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Remanufactured Chevy Express 2500 / 3500 Transmissions

  • Learn about common Chevy Express 2500/3500 transmission problems
  • Everything you need to know when shopping for a Chevy Express 2500/3500 transmission for sale
  • How and when to buy a remanufactured Chevy Express 2500/3500 transmission

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Chevrolet Express 2500/3500 Transmission Problems & Solutions


Back in the 1970’s fullsize vans were all the rage. Wall-to-wall shag carpet, crazy paint, and crescent moon windows were just part of what made them such groovy travel companions. Fast forward a few decades, and the fullsize van has all but lost its position as a status symbol. But no matter how un-cool the big van has become, the Chevrolet Express 2500/3500 is still one of the hardest working vehicles that you can get. Whether you’re hauling 12-15 people, or 4,000 lbs tools/merchandise, the big Chevy is one indispensable machine. If something happens to the transmission however, you’re not going to be getting much done. So let’s look at some of the most common Chevrolet Express 2500/3500 transmission problems, and see what you can do about them.

Common Chevrolet Express 2500/3500 4L80E Transmission Problems


Slipping or No Gear Engagement

If you hit the gas and your van slips between the gears, refuses to shift, or it doesn’t go anywhere at all, then you may have a failed 4L80E shift solenoid. These plunger-like devices are used by the computer to control the flow of pressurized ATF inside the valve body. When a particular gear is called for, the computer sends electrical current through the solenoid wires, which causes the plunger to activate and direct the ATF to the proper gear set. Heat and vibration can make the 4L80E solenoids fail prematurely, leaving you with a non-working transmission. To keep this from happening, every SST remanufactured 4L80E transmission comes with 8 brand new solenoids that get pressure tested before they’re installed. The valve body also receives a heavy duty recalibration kit, new heavy duty bushings, and an upgraded pressure regulator.



The Chevrolet Express 2500/3500 was designed to handle heavy loads and heavy trailers. As a result of all this hard work, an excessive amount of heat can build up inside the transmission. The ATF is designed to absorb heat as it passes over the moving parts, then expel it as it passes through the cooling chamber at the bottom of the radiator. However, if there’s too much heat inside the transmission, the ATF won’t be able to remove it fast enough and the transmission will overheat. If this happens, your transmission can experience all sorts of problems, including ruptured seals, damaged clutches, bands, and a warped valve body. To keep this from happening to your remanufactured 4L80E transmission, Street Smart Transmission recommends installing an auxiliary transmission cooler.

Common Chevrolet Express 2500/3500 6L90 Transmission Problems

Erratic Shifting, Slipping, or No Gear/Overdrive Engagement

A torque converter is considered a ‘fluid coupling’, transferring energy from the engine to the transmission. It does this by using turbines to spin a pump, which creates fluid pressure inside the transmission. There’s a lot of moving parts inside of a 6L90 torque converter, and if one of them goes bad, you could experience symptoms like delayed shifts, slipping in-and-out of gear, no forward gear, and no overdrive. This tends to happen rather prematurely, creating one of the more common late-model Chevrolet Express 2500/3500 transmission problems. To address the issue, every SST remanufactured 6L90 transmission gets a redesigned stator support shaft with more robust seals, all the pump surfaces get machined to allow consistent fluid pressure, and the weak OE bushings are replaced with stronger custom-spec bushings.


How to Solve Chevrolet Express 2500/3500 4L80E & 6L90 Transmission Problems

Solution A: Buy a Used Chevrolet Express 2500/3500 4L80E or 6L90 Transmission

Downtime costs you money, so buying a used 4L80E transmission or used 6L90 transmission might make sense. But you need to consider two things: Number One – that used transmission comes from a junk yard, so it might have the same problem that you’re trying to fix. And number two: that 30-day warranty will only cover a replacement transmission, so you’re going to be paying labor charges twice if something goes wrong.


Solution B: Buy a Rebuilt Chevrolet Express 2500/3500 4L80E or 6L90 Transmission

The next best solution would be to buy a rebuilt 4L80E transmission or rebuilt 6L90 transmission. Basically, a mechanic takes your old transmission and sticks in a bunch of new parts. Problem is, unless the mechanic has a lot of experience with these transmissions, he may miss something like a tiny crack in a clutch drum, or a slightly warped valve body. All of these oversights can have disastrous consequences, and that 1-2 year warranty may only be honored at specific shops in a specific region. So if something goes wrong when you’re out of town, you could be paying for transmission repairs, again.


Solution C: Buy a Remanufactured Chevrolet Express 2500/3500 4L80E or 6L90 Transmission

To get the maximum amount of life from your Chevy Express 2500 or Chevy Express 3500, you need to consider investing in a remanufactured 4L80E transmission or remanufactured 6L90 transmission. These are created in a factory, where each component has to pass stringent quality inspections and any parts that don’t meet standard get replaced before the remanufacturing process even begins. Once the main components are sorted, upgrades are installed and the finished product is hot/cold tested on a dyno machine to ensure that it functions properly before being shipped to your installer. With the build quality and functionality verified, Street Smart Transmission then issues a 3-year/Unlimited Mile Warranty (18-months/100,000 miles for commercial and heavy duty applications). If something goes wrong, this coverage will pay for parts and labor at any licensed repair shop in the country. It can also be transferred to a new owner, should you decide to sell the van during the warranty period. So if you want a transmission and a warranty that exceeds factory specs, give us a call at 1-866-812-7560. Or you can click here to check on the price and availability of a remanufactured Chevrolet Express 2500/3500 transmission.