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Updated Shift kit install thread

Old 04-26-2016, 01:48 PM
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Default Updated Shift kit install thread

use this thread for everything you need regarding the shift kit install.
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Old 04-26-2016, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by 02NavyBlue View Post
This is my first write-up/how to, and will be on installing a TransGo shift kit on the 4T65E Transmission. I performed it on my 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix, but would work for any other car with the 4t65E. Difficulty would be a 3/5 since you have to do a little more than dropping the pan. The accumulator must also be removed and "rebuilt". It's still overall an easy thing to do, and doesn't require many tools. This write-up can also be used for other shift kits, just use the instructions you got once you get to rebuilding the accumulator. While you are that far in the transmission, you would have already removed the things to do a pan drop service, so fluid and a filter will be included in this write-up. I also did a transmission fluid exchange that I will include at the very bottom. This is not needed if you've been following the recommended service intervals of at most every 50k miles.

I am very happy with the results of this shift kit. In my opinion, it's a "This is how the car should have come" patch kit. My regular up shifts were already very fast to begin with when the trans was below 200F. I installed it to help with my max adapt problem resulting from slow shifts. Even over 200 with the shift kit installed, the shifts don't get nearly as slow as they used to, and I doubt max adapt will ever come back. Another good thing that came out of it is that my downshifts under acceleration are much quicker. It's definitely not a kit that will make the wheels chirp (if you want that, look elsewhere) but they are very snappy. Whereas before, I would feel the power stop, the engine rev, then power to the wheels. It's pretty much instant now, while still being smooth. I love it.

The tools/supplies needed are:
Trans fluid: Dexron III or VI (I prefer III for 4t65e's pre-2006 and on the original build. 4t65e's 2006 and later, and earlier that have already been rebuilt should use VI) You will need 7.5-10 quarts, Transmission Filter, Shift kit, drip pan(7 quarts or more), jack + jack stands, towels, ratchet, extension, parts tray, a 10mm, and 8mm socket (6 point sockets only). Other things that would help are: Torque wrench in inch pounds, Gasket Scraper, pocket screwdriver, gloves

The things included in the shift kit portion are:
Two plain springs, two red springs, two white springs, one yellow spring, two long spacers, and one short spacer. You will not use the yellow spring, and one of the red springs. It also includes updated parts to fix common 4T65E issues that require tearing the trans apart to replace(not installed as part of the shift kit); a picture is below of the included items.

You should remove the negative battery terminal before starting. The difference in new fluid may cause shifts to be slower because the computer needs to adjust to the different flow properties of the new fluid, changing shift times according to the pressure. Removing the battery for at least an hour should reset the computer, and assure that shifts will be "re-learned".

The first step after making sure you have all things needed is to raise and support the car with jack stands.

Then position the drip pan under the transmission pan in the area you want it to start dripping first. Start removing the 10mm bolts from the transmission in one area first, making your way to the other side. Once you're at the last 5 or so, and the fluid has stopped dripping, hold the pan up with your hand and remove the remaining bolts at once. Letting it hang by too few bolts may bend the pan.

Pan removed: Thank god, no metal flakes or chunks. (110k miles on possibly the original transmission fluid)

Then remove the old filter by pulling straight down. Avoid pulling it on too much of an angle because the snout is plastic and may break off.

The next step is to remove the accumulator assembly. All of the bolts are 8mm, but only 4 are holding the assembly to the transmission. The remaining 7 are to separate the two halves of the accumulator. So remove only the labeled bolts while it's in the transmission:

Once they are removed, wiggle the accumulator out of its spot, being careful not to bend the lines. Once it's out of its spot, the lines can then be removed from the accumulator. They just pull straight out; there are no clips or seals holding them in.

Accumulator removed: Fluid will continue to drip for hours after these parts are removed, so keep that pan under there.

Remove the remaining 7, 8mm bolts, and carefully separate the accumulator. The gasket is metal, and is reusable. Here is what it will look like:

It is recommended that you use a scotch brite pad to clean up the glazed bores to prevent chatter, and improve lubrication.

My accumulator wasn't very glazed to begin with, sometimes they are though. Clean up any dust or particles in the accumulator, and spread a thin coating of new transmission fluid in the bore.

The next step is to replace the stock springs with the new springs and shims. Use your instruction sheet to reassemble the accumulator. It should look like this afterwards: You will have 2 extra springs from the shift kit. Those belong in the 3-4 accumulator which is in a different place in the transmission. It requires the side cover and channel plate to be removed, most don't install it as part of the shift kit until/unless they go in the side pan for something else.
[ TransGo Instructions in case you somehow loose or damage yours: ]

Since the piston on the right (1-2) only requires 2 springs, there will be a little bit of room in between them, and it may not sit right in the middle because of it. I suggest lying that spring in the bore first, and dropping the rest of the piston assembly/spring over it. Clean the gasket and mating surfaces, reassemble the accumulator completely, and tighten the bolts up. The torque spec is 97 inch pounds.

Now it's time to clean up the trans pan mating surfaces. Remove all of the old dirt/grease. Make sure to clean the pan from all clutch material, and be sure to clean the magnet. You should use brake clean on the final wipe. You may reuse the old stock gasket as long as you clean it. Stock gaskets have an aluminum middle with ribs on the rubber surface. Aftermarket flat gaskets should be replaced.

What the magnet looks like clean. Before you could see a ribbed surface, that was the clutch material sticking to it from wear over time. The amount mine had was normal.

