An "Opportunity" has arisen, need you guys thoughts

Daniel644

Original poster
Member
Feb 27, 2015
574
OK, so my Trailblazer is an 03 LS with 248k miles and a newish (probably about 30-40k miles now) transmission and if you look in my thread history you will see what came out of my oil filter last year and the struggles i've had trying to sort the lower then it should be fuel mileage and brake issues.

So here is the opportunity, i've got some extended family that just bought a new 2500HD Silverado and they are looking to get rid of their 02 TB LTZ that has like 178-179k miles (it's been in their side of the family since 47k miles), they are giving me first dibs to buy it at the "family price" of what the dealer offered them for trade-in ($1,200), it's Red, so not my favorite color, but it's got the G80 RPO where my LS trim doesn't, it has the 2 tone interior with heated front seats over the cloth interior of mine, but it has 2 or 3 issues, he's been thinking the transmission has been feeling weird from time to time over the last few months and he took it to the dealership who said it's the torque converter, so that would need addressing at a point sooner rather then later and while looking it over I noticed an oil leak, near as I can tell i'm pretty confident it's the front crank seal (only other possibility would be oil pan at just the spot behind the harmonic balancer and not along the sides), it leaks enough that if you leave the panel under the engine off when you park over night you will leave a drip mark in the driveway (but not a puddle) and it has likely been leaking for many years at this level and it has the first gen Harmonic Balancer so all that would need addressing when replacing the seal and I think the water pump may be beginning to leak as it looked damp behind the WP pulley too, but thats no big deal if we are already in there to do the crank seal.

So here's the question, do you think that truck is worth the $1,200 if I gotta pay parts and labor to do the TC (and install the shift kit I've had laying around for a decade that I bought for the firebird I used to have) and the Harmonic Balancer/Front Seal?

and a secondary question, which would you do, a new Torque Converter and install the shift kit or swap transmissions between the 2 trucks? (again if you where paying for the work to be done).
 

Mike534x

Member
Apr 9, 2012
927
The price isn't bad for what they're asking, is the LTZ's body/frame in good shape compared to your 03? Depending on the costs, I'd probably just swap the trans honestly. It's already been rebuilt, and I assume some sort of warranty on is on it? If it me, I would do that and just keep the 03 as maybe a parts vehicle (if you have the room to store it).
 
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Daniel644

Original poster
Member
Feb 27, 2015
574
@Mike534x my 03 has the typical light surface rust on the frame, the frame on the 02 is still black like it's never seen ice or snow from the parts of it i've seen, both have the typical deformation on the bottom of the frame behind the front wheels where most people jack up the truck to do front tire work, body wise, the 02 has a scratch going along the passenger side rear door and thats the only issue I have seen of the body, the body on mine has 2 dents, one in each passenger door that I got when the front tire slung up a big rock that had washed out into the street from a gravel driveway while I had the running boards off.

My general idea with this would be that I would swap my suspension, exhaust and other mods over to the LTZ and effectively return mine to stock and sell my 03 as a "parts car you can drive home" as I don't have storage for a third car at my house and to recoup some of the costs of the repairs on the 02.

The transmission from mine is outside it's warranty at this point as that was like 8.5 years ago and the replacement warranty was a 3yr. 36k type warranty so thats not a factor, if I got the transmissions swapped it would probably make sense to go ahead and put a torque converter in the one coming out of the 02, if you are already in it for the labor to R&R the trans why not.
 

Mooseman

Moderator
Dec 4, 2011
25,335
Ottawa, ON
The problem with keeping the original tranny that has a bad TC would be risky as a bad TC usually damages the tranny as it destroys itself. It would have to be inspected very carefully before deciding to keep it and put a new TC in it. It would suck to have to replace the tranny soon after. Or get it rebuilt regardless.

If it's really is in that good shape, I would go for it. Selling your current TB, even as a parts truck, you can recoup some of the costs. You could sell it as a good running truck even with the disclosure of the leak. Too bad you can't keep your newer tranny. Even if you can get the shop to swap them, the labour costs may not be worth it.
 

