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Rebuilt transmission-automotive transmission terminology defined.

A rebuilt transmission is an old and accurate name for remanufacturing transmissions. It is still more commonly used by automotive transmission industry than the term remanufactured transmission. For example, the Automotive Parts Remanufacturers Association (APRA), has the new term in their table of contents now, but to be safe, on their own website use thet combined term as ‘rebuild/remanufacture’.

There is considerable discussion in the automotive and truck field about the differences between the terms “rebuilt transmission” and “remanufactured.” Many feel that while there may be no difference, “remanufactured” being a more trendy term for communicating and promoting the sophistication and hi technology to which the industry has grown.

Others prefer the term “rebuilt” because it more accurately describes the process of reconditioning of a used part. The bottom line is, the terms can be used interchangeably and mean the same thing.

Transmission rebuilding firms come in all sizes. There are many small, home town rebuilders who perform on-vehicle repairs as well as transmission reconditioning and operate with less than a dozen employees. There are also large suppliers of transmissions with more than one plant working on a production-line basis. They employee hundreds of people and renew countless of parts to their original factory condition. Often having in-house machining operations.

Regardless of size, don’t allow yourself to be come obsessed with terminology over the finished product. Call them rebuilders or remanufacturers the final result should be essentially the same: a quality job results in a quality product.

Become an educated consumer, understand the basic terminology used by various sources to have enough information to make a beneficial unconfused decision on replacement transmission suppliers..Much of our blog is devoted to making car repair decisions easier and more cost effective for the consumer.

Remanufactured transmissions defined…

Any attempt to clarify the confusion caused by companies that choose fancy terminology, over common terminology in the transmission replacement industry is an important matter since the APRA, (Automotive Parts Remanufacturers Association) decided to include the term rebuild in the same category as remanufactured. I applaud the APRA for lessening the confusion for people who frequently did not know what the difference between a rebuilt transmission and a remanufactured transmission is. 

Using this terminology or technique, worn or broken transmissions are disassembled into sub-assemblies, which are rebuilt to stock factory specifications, ready to be reassembled into a reconditioned transmission. This is the case of remanufacturing automobile engines, transmissions, alternators, fuel injectors and many other related automotive components. Once the product is disassembled and the parts are cleaned, inspected and replaced, the process finalizes with assembling the refurbished sub-assemblies into a reconditioned transmission on an assembly line, similar to the factory process.

The remanufacturing process, in particular, causes a loss of the original products identity since the final assembly process includes using remaufactured sub-assemblies from different transmission, reconditioned to the factory specifications.  Some of the FAQ relate to the commonality of parts in products of different models and years, and their relationship with re-production process.

Certain groups of people, particularly vintage car owners want all of the sub-assemblies to be the original assemblies that are to be reassembled in the transmission rebuilding process. Thus keeping the car completely original. Vintage cars lose tremendous value when the original parts are not used in a restoration project. So by defition, the basis of remanufacturing is not acceptable to vintage car owners.

Vintage car owners use smaller transmission replacement companies so the original integrity of the product is not disturbed. The personal touch of a smaller transmission rebuilding company allows one to achieve the same result as a large remanufacturing firm, without losing integrity. And may be more suitable for that person.

As a car and truck owner, I would prefer to have the original part, in this case the transmission that came in the truck rebuilt, using all original use-able sub-assemblies.

That being said don’t allow the flakes of fairy dust some companies sprinkle on their terminology cloud your ability to make an informed decision. Armed with this type of information, educated consumers always make better decisions.

The fact is that no matter what term one may use to describe a rebuilt transmission, it comes down to the ethics of said shop as to what really goes on behind closed doors. Simply put, if the supplier you choose to deal with has poor ethics, than call it what you want as far as terminology is concerned, but be prepared to purchase an inferior replacement transmission, in this case.

When we rebuilt a transmission at my shop, the terminology had much less to do with the outcome of the job than the paradigm we upheld. Which was to provide our customers with a product they could count on to build confidence by providing long term trouble free performance as long as the consumer follows proper maintenance procedures.

