Where can I read up on 4L80E trannys?

Zambo

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I'm doing some research preparing to build a prerunner and for the longest time I figured that I'd use the old tried and true th400. However, I want it to have manners cruising down the highway as well (the long ride home from a la paz prerun comes to mind). So the two ideas I've been playing with are using a gear vendors with the th400, or using a 4L80E. I know a little about the gear vendors but really I know squat about the 4L80E.

Anybody got some goods, bads, and others or can point me in the right direction? Keep in mind I want this truck to be bomb proof, its not going to be a trailer queen with a support crew waiting to come pull us out when the thing breaks down.
 

johnnyweb

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Talk to Steve Culhane @ Culhane racing transmissions he has been doing 4l80e for other guys and has them figured out.
 
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I'm using a Steve Culhane built 4L80e with Full Manual Valve Body in my new toy. The strength and reliability of a Th400 but with a lower 1st and an overdrive, perfect for a Prerunner. Mine is sitting behind a built GM Performance Products 502/502 that was putting out around 650 Hp. As of right now, a reverse pattern is still in development but not ready.
 

Zambo

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Thanks, I know Culhane does good work. I also know however that when you're trying to run a business that sitting around on the phone jawing with telephonic looky-loos doesn't pay the bills.
 

Zambo

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Ramsey, how does the overdrive work with the manual VB? Do you shift into third and then hit a switch or what? Also, how is the cost compared to a th400?
 

FIGGY

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Hey my bad busting in but i had a question this transmission which i also have, i pretty much dont have the big hp but im wanting to put the trans body valve kit. was wondering if anyone has put one on and do you really have to do much to the transmission like rebuilding it can you install this to a stock 4L80E. and what shiftin patterns does it have the one ive seen tci makes it but doesnt have the pattern.
 

SpeedBump

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Ramsey, how does the overdrive work with the manual VB? Do you shift into third and then hit a switch or what? Also, how is the cost compared to a th400?
We use a standard pattern full manual valve body on our Culhane 4L80-E. We have raced it about 30 times over 5 years with only 1 failure (prep was short 6 quarts of oil).

The transmission is in the gear you put it in. From a stop 1st works good. If you have the shifter in OD the truck will bog. The lockup TC will not engage unless you use a wiring harness Steve offers to manually control the lockup torque converter from a toggle switch.

The full manual valve body kit can be installed on any 4L80E and can be done with the transmission in the vehicle. You just need to pull the pan and valve body.

Depending upon your rear suspension you may want a fixed output yoke rather than the more popular slip yoke. The stock fixed yoke tail housing uses a bushing. Culhane offers a trick fixed yoke housing with bearings.

Talk to Steve about costs.
 

RDEgal

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I'm doing some research preparing to build a prerunner and for the longest time I figured that I'd use the old tried and true th400. However, I want it to have manners cruising down the highway as well (the long ride home from a la paz prerun comes to mind). So the two ideas I've been playing with are using a gear vendors with the th400, or using a 4L80E. I know a little about the gear vendors but really I know squat about the 4L80E.

Anybody got some goods, bads, and others or can point me in the right direction? Keep in mind I want this truck to be bomb proof, its not going to be a trailer queen with a support crew waiting to come pull us out when the thing breaks down.
We have a 4L80E trans that has been shortened and is only 1/8" longer than our TH400 Race Trans, with a fully manual Valve Body. It can be built with either a Lock-up Torque Converter or a non-Lock-up Torque Converter. The parts for this trans are built from 300M material and we have close ratio planetaries. Check out our web site at www.ranchodrivetrain.com or call us at (951)296-6163.
 

Zambo

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Thank you. I just bought a 75 chevy, when I say I just bought it I mean I'm picking it up tonight. I can't wait to get started but it'll probably be a little while till we're at the buying a transmission stage. The good news is that it sounds like if I set it up for a th400 I can probably squeeze a 4l80e in there without much hassle at all, so that takes one headache out of planning and design.
 

Zambo

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How much $$$ does your 4L80E run? How much less (or more) heat does the 4L80E with a converter generate than a TH400?

Aloha
I'd like to know this also. Send me a pm if you don't want to tell everyone the price.
 

FABRICATOR

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Make sure the overall setup (weight, rear end ratio, etc) allows easy converter lockup on the freeway. Otherwise, the very tall gearing (O/D) and slipping converter generate a ton of heat.
 

Zambo

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What I've seen to make an auto trans a 'six speed' is they hook up a little computer to a set of paddle shifters. The trans has a hydraulic actuator that shifts the lever and it also has a gear vendors attached. When you start in first and paddle up, it activates the gear vendors. Next time you shift up it deactivates the gear vendors and simultaneously shifts the trans into second. Next upshift it activates the gear vendors, and so on. Pretty cool but also a little complicated and spendy.

FWIW, we have paddle shifters in our stock full for our electonic transmission, we can program it to use the kickdown gears and it acts just like a no kidding four speed automatic with a manual valvebody. Again, too expensive and complex for what I'm looking for though.
 

D.Mavis

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The TCI trans does not use an external over/under drive unit. everything is self contained in the 4l80e case. I dont know how they do it? I'm running a th-400 now and off road thats fine, I'd like a cruise gear, but during any serious prerunning I doubt I'd ever use it, I wounder if 6 speeds is too much? It could be cool to down shift "half" a gear though. Its kind of bling with 6 speeds and a paddle shifter, thats got to count for something!
 

Triaged

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TCI does the same thing with their 6-speed 4l80e that a GV-OD would do, but with the OD gear in the trans. I.e. the gears are 1, 1OD, 2, 2OD, 3, 3OD = 6 forward gears.
 

Zambo

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TCI does the same thing with their 6-speed 4l80e that a GV-OD would do, but with the OD gear in the trans. I.e. the gears are 1, 1OD, 2, 2OD, 3, 3OD = 6 forward gears.
That's kind what I figured. Seem's like a bitchin' unit, but also seems like total overkill for what I need. How much would a 4l80e that would be appropriate for a 400hp/ 4500lb prerunner go for?
 

sirhk100

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Bump from the dead. I plan to call Culhane a bit further along but I picked up a truck that has a culhane built 4l80. It's 100% brand new, like I don't even know if it has oil in it. Yes, obviously I'll be checking but...

Curious from owners that have had this transmission, what did you guys run for oil? What kind of maintenance have you done on it over time? Is it capable of down shifting to slow or should I 100% be relying on the brakes? I've always been a manual trans person so this is the first one I've owned. How about an auto trans in the dirt for idiots do and do not's basically?

It's mated to a completely stock LQ9 so not a massive power house...

Thanks,
Khris
 

SpeedBump

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We have been racing in 1400/1450 using a Culhane 4L80e transmission connected to a stock LQ4 since 2005. It has a full manual valve body with a gate shifter - there is no automatic up or down shifting. Gear is what driver puts the shifter in. We use a Fluidyne transmission oil cooler. There is a custom Culhane tail cone with fixed output 1350 yoke and roller bearings. All internal components are stock except the input shaft which is 300m. The torque converter is stock.
The only transmission problem we have had is a broken stock input shaft at Battle at Primm last year. That is why we now have the upgraded 300m input shaft.
 
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