Your Automotive Vocabulary

In our replay from last week, I did not include any definitions for you. As we have gone on this journey, we have been adding words to your automotive vocabulary. You can always find the current list here.  But for ease of reading, here is the entire list in alphabetical order.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Centrifugal – Moving or tending to move away from a center.
  • Converter – A person or thing that causes a change in form, character or function.
  • Clutch – A mechanism for connecting and disconnecting a vehicle engine from its transmission system.
  • Driven Parts – The Wheels
  • Driveshaft – A rotating shaft that transmits torque in an engine.
  • Epicyclic – A circle whose center moves along the circumference of another, larger circle.
  • Flange – A projecting rim or collar on a wheel, pipe, rail, etc., to hold it in place, give it strength, guide it, or attach it to something else.
  • Gasket – A shaped piece or ring of rubber or other material sealing the junction between two surfaces in an engine or other device.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Oil – Any of various kinds of greasy, combustible substances obtained from animal, vegetable, and mineral sources; oils are liquid at ordinary temperatures and soluble in certain organic solvents, as ether, but not in water.
  • Output – The work done or amount produced by a person, machine, production line, manufacturing plant, etc., especially over a given period.
  • Pack – A number of similar or related persons or things.
  • Pipe – A long tube of clay, concrete, metal, wood, etc., for conveying water, gas, oil, etc. or for use in construction. Also, anything tubular in form.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Radiator – A device of tubes and fins, as in an automobile, through which circulating water passes to radiate superfluous heat and thus cool the engine.
  • Regulator – A mechanism for controlling or governing the movement of machinery, the flow of liquids, gases, electricity, steam, etc..
  • 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.
  • Servo – This is short for Servomechanism OR Servomotor.
  • Servomechanism – An automatic control system in which the output is constantly or intermittently compared with the input through feedback so that the error or difference between the two quantities can be used to bring about the desired amount of control.
  • Servomotor – A device, as an electric motor, hydraulic piston, etc., that is controlled by an amplified signal from a command device of low power, as in a servomechanism.
  • Shaft – A long, slender part or object.
  • Solenoid – A coil of wire, usually wound in the form of a helix, that acts like a bar magnet when carrying a current: used in brakes, switches, relays, etc..
  • Soluble – That can be dissolved; able to pass into solution.
  • Solvent – A substance, usually liquid, that dissolves or can dissolve another substance.
  • Spline – A flat key or strip that fits into a groove or slot between parts.
  • Sprag – A device for preventing a vehicle from rolling backward on a grade.
  • Stator – A fixed part forming the pivot or housing for a revolving part, as in a motor, dynamo, etc..
  • Throttle – The valve that regulates the amount of fuel vapor entering an internal-combustion engine or controls the flow of steam in a steam line. This is also known as the Throttle Valve.
  • Torque – A twisting force that tends to cause rotation.
  • Torque Converter – A device that transmits or multiplies torque generated by an engine.
  • Transmission – The mechanism by which power is transmitted from an engine to the wheels of a motor vehicle.
  • Tube – A hollow cylinder or pipe of metal, glass, rubber, etc., usually long in proportion to its diameter, used for conveying fluids, etc..
  • 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.
  • Valve – Any device in a pipe or tube that permits a flow in one direction only, or regulates the flow of whatever is in the pipe, by means of a flap, lid, plug, etc. acting to open or block passage.

 

Thoughts for Next Week

Next week we will dive back into the transmission and take a look at the difference between what goes on with a non-computerized transmission. You will be surprised at the difference.

 

Until Next Time….

Anthony’s Automotive

One, Two, Three…Replay!

Welcome back! I know last time we said that we’d look at how the non-computerized transmissions work but we’re going to hold off on that. Instead, let’s review all that we have learned over the past several weeks. We want to make sure you have a good understanding of how the transmission works before we add any new data and concepts to this.

 

The Automatic Transmission

 

In this photo, you will see exactly what we’ve been talking about for the past several weeks. This is the side view of your car’s transmission. You can even see the Gear Shift attached. This photo gives a great perspective on how the transmission looks and where everything is placed in relation to each other.

Transmission with Gear Shift

Side view of transmission with the attached Gear Shift

Now…how does it work again?

You put your key in the ignition and you turn your car on. The engine is now running and the Torque Converter has been engaged. Transmission fluid is now pumping through your car’s transmission via the Pump, through the Turbine, into the Stator and into the One Way Clutch. This essentially keeps your engine running and keeps your car moving while its shifting gears, idling, etc..

