Join Date: May 2014
Location: Alton, IL
Tranzman is offline
4L60E vs 4L65E vs 4L70E
I have seen a lot of talk about the differences between the 4L60E and the 4L65E.
This information from is from GM, ATRA (Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association) and ATSG (Automatic Transmission Service Group) and having been building them since the beginning of the 700R4 in 1982.
Forgive me if some of my year data is incorrect, I'm shooting from memory. Please keep in mind that all model years were a transition from one to another and model years usually start in September of the previous year.
Let’s start this with something from the manufacturer itself. Here is a copy and paste quote directly from the 2019 GM Performance catalog that includes the newest 4L75E transmission. It rivals the 4L80E for torque capacity.
HYDRA-MATIC TRANSMISSION FAMILY TREES
The Hydra-Matic 4L60/4L65/4L70/4L75 family of transmissions is differentiated primarily by gearset
design. Each planetary gearset in the 4L60 has four pinion gears. There are five pinion gears in the 4L65
and 4L70, but the 4L70 has a higher torque rating. The external dimensions and mounting provisions
are identical for each transmission in the 4L60 family. The maximum torque capacity for each includes:
4L60-E – 380 lb.-frt. | 4L65-E – 430 lb.-ft.
4L70-E – 495 lb.-ft. | 4L75-E – 650 lb.-ft.
The production-based Hydra-Matic 4L80 and SuperMatic 4L85 transmissions are differentiated by gearset design. Each planetary gearset in the 4L80 has four pinion gears, while the 4L85 has five pinion gears. The external dimensions and mounting provisions are identical for each. The maximum torque capacity for each includes:
4L80-E – 440 lb.-ft. | 4L85-E – 685 lb.-ft.
All 4L60E’s were given the M30 designation for the RPO code. It came out in 1993 and ran until 2012(very limited with Colorado's/Canyon/Hummer). All 4L60E's had a 4-pinion planetary gear train. Part of the confusion is in the change from the 1-piece case design and the transition to the 2-piece case. The gear ratios: 1st: 3.06, 2nd: 1.62, 3rd: 1.00, 4th: 0.70
To identify all 4L60E’s GM put a code on a white sticker. The sticker was placed on the bell-housing or the case, depending on the design. For a fail-safe way to identify them, there is also a stamped code or etched code on the case. For the 1-piece case it is on the right rear corner of the case on the flat surface just above the pan rail. For the 2-piece case it is on a flat surface of the case just behind the rear of the pan. Both contain the code for the what the transmission was made for. It also contained the Julian date for time of day and the shift it was built on. The 1st digit being the year, the 2nd digit being the body code, the 3rd being the internal gear-train.
Basically the 1993 and 1994 are the same. They are a one-piece case and had a short manual shaft. They shared internal electrical.
Many people are confused over the changes made to the 4L60E from 1995-2001. I hope this clears some of it up.
1995 was a year all on its own. It has the long manual shaft for the externally mounted neutral safety switch. It also was changed to a PWM (pulse width modulated) TCC apply. Internal electrical is different from that of 1993/1994 and 1996 and up.
1996 started the 2-piece case or bolt on bell-housing and came in the S and T bodies. The bolts used to retain the bell-housing are Torx-plus 50-IP design. This design change came from GM to service foreign areas (Jaguar/Holden) with only a bellhousing change instead of the full case needing to be cast.
1996-1997 full size trucks still got the 1-piece cases.
1998 started all 4L60E's with the 2-piece case.
The LS/LT Gen III engine family started in 1997 and was a clean slate design. It was given a center top bolt to retain 6 motor attachment bolts, it had 7 bolt holes in the bell-housing altogether. It also had provisions for the cast aluminum oil pans. The bolt at 2 o'clock would interfere with the water-jacket of the LS family. They used the same bell-housing configuration as the 1999 and up LS engines, but retained the smaller tipped end input shaft.
In 1999 the LS based truck engine was introduced and it was given a Longer input shaft with splined end with the TCC o-ring behind the splines. This set up was shared with the 4.3L engine in full sized trucks and vans from 2001.
In 2001 GM introduced a 6.0L LS engine and felt the 4L60E as designed could not withstand the torque & horsepower of that engine. The transmission was redesigned internally and given a 5-pinion planetary set for both front and rear gear train and a 7 friction 3-4 clutch. They gave it the 4L65E name and the M32 RPO code. To my knowledge all 4L65E’s have a “Z” for the 3rd digit of the transmission code.
The internal wiring is the same on all 4L60E & 4L65E transmissions from 1996 to 2006 and have a grey case pass through connector with 13-pins. There was a change to the EPC solenoid in 2003, but operation remained the same. (I have interchanged EPC solenoids/wiring harnesses many times) 1996 to 2000 the TCC operation and function was the same. For 2001 the valve body was redesigned for a different TCC Handling/operation.
I have interchanged valve bodies from 1996 to 2006 as well with the proper TCC regulator valve change and separator plate. Most re-builders get rid of the PWM (pulse width modulation) operation and change it to an on/off operation.
For 2005-2006 GM transitioned toward an added input speed sensor, which required the input rings to moved .190 rearward on the input shaft. In late 2006 the input sensor was fully incorporated and got a blue case pass through connector with 15-pins.
The 2006 and up 4L60E V-8 has been called 4L70E, because of the ISS that made it differ from the 2005 and older units.
The 4L70E was given the RPO code of M70 and was made for the Chevrolet Silverado SS or Silverado with the Vortec Max, Trailblazer SS & GMC Sierra versions. It was set up exactly like a 4L65E with the addition of a hardened stator spline, hardened output shaft, wide input sprag & a different 1-2 servo assembly with casting #24230441. This servo is slightly larger than the Corvette servo but is smaller than the standard V-8 #553 servo.
GM’s product announcement for the 4L70E #05-07-30-026 - (Oct 7, 2005) gives the transmission codes.
“Below are the 2006 4L70-E applications and models:
• Sport Utility 4L70-E models with ISS: SKD/TKD
• Full-Size Pickup 4L70-E models: CMD, CWD & KMD”
In 2009 the 4L60E was changed again and removed the 3-2 downshift solenoid, PSM (pressure switch manifold) and the external neutral safety back up switch. It was given an internal mode switch to replace it. It has a 17-pin Black case pass through connector. The bell-housing retaining bolt were changed to a Mortorq MTS-4 bit.
The 4L75E never made it in a production vehicle and is a GM Performance item only. Based on the 4L65-E/4L70-E. Features five-pinion gear-sets, heat-treated stator shaft splines, induction-hardened turbine shaft, 8-friction-plate 3-4 clutch and specific valve-body calibration, unique high-strength input housing, higher-capacity servo, wider 2–4 band.