The next time you are confronted with the subject of rebuilt, remanufactured or reconditioned, remember that it all boils down to the ethics of the company providing the product. Choose your rebuilt transmission supplier wisely.

Rebuilt transmission-Audi-A8 Quattro…

The automatic transmission used in a 2005 Audi A-8 Quattro is manufactured by ZF. This should not surprise you since we touched on the subject in a prior post on ZF transmissions. Before I start my ZF rebuilt transmission story, let me speak for one more paragraph….

If you remember what we discussed, great, if you don’t feel like reading or re-reading the post, what we discussed was that, ZF manufactures and sells their transmissions to companies that in general produce cars of authority. Cars and heavy duty trucks that outperform other products offered in said category. If I were to make a comparison that seems sensible, it would be to compare an $8500.00 Rolex Gold Submariner with a $39.00 Timex watch. Both keep good time, but realistically speaking, if money was not an issue, which watch would you buy?

One day in late 2005, my transmission shop was fortunate enough to have an early 2005 Audi A-8 Quattro off at my shop. The car was probably made in mid 2004 and dubbed a 2005. It had over 100,000 miles on it. A tremendous amount of driving in a year and a half, but it was out of factory warranty.

We went through our all the proper procedures, did a diagnosis and determined it needed a rebuilt transmission. Lets get to the chase…..

The transmission was removed by my ‘Chief’ R and R man (remove and replace).  What did we do after it was removed, and before any dis-assembly was performed on the transmission, particularly on a model not familiar to us. We would arm ourselves with as much of the best possible information and be 100 percent familiar with what we were working on in advance..I’m no Boyscout. Be Prepared.

Guess what, it was so new that even the factory did not have any information on it. Even our best research and development problem teams had nothing. The only thing we could find was a brand new transmission from the dealer for just shy of $10000.00. That was not including the R&R fees and fluids. And that was three months away.

To make a long story shorter, we had to contact ZF USA Industries main USA plant, which in turn put us in contact, third person, with ZF Germany Industries. Who in turn, literally pulled new parts off the assembly line, packaged them up and sent them. First to ZF USA, finally to us. It took 2 months.

So here is what is even more amazing, and why a  top level transmission rebuilder gets paid a lot of money and gets a lot of respect. With no information, my lead builder, while I was hanging over his shoulder in amazement, disassembled the transmission successfully. If you think disassembling at least 1000 separate parts, including nuts of all thread sizes, bolts of all lengths that have to go back in the hole it came out of or handling and laying out the most complicated 4 layer valve body that has 11 solenoids is easy. Well, need a job?

The person I’m speaking of, had been so thorough in his dis-assembly and layed out the transmission in such a methodical manner. Along with a few written notes. And one of the best memories and transmission savvy minds I have ever known, reassembled the transmission. It took him almost 3 full days, and I helped when he needed it. I still have not gotten over how he remembered to reassemble it. This man worked for me for over 6 years, thus I knew he had a heck of a transmission rebuilders mind.

The ‘Chief’ did his magic and reinstalled the transmission using the proper procedures and factory automatic transmission fluid, and it worked perfectly. John did a final pre-road test fluid check and hooked up the scan tool, checked everything out and away he went. The Audi rebuilt transmission worked perfect, the scanner indicated it was functioning perfectly and the car in general was everything it was billed to be.

As the long story ends, the main things I hope you come away with are that qualified transmission rebuilders are extraordinarily talented people with unusual diagnostic powers. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest marks, a competent do it all tranny man is a 10 at minimum. Simply put, a rebuilt transmission, done right is a cost effective way to solve a need for a rebuilt transmission. If you are in the market for a rebuilt transmission, read more of our Blog for information on your car and how to make an educated decision.

Rebuilt transmissions-Audi A8 4.2 TDI Quattro..

For starters, lets read a portion of the factory description of a 2005 Audi A8 4.2 TDI Quattro: Then we can proceed with transmissions, in particular. This car is unbelievable in terms of performance and comfort, fairly dust for folks who don’t have plenty of money and a desire to own an exotic, comfortable, rocket ship..

