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Which 4L80e do I need?

Discussion in 'Tech Discussion' started by 1989 R3500, Aug 20, 2020.

  1. 1989 R3500

    1989 R3500 Junior Member

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    Christian
    Truck Year:
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    Engine Size:
    454
    I am wanting to start looking for a 4L80e transmission for my 1 Ton Dually. I have a TH400 right now that needs to be gone through. Might as well go up to an extra gear since I'm doing a lot of travelling.

    Mine is a 454 TBI and the Dana 70hd rear end. I'd like to find a good core but don't know which years will work for my truck.

    Anyone done it? What does a rebuild cost ballpark?
     
  2. Dave M

    Dave M Full Access Member

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    Good question, I'm interested in this also, but I'm curious as to options of transmission controllers.
     
  3. pduffyd

    pduffyd Full Access Member

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    Hi R3500.
    Im doing the same for my 75 C20 right now, with a 454.
    Not many to choose from in Australia! But for you there should be plenty.

    Doesn't really matter if its a carb or tbi.
    Might want to look for a replacement computer for a manual setup for the engine management side, or maybe just a chip change, as the basic computer in your truck can't control a 4l80e, and I don't know what feedback if any it got from the th400.

    Anyway the later the better on the 4l80e, at least 98 up as they have the rear oil return, and other updates done inside.
    There are loads of controllers out there for them, I'm probably going to go for a quick shift 2 or maybe 4. The 4 gives upto 4 different selectable program settings for shift points, and pressures or speeds. Good for different 4x4 applications like 4 lo, or 4 hi, or 2 hi, or hauling?
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2020
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  4. militaryjeep

    militaryjeep Full Access Member

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    First Name:
    steve
    Truck Year:
    1986
    Truck Model:
    Suburban K20
    Engine Size:
    5.7
    I got a fully Rebuilt Transmission from a late chevy rebuilt including the core charge for $1500. Your mileage may vary!

    I have to say out of the 20 or so square bodies I have owned over the years, this was by far the best upgrade I have ever done. Makes driving a 86 Suburban a real pleasure. Check out my build thread in the Under Construction subforum. (Crusty 86 Saba)

    I went with the TCI (fast) EZ-TCU transmission controller, maybe one of the highest priced units out there but that is what my transmission shop recommended and very happy with it so far. Easy hook up and programming it for my grandpa driving style was easy.
    After I got the programming dialed in, I have seen no need to tweak it further.
    I went with their remote cable TPS sensor and it plugged right into the bracket where the TH400 kickdown cable mounted. Super easy to install.
    Hardest part of the install was getting the shift linkage set up. I cobbled together bits from several different years until I came up with something that worked. No need to change the column. Just order the 4 speed shift indicator from a 1991 and it is easy to change.
    You might be able to find a linkage set from a 4 speed truck but it depends on the wrecking yards in your area.
    Transfer case linkage was easy, 2 little welds and extend the wiring harness for the indicator.
    Driveshafts needed to be rebuilt anyway so front was lengthened and rear was shortened. I gave the static measurements to the driveline shop and left the lengths up to him. All bolted in easy.
     
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  5. 1989 R3500

    1989 R3500 Junior Member

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    Thank You for the replies gentleman. I am going to be converting the intake and TBI back to the dual plane/Holley carb set up that I have. I have the HEI already as well.

    My truck is the 2WD Dually so no transfer case to mess with. I read that there are an array of controller options as you stated. I too will go with the better quality TCI. I don't like to buy things twice.

    The install sounds easy enough. I was just concerned about length of the 4L80 vs. the TH400 length. Will I have to have my drive shaft lengthened etc.

    I have heard as well that it is a upgrade well worth the money. I missed a 4L80 on CL today for $150. Out of a 2007 Chevy 1 ton.

    Should have gone and picked it up either way. I'll start looking. Or I may just go to Summit and buy whichever one that I need. For what I have in the truck I can afford to spend the money there. They have a bunch of different ones. Not sure which one best suits my needs. Guess I'll check with their tech line.
     
