700R4 Information Thread

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NickTransmissions

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Hello All,

Thought I would start an all-encompassing 700R4 information thread since so many of our trucks have one of these transmissions installed. Please feel free to add your own tips, tricks and anything else that you found helpful or ask questions as you need to and I’ll respond as soon as possible.

If you would like parts added to the below ‘Parts List’, post them in the thread and I’ll incorporate them into the list. Meanwhile, I’ll update this first post with additional information and links as I go.

700R4 Production Run - 1982-1993

700R4 Vintages, Defining Characteristics and Parts Interchange

YearsDefining CharacteristicsInterchange
1982-E1984- 27-spline input shaft
- 7-element forward roller clutch assembly (Jan 1-May 31 1982)
- Narrow pump stator
- First design forward drum - poorly designed 3-4 clutch bleed orifice (368 last three digits of casting no)
None - discard these parts if working on a 1982-E1984 unit and replace with L84-1986 pump/input drum assemblies
L1984-1986- Introduction of 30-spline input shaft
- Introduction of wider pump stator to accommodate 2nd design input shaft
- Updated forward drum housing - improved 3-4 apply circuit bleeder checkball capsule (152 last three digits of casting no)
Will retro to all prior years of 700R4 as a service pack (pump assembly and forward drum) and strongly recommended for any 1982-E1984 700R4
1982-E1987First generation valve body (has bore for mechanical TCC command / lock up )
  • Takes three check balls, including one in the ‘bathtub’ for low reverse
Will install on all years of 700R4 and recommended for anyone seeking 100% mechanical control of the torque converter clutch
L1987-1992- 2nd generation valve body
- Takes only two check balls
- Introduction of auxiliary valve body

- Third design forward drum (097 last three digits of casting) no.)
2nd design valve body Will NOT interchange onto a non-aux valve body case

Third design drum will technically retro to any year 700R4 but forward feed orifice was widened from 3mm to 6mm so installing onto non-aux valve body applications may result in very harsh engagements into drive.
1993- 3rd generation valve body (F-bodies and corvette only) - same general design/valve train layout however a third check ball was added to the valve body


Some of my videos covering the 700R4:

700R4 Teardown and Inspection
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Valve Body Changes and Interchange
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Input Drum Differences and Interchange
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700R4 Rebuild Series
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Rebuilding the 700R4 - Special Tools

ToolApplicable Parts/Location(s) in the TransmissionFunctionAppx CostSource
ATSG manualEverywhereProvides detailed step by step procedures, tools, diagnosis and troubleshooting along with other information pertaining to the servicing and repair of the transmission$30Amazon, eBay, trans parts suppliers
Ft Lb torque WrenchPump, Ext-housing to caseTorque fasteners to required specification$50+eBay, Hardware stores, Amazon, Snap On, Cornwell, Matco, etc
Inch Lb torque WrenchValve body, aux valve body, 1-2 accumulator, TCC solenoid, speedo housing bracketTorque fasteners to required specification$50+eBay, Hardware stores, Amazon, Snap On, Cornwell, Matco, etc
Dial Indicator, magnetic base and vise gripsPump/Input shaftUsed to measure front end play. Dial indicator is mounted onto a metal surface and plunger set vertically on the snout of the input shaft while vise grips are used to grip the input shaft so the builder can lift up on the shaft and measure dial indicator travel.$100-$300eBay, Hardware stores, Amazon
Pump alignment toolPump assemblyUsed to align the pump cover/stator and pump body during reassembly - can use a large hose clamp obtainable at most hardware stores$20-$100Home Depot, ebay, Amazon
Internal/External Snap Ring Pliers - StraightClutch Drums & Low Reverse clutch snap ringsSnap On PJIOA or equivalent is used to remove and reinstall clutch return spring snap rings throughout the transmission $25eBay, SnapOn
Internal/External Snap Ring Pliers - 90-degreeOutput shaft snap ring and low reverse clutch Snap On SRP1 or equivalent is used to remove the small snap ring at the output shaft-front planetary carrier junction; also used to remove the low reverse clutch return spring snap ring$30eBay, SnapOn
Internal/External Snap Ring Pliers - Eye loopPump cover (Boost/PR valve and TCC Lock up valve)Use small pair of internal/external snap ring pliers designed to engage ‘eye loop’ style snap rings such as those found at the boost/PR valve and TCC lock up valve in the pump cover$30eBay, hardware stores, Amazon
Sealing Ring Expander and SizerInput shaftExpander: Expands teflon sealing rings so they can fit over the input shaft

