Why Does a Torque Converter Whine?


Automatic transmission torque converter whine is a common ailment in cars, but it doesn't necessarily mean a transmission overhaul. Instead, the whine could be a result of too much space between the converter pads and flex plate.

After Installation

  • Often torque converter whine occurs after the installation of a new or repaired transmission in which the measurement between the converter pads and flex plate is not correct.

Not Engaging

  • Too much clearance will prevent the converter from fully engaging the front pump during acceleration, which causes the gear to rock and whine.

Damage Possible

  • Driving the car with a torque converter whine may damage the transmission, so it's imperative that proper clearances are determined immediately.

Proper Clearances

  • Proper clearances from bell housing to pads for the General Motors Turbo Hydramatic 350 are 1 1/8 inches; GM Turbo 400 is 1 3/16 inches; GM Powerglide is 1 1/8 inches; and most Fords at 1 inch, according to partshp.com.

Other Causes

  • Tripleedgeperformance.com reports that roller bearings supporting the drive and the sprockets the drive chain rides on may also cause whining, and neglecting the problem may cause severe damage.

The Pump

  • The front transmission pump, and not the torque converter or roller bearings, may also be the whining culprit, and require a simple replacement.

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  • Photo Credit "Volkswagen Gol" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: Hugo90 (JOHN LLOYD) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.
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