Daniel644

Original poster
Member
Feb 27, 2015
574
If it's really is in that good shape, I would go for it. Selling your current TB, even as a parts truck, you can recoup some of the costs. You could sell it as a good running truck even with the disclosure of the leak. Too bad you can't keep your newer tranny. Even if you can get the shop to swap them, the labour costs may not be worth it.
The oil leak that looks to be the front crank seal is on the one I would be buying, so it's trans and seal that need to be dealt with, my 03 has the valve cover gasket that needs replacing, or at the very least the seals around the spark plug tubes (which are part of the valve cover gasket kit).

The Labor costs are my biggest concern, knowing the transmission will need to be dealt with before I go driving long distances is frankly the biggest hurdle i'm having on pulling the trigger, 8ish years ago when I had the transmission replaced in mine they charged like $400 in labor for R&R on the unit, not sure what they would charge for a straight swap of the 2 units between trucks.

Basically if we wanted to look at the numbers it's:
02 LTZ $1,200
Trans Swap ??? Min $400+ Materials
Seal Replacement???
Water Pump, Hoses and Belt (and probably thermostat while in there)???
Spark Plugs cause I don't know how old or what kind they have in there ????
Total ????

I'll call my mechanic and see what they would charge for those jobs labor wise then see the parts on the seal and harmonic balancer. I'm pretty sure I still have some trans fluid left over from when I had that unit installed, would need some of the transfer case fluid too for both trucks and then do the plugs.
 

Mooseman

Moderator
Dec 4, 2011
25,335
Ottawa, ON
The oil leak that looks to be the front crank seal is on the one I would be buying
AFAIK, only the seal and balancer would need to be replaced, which means the timing cover can stay in place. A significant savings in labour as the timing cover replacement requires dropping the oil pan. There is also a possibility to replace the 1st design seal only by buying the Mahle/Clevite complete 1st design timing cover gasket set (1st design seal only is no longer available). In any case, the tech would need to source the special tool to remove the 1st design balancer (Kent-Moore tool J 44226). If going through all this, I would recommend replacing the balancer with the 2nd design along with the seal to future proof it.

Thinking about the tranny, I would take it to a transmission shop as I have little faith in dealers. It's possible that a fluid and filter change may fix it and/or it has the infamous TCC valve bore wear in the valve body, which can be fixed without dropping the whole tranny. Maybe that shift kit you have has that fix.
 

Daniel644

Original poster
Member
Feb 27, 2015
574
If going through all this, I would recommend replacing the balancer with the 2nd design along with the seal to future proof it.
That would be my plan based on this thread https://gmtnation.com/forums/threads/replacing-crankshaft-front-seal-solved.17742/page-2 I came across before posting this thread.

As for the transmission he basically describes it as it feels like the TC isn't locking and the issue can be intermediate, happening sometimes then going away for a week or 2 or going away till the end of a several hour long drive if that would give any clue on if that would make the TCC valve bore thing you mentioned a more likely possibility. Also here is the Ebay listing for the kit I bought almost 11 years ago now https://www.ebay.com/itm/2708748844...=0&customid=link&campid=&toolid=20001&mkevt=1


I did just swing by my mechanic, book time for the front crank seal is 3.2 Hr's so a little over $300 ($95 an hour, I asked) for that plus parts and they quoted $650 in labor to pull the trans from both trucks and install 1 of them into the 02 plus fluids so i'd probably be in to it for double the purchase price to get it to the "hop in and drive to Florida" level of reliable.
 
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Mooseman

Moderator
Dec 4, 2011
25,335
Ottawa, ON
So that kit does fix the TCC issues unless it's totally worn, which it doesn't sound like it is. I'd try putting in the kit first which is much less labour intensive.

The time for the seal sounds about right. And doing the water pump at the same time would save some time. Definitely replace the thermostat and temp sensor at the same time.
 

corky

Member
Jan 23, 2012
77
Portland OR
OK, so my Trailblazer is an 03 LS with 248k miles and a newish (probably about 30-40k miles now) transmission and if you look in my thread history you will see what came out of my oil filter last year and the struggles i've had trying to sort the lower then it should be fuel mileage and brake issues.