Sizer: Resizes rings to proper diameter once each sealing ring is in its groove
$75-100Amazon, eBay, trans parts suppliers
Clutch spring compressorForward drum, reverse input drum, low reverse clutch (rear case)Used to compress apply piston return spring assemblies so the corresponding snap ring can be installed
If you will build transmissions occupationally, purchase a good foot press ($400-600)
$100-200Ebay, Amazon
Bushing DriversVariousThese are used to remove and reinstall bushings in a transmission - look for the 4L60e-specific set on eBay

A set can be expensive so an alternative is to take all bushed parts to a trans shop for R/R - cost is roughly $150
$300-500eBay, hard parts suppliers, tool suppliers
Slide hammer / blind hole puller Kent Moore J-45548Pump stator bushingsUse to remove both stator bushings (price is for the kent moore tool)$40-60eBay - commonly listed
12+ Ton Shop PressVariousUsed in concert w/bushing drivers to install bushing (and occasionally remove them)

Heavy arbor presses can also be used

Hammering bushings into place is a last resort
$150+Harbor Freight
Lip Seal Installation ToolVariousUsed to work lip seals into sealing pockets or cavities without cutting/tearing the lip seals on apply pistons, etc$5-10eBay, Amazon, WIIT Trans Supply
Air compressor w/air nozzleVariousUse an air compressor w/a rubber-tipped nozzle to air check clutch pack apply in drums and the case as well as the 2-4 band servo apply to confirm those elements will function correctly upon the transmission’s return to service$100+Hardware stores, Amazon
700R4 Air Test PlateCase BellyOptional but recommended for transmission builders - used to air check a fully assembled case by mimicking the valve body’s presence on the case and using air as a proxy for apply fluid.

Validates all sub-assemblies containing applied elements are working properly in the case
$100-$150eBay
Sonnax Governor Bore Air Check ToolGovernor BoreOptional but recommended for transmission builders - used to detect leaks at the governor bore$50eBay
Kent Moore JGovernor BoreUse to ream the governor bore and install a governor bore sleeve that will restore sealing integrity of the governor bore for continued use of the case$70+eBay

700R4 Rebuild - Parts Selection

PartLocationRationalePart No (if app)
Detent CableTV hook-up (case)Always install a new TV cable - pre-existing cable is likely worn and may not hold adjustment upon overhaul, resulting in unacceptable main TV pressures
Transgo Jr shift kitValve BodyFactory main throttle valve sometimes sticks, causing inconsistent main TV pressure and drivability symptomsSK700JR
Accumulator PistonsCase / Aux Valve Body / 1-2 Acc HsgAlways replace existing accumulator pistons with new counterparts
Corvette ServoCase (Servo bore)Original ‘053’ servos are undersized, especially if the engine is modified. HP/Xtreme Heavy duty: Use Billet Servo

Augment w/ rubber D-ring seals in place of teflon scarf cut seals if available

‘053’ refers to the three-digit code cast into the 2nd gear apply piston
.472 boost valve / new reverse boost valvePump CoverFactory .420 boost valve is worn; new boost valve kit will provide better line rise upon acceleration

HP/Xtreme HD: Use Sonnax .500 boost valve kit
10 Vane Pump kitPump BodyApplies to 82-86 700R4s that came with seven-vane pumps from the factory

