After making boatloads of horsepower and torque for our Back To The Street Camaro, complements of our GM Performance Parts ZZ454, we tackled the challenge of harnessing all that power with a critical piece of the drivetrain-the transmission. The Back To The Street '71 F-body will serve duty on the street, at the dragstrip, and through the S-turns, and we kept this in mind while deciding which was the best gear changer to bolt up to the big-block.
Since the car was already set up for an automatic, we decided to upgrade to a more modern version. Level 10 Performance Transmission Systems in Hardyston, New Jersey, was up to the task of assembling a custom bulletproof trans to suit our exact needs. Adjustability was essential as we search for seamless gear changes in traffic, but also giddy up and go on the 1,320. The 4L60E electronically controlled transmission will meet all our requirements, as Level 10 can utilize its tuning software to adjust everything from rpm shift points to valvebody line pressure with a few simple changes on a handheld tuner, or through a laptop computer.
General Motors introduced the 4L60E transmission in 1993 to replace the 700R4 that was in service for many years in its cars and trucks. The housings of these transmissions are virtually identical, although the absence of a throttle valve (TV) cable is easily noticed by the 700R4 faithful. The 4L60E provides equal, if not better durability than the 700R4, but allows for electronic monitoring and tuning.
Believe it or not, "4L60E" actually does stand for the specifications of the trans and isn't just General Motors trying to mess with us-4L60E stands for four speeds, longitudinally positioned, 6,000-pound GVW, and electronically controlled. When the 4L60E transmission was phased into production, the 700R4 was renamed 4L60. Notice the missing "E" for non-electronic.
Level 10 only builds custom transmissions so they can tailor each and every case that leaves the shop to the end user's specifications. Much more durable than the factory units, and with cleaner/more crisp shifts, our 4L60E will have no problem pulling the reins on our ZZ454's 540 lb-ft of torque. Follow along as we assemble the unit and get yet another step closer to bringing our former bracket car "Back To The Street."