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Old 04-03-2011, 06:54 PM   #1
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
choctaw , Oklahoma
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4L80e what have I done!

As you may know from my posts on the "allison questions how many cans-of-worms can a 28 motorhome hold" thread, I replaced the Allison 545 with a 4L80e.
Well, I have taken the Silver Bullet on her first trip. It works as planned, BUT! The torque converter 'unlocks' on the slightest up grade. When it does the temperature climbs alarmingly. I thought, "No problem, I can program this think any way I want to." So, I call the 'TCU' folk and he ask, "What torque converter you got in it?" I had no idea they made more that one torque converter. I call the trany guy, "It's the standard one that goes behind a 454." I call the 'Transmission Control Unit' guy back. "Need a '2-stage converter' to make it lock-up more." "You'll burn the stock one up." I tell him what it's doing and I learn the converter is more than likely bad anyway for it to heat-up like it is. Rats! Need to pull the transmission again and get a '2-stage' converter.
I did get 6.8mpg on my 200 miles trek. That is better than the unusual 6.3mpg but far less than I had hoped for.
I ordered this little puppy. Going to put it behind the right headlight.
Hi-Tek Automatic Transmission Cooling System 13-1/2"x9"x3-1/2" with 9-1/2" diameter fan
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Old 04-03-2011, 07:42 PM   #2
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What RPM are you running at 60MPH now?
What is the namebrand of your transmission controler?
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Old 04-04-2011, 07:41 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by skid4u View Post
What RPM are you running at 60MPH now?
What is the namebrand of your transmission controler?
At 60 with the converter locked about 2100 (that's about a 1000rpm drop from the Allison). Jumps up 4-500 rpm with it unlocks.
It's a TCI-TCU: TCI - ELECTRONICS: Control Systems For Your Electronic Automatic Transmission It's programmable to do what I want. I just have the wrong (bad) converter to do what I want.
I talked to a transmission guy today and he agreed, torque converter isn't right.
It will be July before I'll have a chance to work on it now, unless I can get around to it in the next couple weeks because I'm flying to Mobile to start a bicycle tour to Toronto. That's with my other RV: Hubba-Hubba tent on the bike.
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Old 05-04-2011, 09:55 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by choctawmel View Post
As you may know from my posts on the "allison questions how many cans-of-worms can a 28 motorhome hold" thread, I replaced the Allison 545 with a 4L80e..........
Wow, you are a brave soul. Keep up the good work! How did the bicycle tour go?
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Old 05-05-2011, 07:31 PM   #5
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Thanks! I'm in Aliceville, AL riding my other RV toward Toronto. That other RV, my bicycle and my Hubba-hubba tent. I'll be home in a couple months to pull that trany and put a new converter in
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Old 07-07-2011, 07:04 PM   #6
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Well, I finished my little bicycle tour crazyguyonabike.com: Bicycle Touring: Mel Underground, by mel norton
Jacked 'Silver Bullet' up and rented a transmission jack. Got to take the yoke off to remove the E-brake, so, 4 more gallon of tranny fluid down the drain. Bought a "3 clutch" convertor ($950). Liked to never got it to spline in, then the flex plate bolts wouldn't go in. Tried good old American bolt, no. Tried 10mmX 1.25, no. Had to tape every hole with a 10mmX1.5 bottom tape. All locked and loaded for a test run. This was June 27th. The wife wanted to go to the lake on the 29th so was glad the test run worked well.
June 27 I drive 'Silver Bullet' 118 miles to the lake. Runs great! All my problems are solved!!!!!
But then coming home on July 5th, I get within 44 miles of the house and the transmission fried! All of a sudden it shifts from OD to no drive and back. The temperature is running maybe 175 degrees. Then I have no gear and the temperature goes to 300. I call AAA and wait.
I got the transmision out and in the truck today. The cooling lines are off to be flushed, the cooler is off to be flushed. (that means 5 more gallon of tranny fluid) The tranny goes to the shop to be rebuilt tomorrow. I hope they can give me some idea of what was wrong: Was the transmission bad to begin with? Did the bad convertor damage it? Is it not strong enough to handle the load? The Allison cooler is rated at 30000 pounds, I'm running 19000 pounds. I'm adding another electric fanned 30000 pound cooler in the left fender well.
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I really am getting tired of seeing my Silver Bullet all jacked up.
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Second time this tranny's sat in the back of my truck.
Least I get good gas mileage behind a wrecker.
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Old 07-09-2011, 05:54 AM   #7
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Keep us Posted

good thing you can do the work yourself choctaw
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:36 AM   #8
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I have a Tranny that I would be willing to sell if you need one it has 5k on it and was new in 2005. I think it is the same as yours (4L80e), I will check with my friend today that is a transmission specialist.
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Old 07-10-2011, 03:33 PM   #9
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Keep us Posted

good thing you can do the work yourself choctaw
I'm starting to question my ability to do it right on this one. I think the best advice I got was from a junkyard dog that said, "Put this 5 speed manual transmission in that motor home and solve all your problems." But then that would of been a hole new can of worms.
Have the 30000 pound rated electric fan transmission cooler mounted in the fender well now.
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Need to find some of the matting/rubber/ sheeting/air dam material like is over the radiator so I can block off the air space between the radiator and the frame to force more air into the cooler and radiator. Not sure want to call to look for it.
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Old 07-10-2011, 03:49 PM   #10
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choctaw , Oklahoma
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I have a Tranny that I would be willing to sell if you need one it has 5k on it and was new in 2005. I think it is the same as yours (4L80e), I will check with my friend today that is a transmission specialist.
This transmission is a 2001. I'll know soon how bad it's going to hurt, then I need to decide if I want a motor home or an aluminum bread loaf to decorate my yard.
But a trip to Florida sounds good too. How long would it take getting AAA to tow me 100 miles a day. Maybe worth upgrading to the extra, extra plus, plus coverage :<)
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Old 07-10-2011, 07:10 PM   #11
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Call this guy with your questions. He will tell you what you need and can put together a kit for you to rebuild your trans. I went with him and glad I did when I rebuilt my automatic last year. I got the right parts from him, except the torque converter, I got a Precision converter made in Iowa, they are high quality, reliable, and reasonably priced. My trans shifts and works perfect because of his parts and recomended modifications. It is easy to build a 4L80E to handle 750HP.

Pro-Built Automatics
934 5th Street , Calimesa CA 92320
Attn: Dana - 909-795-1876
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Old 07-13-2011, 04:38 PM   #12
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Got a call from the place I took my tranny to, "It's ready!" From the parts list, looks like an intermediate locking spring failed. Understand if this spring spins instead of locking it go into neutral for good and burns all the clutches and bands up. They put heavy duty everything in this think. The pricey stuff was: master kt-$236; shift kit-$71; wiring harness-$52; EPC solenoid-$47; OD spring-$20; inter (failed) spring-$50; then all the nickle ($5) and dime ($10) stuff. Next week I hope I have time to get in installed for the third time.
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r carl, thanks for the head up on the your tranny guy, hope this is the fix and I don't need to go there.
AirRowan, I hope to come to Florida without the help of AAA and in search of a transmission.

This is a picture of the front of (not so Silver) 'Silver Bullet' above the radiator. Want is the rubber air dam, air duct, rubber matting/sheeting between the frame and the top of the radiator to block the air? I need some and I don't know what it's called or where to get it. Would like to find it before I install the main oil cooler.
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Old 07-13-2011, 05:18 PM   #13
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So what kind of warranty do you have on the tranny?
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Old 07-14-2011, 03:27 PM   #14
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So what kind of warranty do you have on the tranny?
12 month/12,000
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