10 vane pumps provide greater stability at higher RPMs; 13 vane pump kits (rotor and corresponding slide) can also be installed but are usually not necessary
298mm pump statorPump CoverApplies to 82-E84 700R4s installed behind V8 engines

Install a matching stator or stator-pump cover assembly from a L84-86 unit that pairs with the 30-spline input shaft

Note Pump bodies with last three digits of ‘732’ in the casting number will work on any pump cover across all years of 700R4
4L60E reverse input DrumReverse Input DrumRetro a 4L60E reverse input drum, aluminum apply piston, belleville cushion plate and 4L60E tubular steels from a 97+ 4L60E for more consistent hi-reverse apply if existing drum cannot be reconditioned
‘152’ Forward Drum

(152 refers to the last three digits in drum’s casting number)
Forward DrumApplies to 82-E84 700R4s installed behind V8 engines

Early 27-spline input shafts are susceptible to failure; early drums do not have as efficient fluid bleed-off design for 3rd clutch piston when trans is in first or second gear
Bonded steel/rubber apply pistonsForward DrumFactory aluminum pistons in 700R4s and pre-97 4L60Es crack (esp the forward piston)
Updated forward clutch return spring assemblyForward DrumRequired for 97+ bonded pistons
#7 3-4 clutch apply ringForward DrumThe apply ring from a 4L60E is slightly shorter than the #4 or unmarked 700R4 factory equivalent. When paired with a combination of thinner apply and backing plates/support plate and 4L65E spec clutches and flat steels will allow for additional clutches and steels in the 3-4, providing for a stronger clutch than factory
High energy frictions (3-4 clutch pack)Forward DrumAlways use 4L60E high energy clutches for all rebuilds, at minimum (more specialized clutch discs should be considered if application calls extreme duty/spec frictions)
29-Element sprag assemblyForward DrumApplies to 82-87 700R4s

Install the updated 29-element sprag from 87+ units for greater strength/reliability over the original 24 element sprag or, in the case of very early units, the 7-element roller clutch

The entire sprag gear assembly must be updated if unit is pre-1988

If so equipped, replace existing sprag clutch with new Borg Warner counterpart
Viton seal (input - output shaft junction)Forward DrumInstall a 4L60E rubber/viton style seal in this location in the forward drum

Never use the plastic input-output shaft junction seal that comes in numerous overhaul kits as they leak
Bushing kitVariousReplace all bushings in the transmission

Install Sonnax 4L60E teflon coated bushings for the pump body, rear stator bushing and extension housing bushing if available
Low reverse tubular steelsLow Reverse clutch pack


Machining, Reconditioning and Recommended Assembly Procedures

ProcedureRationale
Pump Working Surfaces (Body and Cover)Machine the pump cover flat to restore it’s working surface to factory new; remove .010” of material

Machine pump body deck by .010 to restore surface to perfectly flat; machine rotor pocket to achieve .0015-.0025 rotor-deck surface clearance and .002.003 slide-to deck surface clearance

Install new vanes, pump rings and teflon parts
Pressure Regulator ValveGrind off the in-board most land all the way around flush to provide the transmission full-time line-to-lube at all throttle positions
Pump Drain BackDrill pump drain back 5/16” to promote more efficient drain back of fluid to the sump (pan)

Applies to 4L60Es as well
4th AccumulatorInstall your old accumulator piston upside down in the case bore with no rubber seal then install a new accumulator piston over top with a perimeter seal - this will provide for a positive, crisp 3-4 upshift

This procedure is equivalent to installing a restrictor that comes in some shift kits

High-stall: Block off 4th accumulator feed in case and leave piston/spring out entirely
Reverse Input DrumTurn reverse input drum surface to remove any warpage - install wide Alto red 2-4 band (band is only a few dollars more than factory band)
Band ClearanceSet band clarence such that band moves about ⅛” movement of band along drum to promote longevity and shift quality
Separator Plate- Drill separator plate hole sizes to .110-.115 for 2-3 feed and 2-3 exhaust for crisper upshifts to 3rd gear