  6. climb-101

    climb-101 Full Access Member

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    if your getting the trans rebuilt, have them add the 2nd speed sensor and tone ring in it if it’s a 4x4 trans.
     
  7. Salty Crusty

    Salty Crusty Full Access Member

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    Coolant line hookups are the main differences. I visited with a very knowledgeable 4L80E and he pretty much dismissed the "upgrade" that GM did with moving one of the lines back. He said they couldn't tell a bit of difference in several they've worked on. Front hookups are easier, some have had to make slight mods to the tunnel with a BFH to give better access to that rear connector.

    For higher performance, they actually prefer the early ones for build-ups.
     
  8. Matt69olds

    Matt69olds Full Access Member

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    This!!! I built a 4L80 for a friend of a friend about 6 months ago I’m not sure who forgot to tell me that they needed it converted from 4x4 to a 2wd. Crap, tear it back down, swap output shafts and extension housing. When I took out the dummy plug for the output speed sensor I noticed there were no tone wheel teeth. Crap, crap,crap! Tear into it again to swap the carrier for one with a tone wheel. Finally got everything done, he picked it up and all was well. Until he called a couple days later to tell me the trans fell off the trans jack. Cracked the case all around the bellhousing and into the pump bore. Swapped everything onto another case. I was really happy to hear he got it installed and programmed and working well


    He swapped the 4L80 into a 75 crew cab dually. Other than moving the trans crossmember back a little, and having a driveshaft made, he didn’t have to do anything else to the truck. He used a controller from US Shift, all the programming can be done thru your phone via Bluetooth. I don’t know all that much about it, other than he said you can add a tow/haul button (with separate calibration for towing) and a speedometer reading on your phone. Last I heard,he was looking to add a speedo head from a later truck or van that was capable of reading the signal from the vsss
     
  9. Matt69olds

    Matt69olds Full Access Member

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    I have heard the same. The early 4L80 are very similar to the 400 (many parts are a direct interchange) the 400 didn’t have problems with planetary wear, even behind engines making far more power the the HydraMatic engineers ever imagined. I don’t really understand why they felt the center lube models were needed? The 400 is a very proven design, as is the early 4L80. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!!
     
  10. Ricko1966

    Ricko1966 Full Access Member

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    II got lucky when I bought my donor, I did not know this going in but learned after buying my donor. 91, 92, and 93 maybe more 6.2 diesel truck 4l80s had a stand alone tcm and transmission harness.Sorry don't know more years and models I got this one by accident.Thats the route I'm using, also found out the 4l80 can be shifted with toggle switches that's how I got the donor home from Columbia MO. Downside of that is it's running full line pressure all the time, the cheap controllers are also running full line pressure constantly which bothers me. Another option I would consider is. vacuum modulate line pressure and manually shift it or shift with toggle switches.
     
  11. Matt69olds

    Matt69olds Full Access Member

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    You can easily convert a 4L80 to manual shift using the internal pressure switch manifold. You will still need a switch to lock the converter, and a switch ignition power wire run to the trans connector. As you mentioned, the trans is at full line pressure all the time, but as long as your using a factory pressure regulator spring in the pump it’s not really that big a deal.

    There are some YouTube videos describing the internal modifications needed to convert to manual. If you can spline a couple wires together reliably then it’s pretty easy.




     
  12. TPISly-C10

    TPISly-C10 Full Access Member

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    98 up is best for 4L80E! found this 2006 all include torq,protector cover for $198 tax in at a local Kenny U Pull! ;) (and $45 for the cruise control unit loll) :D

    _DSC3916.jpg
     
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  13. gmc2u

    gmc2u Junior Member

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    FWIW 4L80 torque converters from 454 & Diesel engine are the same. Ones from behind 350 or 5.7 will physically fit but will have a higher stall speed. 1991 & 92 transmissions will NOT work with most aftermarket controllers. A steering column from a truck originally equipped with a 700R4 can be made to work easily. Just some tips to help. If I’m wrong about anything somebody let me know
     

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