April 28, 2017

4L60E Performance & Heavy-Duty Transmission Build Guides

Sonnax Performance LogoWhether you’re starting from scratch with a heavy-duty/performance build or optimizing a seasoned racing vehicle, key transmission areas MUST be addressed to realize the full potential of 4L60, 4L60-E, 4L65-E and 4L70-E units.

Check out these handy build guides to get maximum results out of your rebuild!

Heavy-Duty Pickup Builds

Option A

Quick upgrades for big performance without a big price tag.

Option B

Best parts for heavy-duty recalibration and durability.

Level 1 Performance Build

For lightly modified performance/enthusiast vehicles.

Options A and B are separate ways to get to similar levels of performance. Option A is easily done with transmission in the vehicle and does not require valve body removal. Option B has similar effect on shifting, etc., however these parts do require transmission removal and disassembly. If/when the Option A (4th and 2nd servo’s) is combined with Option B Performance Pack HP-4L60E-01, the result is very close to a Level 2 build.

Option A

Upgrades for performance recalibration and durability, no trans removal required. Most change in shift feel comes from the servos.

Option B

Best parts for performance recalibration and durability. Most change in shift feel comes from the Performance Pack.

Level 2 Performance Build

For moderately modified performance vehicles (up to 450HP).

Heavy-duty parts and recalibration allow transmissions to endure power levels beyond what a stock transmission is built to handle.

Level 3 Performance Build

For all extreme performance applications, above 450HP.

The ultimate collection of 4L60/E upgrades for maximum strength, durability and quick shifts, including Smart-Tech® parts to ensure trannies stay out of the shop. When installed in a 4L65-E or 4L70-E, a Sonnax Level 3 build delivers a big power tranny that not only exceeds the capabilities of the 650 ft-lb 4L75-E, but is moving well into 4L80-E territory. For those on the fence about swapping transmissions, it's a great way to avoid the complications and inefficiencies of converting to a 4L80-E.

This video breaks down how to transform a 4L60-E, 4L65-E or 4L70-E into a top-tier performance transmission with Sonnax Level 3 build components.

About the Heavy Duty Remanufactured Valve Bodies

These unique Sonnax valve bodies are optional upgrades that help protect against input sprag and Forward clutch failure in '96–'08 4L60-E and 4L65-E units.

Two Options: How to Choose?​​​​​​​ Which valve body to install depends on driving habits.

GM053-HD requires a manual downshift to D3 when performing a 4-3 downshift at cruising speed to achieve enhanced input sprag protection.

Sonnax HD Remanufactured Valve Body GM053-HD

GM054-HD provides increased protection with the shifter in both D3 and OD without the need to manually downshift when performing a 4-3 downshift at cruising speed.

Sonnax HD Remanufactured Valve Body GM054-HD

Duplicated Parts These valve bodies come pre-installed with some parts listed separately on these guides, so you will need to carefully spec out the rest of your build if you choose to use one of them. See product details for a more complete list of what's included with each valve body.

  • Heavy-duty 2-3 shift valve 77754-41 is included in the GM053-HD valve body.*
  • Performance Pack HP-4L60E-01 includes some components found in both valve bodies. Both GM053-HD and GM054-HD contain the line pressure booster kit, spacer and spring for the pump, the pinless forward accumulator piston, TCC regulator valve spring and the 1-2 and 3-4 accumulator springs for the case. The GM054-HD also contains the servo cushion spring for the case.

*Due to the overrun clutch being applied in additional ranges, some coast down clunks may be noticed. This can occur when slowing to a stop with the GM053-HD when driving in D3 range only and with the GM054-HD when driving in D3 or OD range.

Related Units

Related Parts

While Sonnax makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of technical articles at time of publication, we assume no liability for inaccuracies or for information which may become outdated or obsolete over time.