“All Audi A8 V8 TDI models are equipped with 5-speed tiptronic transmission with DSP dynamic gearshift programme and additional sports programme. The engine’s output and torque are always unleashed with such precision that the conflicting requirements of spontaneous power flow, high performance and perfectly refined running are all achieved.” Quote from Audi…

Tiptronic is a registered trademark, owned by sports car maker Porsche, who licenses it for use by other manufacturers, including Land Rover, Audi, and Volkswagen.

Luxury vehicles with a Tiptronic transmission have two fully-automatic modes: the normal mode, identified as “Drive” or similar. Having a second mode, usually called “Sport,” which delays and firms up the shifts for a sportier driving. Understanding that modern Tiptronic-type transmissions use utilize electronics, incorporating an electronic control unit (ECU), sometimes specifically referred to as the transmission control unit (TCU), the control units work in harmony, which means that the operation of the transmission is capable of mimicking a persons particular driving style by storing every metric exacted from every input on the car.

To put it in usable terminology, this adapts to the demands being placed upon the car by the driver. In this way, shift quality has been improved due to better electronic controls. When we boil down the above statements, the result we come up with is an automatic transmission that uses a highly complex TCU which allows the car to make its own decisions on when and how hard to shift. When we talk about different modes, we are discussing the amount of shift programs installed in the main TCU.

Realistically speaking, it sounds complicated and in theory it is, however, once you read the owners manual and become acquainted with the system, it become easy to use and particularly addictive.

In truth, most of the jargon and fancy talk about this unit is for the consumer who demands fancy language and complicated terms. Every make of car has a form of a self adjusting computerized system now. The main difference is that a Volkswagon may only have 5 or 6 shifting programs installed in the ECM or TCU, a Porsche 911 Turbo may have as many as 250 programs installed for the person who drives the car to work everyday and then drives it to the roadcoarse on the weekend for some spirited driving fun, legally.

In turn, the Audi A8 transmission has over 67 factory programs installed to fit the character of the car.

That being said, I had the opportunity to provide a rebuilt transmission for a  2005 Audi A8 in 2006. A kid owned the car (don’t ask me where he got 90,000 clams) and drove it in the true spirit of the cars nature, all the time.

After absorbing this ‘vibe’, read the next post on Blog on the experience we had doing a rebuilt transmission job for this car. Unbelievable, to say the least.

Reminder: Rebuilt transmissions are very cost effective..

With the economy in complete disarray and people losing jobs or taking jobs that pay less than before makes decision making all the more important. Credit is harder to come by and money in general is ‘tight’ to say the least. Especially for a new car  as opposed to a rebuilt transmission.

My experience has taught me that when one has a transmission failure, and you see a rebuilt transmission in your crystal ball, a common reaction, is a knee jerk reaction, “I don’t have the cash to repair this, I think I’ll buy a new car. No down payment, no cash out of my pocket.”

Unless your car is really old or a complete piece of junk needing many more expensive repairs, I find this type of thinking very ’short termed’. Most likely fixing the car is in your best ‘long term interest’.

What I mean to say is that would you rather buy a new car for $10 grand or $20 grand or $60 grand and be mired in a loan for 5-8 years or spend considerably less and either owe nothing or something like $1500.00 to $3000.00 for a replacement transmission?

FYI..Buying a strangers used car can be the worse thing that ever happened to you, since you never know what is really wrong with it or the problems that are causing the car to be sold.

There are several choices in replacement transmissions available:

#1.  Second hand or used transmissions.
#2. A rebuilt transmission, which by the way is the same thing as a remanufactured or reconditioned transmission, contrary to what some rebuilt transmission suppliers say..

My wife and I both drive what is called an ‘older vehicle’. I drive a 1988 GMC 1 ton pickup that is flawless running and looking, I bought it new. My wife drives a 2000 GMC Safari van that we bought new. Why do you think we still own them, one thing is they are payed for and insurance is less expensive for ‘older rides’. But the real success is my undying loyalty to preventative maintenance like changing the ATF using the correct and best ATF synthetic available.

