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Signs of a Bad Torque Converter

If you drive a vehicle with an automatic transmission, then chances are you have a torque converter and don’t even know about it. Of course, you probably wonder just what a torque converter actually is, simply because it’s not really a topic of a dinner conversation.

The best analogy for a torque conversion part would be that it is basically doing the same work that a clutch does in a manual transmission. This part will essentially keep the engine running when the wheels come to a stop. If this torque part does its job, you won’t even notice it. However, if it is going bad, then you will have some serious problems. Luckily, there are plenty of signs that will help you tell if your torque is going bad.


Signs of Torque Converter Problems

There are many signs that your torque converter is starting to have problems. One major concern would be engine overheating. If you are noticing that the temperature gauge is exhibiting strange fluid pressure, it could be a symptom of bad torque.

Another sign that this part is going downhill would probably be slipping. If you are driving along and you occasionally notice your acceleration dropping considerably, it could be a sign of this part going out on you.

If your vehicle appears to shudder when you are driving between 30 to 45 miles per hour, this could be another sign. If you have checked the engine fluid and there are large amounts of black materials present, that too could also be a sign your torque is faltering.

Finally, if it appears that it is taking the transmission longer to engage the engine and if you are hearing a number of strange clicking or revving sounds, then it might be time to replace a bad torque converter.


How to Test for Torque Converter Problems

In some older vehicles, you could do what is called a stall-speed test. In this procedure, you simply rev up the engine for no more than five seconds while you also have the brake pedal fully pressed down to the floor. Make sure not to do this for more than five seconds, and be sure to avoid this type of test with vehicles that have traction control or anti-lock braking system.

Another procedure would be to first let the engine warm up for about five minutes, then gently press on the accelerator while the vehicle is in the park position. Let the engine go back to idle and then immediately shift it into drive and listen for any abnormal sounds. Finally, take the vehicle for a quick test drive and see if there is any unusual sounds or lurching movements.


Causes of Torque Converter System Problems

Different parts can play a role in causing a torque converter system to break down.

First of all, one item to consider would be the needle bearings. If these bearings fail, it could cause some metal to metal contact and might make the whole entire system fail. A damaged torque system seal will usually mean that fluid will leak from the casing. If this happens, you can rest assured that your torque system will either overheat, slip or have irregular gear shifting.

If you have a damaged clutch, it can overheat the gears and make them stay in gear at all times, even when you don’t want them to be in gear.

Finally, if the solenoid malfunctions, it can cause an uneven pressure rotation in your torque system.


Torque Converter System Replacement

One of the trickiest things about repairing a torque converter system would probably have to be the fact that replacing it is often quite a bit less expensive than replacing it. Talk to your mechanic to discuss your options, but realize that a total replacement can often lead to a smoother ride in your vehicle and a system that is more durable overall.


Tips on Picking a Torque Converter

Finally, picking a torque conversion should be considered as well. In short, go for one that will have a maximum of 500-750 RPM’s. Finally, realize that most compact cars will do best with a 2400 RPM conversion system.


Keep this information in mind and you are sure to be wholly prepared if you ever have a bad torque converter issue with your vehicle.