|12-11-2011, 07:48 PM||#1|
DIY: 4L80-e complete swap guide. (With part #s)
Stay tuned as this guide is put together.
This should cover everything the average joe would need to install a 4L80-E into their late model camaro. The 4L80-E being a much stronger, truck-derived transmission used to make lots of horsepower to the ground with a large degree of reliability versus the 6L80 junk. The parts listed are the parts I personally used. There are other, similar parts that also may work.
4l80-E - Transmission, I have a stage 2 4l80-E from Jake's Performance - You want a 91-96 core for easy to access transmission cooler locations. The later cases have them in a different spot. There is no strength difference.
4l80-E LS Flexplate - TCI part #399754 – SFI rated, comes with TC bolts and pilot spacer.
Torque Converter - 4L80-e specific, your 6L80 converter will not work. I recommend Circle-D.
4l80-E Swap Driveshaft – Driveshaft Shop makes these (Call to order). They have the measurements for any possible rearend combo you may have (Stock, 9 inch, Lingenfelter, etc). Reasonable prices, too.
4l80-E transmission crossmember adapter plate – Bolted/attached to factory crossmember so you can use the factory crossmember with the 4L80. Call Andy@ ADM Performance to order. Alternately, Fast Motorsports offers a fantastic fabricated 4L80 mount with integrated driveshaft loop. It is pricy, however. This is what I upgraded to from the ADM plate, for a few pounds of weight savings and the integrated driveshaft loop.
Manual trans crossmember for ADM plate - Necessary only if you are coming from an automatic car. Manuals already have this. GM Part #92200277
Transmission mount – Goes between trans and adapter plate. Energy suspension part #3-1108R
Shifter & Shift Linkage – Necessary if coming from a M6 tranny. A6 can use stock parts, GM Part #s 92225839(shifter) and 92234745 (linkage)
Shifter mod - to add a 2 gate, or a 2 and 1 gate to the factory shifter.
Shift Knob - The damn shifter assy doesn't come with a knob. I scored a used one on here for $35, but you might have to order one. GM # 92213916
Transmission controller – PCS, Optishift, or FAST. I have an Optishift/US Shift controller from Jake's Performance
Alternatively, PCM of NC now offers a plug and play swap harness, that will let your factory computer control a 4L80 transmission, a good option for those that don't want to deal with a separate transmission controller.
Transmission dipstick tube & dipstick – GM part #s 15832205 and 15183801 or 36 inch Lokar Flexible Dipstick for 4L80e
Transmission Neutral Safety Switch - #74410A or equivalent 4L60/80 switch (Required to turn on backup lights in reverse gear)
I recommend GMpartshouse or Scoggin-Dickey for ordering your GM parts. They are both vendors here. I am not being paid for any endorsements of companies in this thread, I simply am listing whats out there and who is a quality vendor that I know makes quality parts.
Transmission Cooler Parts
AER-FBM4412 -06AN FITTING-BLACK * 2ea (6 AN Hose to Trans cooler)
AER-FBM4432 -06AN FITTING 90 DEG BLACK * 2ea (6 AN Hose to Trans)
AER-FBM5013 -06AN ADAPTER BLACK * 2ea (Adapter to 6AN for cooler)
RUS-640520 TRANSMISSION FITTINGS PAIR * 1ea (Trans case to 6AN, 2 included in box)
BMM-70274 B&M SUPERCOOLER (Cooler)
SUM-230620 S.S. HOSE -6AN 20FT (20 feet of stainless braided -6an hose, you'll have extra)
Teflon thread sealant for an fittings and cooler lines (Recommend GM sealant part #12346004)
Lots of beer
Safety glasses (grinding)
Spray paint primer for spraying metal you cut on the chassis to prevent rust
Medium/Large rubber washers or grommets (optional, to go behind the transmission cooler for shock absorption)
Lots and lots of auto transmission fluid - You've got to fill the new TC, the transmission itself, and the trans cooler. Plan on at least a case. Any ol' dexron 3/4 is fine.
