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My 4l60e transmission is not staying in park or engaging any…

My 4l60e transmission is...

My 4l60e transmission is not staying in park or engaging any gears

Mechanic's Assistant: Have you checked the level of your transmission fluid? Is it bright red, or is it dirty?

Very clean bright red

Mechanic's Assistant: What is the model/year of your Chevy?

97 GMC Yukon 4X4

Mechanic's Assistant: Are you fixing your Yukon yourself? What have you tried so far?

Yes, nothing thus far

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Answered in 1 minute by:
3/19/2018
JFN1
JFN1, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Transmissions
Satisfied Customers: 5,694
Experience: ASE Master Technician ASE L1 Certified Technician
Verified

What does the shifter feel like when you move it, does it feel normal with the click click click between the gear ranges, or does it feel like it's not attached to anything and just goes up and down?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Hi Jerry. A little more background, I replaced this transmission some years back with a PATC Raptor and it doers not have many miles on it <20K. I just removed the linkage to see if the shifter is settling into the gears from under the vehicle (not running of course ;) ) and it seems to solidly sit into the gears.The issue presented itself when I drove the truck around the block to re-park it and noticed it would hang when I put it in reverse. If I gave it some juice it would pop and reverse a bit. All forward gears seemed to be working at that time. I pulled it into the driveway to deal with it later.Later, I went to pull it into the garage and was going to back it in. At the time I assumed I may needed to check my rear gear since I installed an E-Locked previously and thought it may be binding or perhaps I needed to redo the crush sleeve for I put at 800 miles on it since then for break in.When I placed it in reverse it started slipping making a clicking or grinding noise. I was not able to back it into the garage. So I put blocks to it and applied the parking break and walked it thought the gears. All forward gears seems to hold even when applying a bit of throttle to make it torque a bit but reverse would make it this horrible grinding noise and the powertrain would sake quite a bit. No turning of the drive shaft. I have heard this clicking noise before when a friend of mine accidentally put his auto trans in park while rolling.Thinking I had my forward gears I was going to drive the truck out of the drive and around the block to put it back forward in the driveway. None of the gears will engage now and park will not hold the vehicle in place but instead rolls whiles clicking.

A couple of things here. If the vehicle won't hold in park, the parking pawl is not engaging, or the transfer case is broken inside and allowing the vehicle to move. It's similar to having the transfer case in neutral, you can do that, put it in park, and the vehicle will roll away, because the parking mechanism is in the transmission, not the transfer case.

If you are sure it's not the transfer case, I would take the pan off the transmission and look at the parking pawl mechanism. You can see it easily and you'll be able to tell if it's engaging or not, and if it's coming undone, you'll be able to see why.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Interesting! The old truck still has the original transfer case. How can I verify if it is the transfer case or transmission itself?

I'd first start at the differential, since there seems to be a question mark there. If the differential is broken inside, it will roll away in park, too, so we really need to see what's going on when it's rolling in park. Is the rear driveline turning as it rolls away in park? Is the clicking noise coming from the transmission, transfer case, or differential? A lot of variables here.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Just to review, when the truck was put in reverse (at the time the forward gears and park seemed to be working) the truck would make the clicking grinding noise and the powertrain would shake but the drive shaft would not move. Does this help?

If you are certain the driveshaft wasn't moving, that makes me think the transfer case has come undone inside. Perhaps draining the fluid out of the transfer case would tell you everything you need to know. If you see chunks.... well, there shouldn't be chunks in a transfer case. :-)

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
this makes a lot of sense given the variables. I will get back to you on if I am seeing chunks :)

OK, look forward to hearing what you find!

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.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
OK, drained the lube from the transfer case. All red and clean, I even tried to put a magnet in the hole to see if I could get any bits but nothing. I am assuming that it may still be bad given the scenario I stated in my initial description of the issue. Better yet I guess I should say I am hoping :) either way is there a possibility that the case is bad in some way and is there a way to verify short of pulling it and splitting it open?

I don't think I'd remove it just yet. There are things you can do first to pin this down to at least the correct major component. Park is not holding right now, is that right?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
That is correct.

