All about the Torque

Welcome back! Ready to learn some more about Automatic Transmissions? Good! But before we begin, as always, let’s do a quick recap & review some definitions.

 

Previously on Anthony’s Automotive Blog….

 

Last week, we learned more about the Clutch Pack and Band interact with the Planetary Gear System. If you wish to do a quick re-read of it, you can find it here. For the quick recap, keep going.

The Clutch Pack consists of a drum and a bunch of disks. It, and the Band, add an additional way to manipulate the Planetary Gear System; in particular, another way to lock one or more of the gears in place and give more shifting ability to the Automatic Transmission.

Now, let’s take a slight step back and look at the Torque Converter again (see our first blog here where we first talked about the good ole Torque Converter). Let’s add some new words to your automotive dictionary.

 

Our Growing Automotive Vocabulary

 

Here is a recap of some of the automotive words we listed last week just in case there is any lingering confusion. There are a couple of new additions as well.

Transmission – The mechanism by which power is transmitted from an engine to the wheels of a motor vehicle.

Torque Converter – A device that transmits or multiplies torque generated by an engine.

Gear – One of a set of toothed wheels that work together to alter the relation between the speed of a driving mechanism (such as the engine of a vehicle or the crank of a bicycle) and the speed of the driven parts (the wheels).

Automatic – A device or process that works by itself with little or no direct human control.

Automatic Transmission – An automotive transmission that can automatically change gears as the vehicle moves, freeing the driver from having to shift gears manually.

Clutch – A mechanism for connecting and disconnecting a vehicle engine from its transmission system.

Band – Something that binds, ties together, restrains, etc.; a strip or ring of wood, metal, rubber, etc. fastened around something to bind or tie it together.

Planetary Gear System – A gear system that consists of one or more planet gears (the gears in the middle area) that rotate or revolve around a sun gear (the gear in the center) and a ring gear (the gear on the outer edge).

Pump – Any of the various machines that force a liquid or gas into or through, or draw it out of, something, as by suction or pressure.

Turbine – An engine or motor driven by the pressure of steam, water, air, etc. against the curved vanes of a wheel or set of wheels fastened to a driving shaft.

Stator – A fixed part forming the pivot or housing for a revolving part, as in a motor, dynamo, etc..

Centrifugal – Moving or tending to move away from a center.

Shaft – A long, slender part or object.

 

bd-torque-converter

 

It’s all about the Donuts…I mean Torque

 

The Torque Converter is a large round part that is mounted between the engine and the transmission. It is typically 10-15 inches in diameter. And it is actually comprised of three parts: the Pump, the Turbine and the Stator. The Torque Converter is typically mounted between the engine and the transmission, which makes sense, because you need it to interact with both.

The whole purpose of the Torque Converter is to keep your engine running when your vehicle is either in between shifting, is coming to a stop, or not moving at all.

You will find the following analogy all over the internet when people talk about torque conversion because it IS the perfect, simplest example of this concept. Go get two fans and put them facing each other. Go ahead and turn one of them on. You will notice that the blades of the second fan will start moving from the wind coming from the first fan. AND, if you let it go long enough, the spinning blades of the second fan will match the speed of the blades of the first fan.

Now, hold the blades on the second fan so that they don’t move. The first fan will continue spinning because it’s still on. You didn’t turn it off. You just stopped the second fan from spinning. This, my friends, is Torque Conversion.

Your car takes the above example and replaces the wind with transmission fluid. And the fans? They are the Pump, Turbine and Stator that is at our disposal in the Torque Converter. All three of these have fins on them to help them direct the flow of the fluid through the converter.

 

A Pump, A Turbine and a Stator walk into a bar….

 

The Pump is a centrifugal pump. When the engine is running, the transmission fluid is pulled into the pump and then pushed outward until it enters the blades of the Turbine, which – You Guessed it – starts turning.

torque converter

 

The fluid continues to move around and will head back toward the center of the Turbine, at which point, it will encounter the Stator. The Stator is there to prevent the fluid from getting back to the Pump. When the fluid hits the Stator, it is actually pushed into the One Way Clutch which stops it from turning. When the Stator is not moving, then the fluid enters the Pump again.