COMPUTER TUNE - YOU WILL HAVE TO REMOVE ALL M6 CODES FROM THE COMPUTER AND DELETE CLUTCH PEDAL INTERLOCK CHECK TO BE ABLE TO CRANK THE CAR. 6L80 AUTO CARS WILL HAVE TO FLASH AN M6 TUNE TO THEIR PCM FOR THIS TRANSMISSION TO WORK PROPERLY WITH A STANDALONE CONTROLLER. THE 4L80E IS NOT COMPATIBLE WITH THE GM AUTO TUNE.
Case of Trans fluid
1 1/4" Grommet (Or similar size to plug hole for Trans Computer harness to route into car)
1 1/4 holesaw blade (or similar size make hole for Trans Computer harness to route into car)
Metric & Standard Sockets, usual sizes (10, 11, 13, 15), 5/8 for transmission mount bolts
Metric wrenches (Go buy a ratchet wrench set if you don't have one... you'll thank me later)
Standard wrenches or AN wrenches (for -an fittings)
10MM Allen Hex Key
6MM Allen Hex Key
A buddy (or two) for getting trans up/down and onto the trans jack.
Floor Jack and four jackstands or lift.
Drill & 3/8" drill bit.
Air Compressor for the below tools
Die grinder with cutoff wheels
Air hammer (optional, recommended)
Oxy Torch or Plasma Cutter (optional and preferred, in lieu of the cutting tools listed above, but many folks dont have these in their garage. I dont)
Sawzall (can sub the angle grinder for sawzall, but sawzall is optimal) for cutting trans ears.
3LB sledgehammer or other heavy hitting device and Cold Chisel OR Chopsaw (for cutting cooler lines)
Silicone grease (for lubing -an fittings and line assembly)
Deep Pan - It is completely optional, but I do recommend a deep trans pan, made of cast Aluminium. The deep pans aid in cooling, hold more fluid, and are much, much stiffer then the cheap stamped pans the 4L80s ship with. I was fighting leaks with my factory pan, and I later upgraded to a TCI #278000 pan and am very satisfied with it, as well as the leaks being stopped.
Last edited by DietCoke; 03-01-2014 at 01:24 AM.
|12-11-2011, 07:49 PM||#2|
This guide is going to assume you have completely removed your factory transmission and driveshaft. If you aren't capable of doing that without a guide, you have no business attempting this swap on your own. This guide also covers installing a large aftermarket transmission cooler. It will completely bypass/ignore the stock transmission cooler. If that is the route you are going to take (and that I recommend) you can go ahead and also remove your factory transmission lines from the radiator to the transmission as we will be using/building bigger and better new ones.
First step: Building the crossmember.
Take your adapter plate from ADM and install it onto the factory crossmember with the included bolts. It should look like this
I recommend you go ahead and trim the backside of the plate to the backside of the crossmember as pictured. Mine was barely contacting the pan, and would have caused issues. The only catch is this crossmember is extremely strong steel. You may have to take it to a shop to have it cut for you. Bolt it up, mark the protruding area, and remove it so you can see where you need to cut. This MAY not be necessary, but it doesn't hurt anything, so you might as well go ahead and do it just in case.
Next we will move on to the 4L80-e itself.
Since we're already clearancing the transmission, we're going to also clearance a part that will give us some trouble later. It is much easier out of the car then under the car . Hit the threaded hole with an angle grinder and take roughly 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch off of it (more isnt going to hurt anything) and beat in the transmission pan lip as shown in the picture. This will create necessary clearance with the passenger side frame rail (it is very very tight under the car)
This is what it should look like once you've ground down the threaded hole. Also notice the transmission pan is trimmed next to the threaded hole. Go ahead and do this as well.
This is what the transmission sides should look like once they are narrowed/trimmed.
