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Torque converters

R
Rob Holt

TQs

1 of 34
Torque Converters
Torque Converter
• Transfers Power from Engine
1
Torque Converter Components
Thrust Bearing
Damper
Turbine
Lock-Up Clutch
Turbine Runner Hub
Pump/ Impeller
Stator
One-way Clutch
2
Converter Hub
Converter Lug
Button
Typical Converter Hub Types
FWD Converter and Pump Shaft
Pump Impeller
Converter Case
Pump Impeller
Guide Ring
From
Engine
Vanes
Guide Ring
Drive Plate
The impeller rotates whenever the engine is running, causing the
fluid to flow outward toward the turbine.
4
Turbine Runner
Fluid is caught in the cupped vanes of the turbine and torque
is transferred to the input shaft.
Guide Ring
From
Engine
Vanes
Guide Ring
Turbine
Transmission
Input Shaft
5
Stator
The vanes of the stator catch the fluid as it leaves the turbine
and redirects it back to the impeller.
Guide Ring
From
Engine
Curved Vanes
Path of fluid
if there was
no stator
Turbine
Transmission
Case
Pump
Impeller
Stator
From
Turbine
Runner
One-Way
Clutch
Stator Shaft
6

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Torque converters

  • 1. Torque Converters Torque Converter • Transfers Power from Engine 1
  • 2. Torque Converter Components Thrust Bearing Damper Turbine Lock-Up Clutch Turbine Runner Hub Pump/ Impeller Stator One-way Clutch 2 Converter Hub Converter Lug Button
  • 3. Typical Converter Hub Types FWD Converter and Pump Shaft
  • 4. Pump Impeller Converter Case Pump Impeller Guide Ring From Engine Vanes Guide Ring Drive Plate The impeller rotates whenever the engine is running, causing the fluid to flow outward toward the turbine. 4
  • 5. Turbine Runner Fluid is caught in the cupped vanes of the turbine and torque is transferred to the input shaft. Guide Ring From Engine Vanes Guide Ring Turbine Transmission Input Shaft 5
  • 6. Stator The vanes of the stator catch the fluid as it leaves the turbine and redirects it back to the impeller. Guide Ring From Engine Curved Vanes Path of fluid if there was no stator Turbine Transmission Case Pump Impeller Stator From Turbine Runner One-Way Clutch Stator Shaft 6
  • 7. Torque Converter Operation Pump Impeller Guide Ring Drive Plate From Engine Vanes Converter Case 7
  • 8. Converter Fluid Flow Vortex flow is strongest when the difference in impeller and turbine speed is the greatest. Vortex Flow Rotary Flow 8
  • 9. Fluid Flow During Acceleration Impeller turning much faster than turbine Centrifugal force causes circular flow Stator changes direction of flow to multiply torque 9
  • 10. Fluid Flow During Cruising Impeller and turbine turning at almost the same speed Opposing centrifugal forces stop circular fluid flow Stator freewheels — no torque multiplication 10
  • 11. Stator Diagnosis Stator lockup in both directions Normal function during high-vortex flow (driving surface streets) Fluid flow disrupted near coupling point (freeway speeds) • Poor performance, overheating Stator freewheel in both directions • No multiplication of torque, sluggish acceleration Top end performance normal (freeway speeds) Poor low end performance (driving surface streets) 11
  • 12. Stall Test • Stall test determines the condition of: – Torque converter – Specific holding devices – Engine state of tune • Consider safety when staging vehicle – Do not head toward walls, other vehicles, or pedestrians • Engine and transmission preparation – Operating temperatures – Fluid levels • Attach tachometer • Full weight of vehicle should rest on wheels • Place chocks at front and rear wheels • Set parking brake and apply foot brake 12
  • 13. Stall Test Video • Perform test at normal operating temperature (122 to 178 degrees F) • Do not maintain stall speed for longer than five seconds • Allow transmission to cool for a minimum of one minute between tests • If maximum stall speed is exceeded, discontinue test 13