You want this to happen because any fluid that hits the Pump instead of entering it, will actually slow your engine down and you’ll end up wasting power. When the fluid enters the Pump, it causes a torque increase, which is a way more efficient use of power.

 

Ideas for Next Week

 

Next week, I want to continue with the Torque Converter and look more closely at the One Way Clutch. I know I threw this word in the above paragraphs without giving you the definition. Come back next week and I promise I’ll clear that one up for you.

 

 

Until Next Time….

 Anthony’s Automotive

 

With a Clutch and a Band

Welcome back! We’re still on our journey learning about Transmissions – in particular, the Automatic Transmission. As always before we lift the hood, let’s do a quick recap & review some definitions.

 

Previously on Anthony’s Automotive Blog….

 

Last week, we talked about automatic transmissions. If you wish to do a quick re-read of it, you can find it here. For the quick recap, keep going.

 

The Planetary Gear System is what drives the Automatic Transmission vehicle. This system consists of the Ring Gear, the Sun Gear and the Planetary Gears (one or more) that rotate in between the first two. It is the combination of the locking and unlocking of one or more of these gears that allows the car to shift gears.

 

Now, let’s add the Clutch Pack and Band to this Gear System and really get moving. But first, let’s make sure you understand the lingo that we use.

 

Our Growing Automotive Vocabulary

 

Here is a recap of some of the automotive words we listed last week just in case there is any lingering confusion. There are a couple of new additions as well.

 

Transmission – The mechanism by which power is transmitted from an engine to the wheels of a motor vehicle.

Torque Converter – A device that transmits or multiplies torque generated by an engine.

Gear – One of a set of toothed wheels that work together to alter the relation between the speed of a driving mechanism (such as the engine of a vehicle or the crank of a bicycle) and the speed of the driven parts (the wheels).

Automatic – A device or process that works by itself with little or no direct human control.

Automatic Transmission – An automotive transmission that can automatically change gears as the vehicle moves, freeing the driver from having to shift gears manually.

Clutch – A mechanism for connecting and disconnecting a vehicle engine from its transmission system.

Band – Something that binds, ties together, restrains, etc.; a strip or ring of wood, metal, rubber, etc. fastened around something to bind or tie it together.

Planetary Gear System – A gear system that consists of one or more planet gears (the gears in the middle area) that rotate or revolve around a sun gear (the gear in the center) and a ring gear (the gear on the outer edge).

Hydraulic – Operated by the movement and force of liquid; specifically, operated by the pressure created when a liquid is forced through an aperture, tube, etc..

Input – The act of putting in; or, what is put in

Output – The work done or amount produced by a person, machine, production line, manufacturing plant, etc., especially over a given period.

Shaft – A long, slender part or object.

Pack – A number of similar or related person or things.

Spline – A flat key or strip that fits into a groove or slot between parts.

Piston – A disk or short cylinder closely fitted in a hollow cylinder and moved back and forth by the pressure of a fluid so as to transmit reciprocating motion to the piston rod attached to it, or moved by the rod so as to exert pressure on the fluid.

 

The Planetary Gear System continued….

 

Last week I had included a Side View image of the Planetary Gear System. Let me include it again and quickly give thanks to the people at www.carparts.com for this image. It is the simplest image that I could find for this lovely and complicated system on the great wide web.

 

planetary gear system

 

You can see the Input Shaft that is connected to the Ring Gear, as well as the Output Shaft that is connected to the Planetary Gears. What I want you to notice is that the Planetary Gears are also connected with the Clutch Pack. This is at the top and bottom of the image. The drum which houses the entire Clutch Pack is connected to the Sun Gear. So you have two parts of the Clutch Pack connected to two of the different gears.

On the outside of this whole unit, is the Band. The purpose of the Band is to tighten (and loosen) around the drum. This is another way to be able to lock the Sun Gear in place. When the Band is tightened, the Sun Gear cannot move. Or, with the assistance of the Clutch Pack, the Band, while tightened, will make the Sun Gear move in conjunction with the Planetary Gears.

