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Torque Converter education

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Old 02-12-2008, 12:45 AM
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Default Torque Converter education

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Hi folks...

I am constantly running into people that are buying cheap **** "JUNK" converters and end up disappointed in the long run. I was hoping I could provide a little bit of information so that people could be a little more educated when they buy a converter. Here goes...

Picture #1. This is a STOCK GM 4 cylinder converter out of a Chevy Cavalier.






Picture #2. I have gone through the trouble of cutting it open so you can see inside. On the left you see the front cover. It is the cover that actually bolts up to the motor. It has a smooth surface on the inside for the lockup clutch to ride on. If you notice, the lockup clutch is actually rather small. It is about 3/4' wide with a small overall diameter.






Picture #3. This is a picture of a TCI cheap converter. This is the type of converter people keep using because of their low price, yet later end up paying quite a bit more because the converter takes a dump and takes out the transmission. That was the case with this particular converter.





Picture #4. From this angle you can get a better look. The converter is actually a stock GM converter with an ADAPTER RING welded on the front. This ring is so that a 4 cylinder converter is able to bolt up to an 8 cylinder engine. They also replace the pilot and the hub to match the needs op the 8 cylinder engine. This adapter ring is the very first indication that you have bought a junk converter.




Picture #5. I went ahead and cut this converter open as well. As you can see, it WAS the same lockup clutch that you find on the GM stock 4 cylinder converter. This lockup clutch works great in a 120hp Cavalier or Pontiac Sunbird that weighs 2500lbs. It just doesn't hold up well in 400+ horsepower GTO's, Corvettes, and F-bodies that weigh considerably more. Notice how the lockup clutch is destroyed. It has also wiped out the surface on the front cover where the lockup clutch applies. Guess where the lockup clutch is? You guessed it... In the transmission, clogging up the filter and causing transmission failure. (Which is exactly what happened to the poor guy that owned this converter.)





Picture #6. A closer look at the destroyed lockup clutch.




Picture 7. A closer look at the destroyed converter cover and lockup surface.





Picture #8. Now a look at a little bit pricier converter. This one is a Precision Industries Vigilante converter. (That's obvious just by the color.) Notice that there is no adapter ring on the front cover. The front cover is machined from a solid piece of billet. It is thicker and stronger than the stock cover and will not flex.





Picture #9. Now let's look inside... First, notice the cover on the left. The billet cover has a nice WIDE area for the lockup clutch to ride. Not that thin area provided by the stock converter. The part in the middle is the lockup clutch. See the difference? MUCH bigger. It is bigger in diameter and it is bigger in width. The amount of surface area is enormous compared to the TCI. This lockup clutch can take a TON of abuse unlike the 4 cylinder ones. And, if by chance you like to lock up your converter on wide open throttle runs, Precision Industries supplies multi disc clutches for even more holding potential.






Picture #10. This is a picture of the TCI lockup clutch next to the Vigilante clutch. Which one do you prefer?







In this post I have not mentioned Stall, or STR's or anything else. Can a cheap TCI converter get you a good 60 foot? Absolutely. It's not just about track times, it's about longevity. I just wanted people to see visually what they are buying. I hate to see the sad look in the faces of some of my customers when they are towed in because of some cheap converter they bought.



So, when you think you're saving money by buying a $400 converter. Think again. You will cost yourself much more in the long run. If you can't afford a better part. Wait... Save up for a couple more months. Buy the good part and you'll be happier in the end. Nothing is more disappointing than breaking down.

By the way... I'm not just picking on TCI. I was using them as an example because I had one of their converters sitting in the shop. ANY converter with an adapter welded on the front will provide the same results.

I hope this post helps someone out there. It took a while to prepare, I hope someone benefits from it.
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Old 02-12-2008, 12:56 AM
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WERD....i learned the hardway and cost me double in the end by buying a "budget" converter.....but got me a new vig now and my 3rd tranny....lol


on the other hand i would like to see the inside of a yank to comapare to my vig.
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Old 02-12-2008, 05:38 PM
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Here are a few more pics of some billet pieces, They are custom made by in house at Circle D. Just wanted to let everyone know that vig and yank are not the only billet ones around. Enjoy.

