How to Identify a Shallow or Deep 4L60E Transmission Pan

by Lindsey Fisher
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General Motors' 4L60e transmission has been used in cars and trucks since 1993. This transmission is known for being put in performance vehicles such as the Chevrolet Corvettes and Pontiac Trans Ams. Deep pans for these transmissions allow more fluid to be stored and circulated in order to keep the transmission cooler. This can be beneficial in extreme conditions, such as drag racing, in which keeping the transmission as cool as possible is necessary to prevent damage.

On the Car

Step 1

Jack up the car. Many cars that have 4L60e transmissions are too low to the ground to crawl under without lifting the car.

Step 2

Crawl under your car and locate the transmission. This will be in about the center of the car's undercarriage. The transmission pan will be on the bottom part of the transmission. This pan is bolted onto the transmission by several bolts around the lip of the pan that should be visible.

Step 3

Look across the bottom of the transmission pan. If the pan blends in and sits relatively even with the rest of the components on the undercarriage, it is a shallow transmission pan. Shallow transmission pans came stock on 4L60e transmissions.

Step 4

Check whether the transmission pan hangs down below the rest of the undercarriage components. If it hangs down by about two or three inches, the 4L60e has a deep transmission pan.

Off the Car

Step 1

Check for any insignia on the transmission pan. A deep transmission pan might have some kind of insignia stating that it is a deep pan. This depends on what brand of deep pan you're looking at.

Step 2

Measure the transmission pan. A shallow transmission pan will be about two inches deep. A deep transmission pan will be about twice as deep as a shallow pan, or about four or more inches deep.

Step 3

Look at the shape of the pan. Shallow pans for the 4L60e are the same depth all the way across the pan. A deep pan for the 4L60e will usually have a stepped shape. This means that part of the pan will be shallower than the rest of the pan. This helps the transmission fit properly under the vehicle.

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