Back in July, GM Authority brought you exclusive coverage of a transmission downgrade for the 2020 Silverado 1500 High Country 4WD Short Bed, with that particular model mating the 5.3L V8 L84 engine to the older, problem-prone eight-speed automatic transmission, as opposed to the newer ten-speed automatic transmission. Now, we’re here to report on a similar downgrade for the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500.
Like the Silverado, certain 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 models will now come equipped with the eight-speed automatic, rather than the ten-speed unit.
To be more specific, this downgrade applies to 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 4WD models in all trims available with the naturally aspirated 5.3L V8 L84 gasoline engine with DFM.
The base model Sierra trim with 4WD is equipped with the non-DFM V8 engine (L82) and a six-speed automatic transmission. Two-wheel-drive models that offer the L84 engine were already equipped with the eight-speed automatic transmission.
This change appears to be reflected at GMC’s website. Using the online configurator, 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 4WD models are now listed with the 5.3L V8 L84 with DFM and include both the eight-speed transmission and the ten-speed transmission. Selecting the eight-speed unit includes a $200 package discount in the summary.
In reality, though, General Motors will only produce trucks with the V8 L84 engine and eight-speed combo for the rest of the 2020 model year.
It’s currently unclear how (or if) this will change for the 2021 model year.
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As GM Authority has covered in the past, the GM Hydra-Matic eight-speed automatic transmission has been the subject of numerous complaints from owners, many of whom cite a lackluster feel and abnormal shifting behavior. We even wrote an op-ed that it needs to go away as soon as possible, and should be replaced with the ten-speed unit instead. General Motors issued a Technical Service Bulletin to address the customer issues, but based on comments made by owners, the fix is not guaranteed to solve the problems. A class-action lawsuit was filed over the transmission issues last year.