Now, go ahead and remove the factory trans fluid cooler fittings from the side of the case, and install the RUS-640520 fittings into the transmission case as pictured below with the copper washers. Take care not to overtighten and break the copper washers, they're designed to crush. USE THREAD SEALANT OR LOCTITE
Go ahead and install the Energy #3-1108R mount to the transmission.
At this point, the transmission is ready for the torque converter, and to be bolted to the engine. Set it aside.
(Again, assuming your factory stuff is removed)
Take the flexplate new bolts out of your TCI flexplate box. They should have loctite on them already. If not, add loctite generously. Factory manual calls for torquing them in three steps to 74 ft/lbs. 15/37/74 ft/lbs. This makes sure the flexplate seats even on the crankshaft. You will need some way to hold the prevent the engine from turning while you tighten these. I used a screwdriver in one of the teeth against the starter. You can also get a locking tool if you're so inclined, but its not a big deal. Whatever works. SFI sticker should be facing the transmission side, not the engine.
Next, since you're already under the car tightening the flexplate, go ahead and remove the large heatshield. (No, your car won't burn down or get hot, it's main purpose is sound deadening)
Before we move onto the notch cutting for the transmission plug, we're going to go ahead and R&R the shifter (guys coming from manual setups) with the factory auto shifter. It is very simple. First, remove your manual shifter, then just bolt the auto shifter assembly in its place. I removed the plastic PRNDM gate, and just reused the leather manual shift boot for aesthetic purposes. You can do what you please. I don't have detailed pictures of this, but its pretty self explanatory how to install the shifter once you look at it. Goes in same place as the factory one. Automatic guys can skip this step.
I modded my stock shifter to have an additional "2" and "1" gate instead of just P-R-N-D-3, it now goes P-R-N-D-3-2-1. The detents exist for 2 and 1 from the factory, but the issue is that the shifter is molded to stop at "3".
I have included a link (CLICK) to a how-to for this excellent shifter mod courtesy of CFD.
Once the shifter is bolted in place, manual guys need to remove the brake pedal lockout on the shifter. I didn't take any pictures of this step, but if you look at the mechanism on the shifter, you can see what locks it into park (it has wiring harness going to it). It is flimsy brittle plastic, i simply broke mine off so that I can shift into any gear when I please without having to press the brake pedal. The reason for this is the brake pedal lock is not compatible with the M6 harness or M6 brake pedal. Auto guys are fine leaving it alone.
Removing factory clutch pedal & master cylinder/lines. (M6 cars)
This is the last step before we're ready to cut for the trans plug. The master cylinder is held into the firewall with two nuts (pictures shortly). Remove the fluid line from the brake fluid reservoir, and cap off with a rubber cap and zip-tie or hose clamp. Prepare for fluid to drip, have a rag and some cleaner handy, brake fluid WILL eat paint. Inside the car, the clutch pedal bolts into the dash frame with 3 or 4 bolts. Remove them, and wiggle/work the pedal and cylinder out through the firewall as one big unit. It's a bit of an off contortion to get in there, but not difficult at all. The clutch pedal assembly also has a harness plugged into it. This harness is the clutch position sensor, which has an interlock in the PCM for starting the car. You will have to disable the interlock in the pcm to be able to start the car with this pedal removed and harness unplugged. It is not a simple matter of adding a resistor to the plug, due to the way the sensor works (3 pole). Will add some pictures here of what right looks like.
You'll have a small hole leftover in the firewall afterwards. You could leave it open, but i recommend sealing it with a small piece of dynamat or similar to keep noise and fumes out of the car cabin.
Last edited by DietCoke; 03-01-2014 at 01:13 AM.
|12-11-2011, 07:50 PM||#3|
Cutting the notch for the transmission plug.
It is necessary to cut a notch in the frame for the transmission plug. While there is no clearance problem with the transmission itself, it is impossible to plug the main harness into the transmission without notching the frame rail to get access clearance.
As you can see, the plug sits ~1/4" from the frame rail, no possible way to get a 1" plug on it... SO... we must cut.
