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Old 03-03-2013, 09:25 PM
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700R4 3-4 Clutch Failure

So recently the trans went in my old s10 (1992) i was driving on the highway, tried to accelerate and it started started slipping real bad and eventually started downshifting until i was in first gear, and it would not shift out of first, since then i had the truck towed to my house and after removing the transmission i opened it up and the 3 - 4 clutch pack is destroyed, none of the other clutch packes are showing any signs of heavy or abnormal wear, 2 discs from the 3 - 4 pack are broken, one of them into two piece, and the tabs around the inside completely sheared off, the rest of the clutch discs are down to the bare metal and heavily gouged and blued from high heat, see attached pictures

I was gonna try and rebuild this transmission, first thing though and the reason for this post is, what could have caused this kind of failure?
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:33 PM
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the 3-4 clutch pack of the 700 / 4L60 trans has been a failure point for 30 years for various reasons.

What is the mileage on the transmission if you know?
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:36 PM
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It only had 120,000 miles, what are some common causes of 3-4 pack failure? besides wearing out, i am no expert but i don't think wearing out is what caused this failure
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twenglish1 View Post
It only had 120,000 miles, what are some common causes of 3-4 pack failure? besides wearing out, i am no expert but i don't think wearing out is what caused this failure
LOL ... that trans was worn out 30k miles ago
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Old 03-03-2013, 10:42 PM
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I figured that the extent of the damage, broken and warped discs and all friction material ground away on the 3 - 4 pack, that would indicate something else could have led to that failure, something more major that would need to be assessed before i continue on with rebuilding, but like i mentioned before i am new to transmission work
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Old 03-04-2013, 06:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twenglish1 View Post
I figured that the extent of the damage, broken and warped discs and all friction material ground away on the 3 - 4 pack, that would indicate something else could have led to that failure, something more major that would need to be assessed before i continue on with rebuilding, but like i mentioned before i am new to transmission work
You are correct. there are multiple areas that need to be addressed , checked, & verified. I do not think of the 700 / 4L60 trans as a DIY friendly trans for rebuild. There is a difference in replacing parts and rebuilding

There are several areas of the v-body to check and address. TV valves and circuit, bushings, sealing ring areas. Pump wear, pump side clearance on the slide and rotor. Is the input shaft loose in the aluminum drum?

The list goes on.

While the trans was in use.... did you drop the pan and filter every 30k miles ? Fresh oil and filter service is important. DId the TV cable stretch out and reduce the pull on the TV valve & circuit? These are items that could affect the over all life of any 700 trans
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:15 PM
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I only drove the truck for a year, it sat around for about 5 years, i never changed the fluid or replaced the filter in the time i had it, not sure if it was ever done or not, after the failure the fluid was very dirty, almost brown and had a strong burnt smell to it, i checked it to make sure it was at the proper level however i don't remember the condition of the fluid before the failure, could that have caused a problem like this?
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Old 03-06-2013, 07:04 AM
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Including what Crowley listed as problems heat kills the 3-4 clutch pack as well. What you should do is rebuild it totally. Get a compleat kit like the one that 700r4l60e.com has. They can taylor one for your needs, not a one size fits all. If your going to rebuild it, take your time, it took me about a month. Research alot, theirs a lot of people on here who can give you good advice. It not real hard to do but you have to have your head screwed on tight,no beer drinking. An know when to walk way.
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Old 03-06-2013, 07:24 PM
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Crosley was hinting that the 700R4 is NOT a transmission that a beginner should tackle. The misleading thing about buying rebuild "kits" is that the knowledge that an experienced builder has WILL NOT EVER come in any kit, from any supplier, at any price. Unfortunately, the 700 is one of those transmissions that borders on "black magic" to get the longest life out of them. Experienced builders such as Crosley know exactly what to look for, and what to correct during a rebuild. A person who does not have that same level of experience may look at a part and deem it good, when in fact it is far beyond its serviceable limits.

While there are some books on rebuilding the 700 out there that will help you to do a standard rebuild, I personally have never found a single source that outlines everything that needs to be done to make that trans "whole" again. So, with all that said, I'd recommend that you take the trans to a professional for a rebuild. Or, if you really want to tackle it yourself, here is a list of the things I would consider mandatory for a 700 build:

