Please Help me Choose Transmission Repair 1992 Chevy G20 5.7 v8


#1

I have a 1992 chevy G20 sportsvan (regency conversion) 5.7 v8. The service manual that I bought says that it has a GM Hydra-Matic 4L80-E RWD auto transmission (4 forward ranges including overdrive). I need a new one (before you ask me why I think I do? I’ve been over that with other mechanics, but i can repeat it again later if you want). Parkway Automotive, Arkansas mechanic is trying to push me to go with Jasper. When I do the “vehicle owner price search” on Jasper’s website, however, they are trying to push me to select a 700-R4/4L60? What’s that about? I asked Parkway for a quote; they will do everything for $3,377.78 (which includes a $2,125 Jasper package [$240 core included, and seemingly the cooler kit, cooler flush, and core charge included as well], and a $290 charge for what they are calling the "Premium Package from Jasper Engines [which the jasper website says is only $40 (tow/rental car]. After all of my research, I want a 4L80E. I need Advice on model & price? thx!


#2

Why can’t you have that transmission rebuilt? I had a 700-R4 rebuilt for $1500.


#3

Is this shop a place that specifically specializes in transmissions? Transmission work is a specialty within the auto field and going to a general auto repair place for your transmission is kind of like asking a family doctor to deal with cancer. Most auto repair places do not work on transmissions, nor do they have people in staff who are experts in transmission-related repairs. All they would know to do is pull out one transmission and put in another one. Personally, I would rather be at a locally owned, independent shop that mostly does transmission work.

On the general question about whether or not a 4L60 can go in place of a 4L80, I can’t say, but my understanding (but I’m an amateur!) is that the 80 is the heavier-duty of the two. I’d be thinking exactly what you are, but I’d also be at an actual trustworthy transmission shop.


#4

@ledelle

Here’s a bit of advice

Ask the shop to crawl underneath the van and identify what transmission you have before giving you a quote.

The 700R4/4L60 has a completely different pan than the 4L80

If they won’t do that, you need to go elsewhere

If the shop says you have a 4L80, but they try to sell you a 4L80, you need to go elsewhere

Is the van in excellent condition?

Do you take it on a lot of long trips?

Do you plan on keeping it for awhile?

My point is this . . . is the van worth a Jasper transmission?


#5

Agree with @db4690. I think a second or even third opinion is needed here.


#6

Thank you everyone for your comments and help. Yes, the van (his name is Freedom Fire) is worth everything that i do to it, bcz i want to keep it forever, learn it & renovate it from the ground up, and eventually travel across the U.S. with it and camp/live for a while. No rush on this bcz i’m in college for another 3-4 years, and also bcz my money/earnings is/are coming slowly. I have done some research on the different looks btw the 4L60 & 4L80, and now I can tell the difference. So I will be crawling under there myself later today and find out for sure. No, this place (Parkway Automotive) is not a transmission specialist. But since I want to do a lot of work on this van, I need to find a local shop that I can build a rapport with. One that I can trust to 1) not rip me off bcz i’m a girl, and 2) to do quality repair. Okay, I will locate some transmission places and get the 2nd & 3rd opinions. As far as the rebuild idea goes, i wanted to get a new one so that i have the 3YR warranty. And, definitely if they are trying to sell me the 4L60 when I need the 4L80, I will be going elsewhere, but first give them a little piece of my mind bcz when i talked to him on the phone i specifically told him 1) and 2) above. Thanks again, everyone. :slight_smile:


#7

Just take it to an ATRA member repair shop and have it rebuilt or else get a new GM trans and have it installed. A new one will have a long warranty and are not that more expensive. I don’t know about jasper, but the only guy that ever screwed me on a transmission sells jasper stuff.


#8

From what I remember 4l60 is car tranny (for speed/lighter) and 4l80 is truck/van tranny (for towing/load/heavier). Its like those GM engines. The car engine are made of aluminum and the truck/van made of iron.


