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Thread: Transmission Swap

  1. #1

    Default Transmission Swap

    New to the forum here, so please be nice!

    Van in question is a '95 APV with the 3.8 and 4t60-E transmission. The transmission bit the dust so I'm in the process of swapping in another one. I had found a freshly rebuilt from a '95 Olds Silhouette but the guy sold it out from under me. I'm now in the hunt for another one. All I've been able to locate are higher mileage used ones so I don't want to find myself in the same situation again in a short period of time. Rebuilding the current one is not in the budget either.

    Am I locked into only using the "correct" interchange? That being the '94-95 Olds/Pontiac/Chevy van transmission? GM used the 4T60-E in so many other applications. I am hoping I can find a lower mileage tranny from another application that would also work fine.

    Thanks!



  2. #2
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    Yes, I think you need the correct one for a direct swap. When the tranny died on my mother's '95, I bought a used one that the junkyard said was "correct". After installation, I found out the tranny was a different year or something and it would only work in a couple gears because of it. It would have worked if several parts were transferred from the original tranny, but I opted to find the correct one.
    -Andy

    '86 Eurosport VR coupe
    '86 Eurosport sedan
    '88 Eurosport VR coupe
    '89 Eurosport wagon

  3. #3
    Senior Member Duke George V's Avatar
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    Yeah, it basically has to be from a 94-95 van. I think it's because the PCMs are unique for those model years
    Daniel
    Kaiser George IX: 1996 Buick Century Special wagon. 214-SFI. 201k miles. Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down. Transmission time, again. First documented LX9 swap in an A-body! Click here to read my build thread!
    Goldilocks: 1992 Buick Century Special sedan. 204-MFI. 132k miles. Current DD.
    Susana: 1993 Buick Century Custom wagon. 204-MFI. 121k miles. Garage ornament. Waiting for an LR4.

  4. #4

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    Even if the chips were swapped too huh?

    86Euro, what parts would have made the non-interchange work properly?

  5. #5
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    I don't remember exactly. I think it was the internal solenoids and wiring harness, maybe something else too.
    -Andy

    '86 Eurosport VR coupe
    '86 Eurosport sedan
    '88 Eurosport VR coupe
    '89 Eurosport wagon

  6. #6

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    I know the interchange list can be overly specific at times where parts have to be EXACT matches. As an example, I'm very much into the old generation Saabs (pre-GM). If I need a transmission for a car and look at the interchange, it will show I can only use maybe 1-2 years worth of transmissions. However, I can actually use 25 years worth. While there may be slight internal difference such as gear ratio or inner drivers or bearings, they are perfectly usable for a swap. The reason for my original question was based on that premise....if another vehicle could be used as a donor where the only differences may be gear ratio or internal bearing or something unimportant in the grand scheme of things. (I do realize the computer in the van is more important than my Saab example)

  7. #7
    Senior Member Duke George V's Avatar
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    We're not saying the transmission has to be for a '94-95 van just to be pedantic. '94 and '95 are unique in that they have programming that other years don't. Those years were "transitional" for the computers, in that they have qualities of both the older OBD1 protocols and the then-upcoming OBD2. They're notoriously difficult to reprogram. If it were older or newer, it wouldn't be a problem—use whatever year or final drive ratio you want and just reprogram the PCM.
    Daniel
    Kaiser George IX: 1996 Buick Century Special wagon. 214-SFI. 201k miles. Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down. Transmission time, again. First documented LX9 swap in an A-body! Click here to read my build thread!
    Goldilocks: 1992 Buick Century Special sedan. 204-MFI. 132k miles. Current DD.
    Susana: 1993 Buick Century Custom wagon. 204-MFI. 121k miles. Garage ornament. Waiting for an LR4.

  8. #8
    Senior Member turbokinetic's Avatar
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    To work 100% properly with original programming; you need to have the same type internal wiring harness, same type PRNDL switch (goes on the shaft below the shift cable lever), same chain ratio, and same final drive ratio.

    The PRNDL switch is very easy to swap.
    The internal harness and switches are easy to swap.
    The final drive is easy to swap.
    The torque converter is very easy to swap.
    The chain requires a complete teardown to swap.

    The wiring harness and switches are more or less year-model specific. If you get a transmission from any 94-95 model application it is 99% likely to have the correct internal wiring.

    If the ratios are not what the PCM expects, it will probably work for a little while, then the check engine light will come on. After that it will start and stay in third gear until the system is reset.

