December 24, 2010

Pooling our Resources

Ed Lee

If you read this Torque Converter Tips column regularly, you have likely noticed that most torque converter issues don't rear their ugly heads in only one shop. If you have seen a problem in yours, it is likely that someone else has or will see it in theirs. You also have likely noticed that many of the suggestions and solutions offered in this column do not originate from a single source, but are the result of collective research and effort. Those who read and contribute regularly to this column understand the importance of this effort and are aware that it can greatly affect the success of our individual shops and our industry.

The Torque Converter Rebuilders Association (TCRA) recently formed a technical committee to address the technical needs of torque converter rebuilders and funnel technical information to its members. This information will be presented on the TCRA website and in the TCRA newsletter, among other publications.

The technical committee's current focus is on the overheating converter problem plaguing the four- and five-speed Acura's and Honda's. The committee is working with five or six shops across the country to get at the root cause of this issue. Countless road test miles have been logged with flow meters installed in cooler lines and pyrometers (temperature gauges) recording converter temperatures. Recording the changes in the flow rates and temperatures following repair attempts has been very beneficial in determining which fixes are working and which are not. One shop even purchased an Odyssey as a test vehicle, and another shop is conducting Dyno-testing to help zero-in on the problem. Other issues which have been brought to the committee include 4R70W/4R75W front seal leaks, numerous bearing failures, and some TCC shudder problems.

The TCRA technical committee presently draws input only from a very small segment of the torque converter rebuilding industry and recognizes the need for expanded domestic and international input. Rebuilders in other parts of the globe are experiencing problems caused by broader temperature extremes and the effect of different engine configurations. The European countries, for example, use more diesel-powered vehicles and are experiencing problems which will never be seen in the United States. The same goes for the heat of Saudi Arabia and the cold of the Tundra.

The present chairperson for the TCRA technical committee is Larry St. Amand from Florida. The committee also includes familiar names from the industry such as Dick Lewis, Don Randolph, Mike Souza, Dave Roe, Ed Lee, Lowell Caltrell and Chris Horbach. TCRA President Jeff Stuck and Executive Director Len Wack also sit in on the committee meetings. Len Wack is the primary contact person for the committee and can be reached by telephone at (973) 293-8925 or by e-mail at [email protected]

Anyone with input on technical issues or that is interested in participating in future testing may contact any committee member for more information. Collectively evaluating the torque converter problems and solutions can only benefit the entire industry.

Ed Lee is a Sonnax Technical Specialist who writes on issues of interest to torque converter rebuilders. Sonnax supports the Torque Converter Rebuilders Association.

While Sonnax makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of technical articles at time of publication, we assume no liability for inaccuracies or for information which may become outdated or obsolete over time.