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4T65E Do-It-Yourself Shift Kit: Instructions and Install Guide

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Edit: March 13, 2017:  Added disclaimer for VERY HARD shift kit. Clarified fluid options. Fixed spacing.

 

Free advice: Many transaxle fluids marketed as "Dex/Merc" compatible have changed their formulation and do not conform to previous Dexron specifications. I suggest using ONLY GM approved Dexron VI fluids OR A "Dex/Merc" fluid that conforms to Alison TES-389.  Alison TES-389 indicates it is compatible with the old Dexron III standard.  Valvoline Dex/Merc is a good option for someone who wants to stay with Dex III. Valvoline MaxLife and other Valvoline fluids seem to be Dex VI compatible now. TES-389 stuff is getting pretty hard to find as of June 2018.

 

 

Credits: This do-it-yourself method was originally pioneered by members of OKGPC, so they get full credit for coming up with it. I'm simply giving you my twist on it, along with pictures and a more detailed write-up. This is the exact same kit you get from vendors like W-body Store for less than half of the price.

 

Synopsis: Install a shift kit utilizing shims in the transaxle shift pressure accumulator.

Difficulty: 3/5. Requires dropping the bottom transaxle pan, removing the shift pressure accumulator, changing the transaxle filter, and refilling the transaxle with fluid.

 

 

Parts required:

1.jpg

 

 

The parts you need are determined by whether you want to do the medium (light street/strip) or hard (heavy street/strip) shift kit. There's also an optional spring used to firm up the 1-2 shift (usable with either medium or hard). The shims used are available from McMaster-Carr online.

 

 

Medium Shift Kit

(2) 92415A865 :: Zinc-Plated Steel Unthreaded Round Spacer 1/2" OD, 1/2" Length, 1/4" Screw Size

(2) 92415A867 :: Zinc-Plated Steel Unthreaded Round Spacer 1/2" OD, 3/4" Length, 1/4" Screw Size

 

VERY Hard Shift Kit - Seriously this thing is hard. It will chirp the tires on a 1-2 shift and that means extra transmission wear and tear, especially on the drive chain and final drive unit. Use at your own risk.

This is a second warning not to use these shims. Do the medium version.

(2) 92415A867 :: Zinc-Plated Steel Unthreaded Round Spacer 1/2" OD, 3/4" Length, 1/4" Screw Size

(2) 92415A869 :: Zinc-Plated Steel Unthreaded Round Spacer 1/2" OD, 1" Length, 1/4" Screw Size

 

Required for both kits

8-10 quarts of Dexron VI or Alison TES-389 compliant transmission fluid

Transmission filter

 

 

Optional for either kit
 

2-3 shift accumulator spring (used to replace the stock 1-2 shift spring). GM part number 24203977.

 

Directions:

 

1. Raise the front of the car and begin loosening the 10mm bolts on the transmission pan. Loosen the ones toward the back of the car more than the front so the fluid drips toward the long end of the pan. Allow it to nearly fully drain to avoid a huge mess (which is going to happen anyway, it's just saving you at least a little bit of a headache). Remove the pan and clean it off along with the magnet and gasket.

 

2. With the pan removed we can now access the filter. Pull it straight down firmly, twisting it side to side to break it loose. Change the filter neck gasket if required.

 

3. Now that the filter is removed, we can now take out the accumulator itself. It's seen below in color, along with the bolts that need to be removed numbered for easy reference. Once these bolts are removed, the accumulator will want to drop down and spill transmission fluid everywhere. Use one hand to hold up the accumulator and another to remove the bolts by hand once they're broken loose. Pull the hard metal lines out of the accumulator using care as not to bend them. Note the location of each metal line.

 

2.jpg

 

4. Once the accumulator is removed, place it face-up and remove the remaining bolts. Remove the cover. Inside you'll find two cylinders, both with visible springs. Do one side at a time. Pull up on a spring and remove it. Try to take out only the small spring and the metal plate it sits on, leaving behind the rod and large spring. Put one of the longer shims at the bottom of the rod. If you're using the optional 2-3 spring, and you're working on the 1-2 accumulator, remove the small spring from it's base, and press the new spring onto it. Reinstall the small spring and base onto the rod. Add a short shim in the middle of the spring. Repeat for the other side.