 

Exactly what IS the Clutch Pack

 

I’m glad you asked that. The clutch pack consists of a drum and a bunch of disks. Now, these disks consist of two different types that are alternated as they are put in the drum. One half of these disks have splines on the outside of the disk that are designed to fit along groves that are on the inside of the drum. The other have splines on the inside of the disk that fit in the groves that are in the joining center part of the drum. In this Clutch Pack, there is a piston that, when activated by oil pressure, squeezes the disks together so they all turn as one. Which, in turn, will turn with whatever gears needed to shift the car into a different gear.

multiple-disk-clutch-pack

 

Ideas for Next Week

 

We’ve talked about the Planetary Gear System and all its parts and pieces. We have now added the new layers to this of the Clutch Pack and the Band that wraps around the outside. So, I think it is time for us to go back to where we started this whole journey and revisit Torque Conversion. You now understand the parts involved in this. So, next week, let’s really get into the nitty gritty of Torque Conversion.

 

Final Thought

 

I had a question last week of “where do I get my definitions?” Good ole…..

 

webster dictionary

 

Until Next Time….

 Anthony’s Automotive

There’s a planet IN my car???

Welcome back! It’s time to continue our look into the nooks and crannies of Transmissions. But before we lift the hood, let’s do a quick recap & review some definitions.

 

Previously on Anthony’s Automotive Blog….

 

Last week, we talked about automatic transmissions. If you wish to do a quick re-read of it, you can find it here. For the quick recap, keep on reading.

The automatic transmission system of a car works by using a series of gears that lock and unlock to shift them up or down in gear. This series of gears is called the Planetary Gear System and is comprised of the Ring Gear, The Planetary Gears and the Sun Gear. They rotate and revolve around each other and work together. It is the combination of locking one or two of these gears with the second and/or third being free that initiates the gear shift in the car.

planetary gear set

 

Last week, I barely scraped the grime off the surface of these gears and how they work. This week? Grab your rag and let’s get ALL the grime off them this time. Let’s make them shine!

 

Our Growing Automotive Vocabulary

 

Here is a recap of some of the automotive words we listed last week just in case there is any lingering confusion. There are a couple of new additions as well.

Transmission – The mechanism by which power is transmitted from an engine to the wheels of a motor vehicle.

Torque Converter – A device that transmits or multiplies torque generated by an engine.

Gear – One of a set of toothed wheels that work together to alter the relation between the speed of a driving mechanism (such as the engine of a vehicle or the crank of a bicycle) and the speed of the driven parts (the wheels).

Automatic – A device or process that works by itself with little or no direct human control.

Automatic Transmission – An automotive transmission that can automatically change gears as the vehicle moves, freeing the driver from having to shift gears manually.

Clutch – A mechanism for connecting and disconnecting a vehicle engine from its transmission system.

Band – Something that binds, ties together, restrains, etc.; a strip or ring of wood, metal, rubber, etc. fastened around something to bind or tie it together.

Epicyclic – A circle whose center moves along the circumference of another, larger circle.

Planetary Gear System – A gear system that consists of one or more planet gears (the gears in the middle area) that rotate or revolve around a sun gear (the gear in the center) and a ring gear (the gear on the outer edge).

Hydraulic – Operated by the movement and force of liquid; specifically, operated by the pressure created when a liquid is forced through an aperture, tube, etc..

Input – The act of putting in; or, what is put in

Output – The work done or amount produced by a person, machine, production line, manufacturing plant, etc., especially over a given period.

Shaft – A long, slender part or object.

 

The Planetary Gear System

 

As mentioned before, the Planetary Gear System is comprised of three parts: the Ring Gear, the Planetary Gears and the Sun Gear. The Ring Gear is located on the outer edge. The Planetary Gears (which typically number two or more) are in the middle area and are mounted on a carrier or plate. The Sun Gear is located in the very center. The Planetary Gears rotate around the Sun Gear in the center and the Ring Gear along the outside.

