The art of balance

Balancing of an automobile engine is critical.

– Found in August 2007 Newsletter

The art of balance

Balancing of an automobile engine is critical. Balancing of its tires can be uncomfortable to say the least, but balancing of a torque converter is a must and it must be done correctly. Almost does not count here. A quality rebuilt converter with the correct balancing procedure will help assure it is a long lasting converter. An improperly balanced converter can cause converter failure, transmission failure, and even engine failure.

A factory-new converter has every component balanced and then rebalanced during assembly to ensure smooth trouble-free operation. We as rebuilders must do the same. Premature failure can be avoided by following a few simple and inexpensive guide lines.

If you do not separate components after opening the converter, you may mark the turbine and clutch assembly for future reassembly. Some factory units, such as the GM 298mm and Chrysler 604 converters, are marked for you. GM’s 298mm has a small “V” or a letter “A” stamped into the clutch assembly with a corresponding black paint dot on the turbine. The 604 has a black marker line across the turbine and clutch. If a unit is not marked, do it before separation of the parts if you plan on reassembling the same parts.

If you are a production rebuilder and components are not reassembled or if machining of the clutch, front cover, turbine or impeller is not complete, it is suggested to rebalance each component before final assembly. Many shops find it is convenient and time saving to dedicate a separate balancer with tooling for component balancing and another for final converter balancing. When balancing a clutch and turbine separately aim for 0-5 grams. Then rebalance the clutch and turbine together lining up the heavy side of the turbine across from (180 degrees) the heavy side of the clutch. This will help to offset an imbalance condition and make the rebalancing easier. The front cover can be balanced and marked for the heavy side. After this, the impeller can be checked and marked for imbalance. Before final assembly, align the impeller and front cover with the balance marks ( heavy sides) again across from each other. The converter can now be welded together with expectations of a closely balanced unit. Install the proper balancing tooling and check for final balance corrections. This may seem quite time consuming but will only require a few minutes per converter. As an end result you will save time from chasing an internal balance deviation and prevent a costly comeback, or worse, you may lose a good customer.
Dennis Sneath Midwest Converters Rockford, Illinois

– Found in August 2007 Newsletter