Working on an older Corvette is a bit like playing a game of mechanical Whack-a-Mole: knock out one problem, and another one immediately pops up. In the case of our '96 Polo Green coupe, we've recently spent the bulk of our time concussing critters in the differential, the better to prep the car for a planned raft of power upgrades. The solution ultimately came in the form of a heavy-duty Dana 36 diff from Zip Products, which went in with a minimum of fuss and has thus far performed beyond even our admittedly high expectations.
With the diff squared away, it was time to focus our sanative attentions on the car's rebuilt 4L60E transmission. While the factory-issue trans was still cracking off rifle-shot upshifts under wide-open throttle, it had developed a barely perceptible slip when engaging Fourth gear in everyday driving. Around the same time, it sprang a festive fluid leak that left decorative Rorschach patterns on the garage floor. While neither of these issues demanded immediate attention on its own, together they constituted a clear indication that the 80,000-mile gearbox was nearing the end of its useful service life.
Rather than simply overhauling the transmission with new stock components, we decided to load it up with race-spec hardware from drivetrain specialist TCI. The Mississippi-based company provided us with a full complement of severe-duty internals for the trans itself, along with one of its high-stall StreetFighter torque converters to enliven our C4's standing-start acceleration.
To minimize the car's downtime during the rebuild, we also obtained a used stock 4L60E from Vette-parts specialist J&D Corvette in Bellflower, California. J&D shipped us an almost-new unit from a wrecked '94 model, which we turned over to local tuner AntiVenom for the freshening-up work. Once that was done, the AV crew headed back to Source Interlink's lavishly equipped installation center to perform the swap. Follow along now as we take a closer look at both the parts themselves and the highlights of the job.