The short answer is no, they are not the same. There are quite a few varieties with differences in terms of bolt patterns, valve body, governor, and the year model.
How Do 700R4 Transmissions Differ?
The 700R4 transmissions differ in that we have the original 700R4 transmission and the 4L60 transmission, which has its sister 4L60-E transmission.
The 4L60 transmission is just the 700R4 transmission that was redesignated in 1990. Essentially, it was only a name change from 700R4 to 4L60 without significant mechanical changes.
The digit “4” in the 4L60 transmission suggests that it’s a 4-speed transmission just like its predecessor. The letter “L” indicates that the transmission is positioned lengthwise.
The digits “60” mean that the transmission supports applications up to 6000 lbs gross vehicle weight (GVW). The original 700R4 transmission, on the other hand, was produced between 1982 and 1993.
But it continued to sell until 1993 when it was completely phased out by the latter.
Unlike the 4L60 transmission or the 700R4 transmission, the 4L60-E transmission has a 6-bolt “hex” rear bolt pattern and a removable bell housing.
Distinct from the 4L60 or 4L60-E transmissions that have a standard casting for the casing across the board, the 700R4 comes with two different castings for the casings.
One is the standard car version and another is cast slightly thicker and known as the “K” case. This is meant for the 700R4 transmission used in heavy-duty vehicles like trucks.
What’s more, the 700R4 transmission differs from the 4L60 and 4L60-E transmissions in that it’s further subdivided into two versions. One is intended for 2-wheel drive cars another is meant for 4-wheel drive cars.
The former has a longer output shaft, whereas the latter has a shorter output shaft. The 4L60 and 4L60-E transmissions, on the other hand, can be used in both types of vehicles.
Furthermore, the 700R4 transmissions built between 1982 and 1984 came with a 27-spline input shaft. On the contrary, those manufactured after this period featured a 30-spline input shaft, making them more desirable.
However, both versions can be interchanged with the help of a proper mating torque converter.
As if that’s not enough, these hydraulically-controlled automatic transmissions(the 700R4, 4L60, and 4L60-E) used different detent cables, depending on the car the donor transmission came from.
Additionally, the original 700R4 transmission comes with an overall length of 30.75 inches in all vehicles except the Corvettes. Here, it’s 29.875 inches long, with all factors remaining constant.
Furthermore, the 700R4 transmissions come with varying torque capacities, depending on the production year. However, you can expect a max gearbox torque of 650 lb-ft and max engine torque of around 350 lb-ft on all units.
Finally, 700R4 transmissions vary in that some come with and others come without a lock-up torque converter.
What Chevy/GMC Year Model Has the 700R4 Transmission?
- Caprice: 1982-1992.
- S10 Blazer: 1989-1992.
- Camaro: 1983-1992.
- Astro Van: 1985-1992.
- Corvette: 1982-1992.
- Blazer: 1982-1991.
- Suburban: 1984-1992.
- S10 Pickup: 1989-1991.
- Safari Van: 1983-1990.
- S15 Pickup: 1983-1991.
- S10 / S15 Sonoma: 1983-1991.
- Syclone: 1991-1992.
- Jimmy: 1982-1993.
The Price Range of 700R4 Second-Hand Transmission
Though discontinued in the early 90s, 700R4 transmissions exist either as used units or aftermarket units(usually used units that have been rebuilt).
The second-hand units are mostly found in car salvage yards and can sell for anywhere between $150 and $400. It all depends on the year of manufacture and how many miles it has on it.
The Price Range of 700R4 Aftermarket Transmission
Aftermarket 700R4 transmissions are much more expensive than their second-hand counterparts. You’ll need to part with between $650 and $1200 to acquire one, depending on whether it comes with add-ons like a torque converter and additional features of modern transmissions.
Launched by General Motors in 1982, the 700R4 transmission was used in cars up to 1993 when it was redesigned and renamed 4L60 and, later, 4L60-E.
Ever since it was launched, the 4-speed automatic transmission has been offered in a few versions with slightly varying aspects including application suitabilities and casting designs for the casings.
So, next time someone claims that all 700R4 transmissions are the same, tell them that they are fundamentally wrong.