- Drill 3-4 feed hole to .110-.115 for crisper 3-4 upshift

- Drill 1-2 feed hole based on servo piston type and spring used in 1-2 accumulator valve in valve body

Increase above hole sizes incrementally based on increase in converter stall over stock rpm stall speed (1600-1800 RPMs)
Valve Body - Line Bias ValveBlock off line bias valve is high stall/high performance application - use a rod of the appropriate size
Valve body - MTV Upshift valveRemove spring from MTV upshift valve for more optimal shift quality
Valve Body Swap - Vehicles that did not originally come with a 700R4Hot Rods / Resto Mods: Install an 82-86 valve body if your late (88+) 700R4 is intended to be used in a non-computer control application and you do not want to install an electro-hydraulic TCC lock up kit

Install a Super Technologies or Transgo TCC Mechanical Lock up kit in the applicable location in the valve body

Note: You cannot install a late 700R4 valve body onto an early non-auxarily valve body-equipped 700R4 case
GovernorReplace governor gear with new

Governor valve not moving when actuating weights?

Remove governor valve and polish bore w/bench buddy and WD40 to promote better function of the governor and prevent upshift/downshift issues upon overhaul

700R4 Check Ball Location and Descriptions
Source: ATSG Checkball Book, Vol 1
You must be registered for see images attach


Resources:

Throttle Valve Cable set up and adjustment instructions
 
Last edited:

Wannabe

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Awful lot of good information there. I have rebuilt a couple of the 700R4s and somehow they performed great. The guy who was helping me told me that if you can rebuild a 700R4, then you can rebuild any automatic trans
 

NickTransmissions

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Awful lot of good information there. I have rebuilt a couple of the 700R4s and somehow they performed great. The guy who was helping me told me that if you can rebuild a 700R4, then you can rebuild any automatic trans
Agreed...between the C6, TH400 and 700R4, you basically have a preponderance of longitudinal transmissions manufactured between 1964 and 2013 pretty much covered across all of GM, Ford and Dodge vehicles. If you were to also build a German ZF6HP26, you'd be very well prepared to take on any GM 6L or Ford 6R transmission as well.
 

mibars

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Love it! Subscribed to your channel already :)
 

SirRobyn0

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Nick, I've got just shy of 30 years in the general automotive repair field. At one time I would have been interested in rebuilding transmissions, but never got into it and now don't really have the drive. But I do still like to learn about them, I mean the more knowledge one has the better able I'm to make decisions about my own vehicles or give good sound advice to a customer. Or perhaps make an in vehicle repair. I had a guy go though my 700R4 out of my truck last fall and I feel that he did good work for me. But like I said still very interested gaining knowledge still.

May I ask a question, obviously I know this is a squarebody forum, but do you just do GM transmissions or do you get into other makes? If you do other makes could I PM you later about a Dodge 42RH?
 

NickTransmissions

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Nick, I've got just shy of 30 years in the general automotive repair field. At one time I would have been interested in rebuilding transmissions, but never got into it and now don't really have the drive. But I do still like to learn about them, I mean the more knowledge one has the better able I'm to make decisions about my own vehicles or give good sound advice to a customer. Or perhaps make an in vehicle repair. I had a guy go though my 700R4 out of my truck last fall and I feel that he did good work for me. But like I said still very interested gaining knowledge still.

May I ask a question, obviously I know this is a square body forum, but do you just do GM transmissions or do you get into other makes? If you do other makes could I PM you later about a Dodge 42RH?
Hi @SirRobyn0, I rebuild GM, Ford and Dodge transmissions and have plenty of time w/the '40 series' units (42RH, 46RH/RE, 47RE, 48RE) so feel free to PM me later...I most likely won't be able to respond until tomorrow morning but will take a look and get back with you then.
 

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Nick, can I ask some questions about the torque converter lockup specific to these trucks?

