Transmission is toast...looking for opinions on what to do about it.

Discussion in 'GM Powertrain' started by CowsPatoot, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. CowsPatoot

    CowsPatoot Member

    Well...I assume I can write off this tranny, but just in case, this is what happened...

    First, it is a 2001 Silverado Z71 regular cab, short bed. 5.3 liter, 4L60E (I am assuming, I haven't confirmed the tranny model). 207,000 miles. This transmission has 130,000 miles on it, and has not been treated kindly.

    I was towing a car over the mountains when it started acting funny. It runs normal through first and second gear, then, rather than shifting into third, it acts like it shifts out of gear (allowing the RPMs to drop to engine idle speed while coasting)...if I hit the gas again, once the RPMs are back up, it grabs second gear again and pulls in second until I let off the gas again. Pulled into a gas station, and found I have a very minor tranny fluid drip near the back of the transmission (might be a symptom, might be a cause). Checked the tranny fluid, and I was a quart low. No idea how long I have been running it low, I haven't been in the habit of checking it. Regardless, I filled it up, and it did nothing to help it. I dropped the trailer, and limped the truck 45 miles home in second gear.

    Now...what to do.
    Assuming there isn't an easy fix for this transmission (I'm sure you agree that is a safe assumption), my choices are to rebuild this one, or replace it. I can remove and replace the tranny myself, but I won't touch the internals of it. There isn't a shop in town that I would trust my transmission to. I was thinking about simply purchasing this tranny -> along with their new torque converter and calling it a day.

    But...before I spend $2000 on this, I figured I would see if anyone else had a better idea.

    On a side note, I was curious about what it would take to upgrade to the 6L80. Or, is that not considered an upgrade? I assume my current PCM won't run it? Can it be programmed to run it? What problems would I have with mounts/bellhousing/shift cable/transfer case?

    Thanx for your thoughts,
  2. Z71_guy

    Z71_guy Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    sounds like you need a new tranny. Monster transmission is a good brand I put their 700r4 in my K5 and it shifts great. as for swaping to a newer 6sp i do not think that is possible without a new set of computers but i could be wrong.
  3. CowsPatoot

    CowsPatoot Member

    I looked into the price of a 6 speed, and that alone will prohibit that project. So replacing the 4L60e is the answer. I think I have decided on a level 2 or level 3 tranny from Mad Dog Transmissions ( ). These guys are somewhat local, so I can drop the old tranny, drive it down to Atlanta (I have other reasons to go there as well), and drive home with a new one.

    I love my truck. I have decided that it is time for it's second round at life. This is the start of turning this into the truck of my dreams and setting it up for a long life. First the tranny, then the lift/leveling kit and new wheels and tires, then the bumpers and other bodywork...and when the engine goes it will be hooked up with something bigger

  4. The Heater

    The Heater Rockstar 100 Posts

    Well, that's the right attitude. Preserve what you have if you love the truck. That is what I did. But mine has low miles. I am still doing a few things to it. Lately I am doing a slight upgrade in the audio system. It is already pretty good, but when it comes to car stereo, I can't leave well enough alone.

    $2 grand is not bad for a transmission. Last time I had an automatic transmission rebuilt it cost me a shade under $2 grand. That was over 10 years ago.
  5. Jeremy09LTZCrew

    Jeremy09LTZCrew Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    I think you have the right attitude. I'm far from an expert on the topic, but it sounds to me like your tranny is shot. You could rebuild it, but even then will it keep on pumping for another 100-150k after that? I like that you're looking at putting money into making it a new truck rather than just going and buying a new truck. I had always planned to do that with my 96 I had, but events overcame that plan. So that's my plan with my current truck. Granted it's an 09, but it's already got 50k+ and it'll be an older one before long.

    Make that dream a reality. I support the effort.
  6. CowsPatoot

    CowsPatoot Member

    OK...she goes in for surgery tomorrow. I have never pulled a tranny from a longitudinal setup before (only done it in mid-engine cars), so I want to make sure I am not overlooking something obvious. I looked it over this afternoon (everything looks to be surprisingly clean under there), and decided on the following steps.

    1. Put the truck up on jack stands...6 ton jack stands, I will put it as high as those will allow.
    2. Drop the drive shafts. The back is simple, never done the front...but I don't expect any issues.
    3. Remove all electrical plugs from the tranny and transfer case. Remove the shift linkage (was looking at it from the passenger side, so I am not quite sure what this is going to look like....but again, don't foresee any issues).
    4. Unhook the tranny coolant lines, blow as much of the fluid out as I can from the cooler, plug the lines.
    5. Remove the bolts between the flexplate and the torque converter.
    6. Cherry picker up front to support the engine, jacks under the tranny/transfer case (I have a motorcycle jack and an assortment of other large jacks for this purpose).
    7. Loosen the bell housing bolts
    8. Drop the crossmember out of the way, then remove the bell housing bolts.
    9. Slide the tranny/transfer case back a tad, then drop it down....and drag it out from under the truck.

    I make it sound so simple....but welcome any tips that anyone might have. How much is the tranny/transfer case combo going to weigh?
  7. Blazer454

    Blazer454 Member

    Looks like you have all the steps there. You dont really need to support the engine though.It will stay in place. Im not sure on your truck but you might have to removet the t-case from the tranny to be able to remove the tranny. And i know from experience that the torque converter bolts are not easy to remove on these newer trucks. They put locktight on them at the factory and im pretty sure they are female allen bolts so i hope you have the right allen bit to remove them and from what we have found at the shop i work at a little heat helps them come out a lot easier. Good Luck and most importantly have fun.
  8. CowsPatoot

    CowsPatoot Member

    I did not want to hear that.
  9. CowsPatoot

    CowsPatoot Member

    New step 4....why didn't someone warn me the exhaust would have to come off? Just the Y-pipe, but praying I don't break bolts on that. And the tranny coolant lines are going to have to wait till I drop the tranny a bit...can't reach them as it sits. Got everything up to there done, just waiting on some PB-Blaster to soak into the exhaust bolts.

    On a side note....if I decided to remove the transfer case separately, how does it get disconnected from the tranny? Can there really be no other mounts on the transfer case, or am I overlooking something?
  10. CowsPatoot

    CowsPatoot Member

    Naturally, I stripped a nut on the exhaust. The gods were with me though, it is at the back of the y-pipe, not on the exhaust manifold. Still, gonna have to cut it off and have a new one welded in (or drill it and use a nut/bolt....might go that route since it eliminates future problems with it. Calling it a night. It is a beautiful day, and I have a convertible Fiero that is begging to be driven on some mountain roads.


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