How Not To Buy a 700R4 - Chevelle Tech
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old Nov 8th, 17, 5:28 PM Thread Starter
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Bruce
 
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How Not To Buy a 700R4

First off, I fully accept my own guilt for this me$$. The ray of sunshine is that I'll share my experience for future 700R4 Transmission buyers and hope they don't make the same mistakes that I did.

I purchased a 700R4 Transmission from a nationally known manufacturer of "high performance" transmissions as part of a complete kit. The Transmission was pricy, but I figured the extra cost was well worth it to get a bullet-proof Transmission -- a selling point was the "constant pressure Valve Body." Once I received and unpacked the kit I immediately regretted getting a kit simply because the transmission fluid cooling kit was very cheaply constructed -- I could have easily found a better cooling kit for less $$$ (also, the Transmission came in a cardboard box strapped onto a broken shipping pallet). I had the Transmission kit installed by a local transmission shop. All was well. Once my 'Bu was home I designed, built, and installed a better electrical harness for the Torque Converter lockup unit. I believed I had properly seated the plug-in for the harness to the Transmission. In fact I had screwed up and the plug eventually came unplugged. By the time I realized there was a problem (i.e. Why is the Torque Converter not locking up?) it was too late; the Torque Converter had started "making metal" shavings.

Granted, my screw up would not have been covered by the manufacturer's warranty. However, I learned that the best time to figure out the manufacturer's warranty is before you buy the Transmission, not when it's broken. The warranty from the "major" manufacturer where I got my Transmission requires the Transmission to be shipped back to them for evaluation -- you remove it from your car, you crate it up, and you get it freight shipped. IF the Transmission is replaced (assuming the manufacturer stands behind the warranty) the manufacturer would freight ship it back to you COLLECT -- at which time you'd have to reinstall it. I feel that this sort of warranty is pretty much useless to the average buyer.

Thankfully, I located a local transmission repair shop with a decent reputation and one that actually builds a lot of extreme duty transmissions (they were difficult to find because they do zero advertising of this facet of their business -- I had to ask around in the local collector car community).

HERE'S where my story get's "frightening": The shop tore down my Transmission (remember: I'd bought this particular Transmission because it was supposed to be high performance/heavy duty, street fightin' etc.). There was exactly one "high performance" part in the entire Transmission and it wasn't even the pump. Stated another way: the High Performance Transmission I got from a nationally known manufacturer was virtually STOCK . Just as disappointing, the machine work done on the Transmission was really poor quality -- even I know that there aren't supposed to be big scratches on machined surfaces. I really feel bad because I'd suggested this brand to friends... in the past.

Bottom Line: Deal with a LOCAL transmission builder, that way should the Transmission fail you can have you car towed to the builder's shop. Additionally, make sure the builder is experienced with high performance/extreme duty applications, and fully explain to the builder how you intend to use the Transmission so the builder can install the appropriate heavy duty parts.

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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old Nov 8th, 17, 5:50 PM
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Gene
 
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Re: How Not To Buy a 700R4

It seems its become customary to rip folks off; the new American way. Good advice.
oman, mr 4 speed, langss and 2 others like this.

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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old Nov 8th, 17, 5:57 PM
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Re: How Not To Buy a 700R4

The funny thing is that the 700R4/4L60E is actually a really easy transmission to build. I used to do them often when they were new and I was a GM dealer tech.

Tom

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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old Nov 8th, 17, 6:10 PM
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Re: How Not To Buy a 700R4

Luckily, I have a good local shop and the owner is a good friend. He's done all my 700R4 trans work and the few issues I've had, he took care of them, quickly. Steve is building one for my 70, now.
Stories like the one above are the very reason buying stuff online is such a crapshoot, sometimes.
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old Nov 8th, 17, 6:33 PM
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Bill
 
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Re: How Not To Buy a 700R4

I've had my 700R4's built locally. I asked around, and found one I could depend on. I had one built for my 71 C30, to use for towing. The builder told me to tell him the use, and he'll build it to do the job. That one has been in my truck for 70,000+ miles without a problem.
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old Nov 8th, 17, 7:33 PM
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Re: How Not To Buy a 700R4

Why do they push these constant pressure valve bodies?
Who was this nationally known manufacturer?

