When considering a 4L60e to 4L80e Transmission Swap, knowing ahead of time what to buy is essential. This is a BIG job. The 4L80e is bigger, heavier, longer, and stronger than its 4L60e counterpart. The problem is, if you are making more than mid 300’s in horsepower, your 4L60e won’t hold up. People will tell you it will. They’ll sell you on upgrade kits and tell you they’ll hold. But, if you keep beating on it, it will not hold.
Take my 4L60e for example. Blew it up the first time. Had it rebuilt with Z-Pack 3-4 Clutches, a Corvette Servo, Beast Sun Shell, 500 boost valve and a B&M shift kit and STILL blew it up in under two years. So I am done rebuilding a 4L60e.
I said it earlier, the 4L80e swap is by no means a direct bolt on swap. Here is the quick list of things I have identified that will be needed for a 4×4:
- Get a 4L80e
- 4L80e Torque Converter
- Flexplate and adapter
- New Crossmember or Modification of Existing
- Swap Transfer case input shaft to a 32 spline or get a TCase from an 80e in a junk yard
- Longer front drive shaft
- Shorter rear driveshaft
- Dipstick tube
- Rewire or Buy Wiring harness adapter
- PCM reprogram
- Vehicle Speed Sensor
- Trans cooler lines need to be lengthened
- Shorter Transfer case Adapter and seal
- Knowledge that 80e has a taller first gear, and the rest of the gears are closer ratio
- Use NSS from existing 4L60e and wire harness
Here is some of the stuff I bought in addition to that list:
- GM 15765623 COVER,TRANS CONV
- ACDelco 24245110 GM Original Equipment Transfer Case Adapter Gasket
- Spectre Performance 4696 Flexplate Bolt
- ARP 2307304 Torque Converter Bolt Kit for GM
- Lubegard 19025 Kooler Kleen Transmission Cooler Flush High Pressure Formula, 18 oz.
So, here’s the video talking about all this stuff. There will be more videos as this is just the prep work prior to starting any actual work.
Hey everybody Steve here and today is the kickoff day for the 4l80e swap. Right next to me here is the new 4L80e and up there is the 4L60e obviously removed from the vehicle. I have detailed videos on how to remove the 4L60e from the vehicle, I’ll leave a link for you in the description below. It would be really neat if the 4L80e was a bolt-on replacement however it is not, it’s actually pretty involved. The 4L80 is bigger, it’s heavier and it’s longer than its 4L60 counterpart so that means a lot of stuff is gonna have to change.
Now what I’m talking about here is a 2002 Chevy Tahoe with a 5.3 in it and it is a 4×4. So, I’m going to be talking as it pertains to 2 drive shafts and a transfer case.
What I have in my hand here are pages and pages of notes that I have compiled from at least 20 different sources on the internet over the last month. And my goal here with this video is to try to consolidate all of this information into one video so that hopefully it can shorten the learning time for those who are coming after me.
What To Buy
Let’s talk about a short list of what is necessary and I’m talking four-wheel drive here. So, when you do this for 4L80e you’re going to need new flex plate, obviously you’re gonna need a 4L80, you’re going to need a torque converter; you’re gonna have to make modifications to your crossmember or get a crossmember; new wiring harness or do the wiring yourself if you’re good at that sort of thing I am not, I bought the harness. There is a high likelihood that you’re 4L80e is going to come with a different output shaft than your 4L60. So, you’re going to have to get a transfer case adapter so that your transfer case will mate up with your 4L80. You’re also gonna have to worry about your existing dipstick tube is not going to work you have to get a new one or modify something, I just bought a new one. And your computer’s not going to know what to make of your new 4L80 so there’s gonna be some PCM programming involved there. I’ll get more into that a little bit later.
But for now, I want to talk about my specific situation what I’ve done to cut some corners on this big long list and hopefully I can distill a month’s worth of research down to a few minutes for those of you who are on the brink of trying to decide whether you want to do this or not or whatever.
So, step one is obviously getting the 4L60 out of your existing vehicle. I’m not gonna lie it’s not easy but I just know that after building a couple of these up when once I get the 4L80 in there it’s gonna definitely be worth it.
So, my story really quick is I’ve had all kinds of horsepower to the engine, I blew that thing up on the side of the road and so that I don’t forget to mention it the very, very first thing that I’m gonna do is blow some of this cooler clean through the lines to clean out not one but two transmission coolers. So cooler clean that’s my number one thing on my list.
Number two thing on my list is a 4L80e. I got my 4l 80 from Transmission Depot in Florida and I’m hoping to make mid fives while at the same time have daily driver drivability. So, this thing will never see a track or at least I don’t think it will, that’s not the intention right now. A lot of the stuff that I bought and the way I had these things configured is predicated upon those desires. Your wants or needs may be different obviously you’re gonna make changes to your build accordingly.
But here’s the details on my 4L80e obtained from Transmission Depot it also includes their contact information. I want to do a shout out to the guys down there they were amazingly helpful. I’ve never done this before, I had a lot of stupid questions and you know you really do need a lot ask a lot of questions because this is a tricky install.
