Replace 4l60e or rebuild?

jonest3

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Trans is toast, but at a quarter-million miles I've got no complaints.
Just wanted to take you guys temp on the idea of purchasing a replacement 4l60e from a reputable supplier (and who you think is reputable) vs having mine rebuilt by a local shop. I don't mind spending a little extra money to get a quality unit that I don't have to worry about.

It looks like GM still sends out replacement units (not sure if they supply a torque converter though), but there are also places like Monster and Gearstar that supply higher torque units with with things like billet converters (I have a stock 5.3 LS, so that seems like overkill). Any of you guys know much about these units? I guess I'm just nervous about having a local guy I don't really know handle this kind of job vs a national brand with better quality control.

Thanks
 

TollKeeper

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For me, it would come down to how long do you plan on keeping it..

Realistically, although the LS engine is a fantastic engine, in a perfect world, you have 250k miles, at most I would give that engine another 100k. If sometime in the next 100k you plan on rebuilding/replacing that engine, than I would consider the new route.

Me personally, I would only consider going low mile used for about 1/3 of the cost. Plenty of them out there, same tranny in the full size trucks/SUV's. Trying to find one from the newest year you could, to ensure you get the hardened 4th gear sprag, and the other internals that were upgraded in later years, would be my goal. But if I found a low mile older one, that didnt have the upgrades, if the price was right, I would still consider it..
 

jonest3

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I like the truck as it's the last of GM's body-on-frame SUV's excluding the suburban (plus, have you seen what they charge for a 12th-gen Suburban these days? Good grief). I plan to have the LS pulled and rebuilt/replaced when it's time comes so I want another trans to go the long haul and not have the looming questions of a used one.

If I do end up going rebuild does anyone supply a high quality "all-in-one kit" for these units? By that I mean the usual gaskets and o-rings, but also widened 2nd/OD band, Corvette servo, hardened shells, zpak clutches, dual cage sprags, etc.? Or do you just have to put it all together yourself?

Chasing down all the right parts and ensuring the builder gets it all done correctly seems way more hassle than just buying an aftermarket unit with a warranty, but I wanted to see you guy's opinions first.
 

TollKeeper

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You can always check with GMPP for a rebuilt unit. Thats what I had put in my truck (while it was under extended warranty). Got about 80k miles on it now, been flawless. This was back in 2014, and I think I paid 2600 for the tranny (installed). Sure prices are a bit different now.
 

Reprise

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FYI -- I agree with TollKeeper, per his first post -- it's a question of being able to keep the rest of it on the road long enough to get the value out of however much money you'll spend on a new trans.

From a mileage standpoint, I'd figure anything under 100K miles after install on a new trans, if you weren't sure the truck would last that much longer, would be kind of a waste (unless you rip the trans back out before the truck goes to the recycler).

Since you answered that you're sure you will keep it on the road, even if you R&R the engine later on)... and the truck is where it (almost) never snows... and you seem to know what the 'good' parts are to upgrade... I'll give the project my blessing (for whatever that's worth). :whistle:

I see yours is an '06 -- make *sure* you salvage the TCM & wire harness off the old trans, as you'll need those for the new one. I'd also try and build it out to at least '03-up specs; most of the major updates had been done by that time.
You've covered the hardened sunshell; make sure to address the TCC / PWM issues (Sonnax, TransGo, whichever you prefer) in the valve body. Kits are available for that, too. Sonnax is supposed (?) to be the better fix, here, but it requires an expensive ($200 USD) reamer tool from them. (someone here bought the thing, about a year ago... search posts, as they may rent it out to you or be willing to do the valve body & ship it back (if you want the Sonnax mods). Most of us here have done the TransGo kits, and had good success with them, so it's your choice. But do address that (if your TCC bore shows signs of wear, you pretty much either have to go Sonnax, or get a replacement VB). Rebuilt VBs are available with the fixes already incorporated into them, as well.

If I do end up going rebuild does anyone supply a high quality "all-in-one kit" for these units? By that I mean the usual gaskets and o-rings, but also widened 2nd/OD band, Corvette servo, hardened shells, zpak clutches, dual cage sprags, etc.? Or do you just have to put it all together yourself?

Chasing down all the right parts and ensuring the builder gets it all done correctly seems way more hassle than just buying an aftermarket unit with a warranty, but I wanted to see you guy's opinions first.