Here is where the term "Billet" actually comes fom. A 110 Pound piece of Alloy Steel.



Here is the finished billet front - Engine Side. I add the 3 spokes for extra strength against ballooning.



Here is the Transmission side, I use a 3 piece bearing to set up proper clutch clearance and added the 3 groves for fluid flow.



This is our billet piston, with a high carbon lining.



The other side of the piston, keep weight down and still maintain strength with the spokes.



Here is a pic of the turbine where the piston and bearing ride.



Chris
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Old 02-12-2008, 07:18 PM
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^^^ These guys do great work as many can testify to. They helped me out when I broke my tail housing and I couldn't be more satisfied with their service.
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Old 02-12-2008, 10:22 PM
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Wow. Educational indeed. I think my TCI clutch has held up because the Transgo shift kit eliminates PWM.
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Old 02-12-2008, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Arc00TA View Post
*glares at the TCI 3500 sitting in the garage* Very nice info, I never had the TCI long enough to have an issue, swapped to a 6spd to avoid the whole thing.
LMAO.

My TCI lasted 5 weeks before the clutches exploded and destroyed the trans.


Vigilante FTMFW.
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Old 02-13-2008, 12:09 PM
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Well said and great info. I missed most of the short racing season last year due to budget converters and transmissions. I had 3 transmissions in my car last summer and 4 torque converters. all purchased from price leader sponsors on this board. Yes they warrantied their crappy products but I missed almost the entire season not to mention the time spent in the garage under my car instead of with my family. I currently have a trans and verter that I have no faith in whatsoever even after spending all the money. If I could do it again I would go with FLT and Vig. when this tranny craps out I will go with FLT even though it is under warranty with the vendor. This is one area you definitely get what you pay for. Circle D that is a beautiful verter. I cant imagine how much extra it costs to machine all that compared to the POS 4 cyl units that the bargain vendors on this site are using.
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Old 02-14-2008, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Tiger2o69 View Post
wow... where did you guys come from... what kind of warranty ect... Interested in some info on these.. multidisc availible? price.. ect..
New to LS1Tech, about 9 months I think. We have been in the transmission/converter business for 30+ years. Houston based, just trying grow some.

We have been doing the billet converter for about 2 years now, and thanks for the compliments. It takes quite a bit more machine time, but worth it. We are also developing a multi disk unit. We are using a square tab design on the clutches to eliminate rattle. We are also using a Water-Jet to cut them with, to eliminate any warpage. Billet piston of course.

Here is a pic of what the clutches will look like, this is a 5 disk setup.



Warranty is 2 years with one complimentary stall change.

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Old 02-14-2008, 12:04 PM
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I also wanted to say more about converters in general. No to put down any competitors product, just more info for the consumer.

I would consider 2 things when you talk about a converter, Durability and performance.

The performance aspect is achieved by shrinking diameter to the common 245 mm FWD converters. They have multiple options for pumps and stators for numerous combinations of stall, str, and efficiency. They are the pictures you see posted at the beginning of the thread by Sicko. Picking the right combination of parts for your car is a science, and you can make the car really shine. But even picking a combination that is just OK will still improve your times because the factory converter is huge 12" behemoth that is totally wrong for the LS1 Cars.

The second part is durability, which is why this tread was started. A durable converter will use a billet front cover. It prevents flexing and allows a larger clutch area. A larger piston, I use a billet one. Furnace brazed pump and turbine. Turbine Hub and Hub made from a high grade steel. Torrington bearings on both sides of stator and I prefer to use a 3rd bearing between the turbine and front cover.

The combination of these two ideas will get you a converter that will drastically improve your times and last you for years. That is why everyone is a big fan of PI and Yanks, they build a very nice converter, and I think Circle D does a pretty good job to.


price:

Single Disk $750

Multi Disk - 3 Clutches - $900 - not ready yet, about 2 more months.

Chris

Last edited by Circle-D; 09-12-2008 at 07:53 AM. Reason: merged posts
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Old 02-15-2008, 08:30 AM
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I think I am competitive with Vig/Yank pricing, $750 with free shipping.

I will look into the flywheel idea, but how do you get SFI approved?

