What is the Torque Converter and Why is It Causing Me So Many Problems?

December 6, 2019 | By Mister Transmission

What is the Torque Converter and Why is It Causing Me So Many Problems?

If you’ve done any cursory research on transmissions and how they work you may have come across the torque converter. Indeed, if you’ve ever looked up common transmission problems, you will no doubt have seen the torque converter mentioned. What is this mystery component of the transmission? And why is it causing you so many gosh darn problems?

The Torque Converter

The torque converter is a type of fluid coupling. What is a fluid coupling? A fluid coupling, also known as a hydraulic coupling, is a device used to transmit rotating mechanical power. It is an alternative to a mechanical clutch. So, the torque converter is one of these and it transfers rotating power generated by the engine to a rotating driven load. In an automatic transmission vehicle, the torque converter connects the power source to the load. The torque converter is typically located between the engine’s flexplate and the transmission. For a manual transmission vehicle, the equivalent component would be the mechanical clutch.

The main characteristic of a torque converter is its ability to multiply torque. This is key. Simple fluid coupling can match rotational speed but cannot multiply torque. As a result, using a torque converter allows for more power. Some torque converters are also equipped with a “lockup” mechanism. A lockup rigidly binds the engine to the transmission when their speeds are nearly equal in order to avoid slippage and a resulting loss of efficiency.

Torque Converter Problems

The torque converter can be involved in a lot of transmission problems. It’s not that these devices are poorly designed, they’re just so integral to the function of the transmission that if something goes wrong, it is probably affected. As an illustration of this, it is standard procedure to replace the torque converter in transmission overhauls. Transmission overhauls, which are also known as transmission rebuilds, involve removing the transmission from the chassis, taking it apart piece by piece, inspecting every piece, cleaning the ones that are still good and replacing the damaged ones. But good technicians don’t take chances on torque converters, they just replace them.

Symptoms Of Torque Converter Problems

Torque converters aren’t always the cause of your transmission problems. In fact, they’re rarely the cause. But they are almost always affected by any problem that your transmission does have. The takeaway from all this: torque converter problems rarely occur in isolation. If you have a problem with your torque converter, you probably have a problem with your transmission more broadly, and should bring your vehicle into a transmission shop for inspection. But how can you know if you have an issue with your torque converter? Well, some of the symptoms of torque converter problems are:

  • Overheating
  • Slipping
  • Shuddering
  • Dirty transmission fluid
  • High stall speeds
  • Strange noises, such as humming, whirring, or clunking

Mister Transmission

At Mister Transmission we have replaced hundreds, if not thousands, of torque converters and we can replace yours too, if necessary. Not sure if your torque converter is the problem? Don’t worry, our Mister Transmission Multi-Check Inspection is bound to find out if there is a problem with your torque converter or any other part of your transmission. To learn more about torque converters or our services, please contact us.

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Date: November 28, 2020
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I was heading from Toronto...
Pahi Pat
I was heading from Toronto to Windsor and I was stuck on the highway because my transmission oilstarted to heat up. No one was able to help me out but the people at Mister Transmission were more than happy to take me right away. They were extremely humble, polite and welcoming. They put my car on the lift and showed me the issue. They explained the issues and the cause for it, along with possible solutions. The problems were fixed really quick and got me on the road. I am extremely grateful for what they did for me.
Date: November 27, 2020
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Marc T11
I was recommended by my usual mechanic to go to this location for an issue with my transfer case. I was not disappointed!! My vehicle would not move and was stuck with the transfer case in neutral. After getting my vehicle towed in; the mechanics diagnosed and repaired my vehicle before I got home! They found a clip had broken and replaced it. Not only did they fix it quickly, there was no bill. They did the work for free. No diagnostic, no shop labour, no parts fee. Just honest and good willed mechanic work! I cant thank them enough! They have made me a customer for life if I should have transmission trouble again in the future!
Date: November 25, 2020
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Excellent! Cory there will take...
Marc Koechl
Excellent! Cory there will take care of anything you need that's transmission related. Excellent customer service!
Date: November 24, 2020
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Steve is a great guy!!...
Frank S
Steve is a great guy!! very professional and honest, he knows his stuff and steered me in the right direction. Thank you very much for the great work you do!.. it's hard to find shops like this anymore.
Date: November 24, 2020
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Lino D'Agnone
"Very honest in appraisal of repair required and took the time to explain."
Date: November 23, 2020
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Casey Stevenson
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Date: November 23, 2020
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Dealt with Jim he knows...
DAVID McQuarrie
Dealt with Jim he knows his stuff answer all my questions told me a few things I wasnt even aware of fixed a issue that no one would even touch even the dealer themselves vehicle was repaired and back to me in no time bill was more then reasonable I would recommend them to anyone no issues what so ever
Date: November 21, 2020
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My VW Golf transmission was...
Steve Pearce
My VW Golf transmission was slipping, after going to 6 different mechanics and transmission places i ended up talking to Steve, He said to bring the car in the next morning. I was there on time and Steve had a hoist empty for my appointment. They put the car on the hoist and topped up the transmission fluid. They didn't try to sell me anything or tell me there were other things wrong with the transmission. I will not hesitate to take my car there if i have a future problem with it.
Date: November 21, 2020
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The staff were friendly and...
Cameron Anderson
The staff were friendly and knowledgeable, and now my transmission is running better than it did before it started slipping. I was provided a courtesy car while mine was out of commission, and that meant I didn’t miss any work shifts. The warranty provided also helps give me a piece of mind that they stand behind their work.
Date: November 20, 2020
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