When you shifted your Gear Shift into the Drive position, you have basically put it into First Gear and told your car that you want all the gears available for it to use while you are moving forward.

Now back to the One Way Clutch – the transmission fluid doesn’t just stop there. It keeps moving. Through a complex series of passages and tubes, the fluid moves into the Valve Body of your car’s transmission. And it does this only because it is under pressure the entire time.

This pressure is generated by the Oil Pump when you turn your engine on. It is connected to the torque converter which means it is connected to both the engine and the transmission. As long as there is sufficient oil located in the oil pan (on the bottom side of the transmission), it will create pressure and will allow the transmission fluid to flow through the transmission.

Now back to the Valve Body – transmission fluid is directed to the channels that lead to specific valves required to allow a gear shift to occur.

 

And how exactly does it know which channels to use?

 

In a computer controlled transmission, there are sensors that are used to capture lots of data related to your engine: brake pedal position, engine load (how ‘hard’ it’s working), engine speed, vehicle speed and many more. By compiling all this information, it can exactly pinpoint when a gear shift needs to occur. AND when it has properly identified that moment, it transmits to the Solenoid Packs in the transmission so that they can redirect the transmission fluid as needed to the correct clutch pack/band/servo to shift the gear.

Remember – a Solenoid Pack is simply a coiled wire that acts like a magnet when an electrical current is running through it and it can easily open and close valves.

 

In a Nutshell

You turn your car on. This causes the oil to create pressure that allows the transmission fluid to flow through the valve body, which selects the optimum gear for your car to be in at that specific moment. All you do is turn the car on, tell your car you want ALL the gears (putting in Drive) and put your foot on the gas pedal.

 

 

Until Next Time….

 Anthony’s Automotive

One Valve, Two Valve, Three Valve, Four….

Welcome back! This week we are going to see what exactly the Valve Body is and the purpose it plays in your automatic transmission. But before we get into that, like always, time for a quick recap & review some definitions.

Previously on Anthony’s Automotive Blog….

Last week, we drilled a well and learned all about Texas Tea and just how important Oil is to your car’s transmission. You can do a re-read of it here. Or, keep reading for the quick recap.

Oil and the pump it goes through creates the pressure necessary for your transmission to function…period. It is this pressure that keeps the transmission fluid flowing throughout your car’s system, which, in turn, keeps it cool, changes gears and lubricates just about everything else and keeps parts moving. Let’s face it – we like moving parts.

We’ve added a few words this week: Pipe, Valve, Servo, Servomechanism, Servomotor, Solenoid, and Throttle. You can find them at the bottom of the list. As always, you can find our entire and current automotive dictionary here. Feel free to save its link so that you can find it again in case we use a word that happens to not be on this week’s list.

Our Growing Automotive Vocabulary

Here are the related words for this week’s topic. Enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

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

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.

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.

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..

Oil – Any of various kinds of greasy, combustible substances obtained from animal, vegetable, and mineral sources; oils are liquid at ordinary temperatures and soluble in certain organic solvents, as ether, but not in water.

Pipe – A long tube of clay, concrete, metal, wood, etc., for conveying water, gas, oil, etc. or for use in construction. Also, anything tubular in form.

Valve – Any device in a pipe or tube that permits a flow in one direction only, or regulates the flow of whatever is in the pipe, by means of a flap, lid, plug, etc. acting to open or block passage.

Servo – This is short for Servomechanism OR Servomotor.

Servomechanism – An automatic control system in which the output is constantly or intermittently compared with the input through feedback so that the error or difference between the two quantities can be used to bring about the desired amount of control.

Servomotor – A device, as an electric motor, hydraulic piston, etc., that is controlled by an amplified signal from a command device of low power, as in a servomechanism.

Solenoid – A coil of wire, usually wound in the form of a helix, that acts like a bar magnet when carrying a current: used in brakes, switches, relays, etc..

Throttle – The valve that regulates the amount of fuel vapor entering an internal-combustion engine or controls the flow of steam in a steam line. This is also known as the Throttle Valve.

Come in Houston! Do you read me??

Last week we talked about how the transmission fluid is the ‘blood’ that flows through your car. And, that it is the oil that creates the ‘blood pressure’ of the system. Using this same type of analogy, the Valve Body is the ‘brain’ of your vehicle. This is where everything is controlled. We touched briefly on the Valve Body and its purpose a while ago here.

