Why Transmission Repairs for a GM 4T60E are a Major Headache!

Posted by on Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

The 4T60E is a four speed automatic transmission made by General Motors. The “4” stands for 4-speeds, the “T” for traverse, and the “E” for electronic. It was first put into production in 1991 and lasted through the 1996 model year. The transmission was widely used by General Motors during this time and was used in almost every front wheel drive model they made during this period, except for some of the smaller compact model vehicles. Because this transmission was so widely used in the General Motors line up, there are many vehicles that need repairs done or their transmissions replaced with a remanufatured unit. Let’s take a look at some of the issues associated with this transmission.

different gear ratios in the 4T60E transmission


This transmission used a number of different internal gears, resulting in 12 different gear ratios that were available for this transmission. Because of this you need to pay close attention when working on or replacing the transmission – the wrong gear ratio could wreck havoc on the cars computer system and sensors. The 4T60E transmission also had a number of different valve bodies over its life span. Because of this, you encounter the same issue mentioned above about the different gear ratios. The 4T60E was on the front line of the electronic transmission wave that started in the early 1990’s. Because of this they are subject to electronic failures, especially when it comes to solenoids. Early designed solenoids suffered from such common failures as the wires melting inside the solenoid which resulted in a short or a complete break in the wires making up the internal magnetic coil. The solenoids are fairly reasonably priced and easy to replace. You can test a solenoid using an ohm meter. Too low of a resistance reading meaning the wires have shorted out. No resistance means there is a break in the internal wires. Either problem will require you to replace them.

location of the solenoids on a 4T60E transmission


Overheating is another common problem with these transmissions, especially if they were subject to abuses such as towing over the factory recommended limit or drag racing. These transmissions are designed to work at an ideal operating temperature of less than 200 degrees. Anything over that will start negatively affecting the life span of the transmission. If you can catch an overheating issue before it damages the transmission it’s best to install an additional aftermarket cooler.

inside the 4T60E transmission


The best advice I can give you on dealing with this transmission is to be very careful when swapping out parts. Just because a replacement part fits in the same manner as the one it’s replacing does not mean that it will function correctly. Be sure to ask your customer if anyone has worked on the transmission before they delivered it to you. Chances are that someone installed the wrong parts!

A transmission will not last forever, regardless of how well you take care of it. If a decision has to be made to replace the transmission, I highly recommend you consider a re-manufactured transmission as your first choice. They differ from a rebuilt transmission in the fact that they are as good as a new transmission at a greatly reduced price and often include modifications and upgrades that make them much more durable. A re-manufactured transmission also comes with a much better warranty: three years compared to 90 days for a rebuilt transmission.

One Response to “Why Transmission Repairs for a GM 4T60E are a Major Headache!”

  1. […] Although the factory recommends you can go farther in between transmission services, I recommend that you have your transmission serviced every 25000 miles. This will give your transmission the best odds of a long and healthy lifespan. […]

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