The strength of a 4L60E transmission is impressive, so much so that it works for both cars and trucks.
If you are wondering What Would Causes A 4L60E Transmission Not To Shift?
If that happens, it’s probably due to an issue with the pump or the converter.
Leaving it unattended could cause the root of the problem to take out the rest of the transmission.
And that’s why replacing the whole system is necessary.
In this article, I’ll walk you through the most common problems with the 4L60E transmission.
Plus, I’ll give you recommendations on which transmission to consider buying and a guide to swapping it with the old one.
3 Reasons Why 4L60E Transmission Won’t Move In Any Gear With Solution
Three common 4L60E transmission problems What Would Causes A 4L60E Transmission Not to Shift are a failure in the 3/4 clutch pack, a broken drive shell, and a worn TCC regulator valve.
In this section, I’ll describe these problems, the symptoms to spot them, and potential solutions for each scenario.
01. Failure In The 3/4 Clutch Pack
Main Symptom: No Third Gear
While driving, the transmission shifts to second gear just fine.
But, when it should go to third, the engine runs away as if it’s in neutral.
Here’s how you can run a diagnosis to see what’s causing this problem.
- Get the screws off the bell and remove it
- Then, pull the pan
- Continue by taking out the filter
- Remove the solenoids out
- Pull the drum.
- Take the drum out and separate it
Inside, you may encounter a burned-up 3/4 clutch pack.
What causes the 3/4 clutch pack to fry?
The real problem could be the 3/4 piston.
This piece has rubber seals that can shrink due to heat and age.
When hydraulic pressure blows around the piston, it fries the clutch pack.
Get a new piston and clutch pack to solve this problem.
02. Broken Drive Shell
Main Symptoms: First gear only.
In drive, there’s no shift to second and no reverse either.
This is another common problem that requires you to pull apart the transmission for a diagnosis.
Open it up following the same step as before until you remove the drums.
- At this point, take a closer look at the middle section and remove the snap ring
- Follow up by pulling out the planetary gear set
- Remove the input ring gear
- Get the drive shell out
With the drive shell out, inspect the piece thoroughly.
Check if everything is alright.
If you experience the abovementioned problem, you’re likely dealing with a broken drive shell.
Besides breaking, it can also strip out the splines.
In both cases, the symptoms are the same.
Find the broken pieces and take them out of the unit, too.
Buy a new and healthy drive shell to get rid of this problem from the root.
03. Worn TCC Regulator Valve
- The “check engine” light is on
- Shifting to second is hard, like after installing a shift kit
- “Code 1870: Internal Slippage” after a diagnostic scan
If you experience these issues, the main problem is in the valve body.
Here’s how you run an inspection.
- Pull the pan
- Remove the filter
- Get the solenoids and the wiring harness out
- Unscrew the valve body bolts
- Lift the valve body and turn it over
Check the location of the TCC regulator valve.
It often wears out its bore, causing the converter clutch to slip.
When that happens, the computer notices this issue, sets the trouble code, turns on the check engine light, and maxes out the electronic pressure control.
As a result, the shifts get hard.
Solution: Get an oversized replacement valve and reamer, or use the spring in top-quality rebuild kits.
Remove the clip, plug it in, and assemble the valve.
Replace the spring and the valve plug and clip.
This new spring should keep the valve from moving, stopping leaking, code 1870, and hard shifting.
How to Swap and Rebuilt a 4L60E Transmission
Rebuilding a 4L60E Transmission
When you consider rebuilding a 4L60E transmission is a must, there are several ways you can do it.
It really depends on who you ask.
However, the process takes considerable time and many variables to consider during the procedure.
I recommend watching this complete rebuild video to make this section more interesting.
While long, the video showcases rebuilding a transmission’s ups and downs.
Swap Guide of a 4L60E Transmission
Consider a swap if your 4L60E transmission won’t move in any gear.
Here’s an example with recommendations on how to do it.
Systems involved: Level 4 Gearstar 4L60E with four speeds & three-speed TH350
- The Gearstar 4L60E with four speeds is slightly bigger than the three-speed TH350, but only a few inches. Still, the 4L60E is stronger and provides precise adjustments to the shift points.
- The first thing to remove is the driveshaft. The TH350 for trucks uses a long tail shaft, the same size as the 700-R4 and the 4L60E overdrive. In cars, the TH350 is shorter. Shorten the driveshaft if it’s necessary.
- The next step is to replace the headers, which you can do with the car on the lift. Removing the headers will give the trans plenty of space for a dropdown. Remove the linkage and the lines for the transmission fluids off the trans case as well. Then, clamp them back to minimize potential leaks.
- Unbolt the cross member out of the frame and get the cross member off the transmission. Take out the bell housing bolts and the torque converter. This will allow you to lower down the transmission using a transmission jack.
- Here’s when searching for an optimal 4L60E transmission rebuild kit that pays off. The converter may arrive already attached. Plus, you get the exact fluid amount and a proper dipstick. Since the 4L60E transmission can deal with 650 hp and a torque capacity of 600 lb-ft, that’s more than enough for a 383ci small block.
- Plug the MSD TCM harness into the trans at the valve body’s upper side. The MSD TCM (Transmission Control Module) controls the valve body, removing the throttle valve cable used by other units.
- The 4L60E and the TH350 have similar cases, meaning the former should fit seamlessly. Still, the electronic factor may rear its head once you check clearance to inspect the vehicle’s speed sensor. You can shorten the plastic plug of the sensor by a quarter inch. If it still hits the floor, base the floor for clearance.
- With the 4L60E ready for lifting, line up the input shaft with the crank. Continue by sliding the new trans into place, and attach the torque converter and flywheel with the bolts. Follow up with the bell housing bolts.
- Here, you may need to slide the cross member of the transmission back by two inches due to trans’ length. Then, slot the cross members’ original holes to bolt the unit into the frame’s existing holes.
- Despite a computer-controlled system, the transmission also uses mechanical linkage. Attach it to the same spot as the other.
- If necessary, shorten and rebalance the old driveshaft. Then, bolt it back in place using new shorty headers as well. This will provide better ground clearance.
- The MSD TCM is compact, so it fits anywhere. Under the dash is a good idea.
- Programming the MSD is easy due to its friendly interface. It has a joystick to control the menus and is intuitive enough. Use it to select gear ratio, size, and several other parameters.
Now you know what to do if your vehicle’s transmission won’t move in any gear.
First, find out the reason why the 4l60e transmission is not moving in any gear; then, you can easily solve the problem by applying the solution method of this article.