Video: The Principles Of A Fluid Coupling – Torque Converter Basics

For many people the torque converter and its principles of operation are a sort of black magic, but this video breaks it down so just about anyone can understand it. The converter, as a function of its operation, transfers power from the engine of a vehicle to its transmission, and does this by using fluid as a transfer medium.

Back in 1953 the torque converter was a relatively new invention, as the first hydraulically-controlled automatic transmission had only found its way into the marketplace in the 1940 Oldsmobile. The United States Army found it necessary to train the troops on converter operation, as WWII saw the first application of a torque converter on the battlefield in the  M5 Stuart tank and later in the war, in the M-24 Chafee tank.   

The video breaks it all down, explaining how each of the components come together to make one complete power-transmitting unit.

There are four main parts to the torque converter – the impeller, the turbine, the stator, and in most late-model cars, the lock-up clutch assembly.

The basic design has not changed terribly much over the years, but torque converter efficiency has improved by leaps and bounds with today’s computer-modeling and precision-machining capabilities.

The responsibility of the converter remains the same – to make the horses under your hood turn into heaps of smoking rubber on the road. This video makes it easy to understand what’s happening inside that spinning hunk of machined metal. Although it features the same production qualities as those sex ed videos you remember from high school, the content is well worth watching. You may even learn something! 

About the author

Jason Reiss

Jason draws on over 15 years of experience in the automotive publishing industry, and collaborates with many of the industry's movers and shakers to create compelling technical articles and high-quality race coverage.
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