Click a topic to view more information.
The 4L80E is very close to the same length as a 4L60E. Oftentimes we have swapped these units out without cutting the driveshaft, just a yoke change. It is more robust in the area behind the bellhousing than most other units. This is also the area where the cooler lines attach. The biggest fitment issue we see is in the cooler line area. Part of the issue is that the cooler lines on a 4L80E are not angled but come straight out of the case. In some cars the early cores (91-96) fit better than the 97-up cores due to the cooler line placement. We know from various installs that the 4L80E fits fairly easily in the 67-69 GM F-Body cars (Camaros Firebirds, and typically X-body Nova’s), 70-81 F-Body. 98-02 F-Body. 68-72 A-Body (Chevelles, Cutlass, GTO, etc), as well as the 78-87 G-Body cars (Malibu, Regal, Cutlass). We have customers who have installed them in 64-67 Chevelles with minor floorpan work.
1997-1999 cores have the “new” lubrication circuit that has one cooler line attaching to the case
just behind the bellhousing, and the return line attaches several inches further to the rear. This was supposed to be an improvement to the lube circuit that “center lubed” the transmission, allowing better lubrication to the rear planetaries. These units still had the traditional bellhousing bolt pattern.
2000-2003 cores are similar to the 1997-1999 cores yet they added a bellhousing bolt position to the 12 o’clock position of the bell for the new LS series engines.
2004-up cores had some slight valve body changes and another EPC change.
We build all year model cores and feel they can all be built and work well. In bigger power applications, we prefer the early larger OD roller clutch setup. The type of lubrication circuit doesn’t seem to be an issue when properly built.
Using our modifications or some valve body kits, the direct clutch issues are resolved and the 4L80E will generally be reliable up to the 750 HP/TQ range unless it’s a very heavy combination (over 4500 lbs) or using nitrous.
The weak point above this power level becomes the OEM input shaft. An upgraded input shaft becomes mandatory. We like to upgrade the forward hub at the same time.
The next real weakness is the stock 34 element sprag. This part is actually capable on a well built unit of living at over 1000 HP/TQ BUT it requires care and knowledge by the end-user. Knowledge of proper burnout procedures is critical. It will also be a maintenance item at the 1000 HP level. It will need to be inspected/replaced occasionally depending on how the unit is used.
We recommend upgrading to a “Super Drum” style sprag that requires a modified or custom made drum and race. It has 36 elements that are wider, a larger race, and uses more intermediate frictions. If it fits in your budget, this is always an excellent upgrade above the 750 HP/TQ range. Combined with the input shaft and forward hub upgrade, it makes the 4L80E almost bulletproof.