  • 14. Stall Test Results Is engine in proper state of tune? RPM OVER Specification RPM UNDER Specification RPM in Specification • Torque converter problem – Turbine hub failure – Impeller blade failure • Holding device failure • Line pressure is low • ATF is too hot • Torque converter problem – Stator one-way clutch is not locking – Torrington bearing failure – Stator support failure • Engine output problem Trouble is on the OUTPUT side of the torque converter Trouble is on the INPUT side of the torque converter Stall Test Yes No Tune Engine • Stator one-way clutch is holding • Holding devices for 1st and Reverse gears are holding • Line pressure is adequate • Engine is in proper state of tune 14
  • 15. Torque Converter Lock-Up Lock-Up Clutch• What is Torque Converter Lock-Up? • What is Torque Converter Flex Lock-Up? 15
  • 16. Torque Converter Lock-Up Operation: The lock-up clutch mechanically connects the impeller and the turbine under specific operating conditions. Lock-up Clutch From Engine Lock-up Clutch Fluid enters either behind or in front of the lock-up clutch to engage or disengage it. 16
  • 18. Torque Converter Lock-Up Control 18 Selection of Lock-up Pattern Control of Lock-up Timing Neutral Start Switch (Shift Position Signal) Driving Pattern Select Switch (Driving Mode Signal) Throttle Position Sensor (Throttle Opening Small) Stop Light Switch (Brake Signal) Vehicle Speed Sensor (Vehicle Speed Signal) Engine ECU or TCM (Temperature Signal) Throttle Position Sensor (CTP Signal) Cruise Control ECU SLU Solenoid Valve Lock-up Signal Valve Lock-up Clutch Lock-up Cancellation Signal ECU
  • 19. Flex Lock-Up ThrottleOpeningAngleLarge Vehicle Speed High Lock-up Operating Range Flex Lock-up Operating Range (Acceleration) Flex Lock-up Operating Range (Deceleration) O indicates Flex Lock-up operation A750 Flex Lock-up Operation Gears in D and 4 RangeA750 On/Off Lock-up Operating Range Range Gear Acceleration Flex Lock-up Deceleration Flex Lock-up D 1st X X 2nd X X 3rd O X 4th O O 5th O O 4 1st X X 2nd X X 3rd X X 4th X O 19
  • 20. Testing Lock-up 20 • Reference TIS – Locate Flex & Conventional Lock-up Operating Range • Lock up Data Parameters – Some late model vehicles have more than one lock-up parameter. Under certain conditions, combinations of these parameters indicate Flex Lock-up operation: – Data parameters may vary between models Road Test – Drive vehicle under light load cruise speeds – Use Techstream to indicate when Lock up is commanded on (also monitor Engine RPM fluctuations) Note: Reference Torque Converter Shudder TC018-07 Lock-up Off Flex Lock-up Lock-up On ‧ Lock Up ‧ Lock Up Solenoid Status ‧ SLU Solenoid Status Lock Up Lock Up Solenoid Status SLU Solenoid Status Lock Up Lock Up Solenoid Status SLU Solenoid Status Lock Up Lock Up Solenoid Status SLU Solenoid Status
  • 21. Torque Converter Diagnosis • What are possible symptoms observed during Road Test? – Engine stalls when starting off or stopping – Vehicle does not move in any forward and reverse positions. – Slip or shudder – Poor acceleration (All gear positions) – Harsh Engagement 21
  • 22. TC Rebuilds • One school of thought is that the converter should be rebuilt at every transmission rebuild, especially if the transmission is high mileage or very dirty inside. Transmission crud can pack inside of the converter and be nearly impossible to clean out; this crud can return to the rebuilt transmission to cause future problems. A faulty TC must be rebuilt if it is to be reused. These faults include: • External damage • Faulty one-way clutch • Fluid leaks • Excess end play/clearance • Internal interference • Damaged turbine splines • Worn clutch lining
  • 23. Visual Inspection This hub can possibly be cleaned using fine sandpaper, but if there is any metal scoring, it should be replaced. Other external damage to look for includes damaged drive lugs/studs and starter ring gear.
  • 24. Stator Clutch Failure A failed stator clutch will either #1 not lock or #2 lockup completely. #1 will allow the stator to free-wheel so the converter will not multiply torque. The result will be poor vehicle acceleration and pulling power. #2 will cause the stator to remain stationary all the time. The result will be poor cruise ability and reduces fuel mileage.
  • 25. Stator Clutch Check The finger is touching the splines of the inner race. It should rotate easily in one direction and be difficult in the other if the one-way clutch is good.