 

6.jpg
5.jpg

 

5. Reinstall the cover to the accumulator. Bolt it back into the transmission, using extreme care to reinstall and reseat the hard metal lines. Make absolute certain the lines are reseated properly. If they're not, you'll be left with a slipping transaxle that burns up clutches.. In case you forgot where the lines go, here's a picture:

 

3.jpg

 

6. Reinstall the transaxle filter. Put the pan cover back on, and fill the transaxle with approximately 8-10 quarts of ATF, depending on how much fluid you lost. Once you're sure you have the proper fluid level, take the car for a spin and make sure that it's not slipping. If it's all good to go, enjoy your new shift kit! Your wallet will thank you for it! :wink:

Edited by digitaloutsider

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that is a good write up!! I did this shift kit, though it is from ZZP but its the same thing. It would have been really helpful if they included a picture like that to show which 4 bolts hold up the accumulator. i had to remove them all to get it down!

 

I would not recommend the hard shift kit for daily drivers. the medium is quite good enough, trust me!!

 

 

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Will this work for the 440t4 trans or the 4t60? Good work. Should make this a sticky or something.

 

Jarek

it should, but im not sure what size shims you would use. shift kits work pretty good on non-e trannies, too.

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Will this work for the 440t4 trans or the 4t60? Good work. Should make this a sticky or something.

 

Jarek

it should, but im not sure what size shims you would use. shift kits work pretty good on non-e trannies, too.

 

As far as I know, 440T4's/4T60's/4T60-E's don't have the shift pressure accumulators that the 4T65E's do. Shift pressure is controlled through the vacuum modulator.

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As far as I know, 440T4's/4T60's/4T60-E's don't have the shift pressure accumulators that the 4T65E's do. Shift pressure is controlled through the vacuum modulator.

The 4T60/440T4/etc.. do have shift accumulators. The accumulators have nothing to do with line pressure during shifts, they just absorb the initial pressure burst to make smoother shifts. I did shim them in my old Regal, with a slight difference.

 

The accumulator housing in the 4T60 actually looks identical to the 4T65 trans. but the internals are different. The 4T60 accumulators only use 1 spring vs 2 on the 4T65.

 

Anyway, the shift kit for the 4T60 just uses shims under the springs in the accumulators. Just find a washer that fits into the base of the accumulator w/o too much play. Just add more washers for more shift firmness. IIRC I used 3 washers (they were thin washers) and it was a small, but noticeable difference.

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As far as I know, 440T4's/4T60's/4T60-E's don't have the shift pressure accumulators that the 4T65E's do. Shift pressure is controlled through the vacuum modulator.

The 4T60/440T4/etc.. do have shift accumulators. The accumulators have nothing to do with line pressure during shifts, they just absorb the initial pressure burst to make smoother shifts. I did shim them in my old Regal, with a slight difference.

 

The accumulator housing in the 4T60 actually looks identical to the 4T65 trans. but the internals are different. The 4T60 accumulators only use 1 spring vs 2 on the 4T65.

 

Anyway, the shift kit for the 4T60 just uses shims under the springs in the accumulators. Just find a washer that fits into the base of the accumulator w/o too much play. Just add more washers for more shift firmness. IIRC I used 3 washers (they were thin washers) and it was a small, but noticeable difference.

 

Ah! Thanks for that, Sean!

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would like to do this shift kit on my 97 gtp but its a little confusing. y does it show that you need 2 of each spacer and is ther 1-2 shift spring the same spring used for the 2-3 shift? also y does it show 2 different lengths for the spacer?

 

"(2) 92415A867 :: Zinc-Plated Steel Unthreaded Round Spacer 1/2" OD, 3/4" Length, 1/4" Screw Size

(2) 92415A869 :: Zinc-Plated Steel Unthreaded Round Spacer 1/2" OD, 1" Length, 1/4" Screw Size"

 

does the longer one go in the 2-3 shift and shorter in the 1-2? one last thing, which is which shift? how do you tell what pocket is the 1-2 shift and the 2-3 shift?

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would like to do this shift kit on my 97 gtp but its a little confusing. y does it show that you need 2 of each spacer and is ther 1-2 shift spring the same spring used for the 2-3 shift? also y does it show 2 different lengths for the spacer?

 

"(2) 92415A867 :: Zinc-Plated Steel Unthreaded Round Spacer 1/2" OD, 3/4" Length, 1/4" Screw Size

(2) 92415A869 :: Zinc-Plated Steel Unthreaded Round Spacer 1/2" OD, 1" Length, 1/4" Screw Size"

 

does the longer one go in the 2-3 shift and shorter in the 1-2? one last thing, which is which shift? how do you tell what pocket is the 1-2 shift and the 2-3 shift?

use the shorter spacers on the 1-2 shift. In the pic that shows the numbered bolts you can also see the housing stamped 1-2 an 2-3.

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This thread seems to be getting linked from another forum.

 

Please keep in mind that this writeup was done nearly a decade ago.  I did edit some of the post for clarification on fluids and added a disclaimer. Seriously, I wouldn't do the "hard" shift kit unless you really like hearing the dashboard crack on WOT shifts. 

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