1. What size are the TORX screws that hold my bellhousing to my transmission, and what is the best way to remove them?
The bit is called a T50 plus and is available from Sonnax or SnapOn. However, you can use a modified T50. Purchase a quality T50 bit and grind about 1/32 inch off the end. Do not use the bits with a hole in the end (security bit). The grind amount is approximate as it varies from one brand to another, but the goal is to grind until the bit fits tight in the screw head. The bits get progressively larger as they get near the top, so grinding more off effectively makes the bit larger. Bear in mind that the screws are held in with red Loctite, so they are held in fairly tight. Use small propane torch (the ones that cost around 5 dollars at the hardware store) and heat the thread end (not the bolt head) to around 275 to 300 degrees. Then (generally) the screw will come right out. Make sure you have the bit lined up straight in the screw, and keep it that way. Do not use an impact wrench – if it jumps out it will strip the bolt. Then you would have a much larger problem.
2. Why doesn’t my speedometer work?
Check that the Vehicle Speed Sensor (for 4L60E/65E) or speedometer cable (for 700R) is connected. On 4L60E/65E units, this may cause a no shift situation or erratic shifts. Note: The 700R4 does not have the correct speedometer gears installed, so you must take the gears and driven assembly from your old unit and install them on the new 700R4.
3. My new transmission is installed and it doesn’t shift. It also feels like it’s slipping or in a higher gear than expected.
Check that the wiring harness is fully plugged into the transmission. Check all fuses and see if the engine SES light is on (you can also scan for codes). If the SES light is on, or codes are present, this is generally considered an electronics issue. If it’s a 700R4, did you hook up the TV cable?
4. I have a 3000 or higher stall converter and I just installed my new 4L60E. When I drive normally everything feels great, but at full throttle I bounce off the rev limiter.
Many 4L60E cars with a stall at or over 3000 rpm may require the tuning parameters for speed and rpm to be reconfigured to compensate for the higher stall (this is sometimes referred to as stall wall).
5. I just installed my new transmission (or converter) and it doesn’t move. What could be wrong?
The most common reason for this is that the converter was not fully seated in the pump, which should have shown itself when there was difficulty turning the converter. Providing you have enough fluid in it, remove one line from the transmission cooler. Start the vehicle and fluid should come spraying out. If this does not happen, you may have broken the pump and will need to remove the transmission and repair. Hopefully, you have not destroyed the converter.
6. How much fluid do I need for my install?
Get a case (12 quarts) and add until full. You may have a couple bottles left over but it’s better to have more that than not enough when all the stores are closed.
7. I have my new PerformaBuilt transmission but I had my PCM tuned with my old one. What do I need to do?
We strongly suggest that you have all transmission tuning tables returned to stock. Then you may make adjustments for shift time and converter lockup as needed. But please leave the pressure tables alone.
8. My converter in my 4L60/65 doesn’t lock up or only locks up intermittently.
The most common cause of this issue is misfire. It may not show as a code but, in some cars, will cause the SES light to blink erratically. Also, note the engine temperature must be above 135 degrees F for the PCM to allow lockup. If you have an SES light on, scan for codes first then contact us for help.
9. I was driving my car at WOT and it would not shift into 4th. What’s wrong?
Nothing unless you have the 4L60E PCM programmed to make a WOT 4th shift. It is disallowed in the factory tune. The 700R4 alternately cannot do a WOT shift into fourth unless it has a modified TV plunger sleeve.
10. My 700R4 or 4L60E will shift from first to second even when I have it in manual low. Is something wrong?
No. Both transmissions, for different reasons, are commanded to upshift at very high rpm or speed from first gear. Each requires a special shift kit to avoid this. This kit is only available in our Level 3 units.
11. My speedometer is not working and my car won’t change gears.
Check for codes and check the wiring of your VSS (vehicle speed sensor). This measurement is required for shifts to occur properly.
