Seeking advice - repair, replace, or upgrade?

Seeking advice - repair, replace, or upgrade?

Postby AngryPunk [OP] » February 18th 2021, 11:56pm

My beautiful 03 is deceased and I've found a replacement: 1999 AWD with 480k Kms and a transmission that won't go past second gear. Plan is to toss the 4.3 and replace with a V8 (5.7 Vortec maybe?). The top priority is the transmission. I want a tough sleeper camper astro that's reliable.
Would you recommend:
a) temporary used 4L60e (then pair new motor and tranny later) - probably the cheapest option.
b) buy a remanufactured 4L60e - I am reasonably confide t I could install it myself.
C) pay a shop to have this one rebuilt - approx 2k
d) get a remanufactured 4L80 so it's a bit stronger for pairing with a V8 later on.
e) any other suggestions

I have no experience rebuilding engines or transmissions, but I'm keen to learn. Ideally I'd find a mentor with spare time to oversee the process.
My budget is limited. Best I could manage is about US$4k all in. So that limits my choices. People have recommended an LS swap but I think that's unlikely on my budget.
There's not much else wrong with it. No codes. ABS light comes on but I can resolder the EBCM. Fuel pump was already replaced. Could probably use ball joints but that's not urgent.

Grateful for any suggestions and the wisdom of your experience.
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Re: Seeking advice - repair, replace, or upgrade?

Postby Ray M » February 19th 2021, 12:03am

Get yourself a manual on rebuilding the trans. I started this way a long time ago and if you take your time it's not hard. May have to buy a couple tools. The rebuild kit is a money saving way to go. And then you get the bragging rights on the build.
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Re: Seeking advice - repair, replace, or upgrade?

Postby Mmusicman » February 19th 2021, 12:21am

AngryPunk wrote:I've found a replacement: 1999 AWD with 480k Kms and a transmission that won't go past second gear..

I had a transmission once that wouldn't shift out of 1st gear.
Turned out that it was nothing more than a stuck valve.
A can of SeaFoam's "TransTune" fixed it.


Not saying your trouble is this simple.. but mine was.
Nothing to lose for trying.

I've also seen shifting issues from a bad "range selector switch" or frayed wiring on the side of the transmission

Sounds like you have a fun new project!
Good luck
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Re: Seeking advice - repair, replace, or upgrade?

Postby AngryPunk [OP] » February 19th 2021, 1:13am

I love the idea of rebuilding it. I've watched a couple of videos. What's scaring me is the bit where parts are pressed together and one needs special tools to get them apart. But you've encouraged me. I'm going to try to rebuild it if I can.

And I will definitely try transtune. It did occur to me that the problem could be in the valve body. I should have mentioned that this is a rebuilt transmission with about 100,000 Kms on it. So in theory the clutches should be good. If transtube doesn't fix it, I wonder if a valve body kit would do the trick...
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Re: Seeking advice - repair, replace, or upgrade?

Postby AngryPunk [OP] » February 19th 2021, 3:33am

RayM I checked Amazon and they have a book for the 4L60e but one of the reviews said it helps with repairs but it doesn't explain a full rebuild. Do you know which book you used when you did it?
Also, it occurred to me that my 2003 had the 4L60-e but I don't know if the 1999 had that same transmission. How would I find that out?
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Re: Seeking advice - repair, replace, or upgrade?

Postby stent » February 19th 2021, 6:11am

get the 2 volume factory service manual for the 1999 M/l van on ebay......
it has a step by step teardown & rebuild with a list of special tools used at the end of the section.
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Re: Seeking advice - repair, replace, or upgrade?

Postby Mmusicman » February 19th 2021, 1:09pm

When you do the TransTune.. the idea is to run it for a few days, then drain the fluid, replace filter and fluid. My results were almost immediate.. (before I got completely around the block).. I'm talking about a minute or so.
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Re: Seeking advice - repair, replace, or upgrade?

Postby ToskavatToskavat is online! » February 19th 2021, 3:18pm

I found this site (http://www.transmissionbench.com/index.html) to be very helpful for information and parts. The owner was very good to deal with for extra help.
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Re: Seeking advice - repair, replace, or upgrade?

