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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I am new to this but I have a plan to turbo my grand prix's 3800 using cartuning.com's turbo kit, I would also like to build my motor in addition to this. My problem is that I am running a bone stock 4t65e transmission and I doubt it would last long with the possibly 300 -400 hp set up I'm hoping for. So I was hoping someone would be able to throw me a list of transmissions that could handle this. Front wheel, rear wheel, automatic, and manual are all fine as long as they bolt to the 3800 (or can be made to). I'm just looking to weigh my options here. Thank you so much for reading and thank you for any suggestions.
 

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You can adapt any GM transmission under the sun to this, depending on what you're doing with it. For the sake of being in a Grand Prix using a CT kit, that would mean you'll most likely just want to consider some upgrades for the 4T65e. Manuals in FWD configuration don't last too long with the full-size weight and power combo (many Fiero swappers keep re-learning this lesson).

Not sure why you'd ask about RWD, but that's a pretty broad list, too. If you are going to chop up the underside of your GP's frame, or put the setup in a RWD chassis, the list is pretty much anything you want to adapt (physically and control-wise, as necessary).

The engine is less of a concern, as long as you have the maintenance on point and buy whatever upgrades with supporting items necessary. Tuning is a big key, and something many people hope to avoid themselves, usually giving up and selling because it's key to optimizing the work. Some pay to get it dialed in and are stuck with what they're provided, but it depends on how much you really want to spend, time and money, to learn your car as it changes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You can adapt any GM transmission under the sun to this, depending on what you're doing with it. For the sake of being in a Grand Prix using a CT kit, that would mean you'll most likely just want to consider some upgrades for the 4T65e. Manuals in FWD configuration don't last too long with the full-size weight and power combo (many Fiero swappers keep re-learning this lesson).

Not sure why you'd ask about RWD, but that's a pretty broad list, too. If you are going to chop up the underside of your GP's frame, or put the setup in a RWD chassis, the list is pretty much anything you want to adapt (physically and control-wise, as necessary).

The engine is less of a concern, as long as you have the maintenance on point and buy whatever upgrades with supporting items necessary. Tuning is a big key, and something many people hope to avoid themselves, usually giving up and selling because it's key to optimizing the work. Some pay to get it dialed in and are stuck with what they're provided, but it depends on how much you really want to spend, time and money, to learn your car as it changes.
Thank you for replying, this was very helpful. What kind of upgrades to the 4t65e are possible ? I'm not super familiar with transmissions yet but have a half decent understanding of motors and my motor especially. The rear wheel drive though is something of a long term goal for the car. I'd like to do a bunch of fab work to make it rear wheel drive at some point in its life. But maybe not if it'll eat the trans. Although my idea was a little more far fetched I wanted to have a traditional manual rwd setup (motor and trans still in front) and just fab allot of alterations to the chassis to get it to work. Not sure it's even possible at this point but like I said it's a long term goal.
 

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Step 1: buy Firebird
Step 2: do all upgrades there
Step 3: profit (not really, actually the opposite when it comes to car modding)

I've seen 3-4 W-body cars converted to RWD, and it's not worth it when a better platform that comes with a RWD 3800 (auto or manual) is available for $1-2k... With a HUGE aftermarket for any parts you need.

Upgrading the 4t65 costs at least that much, and some parts are no longer available, since they were limited production during the heydays of 3800's 15yrs ago.

I'd browse some sites and learn, rather than hoping for a comprehensive info dump in a single post. The nuances and history of this market are too much to get across that way. Wet your beak with some bolt-ons, and see how it goes from there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Step 1: buy Firebird
Step 2: do all upgrades there
Step 3: profit (not really, actually the opposite when it comes to car modding)

I've seen 3-4 W-body cars converted to RWD, and it's not worth it when a better platform that comes with a RWD 3800 (auto or manual) is available for $1-2k... With a HUGE aftermarket for any parts you need.

Upgrading the 4t65 costs at least that much, and some parts are no longer available, since they were limited production during the heydays of 3800's 15yrs ago.

I'd browse some sites and learn, rather than hoping for a comprehensive info dump in a single post. The nuances and history of this market are too much to get across that way. Wet your beak with some bolt-ons, and see how it goes from there.
I'd love to browse some sites and learn if you have any links for me I would greatly appreciate it. I would just buy a firebird but this is my first car, I've had it for a while and it's become very sentimental to me. So I may just stick with fwd if what you say is true. Also if you don't mind can you tell me more about upgrading the 4t65e?
 