 

A Valve Body

A Valve Body

 

In a nutshell, the whole purpose of the Valve Body is to smoothly shift gears as you are driving down the road. That is all. The Valve Body is an intricate & specialized maze of channels that directs the transmission fluid that activate whatever gears are needed to shift to.

For example, if the car needs to shift from second to third gear, the transmission fluid needs to flow through the channels to the specific valve that is for that function. This valve is often called the 2-3 valve. And oddly enough, there is a specific valve for shifting from third back to second and it’s commonly called the 3-2 valve. In this system, there is a valve for everything!

 

Simple Gear Shift Stick

Simple Gear Shift Stick

 

The most important valve is the Manual Valve. THIS is the valve that you actually have direct control over and basically gets the whole process going. The Manual Valve is the one that is directly connected to your gear shift. In an automatic transmission, the second you move the gear shift into the Drive position, the Manual Valve directs the transmission fluid to the clutch packs that activate 1st Gear. At the same time, it engages the monitoring of your vehicle’s speed and throttle position to best determine the correct time and force needed to do the shift from 1st Gear into 2nd Gear.

Most automatic transmissions nowadays are computer controlled with electrical solenoids mounted in the Valve Body to help with the direction of fluid to the appropriate clutch packs, bands or servos. This is done to make your car more efficient and to be more precise in determining shift points while you are moving.

My Sole….what??

It’s a Solenoid Pack. To further simplify the definition we listed above – It is simply a coiled wire that acts like a magnet when an electrical current is running through it. By acting like a magnet, it can easily open and close valves.

Now, in a computer controlled transmission, there are sensors that are used to capture lots of data related to your engine: brake pedal position, engine load (how ‘hard’ its working), engine speed, vehicle speed and many more. By compiling all of this information, it can exactly pinpoint when a gear shift needs to occur. AND when it has properly identified that moment, it transmits to the Solenoid Packs in the transmission so that they can redirect the transmission fluid as needed to the correct clutch pack/band/servo to shift the gear.

For Next Week

This week we’ve touched on how a computer controlled transmission works by interacting with sensors and solenoid packs. Next week, let’s go old school and take a look at how non-computerized transmissions work and what parts they have that differ from the computerized ones.

Until Next Time….

 Anthony’s Automotive

Time to Pump Things Up

Welcome back! This week we are going to see what role the Oil Pump plays in your automatic transmission. But before we get into that, like always, time for a quick recap & review some definitions.

 

Previously on Anthony’s Automotive Blog….

 

Last week, we learned all about the wonderful, complex part called the Hydraulic System. You can do a re-read of it here. Or, keep reading for the quick recap.

The Hydraulic System is what keeps the transmission fluid under pressure and sends it to all parts of the transmission and torque converter. It is essentially the blood system of your car. Even the transmission fluid itself is red in color, just like your blood. And it is most important that it remain under pressure at all times.

We’ve added a couple of words this week: Oil, Soluble, Solvent, Flange, and Regulator. You can find them at the bottom of the list. As always, you can find our entire and current automotive dictionary here. Feel free to save its link so that you can find it again in case we use a word that happens to not be on this week’s list.

Our Growing Automotive Vocabulary

Here are the related words for this week’s topic. Enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

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.

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.

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.

Sprag – A device for preventing a vehicle from rolling backward on a grade.

Radiator – A device of tubes and fins, as in an automobile, through which circulating water passes to radiate superfluous heat and thus cool the engine.

Tube – A hollow cylinder or pipe of metal, glass, rubber, tec., usually long in proportion to its diameter, used for conveying fluids, etc..

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..

Oil – Any of various kinds of greasy, combustible substances obtained from animal, vegetable, and mineral sources; oils are liquid at ordinary temperatures and soluble in certain organic solvents, as ether, but not in water.

Soluble – That can be dissolved; able to pass into solution.

Solvent – A substance, usually liquid, that dissolves or can dissolve another substance.

Flange – A projecting rim or collar on a wheel, pipe, rail, etc,. to hold it in place, give it strength, guide it, or attach it to something else.

Regulator – A mechanism for controlling or governing the movement of machinery, the flow of liquids, gases, electricity, steam, etc..

