4L60E - Lost 3-4 Clutches

4L60E - Lost 3-4 Clutches

Postby paulo57509 [OP] » January 16th 2014, 3:03am

I started some posts in the "What Has Your VAN Done To YOU Today???" thread and I thought I'd start a new thread here.

Essentially, what happened is the transmission lost the 3-4 clutches. I'm still able to drive the van around town in manual 2nd and it still has reverse.

I battered around the idea of just taking it someplace and have a shop deal with it, find a rebuilt unit and do the R&R myself, or R&R and rebuild it myself. I decided on the last option.

For now, the rebuild kit has been ordered and I'm gathering up tools and reference materials I'll be needing.

I've had a few requests to do a build thread; I don't know if I'll have the time to completely document the entire ordeal. I will post some of what I would categorize as "gotchas". Which brings us to this initial post.

Just browsing through the ATSG manuals (besides the sometimes poor print quality) I've realized that for anyone doing their own rebuild, these are essential; both the blue cover manual and the green cover "updates".

The updates manual goes through year-to-year changes which I think would be good for anyone to know especially if you're searching junkyards for replacement units. It is written in a style similar to the TSB's you'd get from GM.

The first "gotcha" is the bolts that fasten the bell housing to the case. The bolts look like regular T-50 Torx head bolts. But for some reason, GM decided to use bolts that require the use of a "Torx Plus 50-IP" bit. Me (resident dummy) would have proceeded to strip these right off using a regular T-50 bit).

Now I have to source more "special" tools.
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Re: 4L60E - Lost 3-4 Clutches

Postby chevymaher » January 16th 2014, 3:32am

reference materials.
Here a couple videos.

viewtopic.php?f=70&t=14862&p=382177#p381026
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Re: 4L60E - Lost 3-4 Clutches

Postby WoodButcher » January 16th 2014, 3:39am

What year van are you operating on?
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Re: 4L60E - Lost 3-4 Clutches

Postby redfury » January 16th 2014, 6:41am

Good videos on youtube that go through the basics and step by steps pretty good. If it weren't for the fact that I couldn't get the tranny out of my van to do it, I would have considered doing the rebuild myself. Really only requires a feeler gauge and a way to compress it to remove the large snap ring. The odd torx bit is good info though.
A temporary fix usually becomes a permanent solution, therefore it does not exist.
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Re: 4L60E - Lost 3-4 Clutches

Postby paulo57509 [OP] » January 17th 2014, 5:24am

WoodButcher wrote:What year van are you operating on?


2003 Safari 2WD
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Re: 4L60E - Lost 3-4 Clutches

Postby paulo57509 [OP] » January 17th 2014, 5:28am

These showed up yesterday:

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Teflon ring installation and sizing tools.

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Lo/Rev clutch spring compressor.

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Neutral safety switch setting tool.
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Re: 4L60E - Lost 3-4 Clutches

Postby paulo57509 [OP] » January 17th 2014, 5:39am

These showed up today:

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Uh-oh.....I'm going to need some motivation.

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Instructions, valve body gaskets, etc....

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Shift and Spring Kit....

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Seal Kit....

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Bushings, servos, seals, clutches....

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Sun Shell, Band, Sprag....

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Pump Rotor, Vanes, etc....

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Clutches, Pistons....

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More Clutches, Another Sprag....

I think there was a shim kit someplace too.
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Re: 4L60E - Lost 3-4 Clutches

Postby Herman Wiegman » January 17th 2014, 3:47pm

Paulo,

I didn't have any special tools when I did my rebuild.
If your tranny only has bad 3-4 clutches, then it is a pretty simple job.
I decided to swap out all of the seals and clutches which meant I needed to go "deeper" into my transmission.
There are some great 4L60E rebuild videos on you tube.. check out my previous post for all the links.

https://www.astrosafari.com/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=34786

Note: you don't have to take off the bell housing. But if you really want to take if off, get the T-50 (star) bit.
The regular T-50 doesn't work. I bent two of them trying. I eventually took my tranny to an AMCO shop where they extracted the bolts with some heat and a T-50 star bit (for $40 cash).

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Re: 4L60E - Lost 3-4 Clutches

Postby paulo57509 [OP] » January 18th 2014, 12:50am

Herman Wiegman wrote:Paulo,

I didn't have any special tools when I did my rebuild.
If your tranny only has bad 3-4 clutches, then it is a pretty simple job.
I decided to swap out all of the seals and clutches which meant I needed to go "deeper" into my transmission.
There are some great 4L60E rebuild videos on you tube.. check out my previous post for all the links.

https://www.astrosafari.com/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=34786

Note: you don't have to take off the bell housing. But if you really want to take if off, get the T-50 (star) bit.
The regular T-50 doesn't work. I bent two of them trying. I eventually took my tranny to an AMCO shop where they extracted the bolts with some heat and a T-50 star bit (for $40 cash).

Herminator


Thanks for the input and links.

I need special tools, believe me.