#9

How many lug nuts are there on each wheel. If there are 5, you have a 4L60/700R4. If you have 8 you have a 1-ton van and a 4L80. You can’t just take out a 4L60 an put a 4L80 in place of it.

Jasper is a nationwide company that rebuilds engines and transmissions and ships them to independent shops for installation. I would prefer to use a local independent transmission specialist. I would also check with your local Chevy dealer for a price for a factory rebuilt unit installed. You might be surprised.


#10

While I understand you want to build a relationship with a shop, this isn’t the job for that. As noted, transmission work is much better done by a specialist. But not a chain, are there independent transmission shops in your area?


#11

wow! you were so right about the number of lug nuts. i was surprised. okay, so, i finally got under there and checked out the tranny. it IS actually a 4L60! (and i have 5 lug nuts on each wheel). i know that i have a 3/4 ton van. i was so excited about the idea of the 4L80 tho bcz of it’s power. and thought that since the van has an overdrive gear, and is equipped with all of the gear for hauling a trailer or anything behind it (including the electrical set ups), i just assumed that it had the higher-powered tranny. i should have looked at my manual better (it’s pretty intense!). now i feel kind of ashamed. haha :smiley: Thanks again for all of this help. Okay, i understand that this isn’t the job for building a relationship with a typical shop. although, if i were to get a brand new trans or rebuilt from a chevy dealer, then from what i’ve read, the install is pretty easy for a good mechanic (the quote i was given for labor was $495, though–is that too much?). i understand that a rebuild, however, should be done by a specialist. yes, there are some independent transmission shops in my area (but further away, so the tow cost will be a lot more), but they list some prices on their websites that are about the same as the $3,000 figure that i’m working with so far. i’ll keep looking. also, about Jasper. almost all of the reviews that i read about their engines were negative (couldn’t find many reviews on their transmissions, specifically), and basically said that the company was trying to go on their brand name rather than quality assurance. this sure is fun. and, again, i’m in no hurry with this; especially since ~$3,000 is a lot of money to me! thanks again.


#12

@ledelle

$495 to install a transmission sounds quite fair to me. Labor costs are probably around $100 per hour in your area. And this is a very straightforward type of repair.

Here’s something else to consider . . . if your transmission failed catastrophically, it might be wise to have the trans cooler, lines and torque converter flushed. It’ll ensure the new transmission has a long and healthy life


#13

ok db4690! this is great advice! now i feel good about the labor price. and i will add “trans cooler, lines and torque converter flushed” to my list of points. however, those elements were included in the list of things that jasper spit out at me when i did their online vehicle owner quote search. but i will be sure to drop these terms whenever i speak in the future to any potential mechanic. yes, the lines that i saw when i looked at my current transmission are all brittle, filthy, and wet with transmission oil/fluid. and small dirty fluid droplets are also along the outside edge of the pan. maybe i should put some cardboard or something under it to absorb it from the pavement. the puddle now is about the size of a can of copenhagen. the van has been sitting in my parking space for about five months now. but it rained really hard yesterday. i will keep my eye on the spot to see how much it grows. thank you!


#14

(and, yes, it did fail catastrophically.)


#15

You want a new torque converter. No need to flush the old one. TCs are likely points of failure and spew the shavings through the transmission and ruin it. You don’t want to go to all that work and put the old TC in for a hundred or so dollars. Absolutely on the cooler flush although some don’t bother if its the in the radiator cooler and just mount a new one on the front of the radiator. Double clamp the hoses for sure etc. if you do that.


#16

Thanks, Bing. Yeah, I will make sure that a new torque converter is part of any new transmission package that i eventually agree to. And i also have a coolant system problem which is part of this overall problem, and i explained to Parkway (and will to all future mechanics that i call for a quote) that i need it fixed in conjunction with the transmission. (This is another reason why I wanted to get this all done at the same shop.) I will be sure to learn about the cooler flush idea and ensure that it is done by my ultimate mechanic, and to double clamp the hoses if a new one is mounted onto my radiator front. I will look through my manual to see if I can find out where this is located.

