When we last mentioned 'The Juice', our project Bronco, we told you about the new fiberglass body panels and promised to show you the Camburg long-travel kit in the next issue. Well, fate threw us a curveball when The Juice's transmission let go during a desert outing. We got the transmission rebuilt immediately, and watched as the torque converter was custom-built for our Bronco. It was actually pretty interesting, and we soon learned how important a well-built and well-suited torque converter is to a performance vehicle.
Continental Torque Converters has been producing performance-oriented converters for more than 40 years. It's all they do, and they've got it down to a science. We turned to them for our converter needs, and they invited us to their shop so we could see what was involved in creating a custom unit. These guys take into consideration just about every aspect of each vehicle (engine power, axle gear ratio, tire size, etc.) for which they build a converter-this way, every converter is perfectly matched to the vehicle it will reside within.
A torque converter is a fluid coupler that allows a transmission to stay in gear even when a vehicle is stopped. When a driver steps on the accelerator pedal, the engine turns more quickly and fluid is forced into the converter, causing torque to be transferred to the transmission and eventually to the vehicle's wheels. While this seems to make sense, we had never taken a close look inside a torque converter to see how this is done. This was our chance (and yours) to do so. Read on and check the photos for an explanation.