  • 26. The snap ring pliers are gripping the inner race, and you should be able to rotate it in both directions. The race should rotate easier in a counterclockwise direction if the one-way clutch is good. Stator Clutch Check
  • 27. Pressure Check This special tool has a plug that enters the converter hub and expands to seal the opening. The converter can be pressurized to test for leaks. The blue band keeps the plug from being blown out of the converter. Plug Air Valve Stem
  • 28. Pressure Check A similar air pressure test tool. Air Valve Stem Pressure Release Plug
  • 29. Pressure Check Procedure After installing the plug and retaining device, the air pressure in the converter is adjusted to 30—40 psi. Soapy water is then sprayed on all suspected areas, especially any welds. Air bubbles indicate leaks. Be sure to release all of the air pressure before removing the test fixture.
  • 30. End Play The snap ring pliers are gripping the one-way clutch inner race. You should be able to feel a slight movement as you lift the pliers. Excess motion indicates worn thrust bearings/bushings.
  • 31. End Play The adapter is expanded to grip the turbine or one-way clutch splines, and the dial indicator is set up to measure the vertical movement/ end play.
  • 32. Internal Interference The converter was placed on a bench top; the pump splines were inserted into the on-way clutch; and the input shaft was inserted into the turbine. Now the pump and then the input shaft are rotated while you listen and feel for contact between the various parts. Torque Converter Input Clutch Pump
  • 33. Don’t forget the Flexplate This vehicle had a converter noise problem. Note the crack surrounding most of the mounting bolt holes and the rub marks. Transmission side Engine side Crack

Editor's Notes

  1. The torque converter performs several jobs: Its most important role is to provide an automatic means of coupling engine torque to the input shaft of the transmission. Torque converters can multiply torque under certain operating conditions. They also help smooth driveline operation: the fluid inside the torque converter helps absorb torsional engine vibration, and the inertia of the converter and the flex plate help maintain engine rotation between piston power pulses. The torque converter also drives the oil pump that provides fluid pressure to the entire transmission.
  2. The torque converter’s four major components are: Pump impeller Turbine runner Stator Lock-up clutch The hydraulic fluid in the converter transfers torque through the kinetic energy of the transmission fluid as it is forced from the impeller to the turbine. The faster the engine rotates, the greater the torque applied to the turbine. At low engine speeds, the turbine can be held stationary as the force of the fluid’s kinetic energy is not great enough to overcome the holding force of the light brake system application. The impeller is integrated with the torque converter case, with many vanes evenly spaced and mounted inside. A guide ring along the inner edges of the vanes provides a path for smooth fluid flow.
  3. When the impeller is driven by the engine crankshaft, the fluid in the impeller rotates with it. When the impeller speed increases, centrifugal force causes the fluid to flow outward toward the turbine.
  4. The turbine is located inside the converter case but is not connected to it. The input shaft of the transmission is attached by splines to the turbine hub when the converter is mounted to the transmission. Many cupped vanes are attached to the turbine. The curvature of the vanes is opposite from that of the impeller vanes. Therefore, when the fluid is thrust from the impeller, it is caught in the cupped vanes of the turbine and torque is transferred to the transmission input shaft, turning it in the same direction as the engine crankshaft. A guide ring similar to the impeller is along the inner edge of the vanes.
  5. The stator is located between the impeller and the turbine. It is mounted on the stator reaction shaft which is fixed to the transmission case. The vanes of the stator catch the fluid as it leaves the turbine runner and redirects it so that it strikes the back of the impeller vanes, giving the impeller added boost or torque. The benefit of this added torque can be as great as 30% to 50%, with torque multiplication greatest when the vehicle is accelerating from a standstill.
  6. When the impeller is driven by the engine crankshaft, the fluid around the impeller rotates in the same direction. As impeller speed increases, centrifugal force causes the fluid to flow outward from the center of the impeller and along the vane surfaces of the impeller. As speed increases further, fluid is forced out away from the impeller toward the turbine. The fluid strikes the vanes of the turbine, causing it to rotate in the same direction as the impeller. After the fluid dissipates its energy against the vanes of the turbine, it flows inward along the vanes of the turbine. When it reaches the interior of the turbine, the turbine’s curved inner surface directs the fluid at the vanes of the stator. Fluid strikes the curved vanes of the stator, causing the one-way clutch to lock the stator. This redirects fluid at the impeller vanes in the direction of engine rotation, increasing engine torque. As the impeller and turbine approach the same speed, fluid strikes the back of the stator vanes, releasing the one-way clutch and allowing the stator to freewheel. The stator is mounted to the stator support of the oil pump housing, so fluid will strike the vanes of the stator and limit engine rpm and upper engine performance unless the stator freewheels.
