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4L60E - Converting 2wd to 4wd

Transmission to Rear-end

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4L60E - Converting 2wd to 4wd

Postby jstand » Sat Jan 31, 2009 7:13 pm

I've been learnin a lot on this site, and eventually will be putting it to use building a high performance vehicle. But between recently becoming unemployed and a baby on the way in June, the toys are going to have to wait.

In the mean time I have a question that isn't a high performance application, but I thought that maybe one of the transmission experts on here could answer the question.

My 1996 S10 4wd lost 3rd and 4th last week on the way to work. 1st, 2nd, and reverse all still work fine. The engine is 4.3L and the truck has 191,000 miles on it.

Fluid level is fine, and the fluid and filter were changed about 8,000 miles ago.At that time I snagged the solenoid on the pan and broke off the connector on the solenoid. I replaced the solenoid (from NAPA - only one able to get it same day) and everything seemed fine.

Is there any chance its a simple fix like a solenoid? and are there any easy steps to determine if its a simple fix or a major failure?

I may have a line on a good used tranny but its 2wd. How difficult is it to convert the 2wd tranny to 4wd?

Thank you in advance for any assistance you can offer.
Joe
jstand
 

Postby spyder » Sat Jan 31, 2009 7:46 pm

To convert from 2 to 4 wheel drive you have to change the output shaft which means pulling everything out of the tranny. You might as well rebuild it.It's really hard to say what the problem is without checking it out. If the fluid smells burt or is dark in color your clutches may be shot.
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Postby Mr. P. » Sun Feb 01, 2009 12:08 am

The trans is toast, you glazed over the 3/4 clutch pack and I'm sure a lot more other stuff with that kind mileage. It needs a master kit.

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Postby molevolent » Sun Feb 01, 2009 2:06 am

common problem on the 4l60's 3/4 clutchs are most likely burnt.
better to just pull it apart and change what you need instead of converting the 2wd to 4wd.
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Postby jstand » Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:34 pm

Thank you for the feedback.

I was able to find a transmission out of a 4wd with 103,000 miles. Its supposed to be good, but I guess I won't know for sure until its installed.

Anything I should do to it before installing it?

I was thinking a new front seal, but didn't see any signs of leaks. New filter and fresh fluid? or leave well enough alone?

It will probably see 500 miles a week once I get back to work, almost all highway. Then sometime during the summer the truck will probably be retired to weekend trips to home depot around I will need to look for something that can fit 2 car seats in it.
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Postby molevolent » Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:54 am

clean the converter neck, and pop in a new front seal.
also make sure there is no step on the converter neck where the seal rides.

last thing you want is a leaking pump seal when you already installed the trans.

i would also drop the pan and change the filter. gives you a chance to see if there's any metal or clutch dust in the bottom of pan.

good luck.
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Postby jstand » Sat Feb 07, 2009 11:15 am

Thank you for the feedback.

I've picked up a new front seal, filter and gasket, and a tailshaft seal for the transfer case (with bushing).

The one thing I forgot, but isn't necessary is the drain plug kit for the tranny pan. I will make a few calls to see if I can find one today, but I really hope I don't have to drain it in the future anyway.

Joe
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Postby Masher Manufacturing » Sat Feb 07, 2009 12:45 pm

Some stuff to do.

Check the new seal. If you can see the garter spring, pack the back with light grease. This will keep it from popping out when you hammer it in. Some seals have the rubber rolled over to keep the garter spring from poping out, in this case no greas is needed.

Many seals use a 3 leg retainer to prevent the seal from blowing out due to converter pressure, be sure to reinstall this retainer.

Changing the transfer case seal might be difficult without splitting the case. There should be a bearing there and not a bushing, it sounds like you have a kit to replace the rear trans seal on a 2 wd trans.

Be sure to flush the trans cooler, I use parts washer solvent and a old oil furnace pump. You can get by by using brake cleaner and compressed air. ( spray, air, spray )
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Postby Engguy » Sat Feb 07, 2009 11:24 pm

I like the grease idea, though I have never had a spring come off. The grease to use is either vasoline or automatic transmission assembly grease.
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Postby jstand » Sun Feb 08, 2009 1:26 am

Thanks for the advice. While I've done many clutches, manual trannys, and transfer cases, this is the first automatic.

I picked up some brake cleaner tonight and will flush the cooler. I'm assuming I want to flush it backwards, so how do I tell which line at the tranny is the inlet and outlet? I plan to flush it from the tranny end of the lines once I get the old one out.

I will take a close look at the rear transfer case seal. I have a sliding yoke for the rear driveshaft, so that may be the reason for the bushing instead for a bearing.

How much fluid should I try to get out of the converter, if any? Do I need to fill the converter before slipping it onto the tranny?

Thanks again,
Joe
jstand
 

Postby Mr. P. » Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:17 am

On the 4L60, the upper fitting on the pass side is the inlet, the lower fitting is the outlet.

