1. When we asked around, we were told that Continental Torque Converters was one of the most respected names in the business, and that the head honcho, Kris Abrahamson, was just about the most knowledgeable and experienced guy around. We were pleasantly surprised to see they were right down the street from us. Here, Peter Nahman cracks into our old converter, as the casing will be re-used.1. When we asked around, we were told that Continental Torque Converters was one of the mo 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. 2. We got a good look at all the internal parts of a torque converter, and were intrigued to learn that many of the components within (look at the fins) are secured in place by furnace brazing, a process in which a bronze/silicon solution acts as a filler metal to join components together. The result is a solid, reinforced component that acts as a single piece.2. We got a good look at all the internal parts of a torque converter, and were intrigued 3. Here's the torque converter's pump, with the brazing completed (and looking quite pretty). Continental chooses the exact converter components that are appropriate for each unique vehicle application-our Bronco's converter will be built quite differently than, for example, a converter built for a drag racer.3. Here's the torque converter's pump, with the brazing completed (and looking quite prett 4. Here's the torque converter's drive cover, which features an anti-balloon plate, a billet pilot, and a CNC flame cut ring. Even components such as this are custom-matched to the vehicle in which the converter can be used. As we inspected this part, we realized that taking apart and rebuilding a torque converter is something we'd never want to do on our own. Unless you really know what you're doing, torque converter building is best left to the pros.4. Here's the torque converter's drive cover, which features an anti-balloon plate, a bill 5. Here, Peter trims down the turbine (after brazing) to ensure a smooth and balanced operation. Continental pays careful attention to make sure all components of each torque converter are trued and balanced-after all, a torque converter is a heavy part that spins quickly. In much the same way that new wheels and tires must be balanced to guarantee a smooth ride, the torque converter must be balanced to operate correctly and safely.5. Here, Peter trims down the turbine (after brazing) to ensure a smooth and balanced oper 6. Here's the converter's turbine, after the brazing has been completed. TIG welding is also utilized in the construction of the turbine. To the untrained eye (us), this component looks much like the torque converter's pump, but it is indeed a very different part.6. Here's the converter's turbine, after the brazing has been completed. TIG welding is a 7. Here, two different stators are displayed. The one on the left is a cast-aluminum unit that is commonly used in most vehicles. On the right is a hand-built steel unit that is produced specifically with high-horsepower applications in mind. Guess which one we went with!7. Here, two different stators are displayed. The one on the left is a cast-aluminum unit 8. Continental carefully checks the dimensions of every component of the converter. As you might guess, these measurements (internal and external) are critical in the creation and operation of the converter. Spinning parts within the unit are subject to tight clearances, and if something is off by just fractions of an inch, major problems can result. We were impressed by the precision and care that went into the creation of our Bronco's torque converter. The guys at Continental don't mess around.8. Continental carefully checks the dimensions of every component of the converter. As yo 9. Here, the Torrington bearings within the stator are lubricated. These are small metal 'rollers' that ensure minimal friction is encountered ad the stator spins.9. Here, the Torrington bearings within the stator are lubricated. These are small metal 10. Here, Peter uses a specialized MIG welder to align and seal the pump and drive covers. At this point, the interval clearances are set for the eventual install into our Bronco.10. Here, Peter uses a specialized MIG welder to align and seal the pump and drive covers. 11. The welds are cooled in a water bath, and then air is pumped into the converter to check for any leaks. No leaks were detected, and at this point, the converter is nearly ready.11. The welds are cooled in a water bath, and then air is pumped into the converter to che 12. Here, the final balancing is underway. This machine really reminded us of a tire balancer-it operated in much the same fashion. Peter told us that in most cases, the careful measurements utilized while creating the converter means that external weights aren't needed to balance the finished converter.12. Here, the final balancing is underway. This machine really reminded us of a tire bala 13. The external cover, now cleaned and painted, looks great. The converter is filled with fluid, capped, and is now ready for installation.13. The external cover, now cleaned and painted, looks great. The converter is filled wit 14. As our Bronco's torque converter was being created, the vehicle's transmission was being rebuilt down the street at Performance Transmission. We made two important upgrades as the transmission was rebuilt: we utilized stronger planetary gears, and we got our hands on a TransGo reprogramming kit (otherwise known as a shift kit). The kit will cause the transmission to shift more quickly and firmly, with less slippage within the transmission being the result. This should help to slow wear in the transmission and extend its life.14. As our Bronco's torque converter was being created, the vehicle's transmission was bei 15. The Bronco's stock transmission mount is on the left. It secures to the crossbar that sits under the installed transmission and bears much of its weight. It's a static mount that doesn't allow for much play as the vehicle encounters bumps, and as a result, it's prone to breakage. The improved design of the Autofab transmission mount (right hand side) utilizes a bolt and bushing to let the upper component of the mount move a bit and absorb some of the shock encountered by a moving vehicle. This way, there is some play allowed within the mount and it can flex, rather than break.15. The Bronco's stock transmission mount is on the left. It secures to the crossbar that 16. Here, Ruben from Performance Transmissions is readying the newly-rebuilt E40D into place under The Juice. Equipped with stronger gears, a TransGo shift kit, and a custom Continental torque converter, we think this transmission setup is built to last. Only time will tell, however, and we'll be sure to let you know what happens.16. Here, Ruben from Performance Transmissions is readying the newly-rebuilt E40D into pla Sources Transgo 2621 Merced Ave El Monte CA 91733 626-443-7451 http://www.transgo.com/ Continental Torque Converters CA 310-674-1072 www.ctconverters.com Performance Transmission Torrance n/a 310-542-0032 By Dexter Roberts Jr. Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!