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If you've never built a transmission, this one isn't quite the one to learn on, unfortunately. There's a handful of tweaks you can do to keep it happy with initial modifications to the engine (shift kit, preferably Transgo... and trans oil cooler added in-line with the radiator). If it's a non-HD from a non-s/c car, you can hit up a junkyard and find an L67/L32 car to get the passenger axle and differential/output shaft for the HD version (see ZZP's stuff priced much higher, and usually out of stock).

Unless there's a reason to pull it out for a major issue, the remaining useful upgrades require significant detailed work... Sonnax boost valve, input shaft, single or GXP chain conversion, performance clutch packs, and various upgrades from newer 4t65e's that might be missing from a 2000 or older car (channel plate gasket improvement, hardened 4th clutch hub, etc.). You're honestly best to do the external stuff for the time-being, until the transmission requires an overhaul for a problem, at which time you would be in a better position to do these upgrades.

Lastly, if this is your first car, don't get into a sunk cost fallacy where you think everything has to be for this thing, especially with the ages of these cars and mature/fading market for parts. Played that game back in the early 2000's, and that was when the 3800 world was exploding with options, but it's a delicate balance. Also, be careful how hard you push your only vehicle if you're still learning to work on/repair it, especially with how easy it is to push these engines too hard and chip a piston that costs you an engine (did that in those days, too, and had to replace my block well before my time/wallet really could handle it).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If you've never built a transmission, this one isn't quite the one to learn on, unfortunately. There's a handful of tweaks you can do to keep it happy with initial modifications to the engine (shift kit, preferably Transgo... and trans oil cooler added in-line with the radiator). If it's a non-HD from a non-s/c car, you can hit up a junkyard and find an L67/L32 car to get the passenger axle and differential/output shaft for the HD version (see ZZP's stuff priced much higher, and usually out of stock).

Unless there's a reason to pull it out for a major issue, the remaining useful upgrades require significant detailed work... Sonnax boost valve, input shaft, single or GXP chain conversion, performance clutch packs, and various upgrades from newer 4t65e's that might be missing from a 2000 or older car (channel plate gasket improvement, hardened 4th clutch hub, etc.). You're honestly best to do the external stuff for the time-being, until the transmission requires an overhaul for a problem, at which time you would be in a better position to do these upgrades.

Lastly, if this is your first car, don't get into a sunk cost fallacy where you think everything has to be for this thing, especially with the ages of these cars and mature/fading market for parts. Played that game back in the early 2000's, and that was when the 3800 world was exploding with options, but it's a delicate balance. Also, be careful how hard you push your only vehicle if you're still learning to work on/repair it, especially with how easy it is to push these engines too hard and chip a piston that costs you an engine (did that in those days, too, and had to replace my block well before my time/wallet really could handle it).
Thank you that was allot of useful information and exactly the kind of advice I was looking for. I am worried about pushing her too far, that's exactly why I'm getting advice, and not starting the project until I get another reliable daily. I don't think I'm going to have the luxury of learning how to build any other transmission however. I don't have any other options at this point. I have noticed the lack of parts for this motor and even my car now days and it does suck but I'm hoping I can find ways around it. I'm definently going to look into the external mods for the transmission, and maybe buy a junkyard 4t65e to dismantle and learn on.
 

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You can improve the strength of the 4T65e by adding the HD differential on the 4T65eHD. Its on the tailshaft housing and should bolt up to your transmission.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You can improve the strength of the 4T65e by adding the HD differential on the 4T65eHD. Its on the tailshaft housing and should bolt up to your transmission.
Thank you, that's definitely something I'll look into as well. I'm really glad I asked about this, before everyone here helped me out,, I was under the impression the 4t65e couldn't really be upgraded.
 

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Here's a high level summary of upgrades I had (17 years ago). I took the transmission out and took it to an experienced tech for the rebuild.
3.69 gears and 38 tooth VSS reluctor wheel
7/8" drive chain
ZZP 2750 torque converter
Intense hardened input shaft
Intense heavy duty 4th clutch shaft
Intense pawl-style input and 3rd sprag kit
Intense shift kit
Quaife ATB differential
MSP transmission pan with drain valve
ZZP hardened pump shaft
Meziere flexplate
MSP Desert Fox transmission cooler kit