So, first thing we want to do is do a real quick comparison. This is the 60e this is the 80e. You know looking at them like this you really can’t see the difference but let me just go ahead and tell you right now that the 60e is 150 pounds and about 23.5 inches while the 80e is 236 pounds and 26.4 inches. That is the deal with the transmission itself.
So, let’s get some of this easy stuff out of the way. You are gonna need a new dipstick this is an adjustable dipstick. It’s made by Lokar, you can see the model number there ZTD-3518FM. I got this one off of Amazon and I will leave a link to this in the description below.
So, the new 4L80 did not come with a neutral safety switch and I broke my old one so I bought a new one and I also got this on Amazon it was like $40.
Here’s another easy, easy one or at least it was an easy decision for me. I don’t know squat about electric stuff so this is made by Michigan Motorsports, this is the adapter. Apparently, I guess the 4L80e has got two speed sensors on it whereas the 4L60 only has one. So, this guy right here will allow you to wire things up much more easily than doing the pin outs yourself. A lot of guys do do that, I’m not that smart so I’m not going to do.
Okay let’s talk about a very, very important topic let’s talk about the torque converter. I got my torque converter from Circle D and I’ll go ahead and put up here on the screen all of the specs on my torque converter. I did opt for the more expensive billet and here’s the thing about Circle D and what they did for me which of course they’ll do for you too is it is a 4L80e torque converter but look at the bolt pattern it’s actually got the same bolt pattern is my 4L60e so I could actually use my flex plate off of my 4L60e.In the event that you do not get a torque converter from Circle D or one of their you know like quality competitors remember that your and you order a 4L80 torque converter remember your 4L80e torque converter is going to come with a 6 bolt pattern so you’re going to need to get a new flex plate and I’m almost 100% sure that you’re gonna have to get some sort of flex plate spacer as well.
For me, because they made it this way with the three-bolt pattern my flex plate was actually all tore up, it was in pretty bad shape, it’s right there and I opted to get a new one. This is from Hughes it is a HP4004X, this on this I got on Amazon. So, this is a dished flex plate which means it’s raised up here in the middle and this one does not require the spacer at all. This is actually pretty darn close to my stalker right there.
So, last word on the flex plate is that if you really want to go with a cheap alternative just get a flex plate and a spacer from a 3/4 Time GM truck that originally came with 4L80e.
If you get a 4L80e out of a junkyard there is a high likelihood that this output shaft is gonna have 32 splines. So, what you’re going to need to do if you’ve got a four-wheel drive is you’re going to need to get an input gear for your transfer case and swap it with the 32 splines. Now my situation is a little bit different. I got my 4L80 from Transmission Depot and I was asking about this and they said that I could opt for a heavy-duty hardened 27 spline which I totally went for so that I didn’t have to do anything at all with my transfer case.
So, this guy right here is the tail end of the 4L60 and guess what, it is not compatible with the 4L80so I think I’m gonna need another I think it’s called a transfer case adapter I guess so I’ll go look for that on the internet and pop up a picture of it.
All right let’s talk about some of the other stuff that we needed to talk about. This is my stock cross member and the 4L80e is about 2 inches longer. So, I’m gonna go with the recommendation of a bunch of people that have taken a piece of angle iron like this and essentially weld it right there and then add the holes and then reinforce it and all that stuff.
All right the last couple pieces of the puzzle are the drive shafts. I got a brand-new front drive shaft, here’s the model number 15182094 that seemed to be kind of the go-to recommendation in all the forums. I could have probably parted this from a truck from a junkyard, I called around there weren’t any near me and I just figured I’d pull the trigger.
My rear driveshaft I actually had shortened I believe it was 111-1/16 don’t quote me on that because I haven’t test fitted it yet but that seemed to me the number that I was able to find in all my research. It was shortened and balanced by a guy in Charlotte, I’ll leave his information in there as well.
All right and of course the last thing is obviously tuning. I’ll do a segment swap there. And then transmission lines, the transmission cooler lines are different on the 4L80e than they are on the 4L60 so you’re either gonna need to lengthen the ones the ones that you have or get new ones. I’ve actually got some lines laying around from an old project that I actually never used so I might take a stab at using these. If I can’t make that work then I’ll just go ahead and extend the ones that I have.
One other fundamental difference between the 4L60 and the 4L80, there’s the 60 you can see that the bell housing goes all the way around the torque converter whereas in the 4L80 it does not. So, I picked up this desk cover another thing I bought on amazon.com; there’s your model number right there [1576-5623]. I’ll also include a link to it in the description. I think I’m running out of batteries.
I hope you found this helpful, I hope I was able to take my one-month learning journey and distill it down into a few minutes for you. Obviously more videos to come. As I get into this I’ll try to share my lessons learned. I hope you found the video valuable if so please like, comment and definitely subscribe because we’re gonna do this whole 4L80 thing. There is a turbo in the passenger seat at the Tahoe right now which will be coming down the line and then of course those of you who follow the channel know we’ve got Matt’s 1,500 ram truck across the street. Here’s a little bit of footage of his motor which actually arrived earlier today and Matt and I are gonna be getting together and we’re gonna put the engine back in his Dodge and of course I’m really, really, really stoked about getting this 4L80 in. So, I appreciate you watching, I appreciate your views and I will see you in the next video.