The 3-4 clutches are bad. The problem is I don't know why they went bad until I get inside and look. Since everything has to come out front to get to them anyway, the plan is a total rebuild with inspection along the way.

I know I don't need to remove the bell housing, but it will just make the bench work easier without that thing in the way.
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Re: 4L60E - Lost 3-4 Clutches

Postby Herman Wiegman » January 18th 2014, 1:39am

The teflon washer insertion tool and compression tool (that you have) are pretty slick.
I used some grease and a hose clamp to "shrink" them in place.

The 3-4 clutches start to wear and the piston doesn't apply as much pressure to engage them, which causes the clutches to slip and they wear further, then eventually the clutches lose all grip and they burn out. Mine were starting to slip when I decided to rebuild my tranny. I did have to stack several clutches with some thin steels and one thick steel. The idea is to get as many 3-4 clutches stacked with as many steels as possible when meeting the required stack height and "free play".

My torque converter was also starting to slip when the TCC was supposed to be locked-up. The carbon/friction material on the TCC wears out and so I also purchased a rebuilt Torque Converter (on exchange) from the local auto parts store.

You may also want to install a drain pan plug so it is easier to drain the tranny fluid. Otherwise you have to drop the pan a bit and let it drip all over the place.

I rebuilt my tranny by putting it into a 5-gallon plastic bucket, so the bell housing was sticking up in the air.
It wasn't too bad.. a bit awkward. If you do decide to take the bell housing off, hit the torx bolts with a propane torch and make sure you have the T-50 plus bit (it costs about $15)

http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_3-8-drive-torx-plus-bit-socket-t50-sk_22986089-p?searchTerm=t-50+

good luck, and drop me a Personal Message if you get stuck.

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Re: 4L60E - Lost 3-4 Clutches

Postby paulo57509 [OP] » March 21st 2014, 11:27am

Finally cleared my plate of other projects and commitments and was able to pull the trans yesterday.

I've pulled transmissions before and this went pretty smooth. Other than road grime, it's pretty clean underneath.

I like the snap-in cooler line connections. :thumbup:

Just a few things I struggled with.

1. Driver's side exhaust pipe to manifold removal. Seems like one of the three studs in the manifold has become warped and I struggled to get the flange off the studs. It finally gave way after a few tugs. There really isn't anywhere to get a good pry bar in there. Fortunately, it's not corrosion city underneath. I did use PB Blaster on the exhaust fasteners anyway.

2. Electrical connections at the park/neutral switch. I couldn't get these to come out of the switch. These things wouldn't budge. I got the small plug to release by wedging a screwdriver next to the connector body and twisting while I held the lock out of the way.

The reason it was so hard to get the connector put of the switch was someone had glued the connector into the switch. The connector was covered with this sticky, tacky substance. I don't think it was applied at the factory. I have my suspicions as to how this stuff got there.

Small Plug (the black stuff came from my dirty fingers):
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I had to grab the large plug with a small set of Channel-Locks. Wiggled it back and forth (crushed some of it) and it released. Same sticky crap on this as well.

Large Plug (kinda blurry):
Image

I'm thinking of replacing the switch (it's full of that goop). I'm hoping that GM has a service kit for the connectors as well.
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Re: 4L60E - Lost 3-4 Clutches

Postby WoodButcher » March 21st 2014, 1:15pm

The connectors are hot glued at the factory. Heat gun works wonders.
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Re: 4L60E - Lost 3-4 Clutches

Postby paulo57509 [OP] » March 22nd 2014, 12:39am

WoodButcher wrote:The connectors are hot glued at the factory. Heat gun works wonders.


Thanks WB. I found this in my update manual this morning (attached for reference). It's funny that a Weather-Pack connector would need "sealer".

I would have just left the connectors attached but unfortunately, the P-N switch I have has the mounting bolt behind the 7-way connector.

At least the bulletin lists the service part numbers for the switch and connectors.
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Re: 4L60E - Lost 3-4 Clutches

Postby paulo57509 [OP] » March 22nd 2014, 8:34am

Finally got the trans out from under the van.

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My floor jack has the typical 18" of lift and my jack stands have only a 16" max height neither the tail shaft or bell housing would clear the underside.

The lowest point is the differential so lifting at that point and rolling the trans over in front of the rear tire, I was able to pull-tilt-pull-tilt-pull-tilt-pull (tail shaft first) to clear the undersides and get it out.

Before tilting the trans, I fab'ed up a retainer with some 1-1/2" angle I had laying around and some nuts and bolts to hold the converter in place for the forward tilt.

Image

A bit of transmission jack review might be in order here:

This is the one I bought and used: http://www.harborfreight.com/800-lb-low ... y05QM4Ro40

1. The four adjustable corner pieces that are supposed to capture the pan and rest on the pan rail are essentially useless because they're not tall enough. Might be OK for the standard pan but not so with the factory deep pan that most of us have.

2. Because of (1.) above, I had to put a piece of pine board on top of the platform so the bottom of the pan wouldn't rest on the bolts that secure the four corner pieces. I also needed clearance for the drain plug.

