4L60e Transmission Fluid Capacity, Type, and Change Interval

Technically, this transmission was the TH700RA replacement. However, it was actually the 4L60 that was the replacement in 1993. The ‘e’ stands for electronic and this model did not make its appearance till about 1997. This is a 4-speed electronic operated transmission.

The transmission fluid capacity for the 4L60e transmission is 12 quarts or 3 gallons. It will use a variety of fluids but the one you should be using in it may be the Dexron VI. However, the lesser fluids will work just as well.

To learn more about this transmission, just continue to read our article. It explores the topic to bring you the best information possible on this subject matter. It shouldn’t take long to get this vital information.

How Much Transmission Fluid Does a 4L60e Hold?


Like all other transmission models, the amount of fluid this version will hold will depend on several factors. Are you including the fluid in the amount of fluid it will hold? Doe sit have a standard shallow pan or a deeper aftermarket version?

Does your transmission model come with a roller-style pump or a gear pump? Finally, what is the size of your torque converter? All of these factors play a role in how much this transmission can hold.

If it is a standard shallow pan with a 12-inch torque converter, then you are looking at only needing 12 quarts to fill the pan. But if you have the roller-style pump, you will need to add another 4 quarts to that total.

But, if you have the 12-inch torque converter, a gear-styled pump, and a deep pan, then you will need to add 14 quarts of transmission fluid. What this information means is that you have to know all the details about your transmission before you go and replace the transmission fluid yourself.

Or you can save yourself the hassle and let a transmission shop do the replacement work for you. It all depends if you really want to do all that work or not.

4L60e Transmission Fluid Capacity

As you can see the capacity is quite flexible depending on the above factors. If you are doing a quick filter and fluid change, you may get away with only using 4 to 6 quarts depending on those factors.

If you are going for the full change, then you are looking at needing to meet a minimum of 12 quarts to reach full capacity. Any alterations mean you will be adding anywhere from 2 to 6 extra quarts of fluid to meet capacity.

Those changes will bring the capacity up to 14 to 18 quarts. Your owner’s manual may not tell you all this extra information. You should have it checked out by your dealer or a trusted mechanic to make sure you know exactly what is in your transmission.

There are too many variables at work here to pinpoint an absolute fluid capacity. We will explain more in the next section. Make sure you know exactly the type of 4l60e transmission you have and all the parts before you start working on changing the transmission fluid.

You do not want any surprises and you do not want to make any surprise trips back to the auto parts store. That can add to your costs overall.

4L60e Transmission Fluid Capacity With Torque Converter


This is one of the variables we mentioned in the previous section. It seems that torque converters come in different sizes. As would be expected the smaller the size the less fluid you would need and so on.

The figures we have given above are all based on your transmission having a 12-inch torque converter. The difference in capacity may not be that much as these converters do not get much larger than 13 inches or much smaller than 10 inches.

Sometimes they are measured in millimeters and some mechanics have interchanged a 300 mm torque converter with a 298 mm model. That is definitely not a big difference and the capacity numbers above should hold true for that smaller version.

What you are looking at is roughly a 12-quart capacity with all the standard parts and the 12-inch converter. This capacity will go up depending on the parts you have in your transmission. But it should not exceed more than 18 quarts by too much.

Double-check with your transmission guy to make sure. They would know the most about this transmission and how much the capacity would be affected by the different torque converter sizes.

What Transmission Fluid Does a 4L60e Take?

This is an easier question to answer. Since this transmission was first made in the early 1990s, one of the better brands to use would be the Dexron brand. This would be Dexron III but the Dexron VI with its backward compatibility should also be a good fit for this transmission.

You can use Dex Merc. This is a combination of Dexron III and Mercon transmission fluids. This will work quite well in this model. However, Dex Merc is said to be the preferred choice for more modern vehicles.

The thing about the different Dexron numbers is that one is backward compatible while the other is not forward compatible. You can use the Dexron VI in older transmissions requiring Dexron III fluid.

But the same cannot be said for Dexron III. It cannot be used in those transmissions requiring Dexron VI. If you stick with these fluid options you should be okay and your 4l60e transmission should not be at any risk of damage when you do.

The price of these fluids may influence your choice and even if it does, you are not getting a lesser quality of transmission fluid when you go for the less expensive option. You are still buying the right fluid for that transmission.

4L60e Transmission Fluid Type


Most experts that we came across writing this series on transmissions have been of the same opinion. The type you should buy, according to them, would be the Dexron VI. They have their reasons for saying this.