1. The springs you see in the Vig are called a damper, just like in a standard clutch. They help keep engine vibration from resonating throughout the driveline and soften lock up apply. In theory this is fine for a stock car, but I have seen the springs break and tear up quite a bit, so I chose to go without. It makes the lock up a bit firmer when it applies, which is a good thing in performance, and I have never had a complaint about vibration.

2. Maximun Runout for our performance converter is 0.006

3. Yes, every converter that I build is balanced. OEM, HD or Performance. I am not sure what specs you are looking for on the balancer, but it is a TCRS Torque Converter Balancer.

Don't hesitate to give me a call or shoot me a pm, I love talking about converters. 713-895-8834

Chris

Originally Posted by 1QUIKWS6 View Post
Circle D- those are some damn nice looking verters! Too bad you could not bring the pricing down somewhat to better compete with Yank/Vig who are well known and have a great history of building great verters also.

Another item you might want to look into is mfg. a quality SFI Approved flexplate similar to the Meziere flexplate (but cheaper) and offering pkg. deal with your verters.

I may be looking into a new verter (higher stall than I curently have and w/multi disc to allow lockup at WOT) When I do, I'll be giving you a call to talk over your recommendations.

Couple questions for ya now:

1. What is the reasoning/benefit behind the springs as shown on the Vig clutch while your clutch piston has none?

2. What is the normal max acceptable runout of your assembled verters?

3. Are your verters spun balanced? What are the balance specs?

-Jay-

Last edited by Circle-D; 09-12-2008 at 07:53 AM.
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Old 02-15-2008, 05:31 PM
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If you want to see Yank's product please look at our features and Note the billet part finish and double blade turbines for max stiffness and life.








More pictures at:

http://www.converter.cc/why_1/why_1_main.htm

Thanks for the chance to show our converters
YANK

Last edited by Ragtop 99; 02-15-2008 at 05:59 PM. Reason: fix links
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Old 02-15-2008, 07:53 PM
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Nice lookin verters guys. Wonder if the bargain brands are gonna step up and show theirs.
good to see quality products still made in USA by SKILLED machinists who take pride in their work. I got a couple burned up bargain ones in my garage if anyone would like to see the insides of a low cost sponsors product. Can I just cut it open with a die grinder ??? The post would probly be pulled for sponsor bashing like the last ones anyway.
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Old 02-18-2008, 01:31 PM
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Ive ran TCI converters in several different vehicles and never had a problem.
Ive also owned one yank and it was nice but for the price difference I wasnt impressed.
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Old 02-19-2008, 08:37 AM
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I have pruned and linked this into the FAQ sticky with links. Please keep this focused on tech content related to converter construction. Don't turn this into a who's best thread and please PM sponsors questions about prices etc.
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Old 02-19-2008, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by GT Griller View Post
WERD....i learned the hardway and cost me double in the end by buying a "budget" converter.....but got me a new vig now and my 3rd tranny....lol
+1 there! I killed a 3 month old FLT tranny with a budget converter that had nothing but problems with clutch chatter. Expensive lesson to learn.
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Old 04-15-2008, 05:12 PM
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awesome thread as im ready to switch from 6spd to an auto!
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Old 07-24-2008, 01:04 AM
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How much better are these multi clutch torque converters by precision industries and do they eliminate ineficiency in high str converters? How much gain can you get from a converter like this?
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Old 09-11-2008, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Yank View Post
If you want to see Yank's product please look at our features and Note the billet part finish and double blade turbines for max stiffness and life.








More pictures at:

http://www.converter.cc/why_1/why_1_main.htm

Thanks for the chance to show our converters
YANK

Bringing it back in hopes of seeing these pictures, or any cutopens would be nice but would really like to see a yank cutopen.
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Old 09-12-2008, 07:19 AM
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So are you saying that if it has a ring on the bottom where it mounts up that it is junk?
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Old 09-12-2008, 09:10 AM
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The reason I ask is that I just purchased one of these from ACE. I didn't think it made a difference but was wondering based on that comment or if that was just an over generalization.

https://ls1tech.com/forums/showthrea...ace+converters


Last edited by Johnny5; 09-12-2008 at 02:19 PM.
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