Bad Torque Converter Symptoms

Bad Torque Converter: Symptoms, Causes & Fixes

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Even if you own a car that works with the autonomic transmission, you most probably would not have encountered its torque compartment. Peradventure, you stumble upon a torque converter; you wouldn’t even guess it’s right in front of you.

The torque converter is not only a very significant part of the engine but is also safely enclosed together with the automobile’s power plant. The presence of Torque converters serves as a means to identify an automobile that operates with automatic transmission. Cars with manual transmissions have a clutch in the place of a torque converter. 

What is a Torque Converter?

A torque converter or torque transducer is a coordinated fluid system that allows an engine to spin in a way that seems separated from the transmittance. The torque converter functions as a speed variator and is attached to its casing, and its casing is attached to the engine. As a result of these firm ‘attachments,’ the torque converter can only move at whatever speed the engine is running.

A torque converter’s essential components are Transmission Fluid, Clutch, Pump, Stator, and Turbine.

  • Transmission Fluid: The transmission fluid provides a means for lubrication in the speed variator. This fluid ensures that the vehicle doesn’t undergo much stress when you start up your engine or change gears. Attempting to drive a vehicle without sufficient quantities of conductance fluid could be damaging for your car.
  • Clutch: Modern-day clutches attempt to increase fuel efficiency by locking up the torque friction being generated by the friction from a clutch.
  • Pump: The pump is centrifugal in action; it contains the transmission fluid and rotates with a great velocity to generate sustained transmittance. 
  • Stator: The Stator is a ‘bridge’ between the transmission fluid in the turbine and pump. The Stator prevents the transmission fluid from getting into the pump by reversing the fluid direction. By so doing, the Stator prevents the engine from being slowed down. 
  • Turbine: The turbine connects to the transmission input shaft, which joins the inner part of the transmission and helps change gears, thereby giving power to the movement’s tires. It is the spinning action of this turbine that moves the vehicle.

Symptoms of a Bad Torque Converter

A damaged torque transducer and a damaged transmission present with very similar symptoms, so it could be difficult to pinpoint specifically the source of the challenge, more so as numerous symptoms could point to a challenge arising from a bad torque transducer.

  • Torque Converter Slips

One of the first signs you will observe if your torque converter system fails is a slipping motion when you try to change gears; this indicates a problem with the speed variation. The entire torque converter system can slip out of gear or cause a delay in a shift. This means that the fin of the toque converter has been damaged. 

Typically, the hydraulic pressure- which is derived from converting the engine’s torque- needed by the engine is lacking and so the system is incapable of causing a shift of the transmission gear. 

Besides, once there’s a slippage of the torque converter, you’ll experience an evident loss of acceleration. This is usually due to the lack of, excessive or low presence of transmission fluid in the engine. This will cause the gear to act strange.

  • Engine Overheats

You will also observe that the engine overheats once your car’s torque converter is faulty. Usually, once there is a temperature rise, your vehicle’s temperature gauge indicates a flashing light on the dashboard. The transmission control unit light shows that there’s a low level of fluid pressure. Alternatively, it may be that the solenoid is not working properly. Once there’s overheating, the converter will malfunction and this can result in the wear of the internal parts of the transmission.

  • Clogged Transmission

Another symptom that often comes with a bad torque converter is a clogged transmission. It could also be that the transmission fluid is contaminated. Typically, the converter features automatic transmission fluid that should be clean and free from debris or grime.

  • Stall Speed Increases

The stall speed refers to the maximum stage where the torque converter can transmit the power of the engine to the transmission or engine’s force into hydraulic pressure. However, once the converter is faulty, it becomes incapacitated to transfer any power at the engine’s maximum RPM.

The best-case scenario is that the transmission will require more time to engage the engine before the rotational force can be transferred.  

Other symptoms of a bad torque converter include car vibration at low speeds (shuddering). A vehicle can refuse to change gears, overheating, unusual sound, and transmission fluid leak.

Causes of Failing Torque Converter

The following can cause your torque converter to fail:

  • Bad Converter Seals

Your vehicle’s torque converter can get bad if its seals are damaged. A damaged converter seal can cause the transmission fluid to leak. At this point, the converter will not be able to transmit power to the transmission to the engine from the engine.

  • Damaged Solenoid

Another reason your torque converter can get spoilt is if the torque converter clutch solenoid is damaged. Once it is damaged, the solenoid can no longer measure the level of the fluid pressure nor control how much fluid gets into the lockup clutch. The consequences include failing torque converter, low mileage, and more.

  • Bad Needle Bearings

Once the needle bearings are faulty, there will be unhealthy noises that come from the engine as the transmission piles up metal chips. The accumulation results from the inability of the needle bearings to separate different components of the transmission, including a stator, converter housing, impeller, and turbine.

  • Worn-out torque converter clutch

Your torque converter can get spoilt if the clutch is degraded. This way, the converter can lock, causing the car to stay in gear after putting into a stop.  

How to Fix a Torque Converter?

You need to know that the torque converters can be repaired as a single unit. If there is damage, you do not have to worry about what fixing a torque converter entails.

  1. If you observed a slipping or shuddering while attempting to change gears or as you drive at low speed, then you can check the quantity of transmission fluid present in the vehicle’s system. Too low or too high fluid levels could have caused the slipping or vibration you have observed.
  2. If you find metal particles in it after you have checked the fluid levels, this is a very clear indication that you need an automobile engineer to install a new torque converter. All those ball bearing and metal pieces show that the torque converter is breaking apart within itself.
  3. If you have a fluid leak, it would be appropriate to buy a new Torque seal.

Final Thoughts

Looking into the future, it is evident that torque converters would get more efficient as producers have already begun incorporating specific car models and torque requirements for each vehicle into their manufacturing plans. All these would guarantee that future cars are much more efficient at serving the human race.

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