Learning how to remove transfer case from 4L60E transmission is tricky but not impossible.
Transfer cases are likely to wear down and break under poor conditions.
This would lead to leaks, poor lubrication, and all sorts of nasty problems that need a quick fix.
So, why not do it yourself to save your transfer case and transmission from doom?
Take a look at this article to find different guides to get the transfer case and the transmission out.
You will also find some common 4L60E problems and their solutions to work them out fast.
How To Remove Transfer Case From 4L60E Transmission
Having a professional mechanic remove the transfer case can be the easiest solution, but it’s also the expensive one.
There’s no need to invest a ton of money into a service that you could perfectly do from the comfort of your home.
Don’t fear putting some elbow grease into your vehicle. This way, you’ll get to know it much better and feel accomplished.
So, here’s the how-to guide on how to remove the transfer case from the transmission (4L60E).
You Should Follow These 6 Steps To Remove Transfer Case From 4L60E
Step 1: Removing the Driveshafts (Both!)
On the rear pinion, the driveshaft remains in place due to two straps with four bolts (11mm).
If the driveshaft looks stuck in the pinion yoke, apply penetrating oil and use a large screwdriver to get it out.
Alternatively, use a pry bar, which will be enough to get take out the u-joint.
The front shaft is a bit different. A boot from the transfer case likely holds it in place.
Work on the band that secures it in place, and pry it off. Then, unbolt the front shaft from the front differential.
This will allow it to come loose from the transfer case.
Step 2: Draining transfer case fluid
The majority of transfer cases work with a drain plug, which makes the job easier.
Find the 18mm bolt on the lower area of the transfer case and let the fluid drain.
Tip: Take the fill plug out first before draining.
It’s not commendable to empty the case first because there may not be any way to fill it back.
Step 3: Removing the Sensors — (All of Them)
Check around the rear of the transfer case to find all of the sensors that you must remove.
These come with classic snap-in connectors, which are a breeze to remove.
Step 4: Removing the Linkage (Only for 4×4 Shifter)
Transmissions with a manual 4×4 shifter or selector require you to remove the linkage responsible for engaging with the transfer case.
For units with electric controls, this step is not necessary.
Step 5: Unbolting the Case
Start removing the bolts that hold the transfer case to the transmission’s back. The most efficient method to do this is by using a ratchet wrench.
It will fit into the tight spaces perfectly, and the six bolts (15mm) will come off easily.
Step 6: Removing the Transfer Case
The process to remove the transfer case may be tricky for trucks with torsion bars and cross members already in place.
Try to back the transfer case as much as possible from the trans tail and place it down.
Tip: Removing the transfer case from the 4L60E transmission isn’t hard, but caution is still necessary.
Get help if you must to prevent dropping something.
Here’s a visual example of how this process goes.
Use it for reference and apply the concepts to your vehicle.
10 Common Problems With 4L60E Transmission
The following list contains common problems often encountered with the 4L60E transmission.
In many of these scenarios, the quickest solution is to remove and rebuild the transmission.
Now that you’ve learned how to do it, you’re ready to tackle these issues like a professional.
01. The car won’t move in any gear: Don’t panic just yet, and check the pump for failures or if there’s complete fluid loss.
To fix the pump failure, you must remove and rebuild the transmission. If the issue is fluid loss, refill the pan and find the leak.
- Tip: Take note of the fluid level when the engine is off, and then start it to check the fluid level again. If it doesn’t decrease with the engine on, there’s a broken pump.
02. The transmission shifts manually but not automatically: Several factors could lead to this problem, like the PCM, wiring, and the sensors.
Check them thoroughly.
03. The transmission doesn’t shift from first, and the speedometer shows zero constantly: VSS failure may be the culprit here.
Remove the transmission to access the VSS and fix the transmission rear.
04. Slow or no reverse at all: Potentially caused by worn-out “lo-reverse” clutches, fluid leaks, or broken sunshell.
You can fix leaks in the reverse apply circuit by adding a high-viscosity additive.
For worn boost valves, you can replace them in the pan.
05. Delayed or hard 1-2 shift: Check the TPS and confirm whether there’s a linear electrical response across the motion range. If that’s not the case, replace.
06. The transmission doesn’t go to 3rd or 4th gear: This one’s easy: just remove and rebuilt the unit. You can still drive the vehicle in 2 until you solve the problem.
07. Grinding noise in 2nd gear: Take a look at the sunshell, which may have fractures. Remove and rebuild to solve this issue, and don’t drive the car until you do so.
08. There’s no shift to 2nd or 4th gear, just 1st and 3rd: Again, you may be dealing with a fractured sunshell or perhaps sheared-off splines. Like before, the solution is to remove and rebuild. The car is not safe to drive.
09. 1st and 4th gear not available, with the transmission shifting from 2nd to 3rd automatically: A troublesome problem caused by either a ShiftA solenoid failure or PCM-to-Trans wiring issues. Run a diagnostic test.
10. Awful noise while in 4th gear, with the brakes feeling like they’re on: Cause: applying overrun clutches caused by cracks or leaks in the forward piston. Remove and rebuild the transmission to solve it.