And when it rolls away, the rear driveline is turning, yes?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I am assuming you mean by drive shaft when you say driveline. Let me verify

Your assumption is correct.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
OK, I just now used one of my other vehicles to push it up the driveway which in this case is backward for the Yukon while it was in neutral, engine not running. The Yukon still made the clicking sound while it was moving (being pushed back). While on the more flat part of the driveway and in park I am able to push it by hand by grabbing one of the rear wheels and turning it (yes, parking blocks in place, no parking brake, engine off) and the drive shaft turns when in motion.
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
It does not just roll freely it feels like it is being held by a friction disc, like a clutch on a manual with gear engaged but not fully grabbing.

Interesting.

I guess my next step would be transmission pan removal, like I mentioned earlier, you can see the parking pawl mechanism and linkage, and it will be apparent if the parking pawl isn't engaging. You can do the same test, push the vehicle and see if you can watch the parking pawl skipping over the teeth on the gear in the transmission, and from that point, you'll know whether it's a transmission issue or transfer case issue.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Would this explain the lack of being able to engage in any gear?

Possibly. The linkage that connects the parking pawl also connects to the manual valve, so if the linkage has come undone (there's a way it can happen, you'll see when you take it apart), you can lose your ability to control where the manual valve is as well as lose the ability to hold it in park.

The more we talk about this, the more I can visualize a manual valve detent/link that has come detached inside the transmission. It's all visible and accessible with the pan removed.

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Did you get any further with this?

Please take a moment to rate my answers by clicking on the stars at the top of the page, that's how I get compensated. If you need more help, just let me know, I am happy to follow up.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Apologies, will be dropping the pan this afternoon and will get back to you.

No problem, I was just curious what you found.

:-)

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Well, I dropped the pan and the linkage was fine but I found metal shavings in the pan so it looks like I will be rebuilding it. The last request I would like to make is of any suggestions on parts and learning sources to perform the rebuild. This is not a daily driver and I want to beef it up. But recall this part is from PATC so it is supposedly already improved for weaker parts. If you don't have any suggestions or guidance no worries and I appreciate your help and expertise. :)

I am not familiar with PATC, but if they said they upgraded the planetaries, sun shell, things like that, then you probably have the good parts in there already.

Metal shavings are usually from a torrington bearing that has come apart. This still doesn't address the ratcheting in park, can you replicate that with the pan off and watch that parking pawl to see if it's skipping over the teeth in the transmission, or is it holding and that ratcheting is actually in the transfer case?

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Will I need to drop the valve body to perform this task?

No, you can see the mechanism, parking pawl, etc. all with the valve body and everything installed, just remove the pan. There's a long rod attached to the manual shaft (the thing the shift cable attaches to). The long rod goes toward the rear of the transmission, and has a cone shaped end that pushes the spring loaded parking pawl into the teeth of the rotating component. You can manipulate it, take the shift cable off and just turn that arm by hand so you can see how it works. Then see if it's holding or slipping once you have an idea of how it all works.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
OK, so I looked at the parking paw and the gear/wheel it mates to and no damage is seen to either. I raise one rear wheel so I could spin it. While spinning the rear wheel (open diff) and holding the parking paw in place, the drive shaft spins but the gear/wheel the parking paw engages does not (of course) but it moves forward & backward with each click which is the same clicking sound I referred to in the beginning. I will mention again about the metal shavings in the pan. I could take a pic if you like for it is quite a bit. This tranny does not have the beast sun shell btw.

So when it's in park, the parking pawl holds, but you can still spin the driveshaft. Is that right?

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
that is correct

The transfer case is broken inside, or the output shaft on the transmission is broken. I've never seen a broken output shaft, if you saw the diameter of this shaft, you'd say the same thing: impossible. I would take the transfer case out and disassemble it to see what's going on in there.

Metal pieces in the transmission pan not withstanding. They are not causing this problem.

Please take a moment to rate my answers using the stars at the top of the page, that's how I get compensated. Let me know if you need anything else, I am happy to follow up.

JFN1
JFN1, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Transmissions
Satisfied Customers: 5,694
Experience: ASE Master Technician ASE L1 Certified Technician
Verified
JFN1 and 87 other Transmissions Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
No problem, may I ask again on a manual you might suggest for tranny and transfer overhaul? Or is that against policy? I will most likely still need to hit you up during the rebuild process on a separate request.
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