So in my truck 1984 C20 305 - 700R4. It's the original transmission from 1984, but last fall was rebuilt and had many of the updates / upgrades done.

So with the factory setup the converter lockup it's capable of locking up in 3rd and overdrive. As soon as it shifts into overdrive it locks the converter. 3rd gear has the standard factory vacuum control, so if I step on it enough in 3rd it'll unlock. So my question, is there anything internal to the transmission that will disconnect the converter clutch? And does the transmission shift from 3rd into overdrive locked up or is there something internal that causes it to unlock during these shifts? And there must be something internal that prevents 2nd gear lockup?

Now that's actually not the way my converter is setup but that is the way it was from the factory as I understand it. I have disconnected the vacuum sensor for 3rd gear lockup and have wired it to a switch which is attached to my shifter. The purpose is so I could have a little more control over lockup when towing and hauling. But of course I do worry a little if I were to forget to turn the converter lock off come to a stop, it seems there is something internal which disconnects it. Anyhow if you could fill me in a little there thanks.
 

NickTransmissions

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Nick, can I ask some questions about the torque converter lockup specific to these trucks?

So in my truck 1984 C20 305 - 700R4. It's the original transmission from 1984, but last fall was rebuilt and had many of the updates / upgrades done.

So with the factory setup the converter lockup it's capable of locking up in 3rd and overdrive. As soon as it shifts into overdrive it locks the converter. 3rd gear has the standard factory vacuum control, so if I step on it enough in 3rd it'll unlock. So my question, is there anything internal to the transmission that will disconnect the converter clutch? And does the transmission shift from 3rd into overdrive locked up or is there something internal that causes it to unlock during these shifts? And there must be something internal that prevents 2nd gear lockup?

Now that's actually not the way my converter is setup but that is the way it was from the factory as I understand it. I have disconnected the vacuum sensor for 3rd gear lockup and have wired it to a switch which is attached to my shifter. The purpose is so I could have a little more control over lockup when towing and hauling. But of course I do worry a little if I were to forget to turn the converter lock off come to a stop, it seems there is something internal which disconnects it. Anyhow if you could fill me in a little there thanks.
Converter unlocks anytime you hit the brakes, accelerate enough and/or the 4th and 3rd gear pressure switch no longer sees a hydraulic pressure signal from the governor (same principle for those models designed to have lock up in second), opens thereby cutting power to the tcc solenoid which then releases the converter clutch. Those pressure switches are normally open (NO) electrically and close when they see fluid pressure to allow current to flow to anything downstream such as the TCC solenoid.

The early 82-86 VBs had four switches and the mechanical TCC lock up valve train which also used hydraulic/mechanical pressure to control lock up and unlocking of the TCC. Later units (88+) had just one for 4th plus a temp switch that sent the pcm temp data which commanded TCC lock up when temps exceeded a certain threshold.

I don't know how you have yours wired specifically beyond integrating the switch but if its all wired correctly, converter should unlock if you slow down enough and/or come to a stop regardless. But if not and you forget, then the truck will remind you by bogging and nearly stalling out, to flip the switch.

Hope that helps.
 

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@NickTransmissions My switch is only takes the place of the vacuum switch, so all other controls, like the brake switch still work to unlock the converter. But just to be clear what you are saying is that the transmission if locked in 3rd, will unlock to shift into overdrive and then relock, and also vice versa. Is that correct. Thanks.
 

NickTransmissions

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@NickTransmissions My switch is only takes the place of the vacuum switch, so all other controls, like the brake switch still work to unlock the converter. But just to be clear what you are saying is that the transmission if locked in 3rd, will unlock to shift into overdrive and then relock, and also vice versa. Is that correct. Thanks.
Yes, it shouldn't be shifting while TCC is locked up...TCC applies while in third, unlocks once you accelerate sufficiently -->shift to 4th--> TCC applies while in 4th. Downshift TCC apply strategy is the same.

Are you having issues w/your TCC lock up or just wanting to know more about how it all works?
 

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