Simply put, I stay on top of every possible maintenance item on the vehicle. This includes cooling system maintenance and most everything on the vehicle including things that have nothing to do with an transmission. Both vehicles are good to go to Alaska tomorrow if need be (3000 miles one way from Florida) because I never put myself in a compromising spot, if I even think there is a problem, it gets looked at and fixed. It is a lot less costly than breaking down on the road and paying a ransom to tow your car to a shop in the middle of nowhere that you never heard of.

The math is simple $2000.00 beats $20000.00 or more any day, that is a no brain-er. You can feel good and very smart that you went to and talked to a rebuilt transmission specialist about solving your transmission problem. We also encourage you to scope the whole Blog for more helpful information.
Call us at 866-320-1182.

You won’t need a rebuilt transmission for this anytime soon…

British engineering firm Ricardo,  has announced that it will work together with Weifang Shengrui Power Machinery Technology on the development of an advanced eight-speed automatic transmission. Which makes me happy not to to be in the rebuilt transmission industry anymore…

Ricardo is one of the providers of technology, new products innovation, engineering solutions and strategic consulting to the world’s automotive, transport and energy industries.

Weifang Shengrui Power Machinery Technology Co Ltd is a successful independent supplier of engine components to the automakers and engine builders in the domestic Chinese market as well as to the leading manufacturers of Europe. The company has set its goals of expansion into transmissions and hybrid powertrain components and systems.

The Ricardo-Shengrui deal will result in a transmission that will have more gear ratios than any other Chinese made transmission, but will also, its makers claim, rival some of the world’s most luxurious automakers for transmission technology.

Currently, Lexus is the only manufacturer to offer an eight-speed torque converter-equipped automatic transmission,  which is fitted to its LS range, GS 460 and the hi-performance IS-F sports sedan.

BMW, Audi, Mercedes and Hyundai currently have plans to introduce a ZFsourced eight-speed auto (pictured at top), but an introduction date for their automatic transmissions has yet to be etched in granite.

While an agreement has been made between Ricardo and Shengrui, it’s not exactly clear what Chinese brands will utilize the new eight-speed transmission. As a parts supplier, Shengrui could feasibly supply any of China’s numerous car companies with the hi-tech transmission, but so far the company’s interested in buying has yet to make themselves known.

The new transmission will be designed to be compatible with four-wheel-drive systems and hybrid powertrains, and opens up a plethora of possibilities for manufacturers who choose it for their vehicles.

Needless to say, you won’t need a rebuilt transmission for this transmission model anytime soon, when a need for rebuilding these complex units arises, will be the first rebuilt transmission supply company to offer them in a quality replacement unit.

Read more of our Blog for news concerning what the future of transmissions may have in store, and what the current transmissions on the market offer us. You can also use our Blog as a source of transmission information in general. Enjoy..

Rebuilt Saturn transmissions for sale..

One of the few weak spots of a Saturn SL-1 or SL-2 is the automatic transmission. We have an abundance of updated rebuilt transmissions for sale to fit these cars. One problem in particular is the subject of conversation on all of the Saturn forums.

It is one of the few ‘sore spots‘ Saturn owners have. The problem I speak of is a slow, yet consistent loss of reverse. The other problem, which emanates from the same source are extremely hard shifts. Expect the engine light to come on. What causes this problem?

The source of this problem is the valve body. The valve body housing is made out of aluminum, which wears faster than a steel or cast steel valve body housing. The steel valves actually wear the bores that they stroke back and forth in to a point where the valve does not contain the pressure properly in the bore itself. Meaning the clearance of the bore to the valve is so great that fluid pressure passes by the valve even when it is not commanded to.

This is a solid transmission for all practical purposes. It has a design similar to the Honda transmissions. The whole problem is a result of using a low grade aluminum housing for the valve body. Why Saturn used a poor quality aluminum for the valve body eludes me. Saturn owners love their cars, but don’t ask about the transmission or valve body.

In some cases, where this particular problem occurs, at a low mileage, the valve body can be replaced with a factory new one, which is the only place that currently manufactures replacement valve bodies for this transmission. Obviously a used valve body is a short termed cure and more expensive (and problematic) in the long run. Since most of the transmissions become damaged by this occurrence, you will most likely need a transmission for sale, such as a rebuilt transmission with a new valve body..