So here is the opportunity, i've got some extended family that just bought a new 2500HD Silverado and they are looking to get rid of their 02 TB LTZ that has like 178-179k miles (it's been in their side of the family since 47k miles), they are giving me first dibs to buy it at the "family price" of what the dealer offered them for trade-in ($1,200), it's Red, so not my favorite color, but it's got the G80 RPO where my LS trim doesn't, it has the 2 tone interior with heated front seats over the cloth interior of mine, but it has 2 or 3 issues, he's been thinking the transmission has been feeling weird from time to time over the last few months and he took it to the dealership who said it's the torque converter, so that would need addressing at a point sooner rather then later and while looking it over I noticed an oil leak, near as I can tell i'm pretty confident it's the front crank seal (only other possibility would be oil pan at just the spot behind the harmonic balancer and not along the sides), it leaks enough that if you leave the panel under the engine off when you park over night you will leave a drip mark in the driveway (but not a puddle) and it has likely been leaking for many years at this level and it has the first gen Harmonic Balancer so all that would need addressing when replacing the seal and I think the water pump may be beginning to leak as it looked damp behind the WP pulley too, but thats no big deal if we are already in there to do the crank seal.

So here's the question, do you think that truck is worth the $1,200 if I gotta pay parts and labor to do the TC (and install the shift kit I've had laying around for a decade that I bought for the firebird I used to have) and the Harmonic Balancer/Front Seal?

and a secondary question, which would you do, a new Torque Converter and install the shift kit or swap transmissions between the 2 trucks? (again if you where paying for the work to be d

Buy it and move the parts you like to yours and scrap the rest.
 

Daniel644

Original poster
Member
Feb 27, 2015
574
Alright, making the deal, here are some pics I snapped tonight, I got the details of the "bad" in the pictures, there is a paint chip in the front passenger door, a scratch on the rear passenger door, a TINY amount of wear on the edge of the drivers seat and I need to replace the trim ring on the interior door handle, but those are cheap enough to get and I was wrong on the miles, it's actually 172k. I also snapped a shot of the frame behind the front tire so you guys can see how good this frame is (thats with the flash on).

@Mooseman I have the filter that I never did on my 99 Firebird when I planned to install the shift kit into it, it's a Wix filter that comes back as being listed for the "shallow pan" 4l60e, am I right in assuming we are the "Deep Pan" and need a different filter for the Trans?
 

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Mooseman

Moderator
Dec 4, 2011
25,335
Ottawa, ON
The majority of these trucks got the deep pan. In fact, haven't heard of a single one with the shallow pan. Could have been the initial production of these trucks getting rid of some leftovers. To check which one you have, look here:

Identifying Deep or Shallow pan and this one with a picture
 

spfautsch

Member
Feb 6, 2024
23
Montgomery City, MO
I may be completely off base here, but I'm relatively certain everything marketed as a "truck" or SUV that was equipped with the 4l60e got the deep pan.

I've done four trans rebuilds for the Trailblazer / Envoy platform and I always assumed as much. The only transmission variables I've seen thus far are the size of the boost valve and torque converter (the I6 got a higher stall converter). However, they've all been 4wd, so perhaps the 2wd models were built with shallow pans.
 

Daniel644

Original poster
Member
Feb 27, 2015
574
OK, quick update, first I confirmed it's a Deep Pan as it has the step in the bottom of the pan vs a flat bottom, second while i was doing the spark plugs and K&N Intake (that I took off my old one) I noticed the transmission dipstick wasn't quite seated all the way and so I started playing with it and I don't know if it's just worn out or something but I was able to pull the dipstick out rather easily without even unlocking it and 3rd, the transmission dipstick on this one is in front of the intake tube where on my 03 it's behind the intake tube, so it's like a different dipstick tube was fitted to the transmission on 1 year vs the other.
 
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