In This Guide
- Vehicle Compatibility – Makes & Models
- 4L65E Model Name Explanation
- 4L65E Transmission Overview
- 4L60E vs. 4L65E
- Is It Possible to Upgrade?
- Problems with the 4L65E
- History of the 700R4, 4L60E and 4L65E
- Remanufactured 4L65E Transmission Updates and Upgrades
- What’s Included
To get an estimate on a 4L65E, click Get a Free Estimate.
Replacement 4L65E Transmission Prices:
|Transmission||Street Smart Transmission||Autozone||Advance Auto Parts|
|4L60E / 4L65E||1480||1507||1599|
Vehicle Compatibility – Makes & Models
- 2005 C6 Corvette
- Cadillac Escalade
- Cadillac Escalade EXT
- Chevrolet Silverado SS
- GMC Sierra Denali
- GMC Yukon Denali
- Hummer H2
- Holden Crewman 2004 Only
- Holden One Tonner 2004 Only
- 2005–2006 Pontiac GTO (M32, 3.46:1 final drive)
- 2002 Isuzu Axiom
4L65E Model Name Explanation
Every GM transmission has a specific model number used to denote its capabilities and performance. Here’s what they translate to for the 4L65E. The 4 means that there are 4 forward gears. The L indicates that the transmission is longitudinally mounted; that is, along the axis of the vehicle. This works best for rear-wheel drives. Conversely, transverse mounts for front-wheel drives are indicated with the letter T.
The 65 denotes the rating of the vehicle’s torque; at 65, this is about 360 foot-pounds, the higher the torque is the stronger the transmission becomes. Finally, the E means the transmission is controlled with an onboard computer. This allows more precise shifting cues.
4L65E Transmission Overview
The primary building location for the 4L65T is the Toledo, Ohio transmission factory, Other locations that see these transmissions build include the city of Romulus in Michigan and Ramos Arizpe in Mexico.
The 4L65E appeared in 2001 as an update to the 4L6-E and was placed behind the 6.0 Vertec engine. The 4L65E could withstand up to 380 pound-feet of torque due to several enhancements. It included five-pinion front and rear planetary gears and placed another clutch in the input housing. Therefore, there were 7 clutches total.
Finally, it used an induction-hardened shaft assembly, which was superior to standard heat treating of metals. As updates progressed, GM engineers experimented with pairing the transmission with different motors.
The 4L65E is the most robust transmission of its type and can, therefore, serve many different types of vehicles. For example, the lowered ratio for first gear appeals to off-road drivers because of rough terrain.
Meanwhile, the overdrive capacity wins out for standard street drivers due to the decreased gas usage in start-stop scenarios. One could find the 4L65E in SUVs like the Hummer or in racing vehicles like the GTO. Even standard pickup trucks employed this transmission. Any of these vehicles could be expected to, in one way or another, suffer more stress than a vehicle driven under normal road conditions. Therefore, they need a stronger transmission, which the 4L65E provides.
4L60E vs. 4L65E
One of the first ways to tell the earlier model from the later one is by looking at the bell housing. The 4L65E has a seven-bolt housing, whereas the 4L60E has only six. If you have a ruler on hand, you can also measure the depth of the bell; the 65E has 7 inches of depth whereas the 60E has only 6.5 inches. Finally, the 4L65E employs an input shaft that is 300mm wide. It and the torque converter work only for LS vehicles.
Here are a few more defining characteristics.
- Input and reaction gears have five pinions, rather than the four seen in the 4L60R
- Stator shaft splines are heat-treated for extra endurance
- Turbine shaft is induction-hardened, allowing for more robust performance
- Low-gear and reverse have a more robust roller clutch to prevent loss of control in the vehicle
- The 3-4 clutch received another friction plate
- Output shaft shot-peened for extra security.
- Valve body shaft was calibrated to accommodate extra load and prevent fluid leakage.
The extra pinion on the gear increases the lifespan of the gear by spreading out the workload. Being made of powdered metal also supposedly improves the accuracy and measurements, as well as making the gear stronger than if it were made of non-powdered metal.
The 4L65E has an induction-hardened turbine shaft. This component has to be able to take high amounts of stress and can do so because of induction hardening. This process involves passing an electric current through the metal during the heat-treating cycles. The electric current creates a slight magnetic field that realigns the molecular structure of the metal and increases its strength.