 

Black Gold…Texas Tea…

 The Oil Pump in your transmission is what produces all the oil pressure necessary for your car’s transmission to function. Please note that this is a separate pump from the pump that we talked about earlier in the torque converter (please recap here to clear up any confusion you may have). When you talk about getting the oil changed on your car or checking the oil on your car, THIS is the part we are talking. It works hand in hand with your car’s transmission.

 

Oil Pump

An Actual Oil Pump

 

Like I mentioned above in the recap and in last week’s post, pressure is one of the most important aspects of your transmission and its ability to operate. Yes, it does need to have transmission fluid to function. BUT that fluid absolutely must be under pressure at all times. It is the Oil Pump that creates this pressure.

The Oil Pump itself is located at the front of the transmission case. It is also connected to a flange that is on the torque converter housing. This makes the pump connected directly to both the transmission and your engine (through the torque converter.)

Because the torque converter is connected to the engine, the Oil Pump will produce pressure automatically while the engine is running and if there is transmission fluid available. This is why it is also important to have your transmission fluids checked regularly for optimum volume. The Oil Pump will not be able to produce pressure without a sufficient amount of transmission fluid located in your transmission system. Just as in the human body, if you don’t have enough blood pumping through your veins, you won’t function as well. And like I mentioned before, the transmission fluid in your car is the blood of your car.

 

Motor Oil

Car/Motor Oil

 

The oil is located in the oil pan that is typically located on the bottom side of your transmission. The oil, itself, enters the pump through a filter (yes THAT filter that you need to have checked and changed during regular maintenance.) The filter is at the bottom of the oil pan and has a tube running from it to the oil pump. This is how the oil gets to the pump. From the pump, where it is now under pressure, it is then sent to the Pressure Regulator, the Valve Body (see next week) and other parts beyond.

So the bottom line is (and bringing together what we learned last week and this), you need to have a good level of transmission fluid in your transmission AND you need to have a good level of oil in your oil pan so that it can create pressure which, in turn, allows your transmission fluid to be transmitted to other areas of your car to either keep it cool, shift gears and keep other parts lubricated and moving.

 

For Next Week

 

It’s time to crack open the skull and look at the brain of the Automatic Transmission – the Valve Body.

 

Until Next Time….

 Anthony’s Automotive

 

Under Pressure

Welcome back to our blog! This week we are going to jump right into the rather complex and winding part of the automatic transmission– the Hydraulic System. But before that, like always, time for a quick recap & review some definitions.

 

Previously on Anthony’s Automotive Blog….

 

Last week, we learned all about the One Way Clutch (also known as the Sprag Clutch) and how it will allow movement in one direction but not in the opposite direction. You can do a re-read of it here.

For ease of understanding, the One Way Clutch works very similar to how a bicycle works in that when you move the pedal in a forward motion, it moves the bike wheels. But, on most bicycles, if you try to move it backwards, the wheels won’t move at all. In fact, engaging the One Way Clutch puts you in a “coasting” mode – the engine is still running but no gears are activated and the wheels are kind of moving from the energy already generated from the engine.

 

There are a couple of new words added to our vocabulary this week. You can find them at the bottom of the list. As always, you can find our entire and current automotive dictionary here. Feel free to save its link so that you can find it again in case we use a word that happens to not be on this week’s list.

 

Our Growing Automotive Vocabulary

 

Here are the related words for this week’s topic. Enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

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.

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.

Sprag – A device for preventing a vehicle from rolling backward on a grade.

Radiator – A device of tubes and fins, as in an automobile, through which circulating water passes to radiate superfluous heat and thus cool the engine.

Tube – A hollow cylinder or pipe of metal, glass, rubber, tec., usually long in proportion to its diameter, used for conveying fluids, etc..

Fin – (this one is a little tricky) Anything like a fin in shape or use; specifically, any narrow edge or ridge formed in manufacturing, as on a casting by metal forced through the halves of the mold; and/or any fixed or movable airfoil whose chief function is to give stability in flight.

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..

 

Can you feel the pressure….

 

The Hydraulic System in an automatic transmission is a complex labyrinth of passages and tubes. The whole purpose of this system is to send transmission fluid under pressure to all parts of the transmission and torque converter.  I have included three different examples of what a Hydraulic System can look like. You can try this yourself by searching for “automatic transmission hydraulic system” and see all the different diagrams that you can find. Long story short – there is a lot to choose from and they are all beyond complex.

