Automatic Transmission - Stock 4L80E w/ New TC & TCU... or Built 200-4R ?

06-24-2007, 12:29 AM
HI ALL!!! I have a transmission question.

I'm having a tough time deciding between 1) a stock 4L80E w/ new converter, shift kit, & aftermarket programable TCU... or 2) a performance-built 200-4R. Both options will cost about the same.

I know the OD ratios are different. I know the 4L80 weighs about 80 lb more. I'm just looking for opinions (hopefully real-life experience) regarding the most bullet-proof option. Also... is the programable TCU really that useful?

I don't want a 4L60 (700R4) nor a 2 or 3 speed nor a GV OD. Please stick to the 2 options I've posted :)

Street driven car...
Curb weight= 2500 lb w/ fuel & driver
Diff.= 3.54 or 3.90 CLSD (depends on tire height)
Tire height= 22 or 24" (depends on diff ratio)
Tread width= 10-12"
Torque conv. stall= 2600-3000
" " STR= 2.1
650WHP/750Torque L98 (incl. 150 NOS above 2800 RPM)
No ECU (dual 500 CFM carbs)

Goals: 9's in the 1/4 and top-speed of 160+

This is a 1974 Datsun 260Z with a V8 swap, BTW.


06-24-2007, 12:44 AM
I was looking into both, and the response I kept getting from tranny shops was that the 200-4R wouldn't last for lots of street miles in addition to beating on it.

06-24-2007, 01:00 AM
LS1rulz... Thanks!! Did you speak to the specialty shops like Performabuilt, Performance Auto, B&M, Art Carr, etc.? Or local shops?

06-24-2007, 08:42 AM
I would think that at your weight, a built (w/ good billet guts) 200R4 would last a long time. You may have some additional clearance issues to consider with the much larger 4L80E. Of course a built 4L80 is stronger and the TCU would make for some really good driviability.

06-24-2007, 09:57 AM
98Z28CobraKiller... That's what I was thinking. At 2200 pounds plus fuel and driver, any decent well-built transmission "should" hold up even with 750 pound-feet of torque. I'm hoping to make this car hook-up fairly well at launch, which will add strain to the tranny. But I'll seldom put that to full use... maybe a couple times a year at the track. And I can't really pull wheelies on the street, which isn't likely anyway on street tires even with 12 inch treads. I'll just roast the tires.

BTW, I like your screen name "...CobraKiller". I want my little street-rocket to kill and shame most any competition. If I set it up and tune it right, I shouldn't have any problem :devil:

EDIT: Yes, a 4L80E will necessitate 1) a shortened drive shaft, and 2) some serious pounding on the tranny tunnel to make room for it.

Gilbert@Ace Racing
06-24-2007, 11:06 AM
Sounds like you have your mind set on one of the two units mentioned. But I am curious.... why not go with a 4L60E? I am not going to spell out he virtues as you have done you homework it looks like.

We install 4L80E's often ourselves, they are a brutally strong transmission with manners!

Good Luck

06-24-2007, 11:24 AM
LS1rulz... Thanks!! Did you speak to the specialty shops like Performabuilt, Performance Auto, B&M, Art Carr, etc.? Or local shops?
I spoke with Performabuilt, Rossler, and a couple of others that I don't remember. With you having less weight and more power, just do the math to see if you're putting more force into it than I would be.

06-24-2007, 12:22 PM
Ratchthed... The 4L60E is a great transmission. I just prefer the gear ratios in the 200-4R and 4L80E. I really don't need that deep 1st gear.

LS1rulz... Thanks for the advice. I can crunch the numbers but that isn't real-world experience. I have personal experience with some old TH400's and I can say without reservation that they are tough beasts... even factory-stock. The 4L80E should be about the same.

So... for durability, I'm certain that a mildly built 4L80E will take just about anything I'm likely to throw at it. Also, the prgrammable TCU would be very nice indeed. BUT... for ease of installation and weight... The 200-4R wins hands down.