In addition to the gear changes and different material treatments, the L65 switches out the rollers in the roller clutch. Their larger diameters add to the load they can handle. The same goes for the extra plate that was added to the 3-4 clutch. Third and fourth gears are the gears people drive in when in city and highway traffic and therefore the ones in which the vehicle sees the most use.
Problems with the 4L65E
Most drivers have little issue with the 4L65E. The only major problem is the wide gear ratio between first and second gear; 3.06:1 and 1.62:1 respectively. This makes a rougher transition at those speeds. However, it is possible to modify the transmission on some vehicles.
History of the 700R4, 4L60E and 4L65E
Throughout the 1980s, GM used the Turbo Hydra-Matic 700R4, but it was phased out of circulation with the 1993 Camaro and Corvette models. GM renamed the TH700 to the 4L60 in 1990, and it lasted in that form until 1992 with the introduction of electronic components that replaced pure hydraulics. The valve body received an additional check ball
The 4L60E needed electronic controls to perform shifting and only appeared in 1993 for rear-wheel drive passenger vehicles. It wasn’t until 2001 that the 4L60E was updated to the 4L65 E and 4L70E.
Remanufactured 4L65E Transmission Updates and Upgrades
- Used larger PR valves to ensure a full hydraulic seal for fluid
- Removed wear issues by replacing the TCC control valve, actuator feed valve, and the TCC regulator valve
- Replaced the plastic 1-2 accumulator pistons with aluminum ones to prevent early failure of the clutch
- Recalibrated the machining for stators with Tru-Flat system stator qualification and machining process.
- Replaced the old sun shell design with the most updated one to remove the most common points of failure
- Added a new 2-4 band to increase durability and upgrade the transmission’s torque.
- Replaced line bore bushing in pump to improve transmission fluid flow and improve the working lifetime of the pump
- Improved shift quality and pressure control by adding a new valve body, a complete system correction and control kit
- Improved balance past original equipment requirement by replacing torque converter
- Improved fluid control with new bushings. This also reduces vibration.
- Installed recalibration kit to update servomotors and accumulators for valves. Modifications include updates to servos, the PR system, and valve body accumulators.
- Reduced gear slipping with new kit
- Tested transmission for functionality using a road simulation program and a dynamometer. Performed tests in operational and idle states.
How to Buy a Remanufactured 4L65E Transmission
1) Buying Locally
When you go to your local repair shop, they’ll order a remanufactured transmission, then mark up the price. So at the end of the day, you’ll be paying 15% to 30% more than the actual cost of the unit.
2) Buying Online
Buying a reman transmission through a distributor like Street Smart Transmission will save you a considerable amount of money because you pay the wholesale price (avoiding a repair shop’s 15% to 30% markup), they’ll ship the unit to the shop of your choice free of charge, and returning your old transmission is free as well. Then all you have to pay for is the labor to install the unit (usually $400 to $800), and you’re on your way.
How Does it Work?
To order a remanufactured transmission from a company like Street Smart Transmission, all you need to do is provide your vehicle’s VIN number, the mileage, and the address of the repair shop that you want it shipped to.
Replacing a transmission can be expensive, so Street Smart Transmission offers financing through PayPal. Depending on your credit, you’ll be able to order a new transmission, get back on the road, then pay for it over time. You may have to pay labor charges for the installation up front, but you won’t have to shell out for the transmission all at once.
When it comes to shipping, a transmission is quite heavy. So you’re going to pay quite a bit of money, unless the reman transmission company offers free shipping. Street Smart offers free shipping to a business address, which is usually the repair shop that you’ve chosen to install the unit.
What is a Core Charge (Core Deposit)?
Every remanufactured transmission originally came from somebody else’s car. Therefore, they need your broken transmission in order to refurbish it for another customer.
Your old/damaged transmission is called a “core”, and many companies will collect a core charge (usually $500 to $1500), which will be refunded once they receive your old transmission. However, if the transmission case, or other key components are damaged beyond repair, you may not get all of your core charge back. Make sure to ask for the core return policy, so you’ll know what to expect.
We recommend Street Smart Transmissions. We have found Street Smart to be of the highest quality. Their transmissions carry a 3 year / unlimited miles warranty that covers both parts and labor. Their warranty is nationwide and attached to the VIN so it is transferable with ownership if you decide to sell the vehicle. It also covers both parts and labor for the installation of the replacement transmission.
Watch the Remanufacturing Process
How it Works
Finding a Shop to Install the Remanufactured Transmission
For warranty purposes, you need to find a reliable repair shop. That way, if the replacement transmission doesn’t work properly, the warranty will cover it.
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