What is Torque Converter Shudder?

What Is Torque Converter Shudder

Torque converter shudder is a shudder or brief shake in the vehicle after internal clutches apply in the torque converter. Most torque converter shudders happen at about 45MPH. It is similar to running over a rough spot on the road or running over a cattle guard. Just as quick as it happened, it’s gone until it happens again. 

Torque Converter Shudder

The feeling of torque converter shudder can be compared to hitting a rough spot in the road. The torque converter shudder is a brief shake in the vehicle whenever the internal clutches apply inside of the torque converter. They call this a lock up. Often this issue is misdiagnosed and sometimes will end up with the transmission needing to be rebuilt.

Torque Converter Shudder Diagnosis

On most cars, one way to identify torque converter shudders is to lightly touch the brake pedal. When you are maintaining speed with one foot, lightly apply the brake with the other. If the shudder stops automatically, then the problem is the torque converter clutches. Whenever the operating system sees the brake being applied, most vehicles will release the torque converter clutches. A trained technician may test the lockup by using a scan tool for vehicles. These tests are vital as a small misfire can cause the same sensation and it could be mistaken as a torque converter shudder.

How Torque Converter Lockup Works

The torque converter is a coupling between the motor and transmission of the vehicle. The design is to enable the vehicle to grind to a halt, with the motor running. To do this something needs to slip, and that is the torque converter. From this viewpoint, it acts much like an automatic clutch.

A torque converter works by exchanging power, through fluid motion. An easy way to understand this is to consider 2 desk fans. We connect a fan to an energy source and turn it on. We don’t turn on the second fan, however, put it facing the first. The movement of air, originating from the running fan, causing the fan blades in the second fan to turn. A torque converter works the same, however, utilizes liquid as opposed to air. Fluid is considerably more viscous than air and transmits significantly more power.

They connect the torque converter housing to the motor flywheel. At the point when the motor runs, blades inside the torque converter rotate through the transmission liquid. The movement of this liquid causes other blades, appended to the transmission, to turn. This is what drives the vehicle and while idling, enables the motor to keep running with the vehicle staying still.

Slipping is needed for the vehicle to stand still while the engine runs. Because some of this slippage will happen when driving, fuel mileage will suffer. Newer vehicles will use a clutch that is located on the inside of the torque converter in order to stop slipping, whenever it is not needed. The clutch will lock up so that the torque converter will rotate at the same speed of the engine. This transfers more power that is available and helps the fuel mileage.

Whenever the internal clutch is applied, this is called torque converter lockup. This happens after the vehicle is rolling and will let go when your vehicle stops. This clutch needs specific lubricants in the transmission fluid to work correctly.

Causes of Torque Converter Shudder

Lubrication for the torque converter clutch is one explanation behind such huge numbers of automatic transmission liquids (ATF) available. Without the added substances in these liquids, the clutch may make noise when it draws in, causing the shudder sensation. On the off chance that permitted to chatter, it may harm the clutch. Material from the clutch will mix with the liquid and can demolish the automatic transmission. Not replacing the automatic transmission fluid regularly enough may make a torque converter shudder.

Utilizing the wrong transmission fluid, even while flushing a transmission, can cause a torque converter shudder and numerous different issues. This is a specific issue with Honda and Ford’s vehicles. Most transmission liquid has friction modifiers in it to help avoid shudder. Time, mileage, and heat make the additives in auto transmission fluid to become depleted. Without these added substances, clutches may wear and chatter. Depleted transmission fluid can cause gasket and seal shrinkage which will result in a leak. Rear-wheel Ford vehicles have a common problem with this.

Torque Converter Shudder Fix

The best way to fix your torque converter shudder problem is to:

  • Have your transmission serviced by a mechanic
  • Replace your (ATF) automatic transmission fluid

If there is excessive debris is still found within the transmission pan or the shudder keeps happening after servicing, then you may need to replace the torque converter. In some cases, you may need to have your transmission rebuilt.

Torque Converter Shudder Repair Cost

On average, torque converter shudder repair costs about $187.50. Torque converter shudder repair costs ranged from $125 to $250 for the US in 2019. This is the cost to flush out your transmission and refill it with new transmission fluid.

Will Changing Transmission Fluid Help Torque Converter Shudder?

Yes, changing transmission fluid or performing a transmission flush will help fix most torque converter shudder problems. However, If you let your torque converter shudder for too long you might have to rebuild or replace it.

Preventing Issues with Torque Converter Shudders

Prevention and even adjustment are frequently as straightforward as getting your transmission serviced regularly. Most transmissions have a removable filter and pan. On these types of vehicles, we will drain the transmission fluid and remove the pan for proper service. The will allow the technician to perform an inspection for wear and broken parts. At this step in the process, small problems can easily be fixed to prevent major breakdowns.

Tighten Valve Body Bolts

While the transmission pan is off, the technician will tighten the bolts on the trans valve body to the specified amount of torque. Over time, the valve body gasket will shrink from heat and the bolts will start to loosen. The loose valve body can develop cross-leaks in passages. This will cause your transmission to fail. Tightening these bolts properly will prevent this problem.

Replace Transmission Filter & Seal

After inspecting the valve body bolts, the transmission filter and seal can be replaced. Replacing the filter is very important on transmissions that are built with replaceable filters. Restricted or blocked transmission filters will cause low internal pressure and can damage your transmission quickly.

Double Drain Fluid & Refill

On transmissions that don’t have a pan or filter that can be replaced, a double drain and refill are required for proper service. First, the tech drives the car and then drains the fluid. The new fluid will be added and then the tech will drive the car again to remove any debris. The last step is to drain the fluid and then refill it again.

Transmission Service vs Transmission Flush

Transmission service is very from a transmission flush. With a flush, the tech circulates the new transmission fluid through part of the transmission. The techs do not inspect internal components, tighten valve body bolts, or replace the transmission filter.

Bigger Automatic Transmission Issues

If there is excessive debris is still found within the transmission pan or the shudder keeps happening after servicing, then you may need to replace the torque converter. In some cases, you may need to have your transmission rebuilt. Continuing to drive with the shudder could cause your transmission to fail. When this happens, the transmission will have to be rebuilt, repaired or replaced. Proper servicing regularly is the best prevention.

Replacement Torque Converters For Sale

If you’re looking for a new torque converter to replace a broken torque converter, or if you want to increase the performance of your car, truck, or suv we can help!  Our team understands how to pair your vehicle to the right torque converter that will increase power, improve fuel efficiency, or even help you tow better.  Call 602-437-2301 and talk with our team to find the perfect match for your set up and hit the road running. Road Runner Converters offers many torque converters replacements online. We offer GM Torque ConvertersFord Torque ConvertersDiesel Torque ConvertersTowing Torque ConvertersStreet Torque Converters and more.

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