Postby markmitch » February 19th 2021, 4:42pm

For a novice like your self I would recommend a used 4l60e that you install for now. Then if you still wish to do a V8 swap later write up a list get a place to store the parts then start getting what is on your list. Check stuff off the list as your getting the parts. There are a few lists on this site. Go with a non LS swap possibly find a truck with a vortec 5.7 get the engine, all accessories the brain and the engine harness, starter, distributor, If it is possible get the whole truck for parts. Good luck and welcome to the forum. Mark
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Re: Seeking advice - repair, replace, or upgrade?

Postby icebrrg3rd » February 19th 2021, 5:37pm

I would also say grab a used transmission, especially if you do the install. Ones can be had with a 30 day warranty, if it's bad you would be out your time but they're fairly cheap and not too hard to remove/replace. I've had luck when I did one for a Chrysler. Then once running, you can always practice rebuilding the old tranny at your leisure.

Of course, first try your luck with the mechanic in a can, it might be that simple and quick.

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Re: Seeking advice - repair, replace, or upgrade?

Postby Ray M » February 20th 2021, 12:26am

AngryPunk wrote:RayM I checked Amazon and they have a book for the 4L60e but one of the reviews said it helps with repairs but it doesn't explain a full rebuild. Do you know which book you used when you did it?
Also, it occurred to me that my 2003 had the 4L60-e but I don't know if the 1999 had that same transmission. How would I find that out?

My book was a classroom type, in other words "study guide". Can't seem to locate it after we moved.
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Re: Seeking advice - repair, replace, or upgrade?

Postby AstroWill » February 20th 2021, 12:47am

The GM Techline eSI, which is the digital factory service manual has virtually everything for your van AP. Links are in my signature.
Should be a couple of transmission manuals there as well. Either in the links or manuals section.

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Re: Seeking advice - repair, replace, or upgrade?

Postby Rockridge » February 20th 2021, 1:11am

A friend of mine got a rebuilt trans for his Astro from a guy in Maine, with warranty. 750 bucks. Where are you located, I could get that info for you if want. Maybe he ships
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Re: Seeking advice - repair, replace, or upgrade?

Postby Leeann_93 » February 20th 2021, 4:31pm

I have uploaded

ATSG 4L60E.pdf
ATSG 4L60E update.pdf
ATRA-4L60 Rebuild (GM 700R4).pdf
4L60E partslist.pdf
34145767-4L60E.pdf (has color flowcharts and stuff)

In a zip file to ZippyShare. All are welcome to download...
Code: Select all
https://www3.zippyshare.com/v/dEDECa5N/file.html


This guy has step-by-step how to remove, disassemble and reassemble, with pics you can make larger:
http://www.wwdsltd.com/4L60/4L60ERemoval.html
'05 Astro AWD vin X
'02 Astro LS AWD vin X
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'99 Safari XLE AWD - broke
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Re: Seeking advice - repair, replace, or upgrade?

Postby AstroWill » February 20th 2021, 7:43pm


AstroWill wrote:The GM Techline eSI, which is the digital factory service manual has virtually everything for your van AP. Links are in my signature.
Should be a couple of transmission manuals there as well. Either in the links or manuals section.

Leeann_93 wrote:ATSG 4L60E.pdf
ATSG 4L60E update.pdf
ATRA-4L60 Rebuild (GM 700R4).pdf
4L60E partslist.pdf
34145767-4L60E.pdf (has color flowcharts and stuff)
In a zip file to ZippyShare. All are welcome to download...
Code: Select all
https://www3.zippyshare.com/v/dEDECa5N/file.html


This guy has step-by-step how to remove, disassemble and reassemble, with pics you can make larger:
http://www.wwdsltd.com/4L60/4L60ERemoval.html



:thumbup: :thumbup: Fantastic! Looks like it covers everything that would be needed, by far!

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Re: Seeking advice - repair, replace, or upgrade?

Postby AstroWill » February 20th 2021, 7:51pm

Rockridge wrote:A friend of mine got a rebuilt trans for his Astro from a guy in Maine, with warranty. 750 bucks. Where are you located, I could get that info for you if want. Maybe he ships

That is a damn good price, might be worth posting their info.

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