Identitfying transmission deep pan or shallow pan

dmtaurus

Original poster
Member
Jul 1, 2012
42
I want to install a Dorman automatic transmission drain pan in my 2006 Trailblazer LS, 4x4, 6 cylinder, short wheelbase. I was told that several transmissions came that year in, 4L60E and a 4L70E. I heard that each had a shallow and deep pan. Is there a way I can look either on the glovebox code sticker, or crawl under the vehicle to identify which transmission model I have and if it is a shallow or deep pan style? I want to change the filter also and want to make sure I got the right one.
 
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Matt

Member
Dec 2, 2011
4,030
Deep pan has a step down, the shallow pan is completely flat.
 
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AbsoluteZero

Member
Nov 21, 2011
211
The shallow pan is flat on the bottom, deep has a stepped bottom. I've not seen anyone report having a shallow bottom pan.
If you do a web search for images showing "4l60e shallow vs deep pan" some examples will show you the step in the bottom for reference.
 

KNBlazer

Member
Feb 8, 2012
811
I think all of our trucks are deep... Haven't seen any posts that report as having a shallow pan...
 

IllogicTC

Member
Dec 30, 2013
3,452
And all I6 motors were mated to the 4L60E. I believe the 4L70E was used in the SS only, was it not?

The "step-down" on a deep-pan happens toward the front of the pan facing the engine. You'll see about 2 inches of a shallow part, then an angle that brings it down noticeably (over an inch, can't remember the exact length) which then continues to the rear of the pan.
 
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loondog33

Member
Jun 25, 2014
84
Have to poke your head under the truck, right in the middle of the truck up by front wheels.

I've read that the dorman pan's drain plug could be problematic, leaks. Might want to research plugs on the dorman pan. cheers.
 

Mounce

Member
Mar 29, 2014
13,667
Tuscaloosa, AL
More like under the center console, maybe a little further back...

But about the drain, have you ever thought of just buying a drain plug kit and installing it in your existing pan? It'd be a lot cheaper.
 

Chickenhawk

Member
Dec 6, 2011
782
As far as most of us have been able to determine, shallow pans were only used on 2002s and perhaps some 2003s. Everyone else has reported a deep pan.

I went to the Dorman pan with the drain plug and simply picked up a $5 drain plug washer at my local parts store. No problems since.
 
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Mooseman

Moderator
Dec 4, 2011
25,506
Ottawa, ON
I have a 2002 and have a deep pan. I believe the shallow pan is used on V8`s to clear the exhaust Y pipe.
 

felicie

Member
Jan 13, 2013
171
I have a 2007 I6 with a shallow pan.
 

Mooseman

Moderator
Dec 4, 2011
25,506
Ottawa, ON
OK, is there any rhyme or reason to GM's thinking???
 

KNBlazer

Member
Feb 8, 2012
811
GM probably went with what was on the shelf at time of production.... in 2002, my thinking would have been a surplus of pans from the Firebird/Camaro shutdown to be shallow pans.... so with that being said, they probably ended up using a magic 8 ball to decide, lol
 
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IllogicTC

Member
Dec 30, 2013
3,452
KNBlazer said:
GM probably went with what was on the shelf at time of production.... in 2002, my thinking would have been a surplus of pans from the Firebird/Camaro shutdown to be shallow pans.... so with that being said, they probably ended up using a magic 8 ball to decide, lol
Most likely. Also, if they had multiple suppliers for the same part, one could say make the deep version and one the shallow version, and it was determined that either type was acceptable for use for 4L60s on the GMT360 etc. platforms. I'm not sure how deep into JIT-style production GM is, but I don't think it'd be on the level of Toyota.
 

felicie

Member
Jan 13, 2013
171
May be the difference is between 2 and 4 wheel? Mine is a 2wd.
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
KNBlazer said:
GM probably went with what was on the shelf at time of production.... in 2002, my thinking would have been a surplus of pans from the Firebird/Camaro shutdown to be shallow pans.... so with that being said, they probably ended up using a magic 8 ball to decide, lol
Not really, since my Camaro has the deep pan also.
 

loondog33

Member
Jun 25, 2014
84
Mounce said:
More like under the center console, maybe a little further back...

But about the drain, have you ever thought of just buying a drain plug kit and installing it in your existing pan? It'd be a lot cheaper.
By "the middle of the truck" I mean side to side not front to back, should have clarified that. It is smack dap in the middle of the truck just past the front tires, just changed filter last weekend. Cheers.
 