Darn these decisions... they give me a headache :bang:

06-24-2007, 12:34 PM
I agree totally. I just put my 4L80e in this week, and love it. I'm glad I went that route. I like having to not worry about blowing out the tranny. Only problem I've had is that I abused my 10-bolt for a full year on a 6-speed and had no problems. Everyone said that really with an auto, it won't be much of a worry. Well, after about 3 days of driving the auto, my rear end cover has this in it: (my PY3600 hits HARD NA - I can't wait to spray on it)

06-24-2007, 01:27 PM
LS1rulz... Sorry about your diff. I'd suggest you carefully inspect every piece in your drive train :)

big wally 55
06-24-2007, 02:59 PM
I can understand you not needing the deep ratio and 1-2 spread on the 700-R4/ 4L60E , but I cant imagine that you will find the 4L80E w/controler for anywhere near the same $$$$ as the 200-4R . The 4L80E is a much more durable transmission withcapabilities up to 900HP or more , where the 200-4R is in trouble after 350 to 400 Hp. But you will need a controler like a Compushift or the like and they are over a $1000.00 above the cost of the transmission , but it is one bada**ed trans !!!!!

06-24-2007, 08:34 PM
big wally 55... I can find a good low-mile 4L80E from a truck for $300 or a bit more and have a shift kit and new/better bands installed for another $200-300, I think. I've found controllers in the $600 range. Anyway... lets say a really nice used 4L80E costs me $400 plus another $600 for the controller and other stuff, then another $300 for upgrades (shift kit and new bands), plus a decent stall converter for $700... that's about $2K. A really well-built 200-4R with a good stall converter will cost about the same money and may not last. Then again... this car only weighs 2200 lb plus me and fuel so it may not make much difference.

big wally 55
06-24-2007, 09:11 PM
MIKE 1234 , If you can do a 4L80E for those $$$$ it's a no-brainer cause a 200-4R will not hold up to constant abuse , and it is a throttle cable controlled unit and you have to get the cable adjusted perfectly and thas can be a bit difficult ,especially on a trans plant ! What I was refering to is the fact that a performance 4L80E will go for $2500.00 plus the controller !!

06-24-2007, 09:26 PM
John... Oh yeah... you're right. A fresh performance-built 4L80E will cost at least $2.5K. I'm talking used, low-mile, with basic/mild upgrades. BTW, I see from your avatar that you are an auto transmission professional. I appreciate your input.

So a programable TCU is definitely a big plus? What, can you tell me in a nutshell, makes this important other than elimination of the TV cable? Is the adjustability that nice of a feature? I'll study this a bit more but any info you can post is greatly appreciated.

I'm 80 percent on the verge of opting for the 4L80E setup but I just need another nudge:)

big wally 55
06-24-2007, 09:45 PM
Nudge nudge , The only controler I have had experience with is Compushift and that was very limited . But what I do know is it allows you to adjist shift timing and pressure and I believe lockup as well . This is not a low dollar product but I believe it is worth the money !!

big wally 55
06-24-2007, 09:47 PM
I just rolled back up to see what you were putting this in and with that many ponies forget the 200-4R

06-24-2007, 09:57 PM
John... Okay... decision made. I'll start looking for a 4L80E. If you want, I'll look for that $600 TCU and PM the link.

big wally 55
06-24-2007, 10:04 PM
Good deal . Thanks good luck with your project , if you run into problems feel free to call us at ACE John
Hey where are you located ?????

06-24-2007, 10:40 PM
Thanks John. I appreciate your help!! I can't do this sort of work anymore so I'll have to farm it out. I'm in Converse, TX... NE San Antonio area about 30 miles from New Braunfels. Do you know any good transmission shops here that... umm... I can afford after acquiring all the parts?

big wally 55
06-24-2007, 10:53 PM
Don't personally know any in that area , but we are about 250 miles away if we can be some help! Have a good evening If I don't get off this computor I might be sleeping on the couch . :gtfo:

06-24-2007, 11:01 PM
Thanks John!! If I run into trouble, i.e. a bad mechanic, I'll give you a shout :) Have a great night.