick NEEDS that overdrive and a lockup converter to keep the rpm down as much as possible when trapping 120+.

        Of course you could use a 3-speed, but you'd have to reconfigure almost everything about the the engine for more rpm while also regearing (the Buick oil pump is a sad joke btw). Or you could just use the 200R and overhaul it every couple of years after it starts doing the 2-3 flare shift.

        • 4 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          A few things, I have messed with the 200r and it blows. I should probably be more specific here, this is an 013 buick stage block, cammed to run about 5800 rpm, also oiling is completely overhauled. it's going in an s10 that currently has a th350 in it. By my math, this thing should trap about 125 when done, so 3.43 in the rear would put it at the top of 3rd when crossing the quarter, but my concern is highway speeds would be about 3200rpm. Open to any thoughts

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            >highway speeds would be about 3200rpm.
            Why is this a concern? If your engine is cammed to operate at 5,800 rpm, then you won't get your best MPG at low RPM.

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            It's more about noise and engine strain than fuel economy

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            My experience was it droned like hell and was thrashy on the freeway. I also had a 30+ minute 70+mph drive to the city where the action was so an overdrive was definitely nice. And when I said 120+, I meant that when I started it trapped 119 but after more mods traps were 137 or so. I mean, sure, I could have reconfigured everygoddamnthing about the car like you're doing but I didn't go into it with a plan, it's just what happened over time. If I were doing it again I'd probably look into a 6L80 or something like that.

            And btw, I feel that the Buick is more like a diesel in that it seemed to like being closer to the torque peak at WOT rather than at max rpm crossing the line like you would with NA. Or at least mine, and the 2 out of 15 other TR's in the area that actually drove lol.

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Excellent post, a rarity.

  3. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Yeah it is my ls1 killed its one quick v6 barely held its together frick holden frick gm

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      sir i cannot understand. please translate.

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Shits fricked mate big time meanwhile barra and barra turbo zero issues

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      really, I have never really seen holden v6's with busted transmissions. For older cars from the 80's like falcons and earlier transmissions it used to be common to see old cars with slipping gears.

      4L60E: Worst possible transmission choice. Very wide first to second gear spread. First gear is a 3.06 ratio Second is a 1.62 ratio. This nearly equates to skipping from first to third gear with a manual trans. This kills acceleration when these trans go into second gear. Compare this to a TH350. First gear at 2.52 ratio and second gear is 1.52. Do the math. The 3.06 first gear is so low that any final gear of above 3.55 or numerically higher will have you right at the max rpm at around 35 mph, only to then have your car fall on its face when it hits second gear, feeling like it skipped a gear. Wheel spin is uncontrollable upon hard launches, unless you have a very tall final gear, and then you can for sure count on going nowhere quickly when second gear comes in. Overdrive would be totally useless at highway speed regardless of detuning with a tall final gear, unless you were cruising at around 100 mph. Huge cost to build up. Don't even consider a stock rebuild to handle 500 hp or more. Under hard use, the 4L60E will fail quickly. High performance transmission builders don't recognize it as a serious transmission. More complex to build than a TH350 and far more expensive. The overdrive is useless with engines running decent cams. Stall converters are double the cost of the TH350. Could be classified as the worst mismatch of parts known on a true street car. Most of us have owned a regular stock street car with a 700R4 trans, or its electronic likeness, a 4L60E, and didn't find much of an issue with the way they operated, especially if the vehicle was fuel injected. This is because stock car engines are designed to operate totally different in the very low rpm range. They have huge amounts of off idle torque compared to the average carbureted street rod that makes 400 hp or more. This off idle instant torque allows the vehicle to keep its speed up decently when the 4L60E drops into second gear, and also allows the overdrive gear to operate normally at very low rpm.

      4L60 felt pretty good for acceleration the first time I went in one compared to older cars with the turbo hydramatic, dramatically faster in acceleration. I can see your point, its drop off hard as it changes gears.

  4. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Lots of people beef them up and run crazy power through them, most people on the other hand assume these transmissions have lifetime fluid and wonder why they slowly start to fail. Change out your transmission filter if it's never been done, replace the $5 solenoids while you're at it, and install a drain plug so you can drain and fill easily to keep the fluid clean and red and they'll last.
    To add to that, heat is a major killer of these so adding or even upgrading to a larger transmission cooler will help prevent clutches getting burnt. Simple mods like a Corvette servo also help lessen the slip and 'slushiness' of the shifts somewhat, which also makes them more durable as well.
    For heavy usage and/or builds, companies like Sonnax make upgraded and beefed up versions of common wear parts with things such as heavy duty pins and sunshell as well. As a final aside, you've also got transmission tuning. Settings like 'torque management' essentially cut power by a set amount during shifts, and if you've got some crazy high HP build you can tune it to where it won't be putting so much stress on the transmission.
    >t. 4L65E owner

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Bulletproofing a 4L60E is like bulletproofing a Ford 6 leaker. It just seems like that time and effort could have been put into something more worthwhile. It is even wise running something that needed $5k in aftermarket support to just be "good"?

      I'm currently in the market for a GMT800 and currently feel like avoiding the half tons just to escape the 4l60E. I'd much rather start off with a 4L80E.

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        4L60 doesn't need five grand. Stop exaggerating you numb digger. Pistons, servos etc are cheap along with more clutch discs.

        However half tons are inferior to eight luggers in every respect except tax and insurance (and cabs are easy to swap if your HD is rustty). My half-ton is built from three donors and I'm looking for a 3500 with a rough body so I can drop a 1500 cab with six banger VIN and beat the tax man.

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        4l60e bone stock lasted 265k miles in a half ton short box with 4.8, it hauled and towed daily for 3 years straight on a 120 mile round trip 5 days a week and on most weekends. Trucks now built, turbo motor, stock bottom end just fresh bearings, cam, pistons, and a big snail, 4l60 was rebuilt for $2800, it's been taking ~800whp for 3 years, never an issue.

        TH350 is perfect for it because the TH350 does not require a computer.TH350: Best transmission choice, hands down. Excellent gear spread between all three gears. Very low cost to build up to various levels of power handling. Can be built up to extreme power handling capabilities. Most all transmission shops are capable of building these to at least level 1 or 2. No TV cable to deal with. Stall converters are low in cost, and the selection is broad. Very reliable and simple to repair if needed. Cons: None, simply none! Select a final gear that will allow you the best overall performance and one that allows a decent off the line acceleration, and one that will be in a tolerable rpm range at highway speed. You must have the correct stall converter for optimal performance. This can make a huge difference in the way your vehicle accelerates. These are becoming scarce, but there are still plenty of them around, and high performance parts are easily obtained.

        >TH350 and not recommending a TH400 or powerglide

        Holy shit, you're moronic.

  5. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    230k mi on mine
    its needed shift solenoids twice, thats it

  6. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Mine had almost 400,000km on it, no issues. Changed the fluid once at around 350,000km.
    Cruises well but like the other anon says you lose all acceleration after 1st

  7. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    It's decent, but not *good*.

    Ratios are lame for performance but good for croozing.

    It's not glass fragile, but you can't be launching it all the time and you need to keep it cool.

    I have a 700r4 (aka non-E 4L60) in my 92 firebird, as well as 4L60E in my suburban and my dad's vette, all are in good shape because I just keep them cool and don't let them hunt gears.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *