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4L80e - Replace or Rebuild?

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by 2COR517, Dec 25, 2008.

  1. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    Lost reverse in my 97 GMC 2500. 125,000 miles on it. I can have it rebuilt by an extremely highly recommended shop for about $2,000. Includes R & R and new torque converter. 12 months 12,000 mile warranty.

    Or...... new GM transmission. 3 years 100,000 mile warranty. Going to cost about $500 more, and at least a day of my time helping my mechanic friend put it in. I'm not sure if that price includes a new torque converter. Has anyone bought a new one and had to have warranty work done? Does GM reimburse my mechanic's labor? What would you do? If I need to buy a new converter, I am will most likely go with rebuild. Any input appreciated. Thanks guys.
  2. carl b

    carl b PlowSite.com Addict
    from Ohio
    Messages: 1,330

    where are you finding one that cheap ? I just had mine rebuilt it was $1200 or $ 2200 for a used both 1 year warr.
  3. 70monte

    70monte Senior Member
    Messages: 468

    I would go with the new one for only $500 more. Your warrenty is much better on the new one. The torque converter probably comes with the new one and if not, they are not that expensive.

  4. brad96z28

    brad96z28 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,525

    I would go with a jasper Usually best warr and They have been good! They also have 3 year 75 k mile parts and labor warr. We just put one in a cube van.
  5. frozenokiewi

    frozenokiewi Junior Member
    Messages: 28

    GM Tranny

    rebuild!!! after owning 6 chev's with the 80 series tranny...Have it rebuilt and tell the builder to "build" it. Heavy duty pump welded steel torque converter better clutch packs. Spend the money I had mine rebuilt in our 1995 at 100k and it has had a plow on it for 7 years and thats all it does. Just sold the truck with 316k on it never another issue. Call Phil at ATS in appleton, wi 920-733-1285 he has rebuilt two of mine and he can at least tell you what to request so you can beat the crap out of it and never give it a second thought. By a GM you will buy the same issues...they are good transmissions but not built for what we are doing, the torque convertes blow up, they get too hot and burn clutches we both know what we put these trucks through and GM did not build this tranny for that work out we give them. Take your tranny with its many good parts and upgrade the parts that take the abuse and you have the best of both words all be it without the 100k warranty. Find an honest shop talk to phil and go from there. Tell him Ryan with the white suburban told you to call, he will tell you exaclty what to ask for if you have it rebuilt. Good luck!

  6. brad96z28

    brad96z28 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,525

    And gm dont pay labor when it fails Ive been through that with them..
  7. Spitz

    Spitz Senior Member
    Messages: 192

    Wow that shouldnt even be a consideration. Gm's remans come with new converter.. I would put an aftermarket cooler in there if your doing any plowing or hauling as well. It takes make 30mins more and will really help the longevity of the transmission. Another thing to consider is if your trans goes out again, and your a lengthy distance from home, just take it to any gm shop, and actually some independant shops can do warrenty transmission work ( what we end up doing).. And yes, we do warrenty (part + labor claims) sometimes..
  8. Sydenstricker Landscaping

    Sydenstricker Landscaping PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,882

    I would just rebuild it. That way you can have it built to how you drive and work it, not just plain jane out of the box. I would much rather have a nice heavy duty trans that is built with less warranty rather than have the same slushbox put back in with out the heavy duty crap. If my trans does ever go, it will get rebuilt with all heavy duty stuff (that way I can get rid of all the torque managment too:))
  9. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    Most likely going to go with the rebuild, for a few reasons. Money. It will be closer to a grand after I figure in my lost time helping install the new one. Work area. My friends garage is not big enough to fit my truck, so we would have to take his tools to another friends garage. PITA factor. All this running around, no shop, running around for parts we didn't realize we'd need, my busted knuckles, working on the floor, losing paying work, on and on and on.

    The guy doing the rebuild has a fantastic reputation. All the people I have spoken too either asked me if he is going to do it, or say he's great when I tell them. He's a close friend of a fellow I go to church with. Brand new shop, several bays, lifts, all that.

    The warranty has been the only sticking point for me. The 3 years would be nice. But, will GM be around in three years? Probably. Will they try to find any reason to not cover me? Probably. And I keep thinking of Tommy Callahan trying to sell brake pads in Tommy Boy. "All you're getting is a guaranteed piece of siht"
  10. brad96z28

