Easy to understand guide on how automotive torque converters work, this information
pertains to all automatic transmission vehicles.
A torque converter acts much like a clutch would in a manual transmission vehicle,
connecting and disconnecting the engine from the transmission to allow the engine
to run while the vehicle is stopped. Designed as a fluid coupler this unit sits
at the front of the transmission and bolts to the rear of the engine using a flex
plate. As engine RPM increases transmission fluid is coupled to create a solid barrier
which drives the transmission input shaft. Once at cruising speeds, a lock up solenoid
is used to activate the internal clutch to reduce slippage and increase mileage.
A torque converter is subject to the condition of the transmission fluid, if
this fluid becomes burnt or dirty it will impair the converter operation.
Torque Converter Cut Away
The torque converter also has the ability to multiply torque when the engine
is under load. Fluid heat is naturally generated by the action of the torque converter
which requires a cooler to maintain operation which is located inside the radiator.
Automatic Transmission Service
Article first published 2016-02-05