All About Transmission Torque Converter: Problems, Sensor, Seal

January 27, 2012

The main function of a transmission torque converter is to transfer any rotating power from the engine or electric motor to a rotating driving load. This is normally in the form of the clutch and you can find an automatic transmission torque converter as a manual transmission does not use a converter. The transmission is one of the most important parts of the car and understanding on how it works can extend the life of your transmission as once they break your car is dead.

What is in the Transmission Torque Converter

There are 3 different elements to the converter which include the pump, the turbine and the stator. The pump is the main mover which is normally the engine, the turbine drives the energy and the stator is between the pump and the turbine and really alters the oil flow. There are many different types of these elements as they will differ depending on your torque requirements.

A Few Common Problems

There are several transmission torque converter problems that can occur which causes the converter to fail. The transmission torque converter seal can be damaged as the converter overheats. Fluid will leak out and the converter will stop working. The main transmission torque converter clutch failure occurs when the different elements of the clutch become permanently fixed or locked together.  This type of locking is normally due to severe loading or distortion of the different components of the clutch. The clutch can also break if there is a shock to the clutch.

Transmission Torque converter Manufacturers

The Allison transmission torque converter is one of the many different types available. Allison produces automatic transmissions for hybrids and commercial duty vehicles. They are found in the military, buses, construction and used in vehicles around the world. Some other manufacturers include Twin disc, BorgWarner, Voith Turbo-Transmissions and Subaru.

What is the Purpose of the Sensor?

If your car has a modern transmission then it will use a transmission torque converter sensor that controls electronic transmission. This sensory is used to determine when your vehicle needs to change gears in order to get the best fuel economy, performance and shift quality. These sensors began to be used extensively since the late 1980s.

The main component used in these sensors is the transmission torque converter solenoid. The solenoid is actually a valve that controls the flow going in and out of the automatic transmission. You can have the solenoid open or closed and they work based on an electronic current. You can find them in the valve body, control module or the control unit of the transmission. There are 4 different types of solenoids; pulse with modulated solenoid, variable force solenoid, low leak variable bleed solenoid and the on-off solenoid.

High Performance Transmission

The 700r4 transmission torque converter is a special high performance transmission that can only work with specific clutches. You cannot have any thin steel in the clutch as this will warp with the amount of heat that is produced when going over 400 horsepower. The best clutches with this type of transmission converter are those that use full thickness Kolene steels. You also can only use a maximum of eight clutches. Having more clutches with thinner steel will break if you go over 400 horsepower.


Related Questions and Answers

Can You Remove Torque Converter Parts if the Engine Won't Turn?

Yes, you can remove torque converter parts if the engine won't turn. The torque converter is a drivetrain component that is separate from the engine, and the entire assembly can be removed from the engine. At which point torque converter parts can be removed from the assembly. Major torque converter parts that must be removed when rebuilding a converter include the impeller, which takes power input from the transmission; the stator, which controls fluid flow throughout the converter; the turbine, which ultimately turns engine power into a moving car; and the cover, which keeps the fluid necessary to operate the torque converter contained in the device.

How do Diesel Torque Converters Vary from Gasoline ones?

Diesel torque converters vary from gasoline ones in that converters for a diesel engine must be optimized to the torque curve of a diesel engine, which produces a much larger amount of torque starting at a very low rate of revolutions per minute (RPM). The most important figure to consider when comparing diesel torque converters to gas ones is the stall speed at which diesel torque converters force the automatic transmission to shift gears. Considering that diesel engines generally perform best at low RPMs compared to gas engines, the stall speed of diesel torque converters is lower than gas ones. 

When Do You Need a Torque Converter Replacement?

Torque converter replacement is necessary when an automatic transmission has problems transferring power from the engine to the wheels. Torque convertors are found only in automatic transmissions. A common sign of an impending torque converter replacement is if your car shudders when driven on a smooth road. A loss of power at freeway speeds also points to a damaged torque convertor, which can overheat in such conditions, ultimately causing your engine to shut off. Similarly, acceleration problems at low speeds can also point to an overworked torque converter that is in need of replacement. It is best to have a transmission shop determine when torque converter replacement is necessary, as there is no set lifespan for the converter.

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