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transmission compatability question


Guest rx7bjv

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Guest RedBarron

Hey guys, my 89 project reatta has a bad leak on the drivers side, side seal of the transaxle. I'm not sure how to repair it. But a 93 buick leSabre came into the picture the other day. Same 3800 engine as my reatta. Is the Transaxle the same or is there a major difference between them. Would the difference in them be too different or hardly a diffenence. any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Side note. I live in Orange County NY, is there a forum specific to my local and if so how do I locate it. I used to own an 86 GXL Rx7 (Mazda) the forums for that were set up a tad bit different. NO HATE, just not sure how to navigate just yet.

Well I look forward to hearing about the tranny.

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I have a 92 3800 "Dustbuster". The towing limit is 3000lbs with the towing package and the only hitch I found has a 1 1/4" receiver (the Reatta has no towing specification). It is a 4T60E transmission (As far as I can tell the same as a 91 Reatta) with what seems to be a 3.06:1 axle ratio.

Incidently the LG3 3800/4T60 powertrain was used in the 6000lb 1989 Vixen class A motorhome and works quite well.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Does th transport have a soilid frame?</div></div> The Trans Sport had a spaceframe with plastic panels bonded to it and subframes like a unibody car. When it was equipped with the towing package it included air compressor level ride rear shocks which is the likely reason for the higher-capacity tow rating.

I don't think it had had a heavier-duty transmission than what was provided across GM's 3800-equipped line up.

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Guest spamseptictank

Back to the topic (sort of)...

The driver's side of the tranny has a separate pan with a seal where the half shaft/drive axle enters. To replace the seal, you would need to pull the shaft as if you were replacing it and remove the pan. You can buy the seal and gasket as a set at your decent auto parts store. I got one at RockAuto.com for about $4 + shipping.

Hope that helps.

Dave

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There are places on a Reatta that are strong enough to take a hitch. The "load leveling" is more to keep the chains from dragging on the ground. Having been under my Transport a few times there does seem to be a full frame, plastic panels have nothing to do with it.

Even so 3,000 lbs is a very low capacity for any vehicle.

OTOH I suspect that Buick just did not consider that many people who bought Reattas would want to tow a trailer, in general they would have something else more suitable and the volume from a "trailer towing package" for the Reatta would not pay for the tooling and testing.

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Guest CL_Reatta

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: 63viking</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Are you telling us that some plastic panels and an air compressor will add 1000lbs to a vehicles towing capacity?? </div></div>

I believe this goes back to something I said last week I think it was.... The American version of towing capacity is very obscured... it is designed to help the purchasing of larger vehicles.... I use the example of the BMW 535... here in the US it has a 0 pound tow rating, in europe the same car has a 5000 pound rating... Also do you really think they have Ford F-150's in England to tow around the campers there?

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Well, they just reviewed a F-150 on "Top Gear".

That said, I used to pull a small travel trailer all over Texas with a 78 V-8 Sunbird (glorified Vega) and never had any problem.

The difficulty is not so much the towing capability (though a heavy duty cooling system helps) as braking and tongue weght. 10% is the usual recommendation to avoid whip and 300 lbs on the rear bumper without airlifts will usually drag chains.

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Guest CL_Reatta

Okay let me re-phrase that... many people do not use F-150's in England... they use cars with less that 2 liters.... Click Here Click the link to see what I mean ...

I'm sure an Opel doesnt have THAT great of braking ability

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Guest RedBarron

lol, looks like its not so easy then, I guess the thing is that if the tranny isn't easily exchanged then I need to repair the current tranny. If the side seal is leaking what would the most common cause be. A worn out seal? What would the best approach be?

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Guest CL_Reatta

Well, not to sound rude, but if something is leaking, then it is a seal and if there is a worn out seal, well then the appropriate approach would be to replace it... those fix a leak in a bottles really dont do much

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Re 440t4/4t60 in a Vixen: It works, but well? I do not know about that. The Vixen is AT LEAST 1500lbs over its weight toting capacity, depending on your carry ons. If it even "sees" a hill in sight, the trans fluid skyrockets, even with extra cooling. Just cannot expect a transmission that started life in a Chevy Citation to lug around a 6500lb. motorhome "well"!!!

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People with Vixens learn to "drive gentle". The trans does not have a load limit, just a torque capacity. Keep in mind that the 3800/4T60 replaced a 2.5 liter turbo diesel with zilch for torque (original design was for a 3.3 liter diesel but GM destroyed the diesel market).

The wind drag on a Vixen is very low and total mass is about like my 92 3800/4T60E TranSport pulling a 3000 lb trailer which was approved by GM.

Some time ago I toured the entire west coast including crossing the Rockies and Cascades in a 1600 VW "Westphalia" and you just accepted going slowly up the grades. Most of the country is flatlands.

Now that my personal life seems to be stabilizing again, I would like to find a Vixen.

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Transmissions DO have a load rating:

440t4/4t60 : 5200lbs

4t60E : 6400lbs

Having a torque rating alone does not tell the whole story.

Torque rating would tell you how much twist the transmission could take without snapping the paper thin parts inside whereas the weight rating would tell you how much weight it could schlep up a hill without suffering terminal melt down, hopefully!

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Not sure what relevance the load has other than possibly concerning the parking gear (most Vixens had the parking gear blocked off)

Think it came from here. Note it refers to vehicle weight and not towing capacity.

Had heard the 4T60E was stronger than the 4T60 but this is the first evidence I've seen. Note that there is little difference between the 4T60E and the 4T65E which would really be a surprise.

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Ok, let me put it another way. Transplant your 3.8 complete with transmission into a five ton truck. Torque input has not changed because the engine is still the same, so the poor old 4t60 should stand up, right?....not! I can guarantee you that under this increased load that it will be a puddle of molten goo in no time!!! Load does count!

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Not if the five ton truck has a 10:1 final drive. Vixens with the tiny (154 cid) turbo diesel and five speed manual burned out clutches often before they introduced a super low first gear but is very rugged otherwise & can cruise at 65-70.

One thing people seem to find hard to understand is that it only took a 73 Chevvy (horrible drag) 15 hp to maintain 60 mph. The key to high MPG is to minimise IHP (engine losses) and the way to do that is low revs and small displacement.

Unfortunately the Reatta was designed with a relatively large engine and optomised for the 55 mph national speed limit (remember that ?). It really could use yet another gear (mine crosses the turnpike overpass at 1300 rpm in lockup (45 mph) and has no need to downshift. If optomised for MPG it should have another gear for 70.

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