They say the AC Delco Dexron VI is the best type to use because of the following characteristics- aeration control, friction durability, oxidation resistance, and viscosity stability performance.

These characteristics help you to have a smooth shift between gears even if you are doing high torque shifting. Another reason they recommend this type of transmission fluid is that AC Delco says it will last longer than their competitor's versions.

In addition to all of that, this fluid is supposed to help with fuel economy, extend the transmission’s lifespan, as well as lengthen the interval between changes, and degrade slower than other brands.

The drawback to using this fluid is its high price. It is a bit more expensive than the other options out there. Plus, some people have reported that it is hard to find in the different auto-related stores.

If you can find it at a reasonable price, it may be worth picking up enough for your next transmission fluid change. Some comparison shopping or waiting for sales may help lower your price.

Best Transmission Fluid For a 4L60e

Everything said in the last section will apply here. The Dexron VI is the latest version of the Dexron brand of transmission fluids. That means it has the advantage over the types that came before it.

The advancements in technology have helped develop this upgraded version and it should help your 4l60e transmission live a little longer and perform a lot better.

We have talked about the cons of this transmission fluid and how it is the positive side’s turn to be heard:

- Allows for controlled shifting and excellent smoothness, even during high-torque shifting

- Maintains viscosity for smooth shifts between gears at all temperatures

- Provides friction durability, oxidation resistance, and viscosity stability performance

- Extends the lifespan and drain intervals of your vehicle transmission

- Improves fuel economy

Those pros should help convince you that making the switch to this type of transmission fluid would be in your vehicle’s best interests. Giving better transmission fluid to your transmission is not a negative thing to do. The key would be not to over fill it.

That would be a negative thing to do and may harm your transmission. Make sure to watch how you fill the pan and if you are not sure you can do it right, let the transmission pros handle the task for you.

How To Check 4L60e Trans Fluid


1. Start the engine and allow the engine to idle until the transmission fluid's normal operating temperature has been reached.

2. Depress the brake pedal and move the shift lever through the gear ranges, pausing a few seconds in each range. Return the shift lever to the PARK range.

3. Raise the vehicle on a hoist. The vehicle must be level, with the engine running and the shift lever in the PARK range.

CAUTION: The engine must be running when the transmission fluid fill plug is removed, or excessive fluid loss will occur. Transmission fluid may be hot. Since the actual fluid level is unknown, stand clear when removing the fill plug. Have a container ready to capture any lost fluid. Do not turn the engine off with the fill plug removed, as you can be injured by hot transmission fluid being expelled out of the oil fill opening.

4. Remove the transmission plug. IMPORTANT: The transmission fluid may darken with normal use and does not always indicate contamination or oxidation.

5. Check the fluid level. The fluid level should be even with the bottom of the threaded plug hole.

Add DEXRON III automatic transmission fluid in increments of 0.5 L until the fluid drains from the plug hole.

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This is the way that the manual describes how to do it. There should be other methods you can use as well. You won’t be doing this very often unless you do a lot of heavy towing and hauling. Normal driving conditions won’t use a lot of fluid.

How To Change 4L60e Transmission Fluid

1. Raise the vehicle using power ramps or jacks and jack stands. You will need room to work underneath the vehicle. Also since you will be underneath the vehicle, take every safety precaution you can.

2. Remove the drain pan and shifter linkage, that is if you do not have a pan with a drain plug. If you do, then you just open the pan plug and let the fluid drain. There should be 16-13mm bolts you will need to remove if your pan does not have a drain plug.

When you are doing this task, this might be a good time to buy a pan with a drain plug and replace the old one. You will have to buy a gasket anyways so save yourself some trouble and get one at the same time.

3. Carefully lower the transmission pan as you do not want to make a mess on your garage floor or your lawn, etc. Once the pan is off and out of the way, remove the filter.

4. Clean the inside of the pan and the magnet before putting the new gasket in place.

5. After installing the filter, put the gasket and pan back in place.

6. Add your new transmission fluid through the dipstick in your engine compartment. Since this is a quick change, you may only need 4-6 quarts of transmission fluid.

Add slowly and keep checking the level to make sure you do not overfill the transmission. In between adding the fluid, do not forget to drive the vehicle to get an accurate reading before you add more fluid.

Some Final Words

This is supposed to be one of the best transmissions GM has made over the years, but they say that about all popular transmissions. Just keep it well maintained and change the fluid on schedule to keep it being one of the best transmissions around.

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