Don’t misunderstand the fact that an upgrade kit must be installed in this transmission upon a rebuild, even with a new valve body. The point of an upgrade kit is to reroute the ATF and modify the valve body to bleed off the excessive pressures that cause the wear, or you will be in the market for a transmission for sale again. even if a new valve body was installed, without an upgrade kit.

The goal of the post on our GotTransmissions Blog today is that one of the few ways to know you purchased a transmission for sale with a new valve body and an upgrade kit is to deal with a nationally respected supplier of transmissions like 866-320-1182.

We have updated rebuilt T-2004R transmissions for sale?

The Turbo-Hydramatic 200-4R was introduced in 1982 as the one of General Motors first rear wheel drive, overdrive transmissions. Production was limited and was stopped in the late ’80’s. Which makes most of the transmissions for sale, rebuilt units.

Used primarily in Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac and Cadillac models, they also were featured in some Chevrolet models. This was made possible by the uni-bell housing bolt pattern found on some of the cases that allowed the 200-4R to be bolted to all G.M. engines including Chevrolet’s specific bolt pattern.

Essentially, the T-200-4Rs design is similar to the T-200 transmission, which only has 3 speeds, and was introduced in 1976. The T-200 was developed as one of the first manufacturing techniques as way to cut some of the cost of manufacturing transmissions for sale. That improved gas mileage when the T-200 became a T-200c in 1980,  meaning the transmission had the first lock up torque converter on the market.

Realistically speaking, the T-200-4R is simply a T-200C with an overdrive section added to the front section of the transmission.

Though the T-200 gained a reputation as an undependable transmission early on in its life, most of this can be solved with a good upgrade kit. While the T-2004R was being used by and adapted to cars that demand a reliable overdrive for high performance use, too. This transmission has surprised many transmission technicians that were used to seeing the many failing T-200s.

As mentioned, a small percentage of the T-2004R transmissions went into high performance applications. Such as the Pontiac Grand Am Turbo, Monte Carlo SS, and several other G.M. performance cars.

With the proper experience it is possible to effectively identify all the built in weakness’s this unit has and upgrade it to the tasks at hand.. Non-performance models having more weaknesses than others.

The other overdrive transmission that is better suited for all swap over applications including high performance and custom street rod applications is the 700R-4 and the 4L60E.

After 30 years of personal experience rebuilding transmissions, I conclude this is an excellent transmission for the applications it came in. Especially if you purchase a rebuilt transmission with the appropriate upgrades built into it. Observations made during my career as a re-builder and want to share with you on our Blog are, for all practical purposes, the T-2004R was more successful than given credit for, and makes a great stock replacement unit when you buy a transmission for sale from

T-700R4 and 4L60E transmissions…

The 700R4 and 4L60E transmissions share many components in common. The 700R4 is non computerized and the 4L60E is computerized. However, many components and upgrades can be made interchangeable.

Based on the fact that one is computerized and one is not, the cases, valve bodies and pumps are the primary non interchangeable items. I think a lot of people agree with me that the these two units are two of the best transmissions ever produced.

They are versatile highly upgradeable transmissions. Many of the hard part upgrades, except for the pump, case and valve body, apply to both units. These units have been upgraded by the factory and research and development companies like TransGo for many years and reasons, turning them into highly reliable, durable units that can be purchased in the rebuilt transmission form for very affordable prices.

One of my favorite upgrades, especially if the vehicle is used for commercial work, or if the low/reverse planetary is damaged, is to replace the low/reverse planetary with a new version, (circa 2002 ish), that is 20% stronger and has a better (lower) ratio for more pulling power.

Low planetary assemblies are prone to failure in these transmissions. Not because the planet is weak, but more due to lack of lubrication flow to this area. By and large, when we performed a rebuilt transmission job to a 700R4 or 4L60E, we always installed a Transgo upgrade kit.

