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Automatic Transmission Flywheel
Manual Transmission Flywheel
Description: The flywheel for most automatic transmissions/transaxles is simply a stamped-steel disc with a ring gear located at the outer edge for engagement with the starter?s pinion gear. With this type of flywheel, the torque converter has no ring gear. Some cars use a more modest flywheel known as a flexplate, which is all that?s needed because the torque converter itself has a ring gear located on its outer edge.
Purpose: The flywheel, or flexplate, mounts to the engine's crankshaft and also serves as a mounting location for the torque converter. Consequently, the flywheel or flexplate transmits engine torque to the torque converter housing. The flywheel?s ring gear also serves as an engagement point for the pinion of the starter motor when cranking the engine. Because of the lightweight design of the flywheel or flexplate, it does not help to smooth out power pulses from the engine like the flywheel does on a car with a manual transmission. On cars with automatic transmissions, the torque converter provides this function.
Maintenance Tips/Suggestions: The flywheel/flexplate does not require regular maintenance. Sometimes, the ring gear may suffer damage from improper starter engagement or alignment. If this is the case, the ring gear or flywheel may need replacement.
Clutch problems can occur at almost any mileage and for a wide variety of reasons. When the clutch pedal is released and the clutch disc starts to rub against the flywheel and pressure plate, it generates friction and heat. This helps absorb the shock loading that would otherwise jolt the drivetrain every time the transmission was put into gear or shifted.
The flywheel should always be resurfaced or replaced when a clutch is changed. Oil, dirt, grease, warpage, cracks or grooves on a flywheel can cause clutch problems. So too will excessive runout. Remember to mark the index position of the flywheel before you remove it so it can be reinstalled in the same position as before. This is essential on externally balanced engines.
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