They're out there -- and it sounds like you know what you want / what to get, parts-wise.
Questions:
- Is this your daily, or can it be in the garage for a bit (2 weeks to a month) ?
- How mechanically inclined are you? These are fairly simple to rebuild, and the manuals are readily available (I have some electronic ones, plus there's some on this site).
- If you think you'd like to go the DIY route, you'll need to rent / buy a transmission jack, and a (modified) engine stand can be nice to have, as you're feeding new parts into the case. Or a clean workspace (at least 3' x 4') is great. They weigh about 260lb or so, so you'll definitely need help getting it up on (and off) the workspace.

If you're going to put a 'hot' LS in it when the time comes, you may as well spend the $ now on the good parts. Built correctly, the 4L60 can handle about 700HP, so unless you're planning on more than about 500HP, you should be fine, if it's built right. And if you're going to (eventually) make it a race truck, then you already know all of this. New converter; if you want an increased stall, you can do your homework there. Check your flexplate once the trans is out; they've been known to crack (and a new one would be cheap insurance). Good opportunity to swap out the rear main seal, too, since you're there.

If you spring for the beefed up output shaft like the 4L65 / 4L70 has... remember that it's a few millimeters longer, and I think it requires tailpiece / driveshaft work, as a result (you might be able to get a TBSS driveshaft, perhaps; otherwise, you'll need a shop). Unless you're going racing, I'd stick with the stocker, personally (although you might want to get a new one, given the mileage on the existing).

Oh... and on the big name rebuilders like Monster, et al... take a look around on the web (F-body forums are good for this)... you see a lot of complaints about Monster (or, at least, too many for my liking). Given their pricing, I'd pick someone else, myself. And you could probably rebuild it yourself (or get a core & build it) for about $800-900 in decent quality parts (a little more if you want the fancy 5-pinion planetaries).
The 'fairly simple' comes in handy for a local resource to do the work (unless you absolutely do not have anyone you trust, locally).
 

jonest3

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Didn't know about the remanufactured valve bodies from Sonnax, I'll see if I can get a hold of one that has the pulse width modulated delete already applied. I'm fairly mechanically inclined, but not for my DD transmission. I need it to have zero question marks when I'm out on the road, plus all my spare time for the next few months is going toward a master bathroom remodel (happy wife = happy life). I am touching base with some local shops to see what they charge and whether they will rebuild it with upgraded parts of my choosing. If I can't get a good feeling from them I will start making calls about rebuilt units.

I get that the shipping would cost a lot, but I'd think a reputable shop could clean up by offering mail-in rebuilds to custom specs.
 

TPW1500

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South Florida
Trans is toast, but at a quarter-million miles I've got no complaints.
Just wanted to take you guys temp on the idea of purchasing a replacement 4l60e from a reputable supplier (and who you think is reputable) vs having mine rebuilt by a local shop. I don't mind spending a little extra money to get a quality unit that I don't have to worry about.

It looks like GM still sends out replacement units (not sure if they supply a torque converter though), but there are also places like Monster and Gearstar that supply higher torque units with with things like billet converters (I have a stock 5.3 LS, so that seems like overkill). Any of you guys know much about these units? I guess I'm just nervous about having a local guy I don't really know handle this kind of job vs a national brand with better quality control.

Thanks
PCM of NC recommended RPM Trans of Anderson IN to me. I called and got a price for a 4L60E Stage 5 w/ 5-pin planetaries, new clutches, and a new OEM spec TC that is dyno tuned/verified for ~$3180 and change, shipping ~$200.00
 

JayArr

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Just to set the record straight. The Sonnax sleeves don't "delete" the PWM, they restore it to proper operation by allowing you to sleeve the worn cylinder and then install a new piston. The result is that the PWM works like it just came out of the factory. I don't have personal experience but I've heard the TransGo leaves you with a hard shift point where the PWM used to be. Not a problem for most guys but my wife didn't want to feel like she was driving a truck so I am going the Sonnax route.
 

6716

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Late to the thread but at 235K miles I rebuilt, only have a few thousand miles on it so far, I'll be happy if it gets me to 300K miles. I work from home these days so my mileage demands are way down, I've done some hauling/towing and hitting the trails/fishing, besides a little getting around town.
 

Reprise

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I don't have personal experience but I've heard the TransGo leaves you with a hard shift point where the PWM used to be.