You don't need to lift the transmission into place like I did to mark where you need to cut, just bolt the crossmember into place and measure 2.5 inches back, and 2.5 inches from the frame rail. That is the box you will need to cut.
The transmission tunnel rail is formed with VERY VERY strong steel. It is not pleasant to cut, to say the least. I did it with a combination of die grinder with cutoff wheels, an air hammer with chisel, and an angle grinder. IDEALLY you would use either an acetylene torch or a plasma cutter on a lift. (Be careful not to catch your carpet on fire if you use those two). However, either will work.
Also note, there are two seperate layers of the rail, and you will have to cut through them both.
Here's a view, halfway cut.
Another view, with the inner rail also cut out.
Once you have your cutout, you are finished as far as clearance for the transmission. Structurally, I think the car would be fine. HOWEVER, you are compromising the integrity of the transmission tunnel by trimming the rail in this fashion. For that reason, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you take your car to a muffler shop, chassis shop, or speed shop, to have the hole you cut boxed/welded with plate steel, to reintroduce some strength back to it. (Or if you can weld, and have a welder accessible, go ahead and do it now.) Better safe then sorry.
Now we move onto the transmission cooler, the last step before we install the trans/tc/driveshaft.
Last edited by DietCoke; 12-12-2011 at 12:24 PM.
|12-11-2011, 07:50 PM||#4|
Transmission cooler install:
Step 1: Remove front bumper from car.
The photos here show the engine out of the car, but you can do this just the same with the engine in the car.
Step 2: Install the AER-FBM5013 -6an adapter fittings into the holes in the trans cooler. USE THREAD SEALANT.
Step 3: Install trans cooler as shown below.
These are the holes I am using to mount the trans cooler just below the hood latch. They're threaded already (but unused), and it seemed like the ideal spot to put the trans cooler as it will see airflow from both the upper grille, and the lower grille.
One bolt in, as you can see, the holes that come in the cooler dont necessarily line up with these two holes on the chassis.
That's fine, just drill a hole in the mounting flange in the right spot (cooler metal is very soft and easy to drill)
And mounted with both bolts
What it looks like from a few feet back, you can how it gets airflow from the upper grille, and really appreciate just how big it is.
Assembling the -6 AN hose. A lot of people are intimidated by stainless braid and making hoses. It is VERY simple. The fittings unscrew, as seen here. Slide the braided part into the fitting end, as far as it will go. Use silicone lube/grease (same grease you use on suspension parts) to assist in sliding the hose into the -AN fitting end. also use grease on the threads, and other part of the fitting. The grease helps everything go together nicely, and will make sure you don't gall any of the threads on the fittings.
The -AN end on the hose
Once you get the hose all the way into the end, you screw the male end into the end. You'll need two wrenches (3/4 and 11/16, or 3/4 and 3/4 depending on which fitting you're doing). Screw it in until it is flush and tight.
Tada, you've done your first end
At this point, you'll have one -AN fitting on the hose, and 20 feet of hose hanging off of it. (Well, that's how I did it because I had to start from scratch, but you can save time and use my measurements if you'd like.)
I put the end onto the far side of the trans cooler, with all the hose hanging off of it, so I could run the line, and see where I needed to cut it
A view from the bottom side of the trans cooler
I sat the radiator in place, to see how I could possible run the hose to the back of the car. Thankfully, there's a cutout in the lower radiator shroud which just happens to be the PERFECT size for two -6an transmission lines.
This is a rough idea of how I wanted to run the lines. Along the frame rail, close to the wiring harness, where they can tuck behind the head shield (pulled up in this photo) and be 95% hidden and completely out of the way.
I mocked up the trans (not pictured) and measured where I needed to cut the lines under the tunnel, to have the proper length.
But how do you cut braided lines? Not with cutters, lest you fray your stainless braid and try for hours to get the ends onto the cut hose. You use a large (3lb) sledgehammer or deadblow hammer and a chisel, or any large tool, and a chisel. I didn't have a large hammer handy, but I had a four pound brass pipe wrench, which functions just as well as a sledge, if not as sophisticated
Put the chisel where you want to cut the hose, and tap it a few times lightly, this will flatten the braid and hose. You have to use a hard surface that has no give. A metal block, vise, bench is preferred, but I don't have that in my garage. I used the concrete floor, works just as well.