To drain the converter, take a flexplate and use it as a 'lid' to cover a 5-gal bucket; flip the converter upside-down, you will find the hub of the converter will fit nicely through the crank hole in the flexplate - leave overnight and a lot of the ATF will drain out but not all and any debris in the converter will still remain trapped in there, the only way to really clean one is to cut it open, wash it out, and weld back together (i.e. have it remanufactured).

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Postby jstand » Sun Feb 08, 2009 7:51 pm

Well, what was expected to be an unpleasant job this time of year in new england, had become downright ugly.

The transmission I bought was from a 1994, and will not work for my 1996. The 1994 had the traditional lower cover on the bellhousing that allowed access to the torque converter bolts. On the 1996 there is a full bell housing and bolts go from the bell housing into the cast aluminum oil pan.

I figured it was warm (50*F) so it was a good day to at least remove mine and free up any frozen fasteners. But the best laid plans seldom work out as planned.

So far the transfer case, cross member, and starter are out, all lines and wires are unplugged. disconnected, or retainers are removed from teh transmission. I haven't removed the cooler lines yet, but saw they are quick diconnects so I will need to take a look at how those come apart so I don't damage them.

That was the good part. The transmission is still in there and the bell housing bolts on the top seem impossible to get at, at least with my hands getting cold and the light being reduced to my drop light and an LED headlight. The only suggestion I've found so far was to loosen the body mounts and raise the body to get room to get at the bolts, not appealing, but I'm frustrated enough to try it.

The torque converter bolts and the full bell housing make me wish mine did have the dust shield like the older automatics. There is an inspection hole, but I don't see any way to get a wrench on the bolts for the torque converter. I was thinking either bending a cheap wrench to make a custom tool, or maybe through the starter opening?

Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Joe
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Postby Mr. P. » Mon Feb 09, 2009 1:16 am

FWIW I know the situation!

Yes on the 4L60 w/ full bellhousing you get to the torque converter bolts via the starter opening; total PITA I know.

The cooler lines are held in with E-clip retainers, you have to take a pick tool and pull the clip free from the fitting; in tight quarters this will be a job with lots of cussing. Total breese to plug lines in, total PITA to fish those clips out. Make sure on reassembly you replace the rubber o-rings in the fittings.

I have not done a 4L60 R&R on an S10, just full-size trucks... but in our case with 4x4 the front axle prevents the engine from tipping back very far so there is no real way to get to the upper bellhousing bolts from underneath, I have to jack up the trans all the way to make more room for my hand between the engine and the firewall and reach down from above to get to them.

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Postby molevolent » Mon Feb 09, 2009 1:01 pm

you have to drop the y pipe on that truck to get trans out.
when you do that the cover will come out and you can get the converter bolts. also you wont get the torque converter past the y pipe without droping it.
i work at a tranny shop, so let me know if you want anymore tips.
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Postby jstand » Wed Feb 11, 2009 10:58 pm

Alright, finally a warm day and an opportunity to finish the removal of the tranny.

In case someone ever has to do the same R&R on an S10 I'll post what worked for me.

Once I took the Cat, Y-pipe, and inner fender on the right front out, I was able to finish removing the transmission.

The torque converter bolts weren't too bad once I tied the starter up out of the way. I couldn't find a good spot to hold the flex plate, but could get enough leverage with a 3/8 breaker bar and mid length 15mm socket. I rotated the flex plate until the socket was up against the block/oil pan and then was able to break the bolt loose with the block/socket keeping the flex plate from turning.

The Bell housing: I lowered the transmission jack as much as I dared without wanting to over stress the motor mounts. Using a shallow 14mm socket with a 12" long 3/8" wobble drive extension, a 3/8 to 1/2 adapter, and about 12" of 1/2" drive extensions allowed me to get the bolts out at the top of the bell housing. The toughest part was getting into position to hold the extensions in line with the bolt to maintain a good bite on the bolt.

I was pleasantly surprised by the weight of the transmission. Once I removed the torque converter I was able to lift the transmission into the bed of the truck alone without straining. Definitely a lot more manageable than the SM465 I was dealing with the last time I had a transmission out.

Inspection:
I pulled the pan and after draining the fluid there was a residue in the pan, on the filter, and in the filter. It reminded me of what's left when you wet sand primer while prepping for paint. The magnet had an 1/8" thick coating of the same residue coating it. I had changed the fluid and filter only 6 months ago and cleaned the pan and magnet.

There is noticeable play in the tail shaft and by hand I can move it a little bit in all directions.

There's a squeaking coming from inside the transmission when turning the input shaft by hand. That was before draining the fluid.

Next step:
I waiting to hear back about a rebuilt unit. The price is right around $500, and that sounds reasonable since it seems to be an individual rebuilding them as a side operation. Any tips on what to look for when I go to pick it up?

I ordered a remanned torque converter, a ATC - GM35CW from autozone for $130 (I checked the alternatives before going that route). A B&M Traveler was 3 times the cost, and others were even more.

Thanks for the advice and tips.
Joe
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