It does -- if you interpret that as a 'feels like a 5th gear', rather than 'hard' meaning 'harsh' (which it's not). It's a positive on/off engagement, and I much prefer that to PWM -- but that's me.
The PWM is mainly for user comfort, IMO (mileage is supposed to be part of it, too, IIRC, but I see *no* decrease, comparing pre- / post-TransGo)

@JayArr -- aren't you the one who sprung for the Sonnax reamer I was mentioning, earlier?
 

Sparky

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Yeah I was gonna say, PWM delete isn't harsh at all. It is softer than the 1-2 shift anyway, I don't even really feel it. It really makes me wonder why GM even bothered with it in the first place.

Just my opinion. I have put over 200k miles on 3 different Transgo TCC PWM deleted transmissions with zero issue.
First trans got it due to horrible symptoms and likely nearing total trans failure at approx 140k, fixed it and it now has north of 170k (prob closer to 180k) and it gets driven hard at times (in my 99 Camaro, only a v6 but it is cammed).
The second got to 215k before the Trailblazer died (frame rot). Zero issues. I think it was due to be put into another GMT360.
Third one is in my 07 Silverado, still going at 227k.
 

Mooseman

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I now eliminate the PWM via the tune. The slip of the TCC just creates more heat and wear in exchange for comfort and eventually causes issues down the road with either the TCC wearing out or the valve body wearing out, both causing codes. To me, no PWM feels like a moderate 4-5 shift.
 

cornchip

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I now eliminate the PWM via the tune. The slip of the TCC just creates more heat and wear in exchange for comfort and eventually causes issues down the road with either the TCC wearing out or the valve body wearing out, both causing codes. To me, no PWM feels like a moderate 4-5 shift.
Didn't no you could do this. So what if, you had a pooched converter that was slipping but not dead......could I clone my original PCM and delete this PWM? Would you still have OD, just no final lock up.....or does PWM delete go full PWM an rely on pressure mods to get that lock?
 

Mooseman

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No. If the clutches in the TCC are worn and can't hold, it will still slip or shudder. Neither will it fix it if the bore in the valve body is worn leaking too much pressure and unable to apply the TCC properly even if commanded to 100%. This is more as a preventive by eliminating the PWM effect and the bore wear from it.
 

JayArr

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I'm really late replying here but - yes, I have the Sonnax reamer tools. I just haven't had time to rebuild it yet. Lots of parts, most of the tools purchased but it's low priority because I bought a low mileage used 4L60E from the wrecker and installed it so the vehicle is running great. As soon as I get my travel trailer generator converted to propane and installed it's the next project. LOL

I also have a used engine on a stand so the plan is to rebuild the engine and the trans and put them both back into the car at the same time.
 

jonest3

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It was a task interviewing builders for the job, but I finally met up with a professional outfit a few hours from Atlanta that I felt comfortable letting do the rebuild. It's been about a month with zero issues, either at full throttle or towing, and shifts are firm but nothing crazy.

Build was basically all new hardware save for the case with a new converter, tuned valve body from a local race shop (this was overkill, but when in Rome, I guess). Replaced the radiator and coolant lines just to be sure there was no risk of a leak. Also went with the additional pin planetary gear sets from the Cadillac versions of the trans, hardened sunshell, dual cage sprags, Corvette servo with wide band, aluminum accumulator pistons, zpak clutches, and all new of the usual odds and ends (bushings, seals, solenoids, wiring harness, etc.) Out the door was $3,100

All in all, it was really painless AFTER wading through the multiple fly-by-night shadetree mechanics. Now I get to start refilling the piggy bank waiting for this LS engine to bite the dust.
 

JayArr

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Did they buy all the parts for you or did you supply them?

Also: did you use parts they recommended or did you do all the research and specify what they were to assemble?
 

jonest3

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I let him order the parts from his supplier, who could get a better deal than me, after we looked over the parts list and had an in-depth discussion about what I wanted out of this build. I initially thought about spending more on some additional upgrades like billet converter and the Sonnax ultimate kit for larger input/output and other such goodies, but behind a stock LS he said it would just be a waste of money.

He showed me some pics of the old drum and 2-4 band that was having excessive wear but that may just be the product of 250K (and towing ATV's or my dump trailer), but said the wide band and new drum would handle it.

I could have spent more, but I'm pretty satisfied with it. However he said if you're really planning to tow or bolt on turbos that Sonnax's Ultimate kits with gear ratio mods are the way to go (but not cheap).
 

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