12. What’s the break in time for my new transmission and/or converter and is there any procedure?
If possible, have rear wheels raised when you’re ready to start the car for the first time. Put 6 quarts of fluid in the transmission then start with the shifter in neutral (beware the wheels may spin!).
Add fluid until it is full (total will vary but usually it’s between 9.5 and 12 US quarts depending on converter size).
Then run the car through the gears several times with wheels raised. Again, be careful. Stop the wheels with brakes.
Put the car in park. Turn the car off and check for leaks.
Lower car and start engine again; check that fluid is well in to cross hatch.
Drive car around normally for a day (around 50 to 100 miles) with lots of starting and stopping. Let the car sit overnight. The next morning, start car and run till warm then check the fluid. It should be topped off until the level is at the top of the hot line or crosshatch; 1/2 inch or so over is fine, but 1/2 inch below full can hurt your transmission. That’s it!
Note: never assume a car is in park or neutral simply because the shifter says so. Be prepared for anything!
13. What’s this little bag of seals for that came with my transmission?
That bag contains seals for different applications. You may, or may not, need some of them. Just use what you need to install your particular transmission and do not worry about the rest.
14. I believe that I may have a warranty issue. What do I do now?
Contact us before you do anything. We will help you solve your problem as quickly as possible. In many cases, problems are actually minor or they are installation issues that can be easily resolved. Please do not post that your transmission or converter has a problem in a public forum until we have actually determined what is wrong. Always contact us first! We work very diligently with all our customers to ensure that all issues are resolved in a timely manner. Please note that no warranty work can be done to the unit without our express consent. If you take the unit apart yourself to see what is wrong, or have it done by a 3rd party, you have voided your warranty.
15. How do I test my stall speed?
Truly accurate testing of a converter stall is nearly impossible once you install it in your car. You can get some idea using a transbrake. Barring that, the next best thing would be to put the car in limp mode, 3rd gear, and nail it suddenly. Then watch the tachometer. The rpm it flashes to is close to your stall speed. Brake stalling is meaningless and gives no useful information.
16. There is a clunking sound when my car shifts. What could it be?
Check the torque arm and mount. They are the most common reasons.
17. My car has second gear start capability and/or a performance shift button. Will these still work with your transmission?
Yes, these are functions of the PCM and not the transmission. They will continue to function as they did before, although a bit enhanced in the performance mode.
18. My car cannot select first gear or has no first gear position. Why, and what can I do?
Some models have a plastic stop formed in the gate. Simply remove the console, cut off the plastic piece, and you will be able to select 1st gear manually.
19. I just installed my converter and I’m getting code 7xx. What’s wrong and what should I do?
These codes are sometimes triggered when a high stall (usually higher than 3000) is installed, but not always and not always immediately. They can be corrected through tuning when the PCM does not understand the RPM/SPEED offset with the new converter. This involves removing the test for the code – not simply clearing the code.
20. Why does your LS1/LSx and bolt on bell transmission not have a bell housing?
These items are interchangeable from unit to unit, but are also are easily damaged during transport both to us, from the core dealers, and to you, as a customer. In order not to need a core return, we remove those items when present. This is the primary reason we can sell without needing your core.
21. I just received my transmission and it was damaged in shipment. What do I do?
Call us and we will handle it from there. Taking care of your needs is our first priority. We will deal with the shipping company. If you notice damage to the unit (not the box it is shipped in) while the driver is there, refuse shipment.
22. Will a stall kill my stock transmission?
The short answer is yes. It may not happen today or tomorrow, but the additional stress created in the torque multiplication and the higher torque achieved in a less linear manner does put immense additional stress on the transmission. This additional stress will significantly shorten the life of the stock transmission, as its capabilities will be exceeded.
23. Do I need to have a cooler with my converter or transmission?
Yes, and we provide one every unit with one. While not having a cooler is not going to cause your transmission to die tomorrow, heat will kill it in the long run by hardening seals and gaskets. Having a stall converter will only compound this problem. Installing a cooler is highly recommended.
