If you know anything about cars, you know that an engine is connected to the transmission by way of a clutch. Without a clutch, a vehicle would stall every time it comes to a complete stop. However, vehicles with an automatic transmission do not have a clutch. Instead, they use a torque converter.
It may be common knowledge that manual transmissions use a clutch and automatic transmissions use a torque converter, but few people know the science of how a torque converter works. A torque converter may be a small component of your car or truck, but some pretty amazing things are going on inside.
Torque Converter Basics
Torque converters were originally created as an option in luxury cars in the late 1940′s. Originally introduced in the 1948 Buick’s 2-speed Dyna Flow Transmission, it allowed cars to become fully-automatic. Since then, a lot of research and design has aided in the evolution of the torque converter. Today, performance torque converters, like the ones carried by RevMax, deliver remarkable results by increasing your overall acceleration and fuel economy.
A torque converter serves two purposes. It serves as an automatic clutch, and it multiplies torque while the vehicle is accelerating. What makes torque converters unique is the transfer of power from the engine to the transmission with fluid being the only connecting factor.
Acting as an automatic clutch, the torque converter lets the engine turn while the wheels and gears in the transmission come to a stop. For example, when your car or truck is at a stoplight, the engine turns slowly and the amount of torque passed through the torque converter is very small. This allows you to keep your vehicle still with just a little bit of pressure on the brake pedal. As the engine speeds up during acceleration, it pumps more fluid into the torque converter, which then transfers the torque to the transmission.
Along with preventing engine stall, the torque converter also improves performance by nearly doubling the torque of the engine, which improves acceleration. Since it uses only liquid to transfer power, it is smooth and free from severe shocks that are sometimes found with standard transmissions and clutches. Torque converters like RevMax’s 4L60E LSX Stage 5 2600 Stall Torque Converter can create enough acceleration and torque to send in the back of your seat.
Inside the Torque Converter
A torque converter is made up of four components, which are all stored inside the housing. The housing unit is mounted on the engine’s flywheel and turns at the same speed of the engine. Together, the four components make a hydrodynamic unit that transfers power through the dynamic motion of fluid.
- Pump – Fixed to the housing and located inside the torque converter, the pump draws fluid inside. As the converter spins, fluid is thrown to the outside and a vacuum is created that draws the fluid to the center for the unit.
- Turbine – The fluid drawn in from the pump enters the blades of the turbine, which is connected to the transmission and causes it to spin. The blades of the turbine are curved, which causes the fluid to change directions before it exits the center of the turbine. This is what causes the turbine to spin.
- Stator – The stator controls the whirlwind action inside the torque converter. With the help of their aggressively angled blades, the stator redirects the fluid returning from the turbine before it hits the pump again. It almost completely reverses the direction of the fluid. At around 40 mph, the pump and turbine start to spin at about the same speed, causing the fluid to move in the same direction as the pump, which eliminates the need for the stator.
- Torque converter clutch – To create a one-to-one connection between the output of the engine to the input of the transmission, a torque converter clutch is used. It increases gas mileage and cools transmission fluid temperatures by locking the turbine shaft inside of the torque converter’s housing unit.
Torque converters have a big job and have a crucial influence on the performance of your car or truck. RevMax Performance Torque Converters are built with your car’s performance in mind. We can multiply the torque of your engine by two to three times!
To learn more about RevMax performance torque converters, please visit our online store. In a sport where success is measured by a thousandth of a second, RevMax Performance Converters can take your car from zero to hero!