Case Study: Chevy Suburban 6L80, 6L90, 6L95 Transmission Problems

  Chevrolet Suburban 1500 Transmission Problems 6L80, 6L90, 6L95
  Dave Riccio, Owner/Technician

By Dave Riccio, ASE Certified Technician, Owner of Tri-City Transmission & Auto Repair, Co-host of Bumper to Bumper Radio

CASE STUDY: 2010 Chevrolet, Suburban, 1500, transmission problems

Customer Saves $4,100.00 on Suburban 6L80 Transmission

6L80, 6L90, 6L95

The customer owned a 2010 Chevrolet Suburban 1500, 4wd with 166,290 miles. They were experiencing what they described as “chattering sensations” or hiccups during cruising speeds. These transmission problems were getting progressively more significant over the course of months, and eventually, the customer was concerned, that the vehicle would not move at all. This customer took the Suburban in to their regular automotive, general repair specialist.

After looking at the vehicle, that general repair shop contacted Tri-City Transmission and Auto Repair asking for a price on a whole transmission. They said, "the transmission is smoked, how much."

We instructed that shop that it's rare to see the Chevy Suburban transmission fail like they described, and we would recommend a transmission specialist properly diagnose it. We felt, based off the described symptoms, more than likely they were not describing a failed transmission but a torque converter lockup issue.

The next phone call we got was from the actual customer who got our name from a friend of theirs. The customer indicated that they were quoted more than $6,000.00 to replace their transmission from that same automotive generalist that called us.

We indicated it was an unreasonable price for that transmission and they probably did not need a transmission anyway. The customer decided to come down to visit us. We gave him a tour of our shop and repair process. From there, one or our technicians road tested the vehicle with the customer to verify the symptoms, and they left the vehicle for our Level 1 Diagnostic process.

A handful of hours later, we called the customer with the good news; all they needed was a torque converter clutch, and it was $4,100 less than their original quote from their automotive generalist.

This type of transaction is a regular occurrence at Tri-City Transmission and Auto Repair. This is especially true when it comes to the Chevy Suburban transmission. It is a great transmission, and internal or total transmission failure is rarely the case.
However, most automotive generalists don't understand transmissions. All they generally know how to do is replace the transmission. Unfortunately, they don't know what they don't know so they honestly pass out bad advice, well-intended though, it may be.

At Tri-City Transmission & Auto Repair, we have performed this repair on this model of transmission dozens and dozens of times.


Transmission Background Information:

This Chevy Suburban transmission replaced its predecessors, 4L60E and 4L80E. It utilizes the transmission control module inside the transmission. Hardly does the transmission itself fail. We regularly handle transmission control issues and rarely transmission failure issues.

GM did a good job designing this transmission. It is in our estimation that in 70% of the time this transmission is replaced, it was replaced in error or could have been fixed for a lot less money.

This is especially true at a dealership as they do not generally repair transmissions in-house; they got out of that business years ago, and they don't necessarily know how, so they don't. Although, sometimes they will give you the impression they can. The model transmission is found in Suburban’s, Tahoe’s, GMC and Chevrolet Silverado Trucks, as well as G series vans.


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Chevrolet Suburban 1500 Transmission Problems 6L80, 6L90, 6L95