Now it is time to start putting everything back together; the accumulator is first. Attach the 3 lines to the accumulator and carefully wiggle it back into its place. Do not bend the lines. If you are having trouble, try inserting the lines more, and slightly twisting the accumulator only a few degrees. Also notice the mating surface is very clean. Here's how the lines are supposed to be in case you forget:

After it slides in, line up the bolt holes, and start all of them. Torque them to 97 inch pounds.

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Old 04-26-2016, 02:53 PM
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Then check that the lines are seated all the way. They will still be able to move a little bit when the accumulator is bolted down, so you can push them in a bit further if needed. Here is a picture of my lines after reinstalling the accumulator. If you look at picture #8, you will see they are in almost the exact same spot they were before. I had also made small marks (that will not affect operation) in the lines before removing them to be sure they were seated all the way. If they are seated improperly, you may be left with a slipping transmission, or slower shifts due to loss of pressure.

Since those lines have nothing retaining them, the one with the rubber hose section (The differential lube line) is known to pop out of the accumulator. Part #: 84532-01K prevents lines from blowing out. It is cheap insurance from a blown out differential, I would suggest installing them as they're relatively cheap. Rockauto sells them for $2.06 + shipping.

Next, check your filter seal to make sure it is still pliable and wipe it clean. Put some new transmission fluid on the filter, and install it pressing straight up, twisting slightly if needed. If it isn't a tight fit, replace the seal.

Now align the gasket on the pan, and line it up with the bolt holes. Start all 20 bolts by hand first, ensuring the gasket lines up properly. I used the new gasket that came with the kit. Although the stock ribbed gasket with the aluminum inner part is reusable.

Then using an extension without using a ratchet (to be faster), finger tighten all 20 bolts until the gasket is flush with the transmission. The instructions I got with the filter told me to tighten all bolts to 80 inch pounds first, then to 120 inch pounds. I decided to stop at 80 since that seemed rather tight for the small bolts going into aluminum. Since I did this, I also went back a week later and re-torqued them to 80 because the new gasket will compress a little bit. I ended up getting another 1/8 of a turn out of them, and still no leaks. 120 is recommended though. Clean up the underside of the vehicle from any drips to accurately check for leaks later.

Now it's time to add the new fluid. First add 8 quarts. [If you would like to perform a fluid exchange as well, stop here and read the bottom of the post, then continue back here afterwards] Hook up the negative battery terminal, and start the car. You may check the transmission fluid level right away. If the fluid level is low already, add more. Shift the transmission through all of the gears with your foot on the brake. Make sure it engages firmly into reverse and drive. Go back and check the level again, filling it back to the safe zone. I'd go back once more and run it through the gears again and fill if needed. Check for leaks, and then take it for a test drive. Once you get back, check the fluid level again and top off if needed.

Now you can enjoy driving with your transmission shifting like it should have from the factory. Your transmission will thank you. I hope this helps people out there doing this for the first time. I added as much detail as I could think of, and any reasonable questions I get, I will update this with more detail.


One part I will also add is doing a quick and basic transmission fluid exchange. This should be performed right after adding the new fluid, and before starting the car for the first time. I only did it because I believe that this is the first service in the transmission's history, and my old fluid showed no signs of any issues that may be caused by changing the fluid. What I mean by that is if the old fluid is burned smelling, dark in color, or the transmission is already having issues, changing the fluid always poses some risks at that point. Doing this basic fluid exchange simply means that you are changing more than the normal amount of fluid (7.5 quarts) up to about 10 quarts depending on how long you do the exchange.

Immediately during the process, pure old fluid is removed from the transmission that would normally be mixed with your new transmission fluid. It goes through the filter, pump, valve body, torque converter, cooler, and into the catch pan you will set up. In no way can this directly harm the transmission if done as instructed (not letting the trans go dry). It's just a way of doing a more efficient transmission fluid change by flushing out the cooler and other components containing old fluid. All conditions are normal since the transmission pump is the component moving the fluid like it always does.

Performing a fluid exchange:
Locate the return line going back to the transmission, and remove it. It is the line that is facing towards the rear of the car, and can be seen in the last picture. To do so, remove the plastic cover, and remove the small C-clip using a pocket screwdriver. Then the line will just pull right out. Since the line does not have very much room to move, you may need to remove the bracket that is on the lines just past the point where they go up and to the cooler.
Position a pan under the line, and a bit towards the back of the car. Fluid goes through those lines pretty fast, so it will shoot out a foot or two before hitting the ground. If you have some hose that fits the line, use it to redirect the fluid into a bucket. Start the car and let it run for only about 3 full seconds at most, and check the condition of the fluid. Repeat until the fluid coming out is a bright red like the new fluid, and if you can tell that the fluid smells new. My old and new fluid smelled completely different so I was able to use that to my advantage. Do not exceed running the engine with the return line off for more than 9 seconds on the original 8 quarts of fluid that you added. Add more fluid at that point. My fluid was already a clean red color after 9 seconds. The total amount of fluid I used during the flush was about 2 quarts. Once you're done with the flush, install the C-clip first, then push the line into the fitting. You should see/hear/feel it snap into place. Push the plastic cover back over the fitting, reinstall the bracket if you removed it, and add the amount of fluid that you used during the flush. My flushing fluid went into a milk jug which I could tell was filled halfway(2 quarts). If you are not sure, add a half quart less than it looks to avoid overfilling. Continue with the rest of the how-to.
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