3. With the full weight of the trans on the jack, turning the forward/back tilt screw is a PITA. I had to use a strap wrench on the knob to get more leverage. Acme thread screws would have been nice but then again for the price.......
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Re: 4L60E - Lost 3-4 Clutches

Postby paulo57509 [OP] » March 29th 2014, 9:04am

Smoked 3-4 clutches confirmed.

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Re: 4L60E - Lost 3-4 Clutches

Postby paulo57509 [OP] » March 30th 2014, 9:32am

Here's the fried clutch pack in the order they came came out.

Image

Image

Image

Here's the forward clutches for comparison (the black stuff is from the 3-4 clutches).

Image
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Re: 4L60E - Lost 3-4 Clutches

Postby paulo57509 [OP] » April 30th 2014, 9:03am

Finally finished up on Sunday. There was some down time throughout the project where I had to wait on parts. I also had two neutrals...no reverse. :banghead:

Found this, paid for the download and spent yesterday reading up.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/34145767/4L60E

Apply for the reverse input clutch goes through the Boost Valve in the pump (one of the upgrades that came with the kit). Dropped the pan this morning and sure enough the valve and its snap ring were sticking out of the pump body. Huge hydraulic leak in the reverse apply circuit. Tip: air check the clutch packs whenever possible. Takes some of the guess work out of trouble shooting.

What fooled me was there's a small ledge inside the pump bore that I thought was the snap ring groove. My poor eyesight didn't help matters either. The snap ring groove was a full 1/4"-3/8" deeper into the pump.

With the boost valve sorted, pan re-installed and the trans refilled reverse engaged. :thumbup:

Drove it down the road at min throttle and it was satisfying to feel the trans go bump-bump-bump-bump <----TCC lock up. No more PWM apply.

If there's any interest I can try to do a build write up. I ended up taking +300 photos of this ordeal. The photos were for my reference in case I forgot (which I did on occasion) where stuff was stuffed.
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Re: 4L60E - Lost 3-4 Clutches

Postby Astro Pop » April 30th 2014, 9:34am

Congrats Paulo. Feels good doesn't it? I did the same project a couple months ago and I'm just now starting to forget to listen for little things when the trans shifts. You've boldly gone where few have even tried. Well done.
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Years of Membership: Astro Pop has been a member for 8 full yearsAstro Pop has been a member for 8 full yearsAstro Pop has been a member for 8 full yearsAstro Pop has been a member for 8 full yearsAstro Pop has been a member for 8 full yearsAstro Pop has been a member for 8 full yearsAstro Pop has been a member for 8 full yearsAstro Pop has been a member for 8 full years
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Location: CA
Alias (AKA): Xfirepop
Van Model Year: 1996
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: AWD - 5 inch lift

Re: 4L60E - Lost 3-4 Clutches

Postby paulo57509 [OP] » May 1st 2014, 8:15am

Astro Pop wrote:Congrats Paulo. Feels good doesn't it? I did the same project a couple months ago and I'm just now starting to forget to listen for little things when the trans shifts. You've boldly gone where few have even tried. Well done.


Thanks. It does feel good. It's been a long time (+35 years) since I worked in my Dad's shop after school and summers and I've forgotten the kind of satisfaction that comes with successful major auto repairs.

The last transmission I rebuilt was a Ford C4 that was out of an old Ranchero. This was back before I had a driver's license.
Original Poster [OP]
paulo57509
Firing on 7 Cylinders (L1)
Firing on 7 Cylinders (L1)
Years of Membership: paulo57509 has been a member for 11 full yearspaulo57509 has been a member for 11 full yearspaulo57509 has been a member for 11 full yearspaulo57509 has been a member for 11 full yearspaulo57509 has been a member for 11 full yearspaulo57509 has been a member for 11 full yearspaulo57509 has been a member for 11 full yearspaulo57509 has been a member for 11 full yearspaulo57509 has been a member for 11 full yearspaulo57509 has been a member for 11 full yearspaulo57509 has been a member for 11 full years
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Re: 4L60E - Lost 3-4 Clutches

Postby Casey » May 1st 2014, 8:14pm

That brings back a lot of bad memories for me. I'll never tackle an auto rebuild again-- too many extremely critical tolerances, special tools, teflon seals (those three around the main input shaft which have to be evenly crushed into place), etc.

Glad to hear you got your 4L60E back up and running, though.
Casey
Firing on 1 Cylinder (L1)
Firing on 1 Cylinder (L1)
Years of Membership: Casey has been a member for 11 full yearsCasey has been a member for 11 full yearsCasey has been a member for 11 full yearsCasey has been a member for 11 full yearsCasey has been a member for 11 full yearsCasey has been a member for 11 full yearsCasey has been a member for 11 full yearsCasey has been a member for 11 full yearsCasey has been a member for 11 full yearsCasey has been a member for 11 full yearsCasey has been a member for 11 full years
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Location: Milwaukee, WI
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Van Model Year: 1995
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: 4.3L LT 5-speed


 
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