I actually sent an email to the Parkway Automotive guy who gave me the quote that I mentioned in my initial post here. Here is a copy:

“Thank you, A.J., for your time, energy and help. I definitely do not want a used transmission. I need a 3YR warranty. This email is also a response to the quote that you sent me for the Jasper reman.
I like your price quote on labor. However, all of my research and advice gathering from the Car Talk Community leads my mind away from Jasper, and toward a New Transmission directly from GM. Can you give me a quote on that scenario? I need a new GM 4L60-E (not a 700R4) (directly from GM). I also need to be sure that the job includes (just as the jasper would–i did a manual vehicle owner price quote from their website) a complete flushing of the transmission cooler, lines, and torque converter to ensure the longest possible life of the new transmission. I also want to keep all of the old parts so that i can figure out how it works and try to rebuild it.”

Unfortunately, i sent this email before Bing told me that the TC flush was only for an old one. The reason why i wrote “(not a 700R4)” is bcz i read that that the 4L60E is actually an improved evolution of the 700R4, and that even tho they do have some interchangeable parts, the pump and valve body are different.

Something that I have been meaning to tell you guys is that when i first got the van a March, 2012 and took it to a local mechanic in sheridan, AR to get the oil change/tune up, an older guy who was hanging out in the shop heard me mention my vehicle model and the word “transmission” and said, “bullet proof”. I’ll never forget that. And i’ve read recently various others mention that the GM 4L60E is one of the best auto trans ever made. I want to restore my transmission back to the bullet proof status.

Freedom Fire - BulletProof!


#17

@ledelle

If your transmission cooler lines look questionable, just have them replaced at the time of the transmission replacement. Very easy to do

If you don’t mind me asking, how many miles on the van?

The good thing about a genuine GM rebuilt transmission, is that it should have all of the updates and improvements. There have been a few since 1992

As long as you don’t tow anything heavy with the van, the new 4L60E should be fine


#18

Well, @db4690, see that’s the thing (re: “anything heavy with the van”). I wanted to eventually pull something behind it (like a small camper or open-bed trailer) using all of the gear that it is already set up for (trailer hitch, electrical sockets, and some large black rectangular container thing next to the steering wheel, which i think has something to do with the brake element for a haul)<–and this was why i originally assumed that it had the heavier-duty 4L80, and why i was surprised to discover that it currently has a 4L60.

As far as how many miles are on it–i’ve stopped even looking at the odometer. So, i would say that it is maxed out. I bought it for $850 in March of 2012 (and when i bought it, i figured i could recover most of the money if i ever needed to by selling it for scrap). The van did what i needed it to do at the time of purchase, and for as long as i needed it to do it. I eventually want to put all new everything in it. My Life-Love-Project. One day, I will have a place of my own with a workshop.


#19

@ledelle

Can you define . . . as in weight . . . what you consider a small camper or open-bed trailer to be?

Do you know what your gross combined vehicle weight rating is?

This is also known as GCVWR, if that helps

That should help you figure out if you’ll be okay, or if you’ll be pushing the limits


#20

Let me add this…your van is a half-ton van, not a 3/4 ton. True, the designations 10, 20, and 30 for years meant 1/2, 3/4, and 1 ton respectively, for GM vans, pickups and Suburbans. However, the G series vans that were beyond the short wheelbase and were optioned with V8 drivetrains and all the options had a gross (loaded) vehicle weight that was higher than that allowed for the 1/2 ton series. Hence your van may be registered and titled as a 3/4 ton due to the “20” designation, but the chassis and running gear is identical to the 1/2 ton series. Hence the 5 lugs on the wheels. The transmission for your van is no more robust than that in my 1/2 Chevy pickup.

Don’t believe me? Look up a front brake rotor for a 92 G10 van and a G20 van. They are the same part number.

Keep this in mind as you plan your towing and hauling.