New TV cable (the plastic end hardens & cracks & then falls off causing burn-up of 3rd & 4th clutches, the cable also frays inside the sheath, and starts hanging up causing a TV valve that won't close
Trans-Go Shift Improvement Kit
Bushing Kit Replace ALL OF THEM! Teflon Pump & ext. Housing is good.
Clutch kit with Borg Warner Hi-Energy, or Dynex, Frictions
New steels for the 3-4 section (preferable to replace them all though)
Borg Warner Hi-Energy Band
Check the reverse input drum where the band rides and make certain that it is absolutely flat. If it is cupped-and I bet you money that it is-replace it with a new one, or a nice flat low-mileage used one.
As Crosley suggested, it is imperative that you check for a good seal where the turbine shaft is pressed into the 3-4 clutch drum housing. Over time this juncture will loosen and then you will lose pressure where the shaft meets the drum. It is VERY EASY to pressure test the drum on the bench while it is still loaded using a rubber tipped air nozzle. If it leaks-throw it away and get a new one, or a good used one that will pass the pressure test.
3-4 Bonded piston (throw the hockey puck aluminum piston in the trash)
Before I forget-NEVER EVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES use the hard plastic input drum to output shaft seal! If it is YELLOW or WHITE in color-IMMEDIATELY THROW IT IN THE TRASH!!!!!!!!! You need a Viton seal for this juncture. If you have to buy it separately-DO SO! The Viton seal is what has been used on the 4L60E since the early 90's. Why they still put the hard plastic seals in the rebuild kits for the 700's is beyond me.
Low Planet-you better go ahead and buy one. If you don't know how to check your old one for wear-trust me, it is worn out-you need to buy a new low planet set. This is a very common failure item on the 700's & 4L60E's. When I say common I mean 3 out of 5 that come through my shop are bad.
Pump Package-buy a new pump package that includes new slide, rotor, rotor guide, & vanes. If your pump has a single pump slide spring in it, update it to the later dual-spring style
Sonnax .500" boost valve (mandatory!!!!)
Corvette Servo (Mandatory!!!!!)
Replace both the 1-2 & 3-4 accumulator pistons. They wear at the point they contact the center pin and allow fluid loss/leakage then clutch slippage & burn-up.

I would consider a proper build using the parts I've listed, and all clearances checked & corrected to last a long time on engines that make 350HP or less.

Also, you will need to rent, buy, or build a tool to get the low/reverse piston out of the case.. Do not skip this step! The seals on that piston are probably rock hard & not sealing well any longer. You will need a drum press, or home-made press of some sort to release the piston return springs in the reverse input drum, & the 3/4 clutch drum housing. Again, I think you should take it to a professional, unless you have someone you can borrow the tools from, or intend to buy them and keep them for future rebuilds.

If you have any specific questions, post them up & we all would be happy to answer them.
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:20 AM
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A 2x4, 1/2 all thread rod, a great big washer & some nuts & washers for the rod will compress the spring cage on the low reverse piston. I didn't have a press so I used a long punch with the tip ground to an angle to remove the bushings, then used a 1/2 x 4 bolt an several sizes of thick washers to install the new bushings. Most of the washers I had to ground away the O.D. to be able to press in the new bushings. Also make note of the depth of the old bushing then put the new one in the same depth. Sun shell needs to be chunked also.If you want to read some advanced 700r4 rebuilding search for 700r4 limitations on here. I build mine doing most of what is written on those post, I wish I was able to do all of the upgrades, but I did about 75% of it.

Last edited by dogwater; 03-07-2013 at 08:24 AM. Reason: more info
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Old 03-07-2013, 01:29 PM
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While it is possible to remove old bushings with a punch, it is always recommended to use the proper bushing driver tools for removal & installation. The problem with a sharpened, hardened steel, punch is that it will cut grooves into the drum where the bushing seats, then you will have to sand, or file, those grooves to get them out. If you press a new bushing in on top of displaced metal when you assemble the trans you will find that the shafts (input/output) won't turn because the bushings are binding up.

With that said, if you think you must use a sharpened punch, be extra careful and check the drum when you are done for damage from the punch. Or, spend the money and buy a bushing driver kit.
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Old 03-07-2013, 03:03 PM
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Do you know what a bushing driver kit cost, their not cheap by any means & if you don't work on transmissions everyday they'll collect a lot of dust. The steel that is used in 700r4 is pretty dam hard, theirs no way your going to do enough damage to it to make a bushing not fit right, and any minor scratchs in the bore where a bushing is going would seem to be a good place for red locktite to be. What is a bushing cutter anyhow? You scared wtenglish1 away. I think if someone has ripped apart an rebuild a few different kinds of engines, an done clutch jobs on this an that, then rebuilding a 700 won't be all that hard. I didn't think it was! I guess it time to add in that all American saying " hell if I can do it so can you" Oh yea here's another " You never learn if you never try"
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:13 PM
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Dog, I was not trying to scare him away. Heck I gave him a list of what I thought would be a good jumping off point.

A complete bushing driver set runs about $600. At least that is what I remember paying for mine. Not cheap for someone who is only going to rebuild 1 transmission. It's another good reason to take it to a pro. Here's one for you-does the OP have the tools to check the governor bore in the case for wear? I have had quite a few that have needed the governor bore sleeved to get it back within spec. The reamer & sleeve kit runs $359. If he does not want to have to buy a bushing driver kit, he is really going to be upset with the added expense of the reamer & sleeve kit. What if he just does not check it like I suspect most "at-home" builders don't.. Well, that's the difference between a 150,000 mile professional rebuild, and the "I did it myself" guy who gets to do it every two years never figuring out why it does not last longer.

I think it is great when we do things ourselves. It's fun learning. Those guys I respect most are the ones that want to do it themselves, and are also smart enough to ask for help along the way so as to insure that they get it right. That is what makes this site so great-there are a lot of really smart people always willing to lend a hand.
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Old 03-08-2013, 07:04 AM
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I have another 700r4, its a yr. model 1990. I was planing on doing a stronger 700 than what I'm running now. But the service van I drive at work has a 6 speed auto in it an the small 4.8L v8 an compared to my last service van, it had the same size engine but a 4l80e the 6 speed is so much better, its like night & day better. I'll probably go with a 6 speed in a few years. Anyhow nice talking to ya.
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