Diesel Torque Converters

The torque converter is the main difference between manual and automatic transmissions. In manual transmissions, the engine is connected to the transmission by the clutch. The clutch allows the engine to stop running without being destroyed. In automatic transmissions, the torque converter replaces the clutch. Torque converters essentially look like detailed metal wheels with ridges lining the insides. They are about a foot in diameter, and they are necessary components for an automatic transmission.

Besides the task of allowing the engine to run, the torque converter also has to multiply torque, rpm levels and speed. The converter uses fluid-coupling to do all of this, for the general purpose of increasing your vehicle's power level and torque.

Diesel torque converters are especially important because of exactly what torque does, as opposed to horsepower. The commonly used expression is that torque is what gets your car moving, and horsepower is what keeps it moving, and that's generally true. Another way of putting it is that a diesel controls a car's ability to accelerate its own weight. Even smaller cars can weigh more than a ton, and it takes a tremendous amount of force to pull that weight. And if you have a large car that's towing anything, that requires more torque to get going.

Bigger vehicles are more likely to use diesel fuel for various reasons, but the most important is that diesel fuel burns more steadily, and can run an engine more efficiently at low RPMs. If you’re towing a large amount of weight, you need a lot of torque so that you can begin to pull it from zero. That's where you need the most power in order to accelerate. Because diesel burns better than gas when at lower engine power, it can provide a much smoother towing experience; you won't have to use as much energy to start moving.

Put that all together, and it's easy to see why a high-quality diesel torque converter is important – mostly for people towing a substantial amount. Good diesel torque converters produce torque at very low engine rpm levels, meaning that your car will generate its greatest amount of power with light pressure on the gas. By contrast, racing torque converters generate the most amount of at high rpm levels – putting most of the car's acceleration power on when trying to reach maximum speeds. With a diesel torque converter, the engine uses more power at much lower speeds, making it much easier on the engine to tow a lot of weight.

Most generic diesel torque converters in trucks and SUV's don't generate that much power; especially if they aren't specifically designed for towing a lot of weight. But if you plan on towing very big trailers (for example, trailers with fifth wheel hitches), then it's important to have a converter that can generate a lot of power at low speeds so that you don't put a lot of stress on your engine or jerk your vehicle around by revving your engine too much.

Diesel torque converters can cost up to $1,000, so it's important to know how much torque you need (measured in pounds, with 1,000 being a very high mount). Replacing a torque converter is a job that requires a high amount of skill, so if you are not an expert, you should definitely consult a professional mechanic. All in all, the decision on a converter is one where you need to balance the power you need with the price you’re willing to pay. Make sure you have all the information on the weight you need to pull so that you can make the most cost-efficient choice.

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