24. Is it ok to use synthetic fluid in my transmission?
Yes, absolutely. You can use any fluid that meets or exceeds the requirement for your car, generally Dextron Mercron or better. However, the OEM fluid can last over 100,000 miles in many cars and trucks while never being changed and still works well. We have no preference.
25. I just changed my rear end ratio. Now my transmission doesn’t shift right. It shifts too early or too late. What is wrong, and what should I do?
When making a gear change it is necessary to reprogram the PCM for the new gear ratio. This must be done with some form of tuning software.
26. If my transmission fails how will it be handled?
The issue will be handled exactly according to the warranty agreement on our WARRANTY Page. Please read this page before calling.
27. Do I need to change my converter after a transmission failure?
This depends on what type of failure you have. Obviously, if the pan is full of metal or if the pump failed, the answer would be yes. Or if the converter has many miles on it. However, if the failure is limited to, for instance, a sudden break (sun shell, stripped planet, broken planet, failed 3-4 clutch or other symptoms such as no reverse or won’t upshift etc.) and the pan is clean or has only a small amount of grey clutch material in it, then it may be likely you can reuse the converter.
This would generally be determined by the transmission builder. But as a rule, as far as contamination goes, the only thing that can put contaminants in the converter is the pump or converter itself.
All fluid being sent back to the planets and drums must travel back through the filter in order to reach the converter, and unless the filter becomes damaged in some way, the particulate matter that goes into the pan during a failure cannot reach the converter. Exceptions to this rule would be if you had been having known converter issues (such as lockup, shudder, noises whining or grinding) and, after tear-down, no obvious source for the noise can be found for metal present in the pan with no discernable source within the transmission.
The same rule would apply to clutch material. For instance, the pan has large amounts of grey dust in bottom but there are no burned or worn away clutches within the transmission. Since everything in the transmission pan had to originate from either the transmission or the converter and you can’t find a source for it in one, you must assume it’s from the other.
28. My transmission doesn’t act right immediately after an install. What should I do?
First you should recheck all your plugs, connectors and fluid levels. Also, make sure the transmission is fully warmed to least 140 degrees F. Running it with the wheels raised will accomplish this in 15-30 minutes depending on cooler routing. During transmission assembly, a petroleum gel is used to hold valve body parts in place. Particularly in colder climates, this gel may restrict valve movement or restrict flow through an orifice causing unusual transmission function. Once a temperature of 140 degrees F has been reached, this gel will dissolve and no longer have any effect. After doing this, if there are still some issues, contact us.
29. My converter will not lockup or it was locking and isn’t now. What’s wrong?
The converter clutch operation from the transmissions perspective is quite simple. The lockup solenoid is energized and, in the case of the 95 and up 4L60E, the PWM solenoid is turned on. This strokes a valve in the pump and the lockup clutch is engaged.
The clutch assembly inside the converter consists of two seals and a clutch. The solenoids engage and the fluid is directed to the converter clutch piston via the TCC valve in the pump, which applies the clutch. From a converter perspective, there are only two reasons this might not happen. One would be the seals are damaged or bad. This is unlikely if the clutch has been applying and has suddenly stopped or now applies intermittently.
The other possibility is the lining has come off the converter clutch. However, if this has occurred you will hear a grinding/rubbing sound from the converter and there will be metal in the pan.
From a transmission perspective, there are several possibilities. The O-ring on the input shaft could have gone bad or been damaged. The TCC valve could be stuck. The lockup solenoid or PWM solenoid may be bad or the screen in the PWM solenoid is clogged. The converter regulator valve next to the PWM solenoid is stuck or the valve bore is badly worn.
From the PCM/TUNING perspective, there are numerous possibilities. We have found these are the most common. Engine misfire – This may not set a code, but in some cars will make the SES light flash erratically. In either case, raising the engine misfire tables or correcting the source of the misfire will usually solve the issue.
There are other tuning issues possible, but from reading, watching, and experiencing we would have to say a NO LOCKUP situation should be handled as a tuning or electronics issue before looking at the mechanical.