How this system works is by moving one or more of these parts, while keeping one or more locked or still. Here’s an example that should really break this down for you to help you see what I’m talking about.

planetary gear system

 

Let’s say the Ring Gear is connected to the Input Shaft that is coming in from the engine and the Planetary Gear Carrier is connected to the Output Shaft, which is connected to the wheels. Now, in this example, let’s lock the Sun Gear in place so that it can’t move. As we turn the Ring Gear, the Planetary Gears will move in the same direction along the locked Sun Gear. This causes the Planetary Gear Carrier to turn the Output Shaft. This means that the Input Shaft and the Output Shaft are moving in the same direction. BUT, the Output Shaft is moving at a slower speed. Remember that the Input Shaft is connected to the Ring Gear and the Output Shaft is connected to the Planetary Gear Carrier? So the wheels are moving slower than the power of the engine. This is a car that is in First Gear.

Still with me? Good!

Now, let’s unlock the Sun Gear and lock the other two – the Ring Gear and the Planetary Gears. By doing this, all three of these will turn together as one. You now have the Input Shaft (power from the engine) and the Output Shaft (the wheels) turning at the same speed. This is a car that is in Third Gear or higher.

Makes sense right? Now we’re moving!

Finally, let’s lock the Planetary Gears and leave the Ring Gear and Sun Gear unlocked. By locking the Planetary Gears, you lock the Planetary Gear Carrier, which is connected to what again? The Output Shaft (the wheels). You give some power to the Ring Gear (aka the Input Shaft). This causes the Sun Gear to turn. But it’s going to turn in the opposite direction. And this means?

You guessed it! This is a car going in Reverse.

 

Food for Thought

 

There are many, many combinations that are possible when you use two or more planetary gears. They can be connected in various ways and provide many different forward speeds and reverse. There are some very clever gear arrangements that you will find in today’s modern automatic transmissions.

 

8 speed chevrolet corvette

 

Nowadays we have four-, five-, six-, seven and even eight-speed vehicles! Now that you know what a first and third gear looks like (Side Note – you CAN substitute the word ‘speed’ for ‘gear’ here to help), imagine trying to understand the combinations that these eight-speed cars must go through as they shift from first gear to their top gear as they head on down the highway. Talk about being complex! It is no surprise that we now have computers in today’s cars.

 

Ideas for Next Week

 

I feel that you should now have a good idea of how the gear system works in an Automatic Transmission. Next week, I’m going to build on that and we are going to add another level to this Planetary Gear System and expand your automotive knowledge a little further by talking about clutches and bands.

 

Until then,

Anthony’s Automotive

 

 

 

 

What do you mean my torque converter has gone bad? …and exactly what does that do again?

A Brief Introduction

My name is Anthony Pisa. I have been an auto mechanic for more than 23 years here on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. And, I have been a lover of all things automotive for way way longer than that. If there is anything I can talk about forever and a day, it’s cars …or fishing. But I’ll save my epic stories of that massive king salmon that almost got away for another day.

anthonys-transmission-anthony-fishing

Here at Anthony’s Transmission & Automotive Repair, we try our best to make sure that you understand exactly what is wrong with your car (if there is a problem) and how we will fix it for you. Even though you may not be a “car guy” like myself or any of my other mechanics, it’s important you truly understand at least the basics about your car. Especially when it comes to maintenance.

Each week on our website, I am going to give you basic information about a part or specific area of your car, define those special “automotive-speak” words related to that specific area of your car for you and hopefully give you a better understanding about the machine you love that gets you from Point A to Point B every day. If you have any specific part of your car that you are just in the dark about and I haven’t talked about yet, please comment below with your suggestion and I will see if we can make that the focus of a future post.

So, for this week, let’s talk Transmissions!

anthonys-transmission-transmission2

Transmission-related Words

When you are trying to understand something, you want to make sure that you understand the words clearly that you hear or read. I can pretty much guarantee that if there was ever something in your life that you had trouble understanding, it was because there was a specific word that you didn’t understand and not necessarily the topic itself. As long as you have the meaning of and understand the words, you can understand anything.

With that in mind, this is why I am starting with our “automotive-speak” words first. This way when I describe how a specific part of your car works (or is supposed to work), you will understand exactly what it is that I am talking about. So let’s expand your automotive knowledge!