This is the type of CLEAN cut a chisel and hammer gets you. Zero frays
An alternative method to cut the line is to wrap the end tightly with duct tape or electrical tape and cut it with a chop saw. This produces a similar no-fray end to the hammer+chisel method
Now that I cut the first line, I put the angle fitting on the transmission side of the line to fully assemble line #1. I then removed it from the car/trans cooler, and laid the remaining line next to it. The second line needs to be roughly 5-6 inches shorter then the first line, because it has roughly 5-6 inches less to travel (left vs right side output on the trans cooler). I laid the lines side by side, and trimmed the second line to 6 inches shorter, with the hammer/chisel.
The long line is 88 inches, the short line is 82 inches, not counting the fittings on the end. You can cut to these lengths beforehand to save yourself a lot of measuring, which I've done on my end already. Alternatively you could add a few inches to each line for some more flexibility with mounting if you so desired. This is simply what worked for me.
And just like that, you now have your burst and leak-proof transmission cooler lines. Doesnt this look better and sturdier then a shitty rubber hose, barb, and hose clamp?
I ran both lines into the engine bay through the lower radiator shroud pictured earlier. Here is what they look like with the heat shield reinstalled, completely out of the way. I also have the heater hoses behind the heat shield, for an extra clean engine bay.
The hoses come out just above the rear heat shield bolt.
And they go this far back into the tunnel, right in front of where the transmission cooler holes are, in an early 4L80e.
And finally, what it looks like behind the front bumper through the upper and lower grilles (finished)
If you have a late-core 4L80e, your line lengths will be different then mine. The early 4L80 cases have the cooler lines at the front of the case, instead of split like the later 4L80 cases. Since the early core cases fit better because of the cooler line locations, going with an early case is a no brainer.
Last edited by DietCoke; 12-12-2011 at 12:30 PM.
|12-11-2011, 07:50 PM||#5|
Torque Converter Install: This part is really simple. Prelube the TC with 1/2 QT of trans fluid. Slide the TC onto the transmission input shaft. It will bottom out. Rotate the TC until it clicks once and moves 1/4". Rotate it again until it clicks and moves again. Then rotate it a third time until it clicks into place. This is fully seated (3 clicks). It is very obvious when it clicks in the 4L80.
INSTALL (PUSH OR LIGHTLY TAP) THE CONVERTER PILOT EXTENSION INTO THE MIDDLE OF THE FLEXPLATE AT THIS TIME. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP, ITS A PAIN IN THE ASS WITH THE TRANS IN PLACE.
Now go ahead and bolt the transmission+tc into place at the engine bellhousing, and crossmember. (Note: It is easier to raise the transmission into place with the dipstick preinstalled. While this is not necessary, it WILL save you headache later.) Now you have to attach the 6 TC bolts. Make sure you have 1/8" of clearance from the converter pads to the flexplate as shown in the below picture
Now is time to get the bolts started. Generally its tough to thread into the TC as the threads are tight to prevent looseness/backing out of the bolts. USE LOCTITE ON ALL TC BOLTS
I found it easiest to get them started, then rotate the flexplate and tighten them in the bottom-most position. It's a tedious process as it's tight in there and you can only get about 1/3 a turn a time on the bolts. Sneak them in there by the starter (pictured)
Optional: You can remove the starter and let it hang, and that will give you enough room to get a socket on the bolts, one at a time. I still recommend you get them all started before you tighten any, however you may prefer using a ratchet+socket to a wrench, and if that is the case, then the starter comes down with two bolts (unhook battery, of course)
Another view on where you can fit them through the plate
It's impossible to get a torque wrench in there obviously, so get them good and tight and the loctite will do the rest of the work for you. Don't forget they all get washers.