  7. Stator operation is governed by the principles of fluid flow inside the converter. The two types of fluid flow are vortex flow and rotary flow. Vortex flow is the spiraling flow of fluid that occurs when there is a difference in speed between the impeller and the turbine. This flow is stronger when the difference in speed is higher, such as during acceleration. This is called high vortex. As the rotating speeds of the impeller and turbine become closer, the vortex flow decreases and the fluid begins to circulate with the impeller and turbine. Fluid flowing in the direction of converter body rotation is called rotary flow.
  8. During high vortex, the fluid flow leaving the turbine strikes the front of the stator vanes and locks it on the stator reaction shaft, preventing it from rotating in the counterclockwise direction. The fluid passing through the stator is redirected by the shape of the vanes and strikes the back of the impeller vanes creating increased torque over that which is provided by the engine. Without the stator, the returning fluid would interfere with impeller rotation, reducing it severely. During times of low vortex flow the fluid coming from the turbine strikes the convex back of the vane rather than the concave face. This causes the one-way clutch to release and the stator freewheels on the reaction shaft. At this point there is little need for torque multiplication.
  9. Rotary flow is greatest when the difference in speed between the impeller and turbine is small, as when the vehicle is being driven at a constant speed. This is called the coupling point of the torque converter. At the coupling point, like low vortex, the stator must freewheel in the clockwise direction. Should the stator fail to freewheel, it would impede the flow of fluid and tend to slow the vehicle.
  10. The stall test is used to determine the condition of: The torque converter Specific holding devices in the transmission Engine state of tune Torque converter stall occurs when the engine-driven impeller rotates, but the turbine (connected to the transmission input shaft and drivetrain) does not. Torque converter stall speed is defined as the maximum speed at which the engine can drive the impeller — it cannot increase impeller speed above this point due to the resistance of fluid flow to the turbine. Do not run the converter at stall speed for more than 5 seconds. Extreme heat is generated as the fluid is sheared in the torque converter. Allow at least 1 minute at idle speed with transmission in neutral for the fluid to cool before retesting or turning off the engine. If stall speed exceeds the specification or unusual noises are heard, release the throttle pedal immediately to avoid further damage to the transmission. Stage the vehicle safely. Do not head it toward a wall, other vehicles, or pedestrians.
  11. Following is a general stall test procedure: The engine and transmission should be at operating temperature and with all fluids at the proper level. Attach a Techstream to the engine (to monitor engine RPM). The full weight of the vehicle must rest on the wheels. Place chocks at the front and rear wheels. Set the parking brake and depress the brake pedal with your left foot. Shift into Drive and fully depress the throttle pedal with your right foot. Quickly note the maximum engine rpm achieved, then release the throttle. Allow the engine to idle for 1 minute, then repeat the test in Reverse. Allow the engine to idle for 1 minute before shutting it off. Compare results to specifications. If engine rpm falls within specifications during a stall test, it verifies that: The one-way clutch in the torque converter stator is working properly Holding devices (clutches, brakes, and one-way clutches) used in 1st and Reverse are holding properly The transmission oil pressure is adequate The engine is in an acceptable state of tune
  12. If engine rpm falls above or below specification, do not immediately condemn the torque converter. Low stall speed may also be caused by: Poor engine state-of-tune In some models the engine control system changes the ignition timing for torque control. If the vehicle you are testing has this feature, monitor the engine timing with a Techstream while rechecking the stall speed. If stall speed is several hundred rpm under specification, and the ignition timing is retarded, the “problem” is not with the torque converter — the torque control system is operating as designed. Refer to the Repair Manual for the proper procedures. If engine rpm is higher than specified, the problem may be: Low ATF level (correct and repeat test) Low line pressure (continue diagnosis with a line pressure test) Holding devices not operating properly (this may help confirm road test findings) When a faulty torque converter is removed, be sure to closely inspect the splines of the stator support (attached to the oil pump). Worn splines can cause the new stator to slip. If the stator support splines are worn, replace the oil pump or transmission with a remanufactured unit.