    brad96z28 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,525

    Yep no faith in my sticking behind there products Ive had experience with a gm tranny that actually made a car catch fire:cry:. They will stand behind there product way behind it! I have had a problem with a jasper trans and they gave another tranny, paid labor, and even paid for new fluid.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2008
  11. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    Just thought I would update. Went with the local rebuild. Got to know the guys at the shop pretty well. Very happy with my decision. $1,900 all in - new torque converter, pressure manifold, cooler flush, and a few other goodies. Turns out the tranny in the truck was a GM Reman. It was in pretty good shape, the clutches had quite a bit of life left. We actually considered just repairing reverse. Went for the full rebuild. It was all out, would have been foolish considering how hard I work the truck. At least I have a little warranty. If you are familiar with these, the reverse band has two dogs that lock in the case, and one that the servo pushes. Usually the one dog breaks. Not mine. Both the the case side dogs split. The guy who rebuilt it had never seen that in 20 years. Clearly a defective part from day one, bummer for me. Also, there was some grooving on the overdrive drum where the clutches slide. Steel clutches pushing and sliding against an aluminum drum. No wonder GM had OD problems. Probably explains the occasional shudder I had going in and out of OD. Goes great now. The only big difference I noticed is the 1-2 upshift is a little quicker and firmer. Of course reverse works too, and 3-4 is smooth as silk.

    I have noticed my plowing style has changed a little. I try to make my runs longer, to reduce my reverse cycles. What's interesting is my failure had nothing to do with lack of maintanence or pushing hard on big piles, towing big loads, any of that. 20 coolers and a Double Atlas transfer case wouldn't have prevented the failure either. What we really need is a power reverser between the trans and T-case.....

    Here's a little fuel for Ford vs. Chevy vs. Dodge fire. The guys at the shop all drive Fords, but they said the GM trannys are best. The bench guy said the 4L80e is the best tranny in any pickup out there right now. When they rebuild Fords they ALWAYS put in a shift kit, and ALWAYS put in synthetic fluid. They said I could do the same, but would be pretty much throwing money away. I think I will take it in to have the fluid changed in the spring. That way they can make there is nothing floating in the pan that shouldn't be. I will probably put in synthetic too, just because. Oh yeah, the bench guy said Dodge transmissions are the worst. By far. Cars, minivans, trucks, all of them. Especially trucks. Sorry guys. I have personally owned several high mileage Dodges, my father has too. No transmission problems for us. Go figure. None of them were plow trucks though.

    Happy plowing everyone
  12. CAT 245ME

    CAT 245ME PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,066

    I have a 98 Silverado 2500 with the 4L80E that needed rebuilt back in november. The tranny was the origional and had 380,000 kilometers on it and has been a work truck since it left the dealer.

    The shop that rebuilt it said the same thing about the 4L80E, very strong but I think the strongest auto tranny is the TH400 but you cant go wrong with eathier as long as there properly built.

    I've alway's said GM had the best auto tranny (TH400), best rear axle (14 bolt FF) and best gas engine (350ci) atleast from 2000 on back. But I wont comment on there trucks since the year 2000.
  13. Baitshop

    Baitshop Junior Member
    Messages: 9

    GM remanufactured transmissions are done in Mexico last I checked. Have a reputable shop do it.

  14. Bigcat99

    Bigcat99 Senior Member
    Messages: 126

    How can I tell what tranny I have in my '04 1500? Do all the 1500's come with the same tranny - excluding the SS versions?
  15. Triple L

    Triple L PlowSite Fanatic
    from Canada
    Messages: 6,078

    I bet your got the 4L60E.... but i think it depends on the motor, does the 5.3 get the 80?
  16. ghlkal

    ghlkal Member
    Messages: 83

    Thanks for the update ... I always appreciate it when folks follow up so I know what happened.:salute:

    My experience bears this out too.
  17. ghlkal

    ghlkal Member
    Messages: 83

    IIRC, the 1500 only gets the 4L60E. You need an HD or 2500 to get the 4L80E.
  18. worldclasstech

    worldclasstech Junior Member
    from ny
    Messages: 2


    4l80E's are a great transmission, the only problem are the retards who don't know how to plow, and throw the truck into reverse while still moving forward, resulting in breaking the low and reverse band. All to save alittle time. Plus people don't put the transmission in manual first when pushing a big load. By putting the transmission in manual low, the low and reverse band is locked and makes it practically impossible to slip. I see it all the time. 4l60E's are a good transmission, only problem, they are a little weak. They are not meant for heavy duty work like the 4l80E, thats why alot of plow guys with 1500 pick-ups have problems unless they baby them. Bottom line, if you use the brakes to stop the truck, wait for the range shift, and change your fluid regular, you should have no problems.
  19. ghlkal

    ghlkal Member
    Messages: 83

    I didn't know that ... this applies to the 4L60E?

    I agree: stopping before shifting into reverse and changing the fluid are vital. I didn't realize shifting down to [1] instead of [D] would be better ...
  20. Bigcat99

    Bigcat99 Senior Member
    Messages: 126

    For anyone using the tow/haul mode during plowing... wouldn't this (running in low 1) just be taking that a step further, there by eliminating any potential risk of slippage? Or am I missing something?