 

 

Transmission fluid serves many purposes in this system. It is involved in the shift control process. It is used for general lubrication of the system. And part of it connects up to the radiator so that means it assists with keeping your transmission cool.  All of these aspects of a transmission’s functions are dependent on a constant supply of the transmission fluid under pressure.  You can think of the transmission fluid as being the blood of your car. In fact, it’s even red in color.

 

And just like your body, it is vastly important that this fluid is always under pressure. Any lack of pressure at any time can be harmful or even fatal to the life of your transmission. In fact, most of the problems that come from your transmission has to do with a lack of fluid or a lack of pressure. It simply does not work right without either.

 

And exactly how much fluid are we talking about here? Your typical transmission has an average of 10 quarts of transmission fluid that runs between the transmission, the torque converter and the cooler tank. That is 2.5 gallons of fluid! In fact, most of the components of the transmission are constantly submerged in this fluid. And this includes the clutch packs and bands. In fact, the friction surfaces of these parts are designed to operate properly only when they are submerged.

A Gallon Jug

As I mentioned earlier about keeping your transmission cool, a portion of the transmission fluid is sent through one of two steel tubes to a special chamber that is submerged in the combination of antifreeze and water that is in your radiator. The fluid that passes through this section is cooled and then returned to the transmission through the other steel tube.

 

For Next Week

Let’s continue examining the Hydraulic System of the Automatic Transmission and find out how the Oil Pump factors into this system.

 

 

Until Next Time….

 

Anthony’s Automotive

In a Clutch

Welcome back! Time to find out exactly what the One Way Clutch is that I mentioned last post. But before that, like always, time for a quick recap & review some definitions.

 

Previously on Anthony’s Automotive Blog….

 

Last week, we dived a little deeper into what is exactly involved with the Torque Converter and why you have one in the first place. Want to do a quick re-read? You can find it here.  For the recap, keep reading.

 

The Torque Converter can be found mounted between the engine and the transmission. It is made up of 3 different parts: the pump, the turbine and the stator. And its whole purpose for being is to make sure your engine keeps running when it is shifting between gears, coming to a stop or is not moving at all, aka idling.

 

There is one word added to this week’s vocabulary list: Sprag. You can find its definition at the bottom of the list. We’ve added a lot of words to your automotive dictionary these past couple of weeks. So much so that I am now going to start narrowing it down to just specific terms that are in relation to the week’s topic only. You can find our entire and current automotive dictionary here. Feel free to save its link so that you can find it again in case we use a word that happens to not be on this week’s list.

 

Our Growing Automotive Vocabulary

 

Here are the related words for this week’s topic. Enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

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..

Sprag – A device for preventing a vehicle from rolling backward on a grade.

 

Sprag_one-way_bearing_labeled

 

You Got Sprag….

 

A One Way Clutch is also known as a Sprag Clutch. The definition listed above is the one that is listed in the Webster’s Dictionary that I like to reference. There is another definition of Sprag that could be listed here. It is this:

 

            A simple brake on a vehicle, especially a stout stick or bar inserted between the spokes of a wheel to check its motion.

 

It is definitely a beefier definition than the one listed in the dictionary and it better describes the function of a One Way Clutch. It allows a part to move in one direction but not in the opposite direction.

An easier way to think of how a One Way Clutch works is to think of how a bicycle works. If you push the pedals in a forward motion, it moves the bike. But if you try to move it backwards, most bikes won’t. The pedals move freely but the wheels of the bike don’t. Most bikes do this. In fact, I remember many times as a kid when going downhill, we’d like to try to spin the pedals backwards fast and then stick our feet out while we coasted. Fun times!

Now let’s do that with your car. Start it up. Put your hand on the shifter and drop it into Drive. Push your foot on the gas pedal and start moving. You are technically in first gear and you are moving. Now, lift your foot off the gas. Does your car instantly stop moving? No! It’s kind of like you are coasting. Now put your foot back on the gas and you find yourself moving again. Take your foot off the gas again and yep – you are back to ‘coasting’. This is the One Way Clutch in action.

In First Gear while in Drive is where you will typically experience the One Way Clutch. The same thing happens when you have your car in Neutral, which is like you have ‘no gear’ engaged but the engine is still running. And speaking of Neutral….

 

gears of an automatic

 

Low Gear, First Gear, Neutral, Reverse – Just Drive!

 

How many gears are there exactly that you can choose to have an automatic transmission in OR exactly what is this alphabet soup on my shifter? Typically you will find what is in the picture above: P R N D 2 L  or   P R N D 2 1

P is for Park. This is when no gear has been selected and the gears have been locked to stop the vehicle from moving.

