Install a Torque Converter in a 4l60e Transmission

The General Motors 4l60e automatic transmission is a very common transmission used in light and medium duty trucks, passenger cars and sports cars.[1] Replacing the torque converter in this transmission is simple but it is very common for mechanics to incorrectly install it. Incorrect installation leads to immediate failure of the fluid pump upon start up and requires the transmission to once again be removed for repairs. This instruction set will show how to properly install the torque converter. It can also be applied to other transmissions in the “4L” family such as the 4L65e.


  1. Position the transmission. Position the transmission in a spacious and level area such as an open garage floor or on a workbench.
  2. Remove the torque converter. The original torque converter can be removed by positioning yourself in front of the bellhousing. Hold on to the converter by its sides, primarily at 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock positions. Gently pull it back towards you and slowly rotate in a rocking motion by moving your hands up and down a few inches as if you were turning a steering wheel.
  3. Drain the torque converter of old fluid. The torque converter will contain a few quarts of fluid. Place it with the bolt holes face-up in an appropriately sized bucket or drain pan and let it sit for about 30 minutes. The fluid will drain out very slowly.
  4. Inspect the input shaft. Now would be a good time to inspect the input shaft for any damage. If any damages are found such as broken or chipped splines, repair before installing the converter and transmission back in vehicle.[2]
  5. Fill the torque converter to be used. Whether the torque converter you are using is new or used, it is always best to fill it with at least a quart of new fluid before installing. Place the torque converter face down on a flat surface so that the input splines are facing up. The fluid will go in very slowly. Pour in as much as you can without the fluid running over. Once the fluid drains down, pour in more and repeat the process until you have at least a quart in the torque converter.
  6. Install the torque converter. The torque converter will slide onto the input shaft three times, each time seating further into the bellhousing followed by a "clunk."[3]
    • First, hold the torque converter horizontally and face down (bolt holes facing towards the ground) so that the fluid will not drain back out.
    • When ready to insert on the input shaft, turn the converter vertically with the bolt holes facing towards you. Hold the torque converter by its sides at 3 and 9 o'clock and slide onto the input shaft while slowly rotating it back and forth, as in Step 2, until you hear the first “clunk.”
    • Continue to gently push on the torque converter and slowly rotate it back and forth. After a few seconds of this, it will slide back further and you will hear a second “clunk.” The torque converter is not properly seated yet and this is where the mistake of improperly installing it happens.
    • Continue gently pushing on the torque converter while slowly rotating it until you hear a third and final “clunk.” It is now properly seated. If you continue to push and rotate, you will hear a scraping noise coming from behind the torque converter. This is normal and one way to tell it is installed properly.
  7. Check the seating position. Measuring from the face of the bolt holes to the edge of the outer edge of the bellhousing, the torque converter should sit back 1 ¼ inches or about 3cm inside the bellhousing.
  8. Finish up. With the torque converter now properly installed, you may now reinstall the transmission in the vehicle, permitted it is ready for use, or store the transmission for later use.[4]


  • If the torque converter is too slippery to grasp, clean it of with a rag coated in degreaser or brake cleaner. Another option is to wear mechanic's gloves.
  • When the torque converter is removed, it is recommended that the front pump seal is replaced while it is easily accessible.
  • After the transmission is installed and filled to the proper level with the appropriate fluid, allow the vehicle to idle for a few minutes before moving under it's own power. This is so the fluid can fill up the torque converter so that the internals can avoid wear from lack of lubrication.


  • Properly dispose of old fluid at a facility that participates in oil recycling and disposal. Improper disposal (such as in a trashcan or pouring onto the ground) is unsafe for the environment and could pose legal penalties.
  • When the transmission and engine are bolted together, the engine should be able to turn over by hand. If there is any binding or the engine will not rotate, there is something causing resistance. One idea is to check that the torque converter did not move out of place. Do not start the engine until the resistance is solved. Starting may cause damage to the engine, transmission or both.
  • If lifting the transmission is required, lift it with another person. Lifting alone could cause strain and injury.
  • Clean up any transmission fluid spills to avoid slipping.

Things You'll Need

  • 4L60e Transmission and torque converter
  • Flat, level area capable of supporting a transmission
  • 1-2 Quarts of Dex III or Dex VI compatible transmission fluid
  • A drain pan or container large enough to set torque converter in (the converter is about a foot or 30cm in diameter).
  • Gloves
  • Shop rags
  • Oil dry


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