4L60E Transmission Swap Guide
Removing the 4L60E transmission may be necessary sometimes, but there’s also the choice to swap the transmissions.
Here’s how you do that following a real-life example.
Systems involved in this task: Level 4 Gearstar Four-Speeds 4L60E & TH350 With Three Speeds.
- The Gearstar 4L60E is larger than the TH350 by a few inches, which facilitates this project greatly. With that said, the more powerful and precise adjustments are what make the 4L60E better. That’s the reason why I chose this transmission.
- Start by removing the driveshaft. The TH350 has a long tail shaft for trucks, which is similar in size to the 700-R4 and the 4L60E. That’s not the same for cars, in which the tail shaft is shorter. Shorten it if it’s necessary.
- Follow up by replacing the headers with the car on the lift. Getting the headers out of the way gives plenty of working space to drop down the transmission. Get rid of the linkage and the lines responsible for the transmission fluids. Clamp them back for fewer risks of leaks.
- Work on the crossmember to unbolt it off the frame, and remove it from the transmission. Next, remove the bellhousing bolts as well as the torque converter. Then, use a transmission jack to lower down the transmission.
- In some cases, the 4L60E transmission may already have the converter attached. It could also come with the exact fluid amount and a convenient dipstick. These perks would make the task much easier to accomplish because there’s less work needed.
- Plut the MSD TCM harness to the transmission in the upper side of the valve body. The Transmission Control Module (TCM) will control the valve body. Therefore, there’s no need to deal with throttle valve cables need by other tans.
- Another similarity between 4L60E and TH350 transmissions is the case. As a result, the 4L60E should fit hassle-free. But you do have to check the electronic factor, which may rear its head when checking clearance as you inspect the vehicle’s speed sensor. Shorten the sensor’s plastic plug by a quarter inch. In case it continues to hit the floor, base the ground for clearance.
- Line up the input shaft and the crank and slide the new transmission into place. Then, attach the torque converter and flywheel with the bolts. Finish this step by fitting the bellhousing bolts.
- Depending on the transmission length, you may want to slide the crossmember back by two inches. After you do that, slot the crossmember holes to bolt the unit into the existing holes of the fame.
- The transmission works with a computer-controlled system, but it also has a mechanical linkage. Attach this part to the same spot as the previous transmission.
- You may need to shorten and rebalance the old driveshaft. Once you do, bolt it back in its place with brand-new shorty headers. Doing this will provide improved ground clearance.
- Since the MSD TCM is a compact unit, it will fit anywhere.
- Now, program the MSD using the joystick control to navigate the menus. Set up gear ratio, size, and the remaining parameters to complete the swap.
FAQ’s About How To Remove Transfer Case From 4L60E Transmission
What is the transfer case?
The transfer case is an essential part of the drivetrains found in axle-powered vehicles, like four-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive.
This part has a simple yet important function, which is to transfer the transmission power to the front and rear axles.
To do that, it uses the driveshafts as mediums.
What problems do transfer case failures cause?
The vehicle will likely shift to and out of four-wheel drive automatically.
As mentioned before, a failure in the transfer case keeps the internal parts from receiving lubrication.
It may be a mild inconvenience at first, but the vehicle will eventually stop working as well as it once did.
How often do you have to change the fluid in the transfer case?
The recommended time to change transfer case fluid is every 30,000 miles.
This is super important for tow vehicles and cars that operate in four-wheel drive regularly.
Why change transfer case fluid?
When the fluid is low or gets contaminated, the differential may suffer failures. This is why periodically changing the transfer case fluid is a must.
If you do, the transfer will continue to work properly, without any loss of power that would compromise the engine or the vehicle.
Does a broken transfer case make the car useless?
If the transfer case breaks, the four-wheel drive option won’t work properly.
This is because leakages in the seals allow fluid to escape, which won’t allow proper lubrication of the interior components.
As a result, the parts inside wear out and are prone to overheating issues.
Can you fix a damaged transfer case?
You can fix a damaged transfer case through a complete rebuilding of the system.
This option is friendlier than paying a professional because it isn’t as expensive.
Plus, you won’t have to buy a new one either.
How To Remove 4L60E 4×4 Transmission?
Many people ask a common question in many forums, how to remove 4l60e 4×4 transmission?
Well, removing the 4L60E 4×4 transmission involves many steps, like disconnecting the battery, lifting the vehicle, and removing the starter.
This process can take a considerable amount of time as well, which is why preparation is key.
Luckily, I’ve found a video that made the removal much easier when I had to do it. You can check it out here.
With this information, now you can remove the transfer case yourself.
Each vehicle is different, so keep that in mind during the process.
Use the information shared here as a reference but know that some of it may be different depending on the car model.
With that said, this How to Remove Transfer Case From 4L60E Transmission guide will help you become a better mechanic and car owner overall.
So, there you go! Prepare yourself mentally, make the accommodations for the vehicle, and get to work.
Save yourself a considerable amount of money by putting some elbow grease and dedication into your car.