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Mounce

Member
Mar 29, 2014
13,667
Tuscaloosa, AL
loondog33 said:
By "the middle of the truck" I mean side to side not front to back, should have clarified that. It is smack dap in the middle of the truck just past the front tires, just changed filter last weekend. Cheers.
I knew what you meant by the middle, it was the front wheels part that threw me off. I didn't realize it was that far forward, I've only been under our trailblazer a handful of times since we got it.
 
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loondog33

Member
Jun 25, 2014
84
Mounce said:
I knew what you meant by the middle, it was the front wheels part that threw me off. I didn't realize it was that far forward, I've only been under our trailblazer a handful of times since we got it.
Oh yeah, it made me a little uncomfortable because I had the truck on ramps, wheels chocked, but still my torso was right there basically under the wheel. If for some reason the truck rolled off the ramps, I'd a been toast.

Make me wish I had a lift.
 
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loondog33

Member
Jun 25, 2014
84
IllogicTC said:
As an additional measure, also activate your parking brake. And also, in the jacking kit under the back seat there should be two cute little wheel chocks held to the jack by a huge rubber band, use them.
Awesome, I have yet to look to see if the jack kit is in tact under the rear seat. When I first got the truck I looked in the compartment in the rear but it was empty so I assume the jack was missing. I recently read in the owners manual that it is in fact under the rear seat, but I didn't realize there were chocks in there. I'll have to dig them out. cheers.
 

Mounce

Member
Mar 29, 2014
13,667
Tuscaloosa, AL
I thought they were supposed to be in the compartment in the back... Maybe a previous owner robbed the tools. If they were under the seat, you would probably here a rattle.
 

felicie

Member
Jan 13, 2013
171
There would be no rattling if it is in it's place. It is held in tight by extending the jack in it's bracket.
 

loondog33

Member
Jun 25, 2014
84
Mounce said:
Under the seat? I'm not aware of any brackets under the seat so it would just slide around and clang together.
If you push the rear seat up there is either a box or compartment with the jack and the pole, used to lower the spare, inside. Didn't think there was crap under the rear seats, but turns out there is.

Sorry, I just noticed you have an EXT. The EXT has the jack etc in the side compartment of the rear hatch. That's why yours is there and my SWB has it under the seats. :yes:
 
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Mounce

Member
Mar 29, 2014
13,667
Tuscaloosa, AL
Haha I was wondering why there was such a discrepancy, I'm on tapatalk and can't see vehicle info, although, I thought both versions used the rear compartment. I stand corrected. :tiphat:
 

Mooseman

Moderator
Dec 4, 2011
25,506
Ottawa, ON
Just a note on a drain plug kit you add yourself to pans. Tried one on my '93 Blazer. First it was a bitch to drill. Then the first one broke while tightening. Then the second one just leaked. Not a lot but just enough to swear them off.

To drain, I just unhook the cooler line and start the engine (like in the flush article). Empty in 1 minute.
 
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Mounce

Member
Mar 29, 2014
13,667
Tuscaloosa, AL
About that style of draining (hose off) would it be bad if it ran dry for a few seconds or do you need to continuously keep fluid in it?
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
Just shut it down when it begins to sputter a bit. That gets 95% of the fluid out and you really aren't running it dry.
 

sarg

Member
Mar 17, 2014
85
Sparky how much fluid comes out doing it that way? Was going to change the fluid using that method.
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
A ton lol.

I don't recall the exact amount. I just had it dump into a 5 gal bucket.

I think it took like 8 quarts or something to fill it all back up. I don't remember exactly, been a while since I did it.
 

triz

Member
Apr 22, 2013
746
sarg said:
So probably safe to say have at least 2 gallons on hand.
Full flush use a 2.5 gallon jug and 3 quarts.

It takes a little over 11 quarts but it's good to have at least and extra bottle.

Pan change is just 5 quarts.
 

sarg

Member
Mar 17, 2014
85
But what about just popping off the trans cooler line. That more than likely is not going to get all the fluid out of the converter and such.
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
Without the pump running it won't even drain the pan if you pull the line. That's why you need to idle the engine a few seconds for the pump to empty the system if you're going to pull the line to drain it.
 

sarg

Member
Mar 17, 2014
85
No, I know. I did a trans cooler yesterday and it barely dribbled out. I am talking about when you pull the line with it running it will not fully drain the entire capacity correct?
 

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