R is for Reverse. This is when the Reverse gear has been selected and will cause the vehicle to move backwards.

N is for Neutral. This is when no gear has been selected but the gears have NOT been locked and means the vehicle can and/or will move. You can push it and it will move. If you are on any kind of slope, it will roll all on its own. Neutral and Hills do not mix!

D is for Drive. This is your preferred choice, especially if you want to move. What Drive means is that all the gears are available for your car’s use when propelling the car forward. This means the progression from first gear to second gear to third gear to fourth gear and beyond will be done as you continue to accelerate.

2 is for Second Gear. This is when you limit the gear selection. In this setting, you have made only First and Second Gears available for your car to use.

L or 1 is for Low/First Gear. Just like the Second Gear setting except you have limited the gear selection to First Gear only.

 

You may see more letters or numbers than what is listed above. If it’s a number, then that typically refers to the highest gear that you are making available for your vehicle to use. If there are any specific letters that you’ve seen that you have a question on, comment or shoot us an email. We’d be happy to clear up any confusion for you.

 

Until Next Time….

 Anthony

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

 

All about the Valves

Welcome back! This week we’re still on the topic of Transmissions. But this time, let’s get a little more technical know-how under your belts. But before we jump right in, let’s do a quick recap & review some definitions.

 

Previously on Anthony’s Automotive Blog….

 

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

Basically, your car’s transmission is what keeps it moving. They come in two flavors: Automatic or Manual (aka Stick Shift). Automatic transmissions require little to no interaction from the driver, while Manual transmissions require 100% interaction from the driver. Your transmission needs a special fluid to keep all of its parts working together. We also touched on some common problems that can occur & how to tell if it’s about to die.

gearshift

 

We also covered some basic definitions of various automotive-speak words that you could understand exactly what it was that I was saying. Let me recap a couple of those words here just in case. I will also add some new ones, as they do pertain to this week’s particular topic.

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.

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.

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..

 

The Nuts and Bolts of an Automatic Transmission

 

As you recall, an automatic transmission is the type of transmission that requires little to no interaction from the driver (outside of putting your foot on the gas pedal that is) in order to work. But it is so much more complex than you think.

An automatic transmission system works by utilizing a series of gears that lock and unlock in order to change the gears of the vehicle. The transmission also uses a torque converter instead of a clutch to disconnect the transmission from the engine when the car needs to come to a stop.

The series of gears used actually have their own name. They are referred to as the Planetary Gear System (or Gear Set). The system has three main parts: the Ring Gear, the Planetary Gears and the Sun Gear. The Ring Gear is on the outer edge. The Planetary Gears are in the middle area (usually mounted to a carrier or plate). The Sun Gear is in the very center. The Planetary Gears rotate and revolve around the Sun Gear in the center and the Ring Gear on the outer edge.

 

planetary gear set

 

This system works by moving two of these parts, while keeping the third one still. By doing this, it can transmit the torque created by the engine to the wheels of the car, which, in turn, makes it move.

In addition to the above gear set, you also have what is called the Valve Body. It is what allows the automatic transmission of your car to smoothly shift gears as you are driving down the road. It is a hydraulic system that uses a pump to bring transmission fluid into the valve body. It then directs the fluid through a maze of channels and valves that, in turn, activate whatever gears are needed to shift to.

This maze is quite intricate and specialized. For example, if the car needs to shift from second to third gear, the transmission fluid needs to flow through the channels to the specific valve that is for that function. This valve is often called the 2-3 valve. And oddly enough, there is a specific valve for shifting from third back to second and it’s commonly called the 3-2 valve. In this system, there is a valve for everything!

 

Food for Thought

 

I hope you were able to learn a little more this week about exactly how an Automatic Transmission works. In a nutshell, fluid is pumped through the system and through a specific valve which tells the vehicle which gear it needs to shift to.

Next week, we’ll continue to learn more about how an Automatic Transmission works. In truth, we’ve just begun to scratch the surface.

Until then, I’ll leave you with something to think about. We’ve all seen those big semi trucks that are always slow to start moving and we all curse and moan when we get stuck behind them at a stoplight. They typically have anywhere from 12 to 18 gears that their engine has to shift through to get moving. Just imagine the number of valves that transmission would need in order to shift up and down all of those gears IF they were an automatic transmission. How big would that engine be??!!??

 

Until next time,

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