  13. At lower speeds, the torque converter provides multiple gear ratios when high torque is needed. But as the impeller and the turbine begin to rotate at nearly the same speed, no torque multiplication is taking place, so the torque converter transmits the input torque from the engine to the transmission at a ratio of almost 1:1. There is, however, approximately 4% to 5% difference in rotational speed between the turbine and impeller. The torque converter is not transmitting 100% of the power generated by the engine to the transmission, so there is energy loss. To reduce energy loss and improve fuel economy, the lock-up clutch mechanically connects the impeller and the turbine under certain vehicle operating conditions. When the lock-up clutch is fully engaged, 100% of the engine power is transferred through the torque converter. The lock-up clutch is installed on the turbine hub between the turbine and the converter front cover. Hydraulic pressure on either side of the lock-up piston causes it to engage or disengage the converter front cover. A set of dampening springs absorbs the torsional force upon clutch engagement to prevent shock transfer. The friction material bonded to the lock-up piston is the same as that used on multiplate clutch disks in the transmission. When the lock-up clutch is engaged, it connects the impeller and turbine. Engaging and disengaging the lock-up clutch is determined by which side of the lock-up clutch the fluid enters the torque converter. The difference in pressure on either side of the lock-up clutch determines engagement or disengagement. Fluid can either enter the body of the converter behind the lock-up clutch to engage it, or in front of the lock-up clutch to disengage it. The fluid used to control the torque converter lock-up is also used to remove heat from the converter and transfer it to the engine cooling system through the heat exchanger in the radiator.
  14. The ECU monitors vehicle speed, gear range, and throttle position to determine when to apply the torque converter lock-up clutch. Specific conditions must exist simultaneously, for example: The transmission is in specific gear(s) Minimum road speed has been reached with throttle opening greater than a specific amount There are no lock-up cancellation signals, such as: Stop light switch closed (brakes applied) Engine coolant or ATF temperature too low TPS idle signal (throttle opening too low) Signal from cruise control ECU Signal from knock sensors If all these conditions are met, the ECU commands the proper ECT solenoid to engage the torque converter lock-up clutch. The ECU may cancel lock-up if any of the following conditions occur: The stop light switch comes on (brakes applied) Engine coolant or ATF temperature falls below a specified level TPS sends an idle signal (throttle closed) The ECU monitors the stop light switch and idle signal to prevent engine stalling if drive wheels lock up during braking Vehicle speed drops about 6 mph below cruise set speed Knock sensors detect spark knock
  15. The torque converter lock-up clutch may be an ON/OFF function, where the clutch is either applied (ON) or not applied (OFF). Generally, vehicle fuel economy increases when the torque converter lock-up clutch is applied, because it eliminates torque converter slippage. Early systems allowed lock-up in direct drive and overdrive only, at highway cruising speeds. Newer systems may allow lock-up as low as 2nd gear if conditions permit. In addition to an ON/OFF lock-up system, current models may feature flex lock-up of the torque converter. For example, the A750 linear solenoid SLU provides an intermediate lock-up stage (between OFF and ON). This enhances fuel economy by reducing torque converter slippage in lower gears (underdrive) and at lower speeds than straight ON/OFF lock-up systems.
  16. Refer to TIS for Lock-up Operating Range to determine the gears in which flex or conventional lock-up operates. Find parameters Lock Up, Lock Up Solenoid Status, & SLU Solenoid Status on Techstream. (Note: Not all parameters will be available depending on vehicle and model year.) Drive in D range through the Lock-up operating range at a steady vehicle speed. Observe parameter status on Techstream. If all parameters indicate ON; Lock-up is engaged. If some parameters indicate ON and some indicate OFF; flex lock-up is engaged. Test to make sure Lock-up is disengaged (all parameters Off) when a cancellation input is applied. Reference: Technical Service Bulletin TC018-07 Torque Converter Shudder for further information.
  17. It is important to verify proper Torque Converter operation prior to further testing of internal transmission components. The Torque Converter is the only physical link between the engine and the transmission. There are a few problem symptoms closely associated with Torque Converter failures: Engine stalls when starting off or stopping Vehicle does not move in any forward and reverse positions Slip or Shudder Poor Acceleration Harsh Engagement