Torque converters are something that should never be brought up at a dinner party.
Poor drivers? Maybe. Yes, there is traffic. What are torque converters? Maybe not.
If you're a car enthusiast, you're probably familiar with the term 'torque.' You're undoubtedly also familiar with how a clutch works in a manual transmission. However, unless you're a technician or spend a lot of time around automatic vehicles, you're unlikely to come across many torque converters or have the opportunity to inspect one.
A torque converter in an automatic car serves the same purpose as a clutch in a manual vehicle, allowing the engine to continue to operate while the wheels come to a stop.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS?
A torque converter is a brilliant solution to a challenging problem. A complex challenge that could be solved in a variety of ways, especially now that technology has evolved so far.
This approach employs a little physics and a lot of brainpower, employing fluid coupling and a system of clutches and turbines to keep the engine and gearbox spinning separately.
When you look at a torque converter, it resembles an industrial salad spinner. Because it uses fluid coupling, the entire system is sealed and enclosed, so you'll be hard pressed to locate an opportunity to see inside one.
WHY DOES IT MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
When you're going at 50 mph in 6th gear at 2900 rpm, your transmission is spinning at the same rate as the engine.You begin to pull up at a set of traffic lights, and if you're driving a manual, you'll probably run down the gears first in case you can pull away without stopping. As you slow down and your revs drop, you'll need to depress the clutch to separate the transmission from the engine and keep the engine from stalling.
We don't have the luxury of manual separation in an automatic vehicle. An automatic vehicle, by definition, does this automatically. The torque converter comes into play here.
The following components comprise a torque converter: housing, fins, pump, and impeller.
Because the housing and fins are directly linked to the flywheel, they always spin at the same speed as the engine. The transmission oil is cycled while the pump spins by driving it to the outside and pulling more in at the centre using a vacuum. The transmission oil is then forced into the impeller, which begins to spin and power the transmission independently of the engine.
QUITE SMART, RIGHT?
Even more impressive is the fact that when you put your foot down and rev the engine up high, this can actually increase the torque.
Automatic cars used to be pretty useless. They were inefficient, jerky, expensive and didn’t even change gears particularly well. Like everything else, technology has improved them. Not just marginally better, but perhaps even superior to a manual car?
Modern dual-clutch seven- and eight-speed transmissions have comparable fuel efficiency to their manual counterparts and frequently claim quicker 0-60 times.