How To Install A Torque Converter

How To Install A Torque Converter In Your Ride

Installing a torque converter is a fairly straightforward job. The tricky part is that you have to remove the transmission in order to do so, which is the majority of the work. 

What exactly is a torque converter? “A torque converter is a type of fluid coupling that transfers rotating power from a prime mover, like an internal combustion engine, to a rotating driven load. In a vehicle with an automatic transmission, the torque converter connects the power source to the load,” according to Wikipedia. Simply put this device transfers the rotation from the engine to the transmission while acting as a clutch. 

Images Courtesy Of ChevyDIY.com

There are a few different reasons you’d need to install a torque converter; yours might be bad or not the right one for your engine. If you have a wild cam where the engine idles at 1,000RPM, you’ll want a higher stall speed. Torque converter stall speed is the maximum amount of engine RPM that can be achieved in an automatic transmission-equipped vehicle while the transmission is in a forward operating range without generating any driveshaft motion.

Uninstall To Install

In classic cars that are rear-wheel-drive, dropping the transmission to access the torque converter isn’t a bad job. However, we must say this should be done only by a professional with proper safety protocols in place. You can seriously hurt yourself if you don’t know what you’re doing. 

The first step will be to get the car in the air either with jack stands or on a lift. Then disconnect the negative cable on the battery and ensure it can’t accidentally touch the battery. With the car secured and the tires blocked so it can’t roll, remove the starter from the engine. This will give you access to the bolts that go from the flexplate into the torque converter. 

With the help of a professional, slowly rotate the engine until you can get a wrench onto the bolts to undo them. There are typically three to four bolts connecting the flexplate to the torque converter. 

From here you might need to remove your exhaust or at least lower it down depending on the application. Make sure your tires are blocked, remove the driveshaft by removing the two U-straps on the differential and sliding it out and away. 

When removing the driveshaft it’s important to have a pan under the tailshaft as fluid will flow out of it. Next remove all linkages, cooling hoses, and wiring connecting to the transmission. Carefully, again with professional help, support the transmission with a transmission jack. Then remove the cross member and slowly lower down the transmission. Important note if you have an traditional SBC or BBC, you might want to remove the distributor as it can get broken as the engine tilts back. 

The last step here is to remove the bolts that bolt the transmission into the engine. Generally, you’ll want to work from the top to the bottom. But remember that when you undue all of these, the transmission can slide away from the engine so make sure the transmission is secured along with the engine. 

Now the hard part is done! The easy part is to slide the torque converter off the input shaft. Careful here as it’s heavier than it seems and it’s full of transmission fluid that can and will spill. Before sliding on your new torque converter, make sure to lay it on its back and fill it all the way up with transmission fluid. Sliding it onto the shaft rotate it until it clicks into place and slides all the way on. 

Then just reverse everything you did to get the transmission out! Again make sure you have professional help so as to not drop the transmission and cause damage to it or worse, hurt yourself. 

Installing Torque Converter

If you have any questions or need any transmission parts including performance torque converters, hop on over to SS396.com or give us a call at (203) 235-1200!

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