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Car Transmissions - the automobile gearbox

Car transmissions, gears, power converters etc. are specialty automotive parts and components of your vehicles’ inner functioning, without which,  the car will simply not operate or function at all.

Definition of car transmissions

  • Automatic Transmission/Transaxle: According to industry sources, a car transmission unit, allows for engine torque and power, to be ‘transmitted’ to the drive wheels, within a narrow range of engine operating speeds. Translated, it means that it will allow for the engine to turn fast enough to produce lots of power at low speeds, while keeping it at a sensible RPM at very high vehicle speeds – a regulatory function and balancing act of sorts. The car transmission utilizes a multi-functional, light fluid as a transmission medium, known simply as transmission fluid, that serves also to operate hydraulic control circuits and acts as a lubricant as well. This fact that this versatile fluid is so multi-tasking, can also cause a lot of problems to spread from one area to another
  • Transmissions/Transaxles: It is also defines as a single housing or casing containing the transmission and differential. Transaxles are usually found on front engine/front wheel drive or rear engine/real wheel drive cars, vans, trucks and other automobiles of different shapes, sizes, makes, models and years of manufacture.

The nature, features and characteristics of car transmissions

It is a sophisticated piece of automotive equipment and for the most part reliable. The automatic car transmission has also become the favorite, more popular option on many models. A recent statistic quoted showed that as much as 80% of new vehicles, come ordered with an automatic transmission. It offers ease of use, simply starting the engine, selecting a gear and operating the accelerator and brakes – it is that simple to operate.

Automatic transmissions might not be as much fun as ‘driving stick’ (as manual transmission driving is often referred to), BUT  it sure makes a difference when hauling heavy loads of freight or when towing something else!

Automatic gear selection, by means of the ‘automatic’ transmission,  means that it selects based on the anticipated needs of the engine and picks in response to a variety of inputs in receives (engine vacuum, road speed, throttle position and more), and here is the key… TO KEEP AND MAINTAIN THE BEST APPLICATION OF POWER.

That is its ultimate function and how it contributes best to the functioning, motion and ‘drive-ability’ of your car. It substitutes the normal clutch/manual transmission system of driving stick or manual shift as it is also called.  Fluid coupling,  allowing for slight controlled slipping between the engine and transmission, with tiny hydraulic valves controlling the application of different gear ratios on demand by the driver, or in a preset response to engine conditions and road speed. The basic components of an automatic transmission are: the fluid coupling or torque converter, the gear assembly and the propeller shaft.

Electronic controlled transmissions mostly utilize solenoids for the gear selection, combines with and through microcomputer control.

Simply put, the automatic car transmission operates on a principle that fluids can not be compressed and that when they are in fact put into motion, it will cause a similar reaction upon any resisting force, also referred to in automotive terms as ‘the law of fluids’.

Understanding the components and functioning of your remanufactured automatic transmission, can also assist you better in making your selection and/or installation easier.

Examples of popular car transmissions

Some of the best known automatic car transmission families include:

  • General Motors: Powerglide, Turbo-Hydramatic 350 and 400, 700R4, 200-4R (also 4L60-E, 4L80-E, 4L65-E)
  • Ford: Cruise-o-matic, FMX, C4, C6, AOD, E4OD, ATX, AXOD, AX4S, AX4N
  • Chrysler: Torqueflite 727 and 904, A500, A518, 45RFE, 545RFE
  • Borg-Warner
  • ZF Friedrichshafen AG
  • Voith Turbo
  • Aisin AW; Aisin AW is a Japanese automotive parts supplier, known for its automatic transmissions and navigation systems.
  • The Honda automatic transmission, does not contain any planetary gear sets. It sports and functions through what is essentially a robotized manual gearbox, with a torque converter in the place of a conventional clutch.
 
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