6L80E Transmission Guide & Information

6l80e Transmission

The Hydra-Matic 6L80 (production code MYC) is a six-speed automatic transmission produced by General Motors for use in rear- and rear-biased all-wheel-drive vehicles with a longitudinal powertrain orientation. Developed in-house by General Motors, the Hydra-Matic 6L80 is part of the 6LXX family of fuel-saving, electronically controlled six-speed automatic transmissions that succeeded the 5LXX family.

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6l80e Transmission Information

What Vehicles Did The 6l80e Come In?

Best Silverado & Sierra Transmission Coolers - Transmission Cooler GuideBecause of its ability to be used on a number of different platforms, the 6l80e transmission was found in a many GM vehicles from model years 2006 – 2021 ranging from sports cars to full size pick up trucks.  Here is the complete list of 6l80e equipped cars and trucks.

2006-2009 Cadillac XLR-V
2006-2014 Chevrolet Corvette
2006 Holden VE Commodore/2008 Pontiac G8
2006 Holden/Chevrolet WM Statesman/Caprice
2007-2016 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD 6.0 (6L90)
2007-2009 Cadillac STS-V, STS
2007-2015 Cadillac Escalade
2010-present Chevrolet Express 2500-3500 (6L90-E)
2007-2015 GMC Yukon Denali
2009-2015 Chevrolet Tahoe
2008-2009 Hummer H2
2009-2013 Cadillac CTS-V (6L90)
2010-2021 (K2XX) Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra 1500
2010-2015 Chevrolet Camaro
2011-2017 Chevrolet Caprice PPV
2012-2015 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 (6L90)
2011(September)-2012 Holden VE Commodore Series 2(MY 2012)
2014-2017 Holden VF Commodore / Chevrolet SS
2008-2013 Chevrolet Avalanche

6l80e Transmission Specs 

Case Material: Aluminum 

Torque Rating: 664 ft lbs

Weight: 195 pounds (Dry), 230 pounds (Filled)

Gear Ratios:

  • 1st Gear: 4.03:1
  • 2nd Gear: 2.36:1
  • 3rd Gear: 1.53:1
  • 4th Gear: 1.15:1
  • 5th Gear: 0.85:1
  • 6th gear: 0.67:1
  • Reverse: 3.06:1

6l80e Transmission Fluid Type & Specs

Dexron 6 Transmission Fluid - Transmission Fluid GuideThe 6l80e takes Dexron 6 (Dex VI)  transmission fluid and has a 11 – 13 quart dry fill capacity.  When dropping the transmission pan to perform a standard drain and fill transmission fluid change, you can expect to replace around anywhere from 4-6 quarts of fluid assuming the stock transmission pan is being used.

If you have a deeper aftermarket transmission pan on your 6l80e, then this quart estimate will likely be more and require you to check fluid levels as you fill and run the transmission through the gears.

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6l80e Transmission Fluid Temperature

The 6l80 normal operating temperature is in the 180-200 range when fully warmed up, and this based on the thermostat that prevents transmission fluid from running through the whole transmission cooling system in an effort to improve gas mileage.  While the engineering behind this is sound, the logic is somewhat questionable.  The fluid stays in the transmission until the thermostat opens up then will flow to the cooler.  When the cooler reaches that 190 degree temp, it will constantly cycle between the cooler and staying in the case. 

We aren’t the biggest fan of this for obvious reasons,  and neither are many other owners of 6l80e equipped vehicles. While 200 degree temps aren’t the end of the world, the fluid will constantly stay in that range over a long duration. The transmission fluid chart below shows that even a 25 degree drop from 200 will add another 40,000 miles of use out of our transmission. 

Transmission Fluid Temperature Chart

To combat transmission temp issues, installing an aftermarket transmission cooler is certainly helpful along with a deeper, higher capacity transmission pan if you have the space to do so, and thermostat bypass.  

6l80e Transmission Filter

6l80e Transmission Pan & Gasket - Transmission Cooler Guide

Transmission filter kits for the 6l80e are very inexpensive and simple.  Most  6l80e transmission filters and kits which include a new pan gasket, filter, and filter seal cost around $20 – $30.  The filters we recommend for your 6l80e are:

As an FYI, the 6l80 transmission pan gaskets are a much higher quality material than older style gaskets, which as usually a thin rubber or cork gasket.  The more modern pan gasket on the 6l80 is reusable, but depending on it’s condition, it might be best to replace it when dropping the pan.

6l80e Transmission Maintenance

The 6l80e requires recommended maintenance of changing the fluid, and filter every 30,000 – 50,000 miles depending on usage.  If you have a truck that you use to tow or haul often, it’s best to check your fluid and make a determination as to how frequent you should change out your fluid.

When checking your transmission fluid, be sure to not only look at the fluid level, but the color and smell. Good transmission fluid will have a reddish color to it, but if it looks dark, almost brown and has a slight burnt smell to it, then you are very past due on your maintenance.  The chart below shows how transmission fluid looks at various stages.

Transmission Fluid Color Comparison - Transmission Cooler Guide

6l80e Transmission Fluid Change

Changing transmission fluid in your 6l80e can range from easy to a major pain average DIY weekend mechanic.  In all actually, the hardest part of the job is draining the fluid from the pan if your pan doesn’t have a drain plug in most situation, which is quite common with more transmission fluid changes. On the newer trucks however, you have a joy of dealing with the exhaust y-pipe not giving you enough clearance to drop the pan without some clever methods or loosening the exhaust which may be a pain in its own right. 

Below is a detailed video of performing a transmission fluid change on a 6l80e in a Chevy Silverado.

How many quarts does it take to do a fluid and filter change on a 6l80e trans?  For a typical pan drop and fluid change, you will need about 5-6 quarts to do the job. 

As always, start with adding a few quarts of atf when you have the new filter and pan back on and shift through the gears to get fluid moving and warm, then keep checking and added until you have the right level.

6l80e Upgrades

When it comes to upgrading your 6l80e, besides adding better internals and hard parts, there are a few simple upgrades that you can make to keep transmission temps down.  The most common simple DIY 6l80e upgrades that can be done with simple hand tools in your driveway without removing the transmission to tear apart are definitely transmission coolers, pans, and thermostat bypass.

6l80e Transmission Pans

Depending on what vehicle you have, your 6l80 might have different transmission pans.  Pans that come factory on trucks and SUVs do not typically have a drain plug, where as on cars, you should have one towards the back of the pan.  Below is an example of a factory truck pan that does not have a drain plug. 

6l80 Transmission Pan - Transmission Cooler Guide

When you combine the limited space around the exhaust and lack of a drain plug, this makes dropping the transmission pan tough on trucks. With the cars however, things are far easier with the drain plug and exhaust out of the way. 

Aftermarket 6l80 Transmission Pan - Transmission Cooler Guide

If you are looking for aftermarket pans that allow for more fluid capacity, there are plenty of options.  Most aftermarket “deep” 6l80 pans are made from a heavy duty cast aluminum, and typically provide an extra 2 quarts of fluid capacity or retain the factory fluid levels but provide added strength. 

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6l80e Common Problems

6l80e Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC)