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Torque Converter Problem And Car Vibration

The torque converter is the component used to transfer the rotation power from a prime mover, in this case, the gasoline engine, to a driven, rotating axle. The torque converter basically takes over the mechanical clutch, that divides the loan from the power source. One of the main advantages of a torque converter is that it is able to improve torque levels when there is a noticeable difference between the rotation speed of inputs and outputs. It has just about the same effect as a reduction gear. The torque converter has applicability not only to cars. Boats and buses that provide public transportation use it as well.

With the tons of benefits such a complex device brings, there are a few problems that could arise as well. You should always take caution when using a torque converter and you should definitely know the limitations your converter has. Knowing these boundaries will help you avoid overworking the converter and ending up with torque failure. This is one of the most common problems you can encounter with this type of machinery. Many tend to push their car’s boundary for the sheer joy of “feeling the kick” but this usually results in loads of money spent, and a couple of days in the shop.

The mother of all torque converter failures is due to excessive heat. If the “slipping” continues for a prolonged period of time than, it may be too much for the converter to handle since it won’t be able to dissipate the heat fast enough. When this happens you can feel the whole car vibrating. Therefore, if you see that the car has excessive vibrations, you should have a look at the converter. Continuing to run the car might result in dire consequences for your car. The excessive heat that can’t seem to dissipate will slowly but surely damage the elastomer seals that hold the function of keeping all the fluids inside the converter. If fluids find themselves out of the converter, the fluid level will slowly decrease until the converter stops for good.

Another problem that is converter related is the possibility of breaking the stator clutch. If a sudden application of power appears, it can actually inflict a massive load on the stator clutch and may break it. If the stator clutch breaks, than the stator will rotate the pump in the other direction, therefore there will be no power transmission whatsoever. If this happens the vehicle will not move one bit, since there is nothing to transfer the power to the distribution axle.

A big load may not be enough to break the stator clutch every time, but there can be seizures. If such a seizure should occur, than the stator clutch will fail to lock the stator properly and distribute power inefficiently. This will have a great impact on the fuel consumption. The engine will burn almost twice as much fuel to provide a decent moving speed.

Blade deformation or fragmentation is another problem that you may encounter within the torque converter. This usually happens when the converter is exposed to excessive heating for a long time. The blades within the turbine slowly start to deform. If the blades get deformed, they won’t fit in the circular metal ring any more and several collisions occur that break the blades. Fragmentation shards usually mean irreparable damage to the converter.

Each of these problems can occur on the road. Therefore you need to understand the basic functions of the converter in order to prevent these things from happening. Knowledge and experience are your best allies here.


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