The Other Side of the Pump - July - 2016


When you think about it, building a modern automatic transmission is a partnership between you, the rebuilder, and several other people. You rely on your parts supplier to have the right quality parts at the right price, available at the right time. You may rely on your tech service for information or workshop manuals to help with diagnostic or rebuild procedures.

But what about the item that probably comes packed in a box: the torque converter? The partnership with your converter rebuilder is possibly the most important one you have. This may seem a strong statement, but, when you think about it, you rely on your torque converter partner to build a converter that will perform correctly with your transmission.

Back in the days of the GM TH350s, Ford C4s, and Chrysler Torqueflites, as long as you received a converter that was clean, straight, leak free, and had the correct internal clearance, there wasn’t a lot else that mattered.

But things have changed, and today, torque converters are an integral part of the transmission. You rely on your converter rebuilder to build a converter with the correct lining in the lockup clutch assembly, the correct clutch release clearance, and, of course, is correct for your application. When you think about it, a lot can go wrong to affect your carefully rebuilt transmission.

The modern torque converter, like the modern transmission, has changed a lot over the last few years. Rebuilding a modern torque converter is no longer just a matter of having a lathe and a welder.

The converter rebuilder is now faced with issues such as captive clutches, often manufactured without thought of aftermarket repair. This may mean that the converter shop must have sophisticated equipment to carry out the rebuild process.

It’s also likely that, just like you, the converter supplier is a member of an association that provides technical articles and support to help them cope with these modern units.

The partnership between you and your converter rebuilder becomes important when things don’t go as expected. It’s easy just to blame the converter for a shift issue or a code, but there could easily be other causes for your problem.

Building a relationship with your converter supplier, whether it’s Joe in the back room or a large rebuilding company, will pay dividends in the long run. After all, halving a problem means you’re likely to solve it in half the time. And looking at things from both sides of the pump may well resolve those problems quickly and to everyone’s benefit.

So take the time to talk to your converter supplier and remember that building a strong relationship will benefit you in the long run. In fact, your converter rebuilder may just have the information you need to correct a no-go or comeback that you’ve been fighting with?