    Hope this helps. I've done alot of transmission work!
    Later,
    David

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  9. #9
    Senior Member SexySilhouette's Avatar
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    Lumina van 94-95 a.t.; 4t60e

    silhouette 94 a.t.; 4t60e

    silhouette 95 a.t.

    Trans sport 94-95 a.t.; 4t60e
    Jay

  10. #10
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    This is going to get interesting to answer...

    You are not locked into a 94-95 Trans... The 3.06 Ratio ( FW2 ) 4T60E was produced through the 1997 Model year... For 1997 the H bodies still used the 4T60E unless Supercharged..

    IIRC 96-97 3.06 should actually be plug and play for you, but there may be a possibility that you may need to swap out the internal Harness... Only issue you would have with a 96-97 Trans is that the reluctor on the Diff for the VSS is a 30 count where the 94-95 is a 31 count... This will actually leave you think you doing 60 MPH when you are really doing 62-63

    As for the Park Safety switch, you will simply install your current one if you use a newer trans...

    I know for sure that 96-97 4T60E's used a Carbon clutch, not sure about 94-95... The good thing is that you can use a newer trans and torque converter both will function fine with the PWM Strategy of the 94-95 Vans..


    What you see here is a 1997 3.06 Trans, being that the trans was newer then the car( 1993 Buick LeSabre ) I had to use the 93 internal wiring harness as they were wires differently and had no Temp sensor, I also had to install the 93 Park Switch...


    You could use a 91-93 3.06 Trans, but I recommend that you use the newer unit if at all possible as the 96-97 had some decent updates...

    I would get into swapping diffs to make everything work but for the 60E GM changed the gear Pitch too many times in a short span...

    On a Small note I rebuilt my 4T60E over 2 years ago, roughly 20-25k on the rebuild... What I found was a bad reverse reaction( almost stripped ), cooked clutch packs, worn 4th input hub assembly, some of the steels were blue as well as a galled pump... Come to find out it was an overall poor rebuild... I don't know everything about theses transmissions but its amazing what you can learn by rebuilding a couple...lol

    If you have any more questions please feel free to ask..
    Last edited by Jr's3800; 08-15-2010 at 06:10 PM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member turbokinetic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jr's3800 View Post
    This is going to get interesting to answer..
    Thanks for adding to this - you have more info on the new-ish transmissions than I do!

    David

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  12. #12
    Senior Member turbokinetic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jr's3800 View Post
    Please Delete
    Click "EDIT" then when the editor box opens, there is a DELETE option at the bottom near the "POST" "ADVANCED" and "CANCEL" buttons.

  13. #13
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    That worked... Thanks David...

    On my 4T60E rebuild I used a battery of odd parts... I used a Complete 96 Valve Body/Pump as the original was a mess of scars... The Pump was the main mode of failure that took everything else with it... I used some other internal parts from the newer style trans as well.. Its neat what you can mix and match on these transmissions and have them function 100%, and the older units can be upgraded with the newer parts...

    I need to build one more Trans and then toss the other case as its cracked...

    But for the OP, I would look for a 3.06 trans from 94-97...

    And if you were to pull that trans would you be willing to sell the 3.06 Diff?

  14. #14
    Senior Member mechanizeddeath's Avatar
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    lol... I'm so used to the traditional "bell" shape of a longitudinal mount that at first I was confused as to what you were showing there. Go ahead and laugh at me, I did when I realized it was a FWD transmission.

    Only thing I can add to this is that these "non-exact" swaps are completely possible, sometimes even from completely different makes. I had an older Subaru with the 4EAT transmission that needed replacing, and apparently that transmission could be sourced from the much more common Nissan Pathfinder, though it wasn't a drop in replacement. Even a few Ford vehicles used a unit based on the original design, but I never pursued that option enough to figure out how big the differences were. Anyway., it's all about knowing what your options are.
    Oldsmobile Quality. Feel It.

  15. #15

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    Thanks guys, this is a world of information and I'm attempting to digest it.

    Jr., you're saying I might be able to plug and play a '96-97 trans, but the only issue may be in the speedometer being off? Is there any way to verify that? Worst case the internal harness would need to be swapped? Not to sound like a complete moron (I'm in actuality only a partial moron), how difficult is that? What about the issue that Turbokinetic brought up about the PCM not recognizing the "wrong" transmission properly?

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