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Torque Converters

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Purpose

Allow the vehicle to come to a complete stop without stalling the


engine
Provide torque multiplication to allow smooth acceleration from a
stop
House a torque converter clutch which will eliminate torque
converter slippage at highway speeds

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Parts of a Torque Converter

Housing - Hub
Impeller - Split ring guide
Turbine - Split ring guide
Stator - Stator one-way clutch
Torque converter clutch Apply
piston

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Parts of a Torque Converter

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Principles of Operation

A torque converter is a type of fluid


coupling
There is no direct mechanical link
between the input (engine flywheel)
and the output (transmission input
shaft)
The impeller (pump of the torque
converter) forces fluid through the
turbine, which forces the turbine to
turn
- The turbine is splined to the
transmission input shaft

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Principles of Operation

Impeller Turbine

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Fluid Coupling Problems

When there is a large difference


in RPM between the impeller
and the turbine in a fluid
coupling, the fluid coming off
the turbine strikes the impeller
opposite the direction of
rotation, thus slowing the
impeller down (robbing power)

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Fluid Coupling Solutions

By incorporating a stator into a fluid coupling we can overcome


the problem of turbine discharge oil slowing down the impeller

Stator

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Fluid Coupling Solutions

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Split Ring Guide

Guides the fluid flow during vortex flow conditions

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Phases of Operation
Torque multiplication
Relatively low impeller (engine) RPMs
Stator is locked into place by its one-way clutch
Vortex fluid flow within the converter
Coupling phase
Occurs at approx. 35-40 MPH under normal driving conditions
No torque multiplication
Stator is freewheeling
Turbine is spinning at approx 90% of impeller speed
Rotary flow within the converter

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Torque Multiplication
Because the turbine discharge oil is redirected so that it hits the
impeller in the direction of impeller rotation, it helps the engine
turn the impeller.
This is what causes torque multiplication

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Torque Multiplication
Torque converters can multiply torque at a 2:1 to 3:1 ratio
Exact amount depends on the design of the impeller, stator, and
turbine and impeller RPM
The point at which maximum torque multiplication occurs is near
the stall speed of the converter
During the torque multiplication phase, turbine speed is
significantly lower than impeller speed
A torque converter attached to an engine producing 200 ft/lbs of
torque would deliver 500 ft/lbs of torque to the input shaft of the
transmission (with a 2.5:1 torque multiplication ratio)
Fluid flow is vortex

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Vortex Flow
During vortex flow the fluid is circulating from the impeller to
the stator to the turbine and then back to the impeller

Cross-Section of
Torque Converter

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Vortex Flow

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Torque Multiplication

600 3

500 2.5

Torque Multiplication Ratio


400 2
Ft/Lbs Torque

300 1.5

200 1

100 0.5

0 0
1000 1250 1500 1750 2000 2250 2500 2750 3000 3250 3500 3750 4000
Engine RPM

Engine Torque Input Shaft Torque Torque Multiplication

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Stator Operation

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Coupling Phase
As turbine (vehicle) speed increases and approaches the speed of the
impeller the turbine discharge oil is accelerated to the point that it
no longer strikes the front side of the stator blades, instead it strikes
the backside of the stator blade causing the stator one-way clutch to
unlock and the stator to freewheel
Since the stator is unlocked, fluid is not redirected and no torque
multiplication occurs
Fluid flow is rotary

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Rotary Flow
As the speed of the turbine approaches the speed of the
impeller fluid flow switches from vortex to rotary
After the fluid is discharged from the turbine it is not redirected
by the stator, instead it rotates with torque converter
Front-View of Torque
Converter

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Rotary Flow

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Stator Operation

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Comparison Of Flow Directions

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Converter Phase Tradeoffs

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Stall Speed
Stall speed is the engine RPM at which
the torque converter has coupled enough
that with the wheels locked the engine is
not able to increase RPM any further

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Stall Speed
Types of Stall Speeds
True Stall
This is the maximum rpm the engine can attain with the driveline
completely locked
Generally can only be attained with a trans-brake
Brake Stall
This is the maximum rpm the engine can attain with the brakes applied
The brakes generally will not have enough holding power to allow the
engine to reach true stall speed
Flash Stall
This is the rpm at which, when you accelerate at full throttle from a dead
stop the engine RPM flashes to
TCIs recommended method of testing stall speed

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Stall Tests
CAUTION
Do not brake stall a converter for more than 10 seconds at a time
During a brake stall 100% of the power developed by the engine
is converted in heat in the torque converter.
Wait at least 2 minutes between brake stall tests

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Factors Affecting Stall Speed

Vehicle Weight
Vane/Fin Angle
Horsepower
Impeller to Turbine Clearance
Powerband/Camshaft
Stator Design
Torque Rate
Converter Diameter
Gear Ratio

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Vane Design
Depending on the design and pitch of the blades, the impeller will
scoop the most oil at a specific RPM, thus altering the stall speed

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Stator Design
By altering the stator design, stall speed and torque multiplication
ratios can be altered

Aftermarket Stock

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Stator Design

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Selecting the Proper Stall Speed Converter

For non-stock engine-vehicle combinations the stock torque


converter may not be optimal
Work with a torque converter company to choose the correct
torque converter
Remember Torque converter design involves trade-offs

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Torque Converter Design Tradeoffs

Low Stall Speed High Stall Speed


Converters Converters
Torque
Low (2.0-2.5) High (2.5-3.0)
Multiplication
Efficiency High Low
Heat Generated Not as Much A lot
Best Application Engines
Engines
producing a Lot
producing power
of torque at low
at high RPMs
RPMs

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Thank You