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Old 08-17-2014, 08:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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4L80e or 4L65e for budget build

I am in the rebuild of my 87 KJ5 and was intending on just refreshing the 350, then a stroker, now a LQ9 and 4L80e combo.

I have found a local selling an LQ9 4L65e combo for a price I can't beat but had some concerns over the 4L65e vs 80e.

I know the 80e is bomber and the 65e while decent isn't anywhere as strong. I also like the less parasitic loss of the 65e.

While mileage isn't my main concern it is a nice benefit. That said I don't want to sacrifice durability to the extent of mileage. The price I am getting the trans for I can still buy a 80 and be ahead.

I understand that the 80 is longer than the 65 too, necessitating different drive shafts. I was planning on new build driveshafts to go with my 1 tons and wouldn't want to build twice.

What are your recommendations? Save up for 80 or the 65 will be just fine.
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Old 08-17-2014, 09:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Had a 65 behind my lq9. It will be fine they were designed together it will hold up. Put a shift kit from trans go in mine. Beat the crap out of it never had an issue.
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Old 08-17-2014, 09:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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A 65 can be built to be plenty strong, it also has a lower first gear ratio, which may be nice depending on your transfer case combination.
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Old 08-17-2014, 09:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I have a 208 currently. Not sure what trans came in the donor vehicle but I doubt it will work as it was an all wheel drive escalade. I don't plan on building it at all, just slapping it in there unless there are some basic things I have to do....
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Old 08-17-2014, 10:48 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I know the 80e is bomber and the 65e while decent isn't anywhere as strong. I also like the less parasitic loss of the 65e.

While mileage isn't my main concern it is a nice benefit. That said I don't want to sacrifice durability to the extent of mileage. The price I am getting the trans for I can still buy a 80 and be ahead.

I understand that the 80 is longer than the 65 too, necessitating different drive shafts. I was planning on new build driveshafts to go with my 1 tons and wouldn't want to build twice.

What are your recommendations? Save up for 80 or the 65 will be just fine.
I know nothing, i'm a newbie! About hardcore 4x4ing. But I have knowledge from the hot rod and towing background.

I'm not sure what the LQ9 is, searching that model I see 355hp for one and 470hp for another listing. I'd think the former probably okay and the latter pushing it too far. Two big things that matter is "are you towing?" and "how long will you drive it?" I'd expect a 4l65 to go 100,000 miles without any trouble behind 355hp, i'd expect a 4l80 to probably go 250,000 miles without any trouble. Both could last longer, that's just my gut impressions. The -65 could last 200k miles or more if driven easily like all highway miles and not tromping it all the time.

If you were towing especially much over 3500lbs i'd be favoring the 4L80 for sure, even though the cadillac fleetwood v4p i think it was of the 90's was rated for 7000lbs towing with I believe the same transmission - either -60 or -65 while weighing 4500lbs itself.

Low gears will help transmission life especially if there aren't huge tires. (think lower than stock, or lowest offered stock ratio or effective ratio after tire diameter change) Tall gears load the transmission harder.

A lighter vehicle has an easier time with the 4l65 - the heavier pickups finally moved to the -80 in 3/4 ton class. Pretty sure half tons still came with the -60 or maybe -65.


So what puts it at risk is not just power, but weight, and axle ratio too. (plus of course how you drive it, how long you want to keep it, and how concerned you are about reliability near the tail end of it's lifespan)
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Old 08-17-2014, 10:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Best way to make a 4l6xe live is to not drive loaded or towing in OD, drop it into "3." The factory tune also has a nasty habit of dropping into OD too soon
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Old 08-18-2014, 12:39 AM   #7 (permalink)
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If your going to beat on it hard. Then run the 4l80. If your just driving it. Then run the 4l60/65. Leave some torque management. and hook up and use the tow/haul mode. Run a large cooler and it should be fine. Also the 4l80 will have a 32sp output. And the 60/65 is 27sp. So the 208 would need to accommodate that. Also you will need a VSS in the transcase or an inline speedo vss. For the trans to shift. If they are after the transfercase and you use low you need a 4low switch for the PCM. Also with the LQ9 if you don't run 93 gas you won't get make power. It will run on 87 but won't make as much power GM recommended premium gas for them.
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Last edited by Bo185; 08-18-2014 at 12:44 AM.
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Old 08-18-2014, 03:02 AM   #8 (permalink)
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208 should bolt up to the 4l65e with factory adapt thats in esclade.
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Old 08-18-2014, 04:47 AM   #9 (permalink)
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When I built my drive train combo I went with the 4l80e that came behind my 6.0 from the factory in 02. Good for up to 460 ft lb of torque they say. Either transmission you can run a decent transfer case behind. I used a 32 spline th400 version NP205 with adapter on mine. It was also a 2x4 trans meaning I didn't have to add a vss to the 205. Just makes it easier. There is an RV version 4l80 that has the 6 1/2" fully splined stick out shaft that works out almost perfect for a 205+adapter+clocking ring and I'd assume you'd want the same for a 208 assembly.
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Old 08-20-2014, 08:24 PM   #10 (permalink)
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thanks for the help guys. I picked up an LQ9 with a 4L65e today. It is going in a K5 Blazer. Won't be doing any significant towing.

Cheers
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Old 09-09-2014, 09:33 PM   #11 (permalink)
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so I have a line on an 84 NP205 that I am trying to pick up. Are there any alternatives to advanced adapters? They aren't cheap!
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Old 09-09-2014, 09:55 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Just run a np 241 from a 88 to 91 suburban or blazer or jimmy. Its got the speed sensor u need and it will bolt up without spending 500+on adv adapter. And use the factory adapter.
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Old 09-09-2014, 11:35 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I like the cast iron and gear drive of the 205. Guess the cost is gonna come from somewhere
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Old 09-10-2014, 01:12 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I like the cast iron and gear drive of the 205. Guess the cost is gonna come from somewhere
There goes the budget.
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Old 09-10-2014, 06:49 AM   #15 (permalink)
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so I have a line on an 84 NP205 that I am trying to pick up. Are there any alternatives to advanced adapters? They aren't cheap!
your 27 spline tranny doesn't have a lot of 205 options. There isn't a 27 spline female input to the 205. You have to get a 350 one with a sleeve and adapt the 4 bolt 350 pattern to the circle 6 60/65e pattern. With a 4l80 a 205 is easy.
Seriously, just get a 241. They are about twice as strong as your 208.
Or go to advance.
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