Jim

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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old Nov 8th, 17, 7:56 PM
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rick
 
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Re: How Not To Buy a 700R4

It's the reason I spoke to a local known good trans shop to get a quote on a performance 700r4 trans " haven't done it yet" but for 2K built, installed, 2500 or up conv., TV cable IIRC, I have to supply shifter and a 1 yr 12,000 mi warranty
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old Nov 8th, 17, 8:59 PM
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Ron
 
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Re: How Not To Buy a 700R4

I know where you got yours, I had a very similar issue. I bought my 700r4 from the same place a week before I found out that I had to have surgery. By the time I was able to work on the car the 90 day warranty was up. The trans had a problem right from the beginning, they said sorry warranty is up, too bad. I had to pay a local shop $700 to fix it. This time I went with a local shop and am as happy as I could be.
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old Nov 8th, 17, 9:03 PM
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Re: How Not To Buy a 700R4

Quote:
Originally Posted by 77 cruiser View Post
Why do they push these constant pressure valve bodies?
Who was this nationally known manufacturer?
Search constant pressure Valve Body and you'll find your answer...
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old Nov 8th, 17, 9:43 PM
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Joe
 
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Re: How Not To Buy a 700R4

Thanks for sharing. I am researching these kits as well. Seems to me like this forum does a good job of passing on vendor information when the experience is good. Have you seen any positive recommendations for transmissions? (I haven't looked yet)
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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old Nov 8th, 17, 10:12 PM
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Re: How Not To Buy a 700R4

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xplantdad View Post
Search constant pressure Valve Body and you'll find your answer...
I know it's for the guys that don't know how or take the time to set up the TV cable correctly.

Jim

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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old Nov 8th, 17, 11:59 PM
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Re: How Not To Buy a 700R4

Thank You for the information. I had a similar experience but not with a "National Vendor". It took a few returns, and I honestly think the only reason it ultimately all was resolved was the bad PR from me that would have driven away business from his shop had he not made it right. And yes it also was a 700R4.

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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old Nov 9th, 17, 3:18 PM
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Re: How Not To Buy a 700R4

12 years ago, I had a local shop rebuild the 2004R in my 87 Grand National.
Best $1200 I ever spent. Transmission still works mint.

16 years ago, the same shop built the TH400 that is in my Chevelle.
Best $700 I ever spent. This unit has lived thru 16 years of drag racing,brutal burnouts and all kind of shenanigans on the street.
Transmission still works great.Serviced it 2X over the years.

Point is,find a local shop that has a clue.
No reason to buy a transmission that is shipped to you and has to be shipped back for warranty.

I will say this,I have a good friend that bought a Hughes TH400 from Summit and it has survived many years of 1.4-1.5 60 ft. and 10 second timeslips.
And it was purchased due to the inability to find a good TH400 core at the time to build.


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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old Nov 9th, 17, 11:05 PM
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Re: How Not To Buy a 700R4

I had a 700 core, last year made, a freebie. .. paid a guy 500 bucks to soup it up a very very long time ago..he was referred by my friend..sooooo, because I wasn't able to use it as my car was a project.. it sat for 8 years...yes , I am the head procrastination guru..
anyhow about 3 years after that I found my pontiac bonneville, FWD lost oil pressure, I knew the bearings were toast. .. so I had him rebuild it. He went awol... wasn't able to get it back for 3 months and when I got it back, there was a bucket of bolts that went with it.. I must've checked every damn thing, but I still had like 20 bolts and brackets with no idea where they went...well, I filled up with coolantand the darn thing went straight into the oil and I ended up taking it to get it rebuilt.

But now.... I was leery about the 700.
I knew a guy at the body shop and he only did automatics here in houston. He's not a chain, mom and pop that keeps 3 people busy, which is hard in a city like houston. We pulled the tranny, he said he would look thru it and build it the way i wanted. I wanted good shifts , nothing like break neck.

The judge said nothing had been replaced, 2nd was gone, and the torque converter was a piece of, well, uno. Never again....
aNY way I told him it was ..
454 a little cam..
I got what I wanted, it works like a charm.
I'm happy, did have to have it rebuilt, my fault on TV cable after I changed carb, but he covered that as well. I did visit, he showed me what went wrong and why. I also slipped him the cash for the R and R, since he didn't have to do it originally. I believe fair is fair...
nO other problems and don't expect to see any, especially now.
my build was 1300. Yes it might seem a little high, but II know I got everything upgraded in this thing and I'm happy, he stands behind his work.

I've had the big chains yank my chain in the past...
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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old Nov 10th, 17, 10:28 AM
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Re: How Not To Buy a 700R4

Another vote for getting a local builder. I had a 700r4 built this past February for my V8 S10 Blazer. I found the guy advertising TH350 rebuilds on craigslist. His shop looked very clean and organized in the pics. I gave him a call, told him I was looking for a 700r4 and described my project. He was easy to work with.

He used Red Eagle clutches and Kolene steels (which is supposed to be an upgrade) He gave me a dipstick+tube with it. It was $1000, and I provided an old TH350 as a core. I provided the converter, cooler, TV cable and did my own install into the truck. I'm probably into it for $1400 total.

So far, so good. It probably has 1500 miles on it at this point.

-Dave
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