The SK-4L60E solves and prevents all of these issues:

Corrects/Prevents/Reduces: FIXES Code 1870 Trouble light & Hard 1-2 shift. No lockup or 4th. Fixes harmonic bounce that wears out pump and valves and causes shuttle shifts. Low/Rev planetary burnup, Fwd and L/R clutch burnup; 1-2 bump; double bump; slide-bump.Has new design Isolator/Conv Valve that works Perfect in worn bore w/o special tools or machining. (

The SK 700R4 Shift Kit solves and prevents:

Corrects/Prevents/Reduces: Absolutely prevents Stuck TV valve. Late shifts, downshift clunk; 3-4 clutch failure; no lockup; 2-4 band failure; early shifts; 1-2 slide/slide-bump; reverse delay hot; 2-3 cutloose; Low/Reverse planetary burnup,
reverse clutch failure. 83-87:
Kit lets you make Converter lockup-no wires needed.

The deal with the low/reverse planetary setup concerns include, adding one more pinion gear to the redesigned planetary housing. This setup has five pinion gears instead of four pinion gears. What this means is that the one extra pinion gear adds 20% more strength to the part. That in itself is a bonus and practically a no brain-er in  Chevy transmissions, especially if the planetary was burnt up. In reality it is a great upgrade for another reason too.

By adding an extra pinion gear to the planetary assembly, we end up with a new and better first and reverse gear ratio. A much more desirable ratio for accelerating and pulling heavy objects. More ‘low end pulling power’, as we call it. It makes a heck of a difference.

The upgrades seem to be endless, especially when you purchase a rebuilt transmission. The best time to upgrade is when a transmission is apart and the whole upgrade process can be applied.

The other viable upgrades will be discussed in future articles on our blog. Stay tuned. By understanding that paying a fraction more for a rebuilt transmission that is upgraded, will cost less in the long run, you are becoming an educated consumer. Enjoy.

BTW: An auxiliary transmission cooler coupled with the updates is the best recipe available for reliabilty and dependability, which ultimately makes an upgraded rebuilt transmission, with an auxiliary add on external cooler installed an affordable long term solution.

“Transmissions for sale” buyers tip…know your VIN.

In order to insure you get the proper replacement transmission for your vehicle, and you are in the market for a transmission for sale, is to have the VIN number handy. What is the VIN number, say you? It is an acronym for Vehicle Identification Number.

The first mandated unique serial number system used by the car industry to identify individual motor vehicles was 1980. Before 1981, there was not a single standard for these numbers, so every manufacturer used different formats.

Since VIN numbers were standardized in 1981, VINs have a combination of 17 letters and numbers which do not include the letters I, O, or Q (thus avoiding confusion with numbers 1 and 0).

This wonderful number is a real treat for competent mechanics and qualified parts people to use in order to always get the right part for the vehicle you may be working on. We lived by this number at my transmission shop.

For instance, if a potential client called and asked me “do you have a transmission for sale to fit a 1995 Ford F-350 with a 7.3L powerstroke diesel engine and an automatic overdrive transmission”? Regardless of whether I knew it was an E4OD transmission and I had one or not, from many years of experience, the first thing I wanted to know was the VIN number.

For most practical purposes, your transmission or auto repair parts supplier needs to be able to read and interpret at least 2 or 3 digits out of the 17 characters in order to purchase an engine or transmission for sale. The two most informational digits are:

A. the 10th (tenth) digit and the 8th (eighth) digit. The 10th digit is the year the vehicle was made.

B. The 8th digit is the engine identification number. The purchaser of a transmission for sale or any automotive part for that matter should have the VIN handy. It is a big help to the parts person.

BTW, a qualified parts person is to be a position of competence and knowledge. Unqualified parts people cause a lot of problems, especially for home repair mechanics. Our shop (our, meaning me and my employees) used the VIN from everything to buying the correct parts, using our high-tech computer repair programs to programming the scan tool for diagnosis.

The other digits are important too and often you may be asked for several other digits, so bring the whole number. On most cars it is, as you sit in the drivers seat, on the left front end of the dashboard. It can be seen from the outside through the windshield and is a stamped steel plate, riveted to the dashboad.

That is my lesson for the day. Have your Vin number handy when you buy parts, especially an engine or transmission for sale. Brought to you by

You can find the VIN on your registration…