Before digging right into 4L60E rebuild cost, it’s important to weigh whether or not a rebuild is even the right thing to do. There is certainly a threshold of spend where it begins to make more sense to go with a “new” transmission. We will answer your question immediately below, and we’ll go over other options after that.
Cost of rebuilding the 4L60E Yourself
The cost of rebuilding the 4L60E yourself is only a couple hundred bucks. You can find kits on Amazon or eBay that you can for well under $300. Here’s one such kit from Amazon. If you are going to rebuild your 4L60E yourself, you are going to want the rebuild kit to be for the proper year and car. Different cars may use different depth pans, especially when comparing Corvette to other GM models.
Rebuilding an automatic transmission is much more difficult than rebuilding an engine. It’s certainly more difficult than rebuilding a manual transmission.
Here is a video of a complete 4L60E rebuild. If you’ve never done it, you’ll want to watch the whole thing.
Cost of Having a shop Rebuild the 4L60E
If you plan on having the shop rebuild it, and you pull and bring the transmission to them, it’s possible to have it done for $1000 or under. Not much under, though.
If you have a shop pull, rebuild, and reinstall the transmission it can cost anywhere from $2000-$4000.
Rebuilt and Remanufactured 4L60E
Maybe the shop tells you that the transmission is shot, or you just want to drop a new one in instead of rebuilding the old one. Remanufactured 4L60E’s will be more expensive than having it rebuilt. Both are fine options when considering a 4L60E replacement.
This is due to the location of where the work is done. A remanufactured transmission is typically rebuilt by the original manufacturer to ensure exact OEM specs. Whereas the rebuilt unit may be rebuilt on site by the transmission shop that may use parts that are better or worse than the originals.
Don’t let the thought of going with a rebuilt unit scare you though. As long as a shop is reputable, they’ll go through and replace all of the components that wear. If you aren’t sure about the transmission shop in your area though, a remanufactured unit is a safe bet.
The 4L60E is one of the most popular transmissions made in the last century. They are everywhere in salvage yards. Finding one used can be the most economical options, especially if you are going to do all of the work yourself. I like to look for a low mileage vehicle, that has been rear ended. Even better, if you can find a Tahoe or Suburban. It’s a pretty safe bet with them that they aren’t going to have done a lot of towing.
You should be looking for a 4L60E that is roughly the same year as yours. As a general rule, you can’t swap a 4L60E made to operate with a V8 with one that was behind a V6, so be careful. Even if the engine is missing, you can use the tag inside of the glove compartment to identify the transmission code.
You’ll also need the engine code to make sure it was a V8 car or truck. The code are all alphanumeric with 3 digits. For instance:
LS1, LR4, LM7, LQ4, LS2, etc….
These are all engine codes for GM LS V8’s
MD30 is often stamped on the case of the 4L60E. The early ones look identical to the 700r4, which is stamped MD8.
There’s a whole article on this site dedicated to 4L60E identification, it also has a link to a great video that explains it all in detail.
Good luck whatever you decide to do. If you do it yourself make sure you have parts for your particular transmission.