And a whole pile of rebuild stuff :
Transtar
K6600H MOK 4T65E 97-up Rebuild Kit
5A-187 Solenoid OWM 4T40/65/4L60E 93U
5D-167 Solenoid Shift 4T65E 97-up
5D-186 Solenoid EPC 4T40E/65E 97-up
66705 Band Coast 4T60E 91-up (OEM)
B66700E Band Forward Maji 4T60E 91u
K66833 Valve TCC Apply (SOL) 4T65 97-up
B66720EH Band Reverse H/E 4T65E 01-up
K66901F Bushing Kit 4T60E/65E 96-up]
K66901F Bushing Kit 4T60E/65E 96-up]
66509 Brg Thurst Final Dr 440T4 83Up
86973B Drive Chain Rock/ET 4T45E 97-up
K66831 Valve/Sleeve Boost 4T65E 97-up
66507 Bearing FWD Drum 2N 4T60E 96-up
66974 Roller CL FWD 2nd $t60E 96-up
R66102E Friction 2nd .070 4T65E 97-up
K66800B Vane kit 11 vanes 4T65E 95-up
66514 Bearing Final Drive/Sun 4T65E
K66400E Washer Kit w/o SEL 4T65E 97-up
K66500 Bearing Kit Torr 440-T4 83-up
66710F Filter 4T65E 96-up/4T60E 91-up
66710F Filter 4T65E 96-up/4T60E 91-up
66104E Fric. 4th .070 32T 4T65E 97-up
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Here's a high level summary of upgrades I had (17 years ago). I took the transmission out and took it to an experienced tech for the rebuild.
3.69 gears and 38 tooth VSS reluctor wheel
7/8" drive chain
ZZP 2750 torque converter
Intense hardened input shaft
Intense heavy duty 4th clutch shaft
Intense pawl-style input and 3rd sprag kit
Intense shift kit
Quaife ATB differential
MSP transmission pan with drain valve
ZZP hardened pump shaft
Meziere flexplate
MSP Desert Fox transmission cooler kit

And a whole pile of rebuild stuff :
Transtar
K6600H MOK 4T65E 97-up Rebuild Kit
5A-187 Solenoid OWM 4T40/65/4L60E 93U
5D-167 Solenoid Shift 4T65E 97-up
5D-186 Solenoid EPC 4T40E/65E 97-up
66705 Band Coast 4T60E 91-up (OEM)
B66700E Band Forward Maji 4T60E 91u
K66833 Valve TCC Apply (SOL) 4T65 97-up
B66720EH Band Reverse H/E 4T65E 01-up
K66901F Bushing Kit 4T60E/65E 96-up]
K66901F Bushing Kit 4T60E/65E 96-up]
66509 Brg Thurst Final Dr 440T4 83Up
86973B Drive Chain Rock/ET 4T45E 97-up
K66831 Valve/Sleeve Boost 4T65E 97-up
66507 Bearing FWD Drum 2N 4T60E 96-up
66974 Roller CL FWD 2nd $t60E 96-up
R66102E Friction 2nd .070 4T65E 97-up
K66800B Vane kit 11 vanes 4T65E 95-up
66514 Bearing Final Drive/Sun 4T65E
K66400E Washer Kit w/o SEL 4T65E 97-up
K66500 Bearing Kit Torr 440-T4 83-up
66710F Filter 4T65E 96-up/4T60E 91-up
66710F Filter 4T65E 96-up/4T60E 91-up
66104E Fric. 4th .070 32T 4T65E 97-up
Wow you put allot into it. I'll be sure to look into these as well. Thank you so much, all of this is very helpful.
 

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Some of those items are now available stock in newer items (had to be "upgraded" in older 4t65's etc.)... Others are no longer on the market, unfortunately, outside of rare classified/marketplace sales.

Primary upgrades would be a full rebuild by an experienced shop/person (gets many of those Transtar/Sonnax items inside the trans), and adding upgraded input shaft, pump shaft, torque converter, single drive chain (converted 7/8" or 15/16" 4t60 sprockets, most likely), and a decent sized external cooler for longevity.

Things like a Quaife or Torsen diff (with some modifications for longevity) are super rare now.

You can spend $4,000 and have everything under the sun, or $500-1k and be in OK shape for 95% of what people have for under 400whp. Beating on the gas pedal like a 16yr old in a parking lot will break either setup, it just gives you a slightly better chance at doing it twice. :p (I've got the expensive stuff, as well, and fear the day one of my irreplaceable parts breaks... But then I'm going RWD in a different vehicle, and forgetting it all.)
 
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