How to run an automatic trans without the torque converter?

How to run an automatic trans without the torque converter?

Joined: April 4th, 2010, 10:21 pm

March 14th, 2012, 3:57 pm #1

This is something I have heard about since I was a kid working at an auto parts store.

Supposedly there have been people who have run an automatic tranny for some class of racing without the torque converter.

How does this work?
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Joined: July 17th, 2011, 7:07 pm

March 14th, 2012, 4:22 pm #2


This used to be called a "Clutch Flite"... basically a Chrysler 727 Torque Flite with a clutch in place of the torque convertor.

Custom pressure plate with a drive tube to turn the trans pump and seal the trans oil.

Release brg rides on the tube, and custom input shaft splined to the clutch disk.

I think someone sold this setup as a package at one time...

I have also seen  a GM PowerGlide with no T/C and no clutch, in a circle track car.

It used ball valves to allow turning the oil pressure "on" and "off" to engage the trans.

Direct drive from the engine to the trans.
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Joined: November 18th, 2004, 4:20 am

March 14th, 2012, 6:09 pm #3

I built several clutch flites in my younger years.
Go like raped snakes.
No overheating because there was no convertor.
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Joined: July 17th, 2011, 7:07 pm

March 15th, 2012, 4:34 am #4


I forgot to mention...

Building a Clutch Flite requires you to cut the bellhousing off the 727, and use longer pump bolts, to bolt on a custom bellhousing that is setup for a clutch release arm.

The cool thing about the Clutch Flite was, you have a clutch for launch, and clutchless shifting after that. Very hi tech in it's day.

These days there are many "clutchless" racing trannys that have made the ol' Clutch Flite obsolete.
Last edited by galaxiex on March 15th, 2012, 4:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: November 18th, 2004, 4:20 am

March 15th, 2012, 12:51 pm #5

This is something I have heard about since I was a kid working at an auto parts store.

Supposedly there have been people who have run an automatic tranny for some class of racing without the torque converter.

How does this work?


It is used for Torqueflite, TH400, C6.
Last edited by stuart40a on March 15th, 2012, 12:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: April 4th, 2010, 10:21 pm

March 15th, 2012, 7:46 pm #6

And thanks for answering my question on this as it has been bugging me for years.
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Joined: November 18th, 2004, 4:20 am

March 16th, 2012, 11:57 am #7

I've never heard of one running on the street.

Back in the old days there was a standard transmission with a torque convertor and conventional clutch.
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Joined: April 4th, 2010, 10:21 pm

March 16th, 2012, 9:13 pm #8

That is a new one on me.
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Rich S.
Rich S.

March 16th, 2012, 9:43 pm #9

From wikipedia (who explains it better than I could...

Officially called the Volkswagen Automatic Stickshift, this transmission was a three speed manual transmission connected to a vacuum-operated automatic clutch. When the driver put their hand on the gearshift the clutch would disengage by a 12volt solenoid operating the vacuum clutch, allowing shifting between gears, once they removed their hand the clutch would re-engage automatically. The transmission was also equipped with a torque converter, allowing the car to idle in gear, like an automatic. The torque converter was operated by transmission fluid. This would allow the car to stop in any gear and start from a standing stop in any gear. This transmission was first available on the 1967 Volkswagen Beetle, and was made available on the Karmann Ghia in 1967. VW dropped the transmission option altogether in 1976.

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Joined: November 18th, 2004, 4:20 am

March 19th, 2012, 10:01 am #10

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