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Old 01-02-2013, 04:55 PM   #1 (permalink)
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chrisgerman1983 - '96 chevrolet astro
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What shift kit? 4L60E

Just wondering if anybody has any experience with shift kits for autos? I have to change my shift solenoid because my van is starting out in 2nd gear. Just thinking that while I have the pan off if there is anything else I could do? Faster shifts must help efficiency. I just don't know what other changes the kit may help with. Thanks

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Old 01-02-2013, 05:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I have a shift kit in my sub they tend to increse line pressures, upping the torque handeling cap, Personally I like it but not everyone will like the firmer shifts they produce, some can be fairly harsh
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Old 01-02-2013, 05:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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chrisgerman1983 - '96 chevrolet astro
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I don't mind a hard shift. My 94 astro shifted very hard from 1st to 2nd hard enough you didn't want to be accelerating hard and shoulder checking at the same time :-) any chance starting off in 2nd could help fuel economy? It doesn't struggle at all just a little slower. But if I am gentle you don't really notice.
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Old 01-02-2013, 05:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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supposedly.....the early Infiniti Q45s started in second gear unless you got past 3/4 acceleration, then it would 'drop' to first.

My conern is that your asking the tranny to do something it's not 'designed' to do. I would be afraid of unexpected additional wear......just mho.
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Old 01-02-2013, 06:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'd leave it alone. You won't win any drag races, but, who cares?

It does mean the torque converter does a bit more work, but, so long as you aren't beating on it it shouldn't matter. You might want to throw an external oil cooler on it as insurance.
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Old 01-02-2013, 06:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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that is a great idea.....for 40 bucks and 2 hours.....
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Old 01-02-2013, 07:22 PM   #7 (permalink)
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certain GM vehicles had the option of "2nd gear start" for many years... both FWD(4T60E) and RWD(4L60E). they automatically kicked out of it if you went past a rather large amount of throttle, but otherwise, they just make the torque converter run closer to it's stall point for a longer period of time.

depending on how the shift pattern is setup, you could see a noticable change in fuel economy, though not necessarily in the direction you want.

my 1-2 shift happens at 9MPH with minimal throttle... i can almost idle it up to that point and have it shift into 2nd. fuel used to do so is pretty much the idle fuel consumption rate. i've also played around with 2nd gear start to a degree and it takes a considerable amount of throttle to get the car up to the same speed, with the torque converter pretty much running against it's stall rating of 2100RPM. considering how much further the throttle is opened along with the significantly higher engine speed, fuel usage during this is considerably heavier to achieve the same speed.

it is great for low-traction situations though... very hard to spin the tires when the total torque multiplication is ~5.2 compared to ~9.7.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:12 PM   #8 (permalink)
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4L60 and 4L60E are built from the TH700 design. The TH700 started out in first gear from a stop and always worked fine from about 1982 to 1993.

I shortened the TV cable by 1 click on my TH700R4 and that firmed up shifts quite nicely.

Also in the late 80s or early 90s GM pretty much dropped the high speed rearends like the 3.08 (gears I run) and 2.73 offering in trucks. So if you run 3.42s or 3.73 gears you don't really need 1st gear with an TH700 or 4l60E.
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:24 AM   #9 (permalink)
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chrisgerman1983 - '96 chevrolet astro
90 day: 14.02 mpg (US)
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Thanks for all the replies! I will get it fixed for sure but I may wire in a second gear start switch? It is nice to have first gear when I want even though it is very short. I was watching my load while accelerating and I could keep it under 15% fairly easy. I could keep up with traffic leaving lights with about 25%. I haven't had any real weight in the van yet since I lost 1st but I bet if I was heavy it would be really sluggish. Going to look into shift kits as well.

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