Now you have to tighten the cooler lines to the case, and wriggle the dipstick into place if you haven't already. A buddy is helpful here.
Here's what the dipstick looks like in the proper position OUTSIDE of the car, for reference. You can see it uses the upper right bolt on the trans.
Note: You will want to kill yourself when you are struggling with the dipstick. I promise you, however, it WILL FIT. These pictures are proof
The orientation from the topside
Lastly, slide the shift linkage into the shift mech, and bolt it to the side of the transmission. On the shift bolt, all the way clockwise is park. Make sure you are in park in the console, and on the transmission when you bolt this in. Once its bolted to the transmission, tighten the lock bolt on the shifter and you are done.
At this time you should also plug in your transmission controller and harness. Mine sits in my console, but you can put it anywhere you like. I put a 1.25" holesaw cut in the floorboard and installed a grommet in the floor pan. This is how I run the cable into the car. (Not pictured)
Last, the driveshaft. (Thanks Driveshaft Shop) Install the adapter plate to the rearend using a 10MM allen key. USE LOCTITE
Next, lube up the yoke end (transmission end) with a thin coat of trans fluid to help it slide in past the seal and push in till seated.
Finally, bolt the driveshaft to the rearend via the adapter plate. 6MM hex, with lock washers. Loctite optional, recommended.
Congratulations, you are finished with your swap. Start the car in park, and check trans fluid levels/add fluid as necessary. Once fluid level has settled in an acceptable range, it's time to go for a drive
Last edited by DietCoke; 12-27-2011 at 03:38 PM.
|12-20-2011, 09:38 PM||#6|
This is where I settled on placement of the optishift. Its accessible, doesnt get in the way, and is easy to adjust and see when needed.
Last edited by DietCoke; 03-01-2014 at 12:57 AM.
|12-20-2011, 09:54 PM||#7|
Updated and completed. Suggestions/additions welcome.
|12-20-2011, 10:00 PM||#8|
Drives: 2010 2ss/RS 4l80. 2009 2500 HD
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Mid MO
How is the controller wired in? What signal is need for your controller? Any way to get the trans temp gauge to work? Trans Brake?
This is a great write up, and I will be following Your guide. How was the drive?
Follow along as we build and race this 2010 Camaro!
|12-20-2011, 10:07 PM||#9|
The controller basically plugs into the trans harness, and the trans speed sensor. It outputs a signal for the VSS for MPH readout, and you just wire it into the vehicle's switched 12v and ground. All shift points are programmed into the controller by you and are fully adjustable (laptop), or there are base programs as well. I'll do that writeup later this week and take some pictures, it's fairly simple and the harness they include makes it a more or less plug and play deal.
I'll also address getting reverse to light up the reverse lights with the 4L80 in that write up.
|12-20-2011, 10:11 PM||#10|
Drives: 2010 2ss/RS 4l80. 2009 2500 HD
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Mid MO
Follow along as we build and race this 2010 Camaro!
|12-23-2011, 09:47 AM||#13|
Drives: anything I can get my hands on
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: anywhere and everywhere
Do you think it would be easier to get the torque converter bolts in and torqued by removing the starter and using a crow's foot?
Never race anything you can't afford to light on fire and push off a cliff
A group as a whole tends to be smarter than the smartest person in that group until one jackass convinces everyone otherwise.
|12-24-2011, 02:51 AM||#14|
It's not difficult at all, you can put them right in (in that spot), then wrench them at the bottom as you rotate the engine around. Removing the starter & cables would take longer then putting all 6 bolts in and tightening... might have taken me 5 minutes total for all 6. I guess if you're inclined to do it that way, then more power to you, to be honest you could just let the starter hang by the power cable and you'd probably be fine. Pretty simple either way.
EDIT: By removing the starter, you can actually get a socket & 1/2" ratchet on the TC bolts. If that is worthwhile to you, then I suggest you do so. I added that bit to the guide
Last edited by DietCoke; 12-28-2011 at 08:03 AM.
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