Transmission – The mechanism by which power is transmitted from an engine to the wheels of a motor vehicle.

Torque – A twisting force that tends to cause rotation.

Converter – A person or thing that causes a change in form, character or function.

Torque Converter – A device that transmits or multiplies torque generated by an engine.

Driveshaft – A rotating shaft that transmits torque in an engine.

Driven Parts – The Wheels.

Gear – One of a set of toothed wheels that work together to alter the relation between the speed of a driving mechanism (such as the engine of a vehicle or the crank of a bicycle) and the speed of the driven parts (the wheels).

Automatic – A device or process that works by itself with little or no direct human control.

Automatic Transmission – An automotive transmission that can automatically change gears as the vehicle moves, freeing the driver from having to shift gears manually.

Manual – A thing operated or done by hand rather than automatically or electronically, in particular.

Manual Transmission – An automotive transmission consisting of a system of interlocking gear wheels and a lever that enables the driver to shift gears manually.

Neutral – A disengaged position of gears in which the engine is disconnected from the driven parts.

Clutch – A mechanism for connecting and disconnecting a vehicle engine from its transmission system.

Gasket – A shaped piece or ring of rubber or other material sealing the junction between two surfaces in an engine or other device.

Seal – A device or substance that is used to join two things together to prevent them from coming apart or to prevent anything from passing between them.

gear transmission

The Basics of a Vehicle Transmission

The whole purpose of the transmission in your car is to transfer power from the engine to the driveshaft and the rear wheels. Additionally, there are gears in the transmission that set the speed and torque of the wheels in relation to the speed and torque of the engine.

Transmissions come in two flavors: Automatic or Manual. Perhaps you have heard the term “Stick Shift”? This is another name for Manual.

A vehicle that has an Automatic Transmission is exactly what you think it would be based on the definition above. This kind of transmission automatically changes gears as the car moves with little to no interaction from the driver.

A vehicle that has a Manual Transmission requires 100% interaction from the driver. With the combination use of the clutch foot pedal and the stick shift, the driver manually changes the gears as the car moves.

Your transmission also requires a special fluid to help keep all of its parts working together. And this is a different fluid from oil or gasoline. Those fluids are for keeping other areas working that we will talk about in a future post.

So long story short… it is the Transmission of your car that turns the wheels and keeps you moving.

And as you can imagine, there are a few things that can go wrong with your transmission.

Common Transmission Problems & How to tell if it’s about to Die

Noise is your best friend when it comes to transmissions. A happy transmission literally purrs. You know that sound. It is definitely a happy sound. But a not so happy transmission? Is just like us when we don’t feel good. It whines. It grinds. It gets downright cranky.

A whining or humming noise coming from your car can indicate that your transmission is about to fail. This is typically caused by low transmission fluid levels. AND you could be low on fluid because you’ve developed a leak around a seal or a gasket.

Another type of problem is that your transmission refuses to go into gear or there feels like there is a delay in the car’s movement after you have shifted. This can indicate that the gears are being worn down and you definitely want to find out why.

And the last type of problem that I want to talk about is the dreaded shudder! You find yourself driving along and then all of a sudden your entire vehicle starts to shudder like you are driving on the roughest road ever, even though you are on a smooth highway. Remember the title of this post? That’s right! The dreaded shudder means your torque converter is going bad. It is no longer transferring power from the engine to your transmission. It is now causing your transmission to overheat. It is causing gears to slip. AND it is making your car work way harder than it should be, which, unfortunately, causes it to use more gas than it should.

Quick Final Thoughts

By now you should understand what your transmission is and does for – it keeps you moving. You also have some indicators to watch and listen for in case your transmission decides that it’s not happy. AND you have expanded your vocabulary and can start to talk “automotive-speak.” How cool is that?!

Please comment below if you have any questions or confusions about transmissions. OR, if you have a different area that you’d like me to talk about in a future post.

Next week, I’ll continue with the transmission theme and drive you into some more of the technical aspects about transmission.

 

Until next time….

Anthony’s Automotive