Following the first introduction of the automobile in the late 1800’s, Henry Ford of Ford Motors innovated and perfected mass-production techniques. Additionally, Ford was the first manufacturer to implement the true automatic transmission, named the Hydra-Matic, in the 1948 Oldsmobile. Although the first automatic transmission was fabricated by a Canadian steam engineer named Alfred Horner Munro, it lacked power since it used compressed air rather than hydraulic fluid. After years of continuous refinement, the Jetway and Jetway turbo transmissions were introduced, leading to major success.
Essentially, an automobile transmission is responsible for transferring the engine’s power to the drive shaft and wheels using a clutch and other various parts in order for the vehicle to travel at an ideal range of revolutions per minute (RPM). This range is maintained by the shifting of the transmission gears as the vehicle accelerates or decelerates. When observing a transmission, an unfamiliar individual may become rapidly befuddled and lost, given a transmission operates using a handful of components including the torque converter, planetary gearset, pump, clutches, bands, sensors, valve body and transmission fluid. The four major parts of a transmission that coincide to operate efficiently are the torque converter, planetary gear sets, the hydraulic system and a computer. Out of these parts, the torque converter is perhaps the most vital component that absorbs the most wear and tear.
A torque converter is perhaps the key to the operation of an automatic transmission. Essentially, a torque converter is a type of fluid coupling allowing the engine to rotate unrestrictedly from the transmission. It pressurizes the transmission fluid which supplies the force necessary to shift transmission gears. Furthermore, it allows the engine to stay running when the vehicle comes to a complete stop, such as at a traffic light or stop sign. A malfunctioning torque converter may convey slippage and shuddering, and may cost a significant amount to repair.
As always, the cost to repair a damaged torque converter is significantly less than completely replacing it. For this reason, you should obtain professional mechanic advice before deciding to replace it. A simple google search reading “In-shop Service Repairs” for an example, will result in an abundance of shop options.
Since the transmission absorbs the most abuse from daily driving, complications may arise emitting from a number of symptoms. Some of the most common torque converter issues include overheating, slippage, strange noises, high-speed stalls poor fuel-economy and dirty transmission fluid. A transmission mishap may present itself unsurprisingly if fluid is not passed efficiently. A simple test of your torque converter may potentially diagnose the issue if performed correctly. After starting your vehicle, let it idle for a few minutes, then proceed to tap the gas several times while the car is in park, letting the RPM’s come down to normal idle speed. Next, depress the brake pedal and shift the car into drive. During this test, you must carefully listen for any strange noises when you shift the vehicle, and if no noises are present, proceed to driving the vehicle regularly while observing the same noises.
Although the torque converter is responsible for numerous transmission problems, you must be knowledgeable of the mishap cause. Typically, a common issue with a bad torque converter is related to a damaged torque converter seal. A damaged seal will allow fluid to leak out of the torque converter. Furthermore, damaged needle bearings, torque converter clutches and clutch solenoids will cause a torque converter to malfunction. A torque converter is not an easy garage fix, and for this reason you should seek professional advice from a shop.