6l80 Torque Converter Failure Symptoms

GM manufactures 6l80 transmissions, which are 6L longitudinally mounted automatic transmissions. Many vehicles use the transmission, including GMC Sierra, Chevy Silverado, etc. There are a few issues with the transmission, one of which is the torque converter failure. The torque converter takes the power from the engine and connects it with the load.

It is one of the crucial components of a vehicle which causes major issues upon failure. You should know about the symptoms of a torque converter failure to avoid any major issues. I have discussed 6 symptoms of 6l80 torque converter failure in this article.

Torque converter failure symptoms include clunking noise, shuddering noise, vibration, gear slipping, burning smell, missing gear etc. Let’s discuss them thoroughly.

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1. Shuddering Noise

Shuddering noise while driving is a big indication of torque converter failure. Torque converter connects the engine with the transmission. It contains flywheels, pumps, impeller, housing, etc. These can corrode over time and cause shuddering noise. You may also find metal shavings in the oil filter.

It indicates that the torque converter is failing. Generally, a torque converter lasts the whole lifetime of a vehicle. But, insufficient oil, dirty oil, and corroding gears cause it to fail. The best solution for the issue is to replace the torque converter.

2. Intensive Vibration

Vibration may occur due to many reasons but you need to remember that the torque converter connects the engine with the transmission. So, it is a prime suspect of intensive vibration.

Torque converter contains gears, housing space, impeller, etc. which may become clogged or corroded over time. These complications cause vibration. Changing the oil and servicing the torque converter may fix the issue but it is suggested to replace the converter.

3. Gear Slipping

Gear slipping is generally caused due to transmission issues. But torque converters may also cause gear slipping. The torque converter lets the engine run independently even after being connected to the transmission.

It helps the engine to engage with different gear levels according to necessity. Gears and impellers in the torque converter work with the hydraulic force for gear shifting.

4. Burning Smell

Worn-out rubber sealing may cause oil leaking from the torque converter. Sometimes, it jams, or the internal friction causes heat, which burns the oil. A burning smell may also come from the engine and transmission.

But you should also check the torque converter alongside the engine and transmission. Replacing the sealants may solve the oil sipping but the most effective solution is to replace the converter.

5. Clunking Noise

You may also hear a clunking noise from the vehicle. Generally, the pistons in the engine or the transmission cause these noises. However, worn-out gears or loose components in the torque converter may also cause clunking noise.

It is a very disturbing noise and an indication of a major issue with the vehicle. If you don’t diagnose and solve it, it may cause a catastrophic issue. Generally, rebuilding the torque converter may solve the issue, but most of the time, it needs replacement.

6. Gear Missing

Gear missing is another common indication of transmission failure. When the gear dials wear out over time, it is unable to engage or disengage as before. As a result, the gear misses and causes the vehicle to hesitate or stall.

You will find metal shaving in the oil filter along with shuddering noise from the torque converter before facing gear slipping issues. Replacing the torque converter is the only solution to that issue.


What causes the 6L80 torque converter to fail?

The 6l80 torque converter may fail due to worn-out components. It is made of housing, bearings, pumps, impellers, etc. If any of these worn out, the torque converter is likely to fail. There are also other reasons like aging, bad oil, etc. which also cause the failure.

How do you know if a torque converter is bad?

Torque converter connects the engine and transmission. It supplies the engine power and lets it run literately. You may face gear slipping, low acceleration, shuddering or clunking noise, vibration, gear slipping etc. due to a bad torque converter. Your vehicle will misbehave and the performance will be delayed due to a bad torque converter.

Is a torque converter repairable?

Torque converters are tuneable to some extent but it is suggested to replace the converter. It costs $400 to $1000 for replacement. Torque converter generally lasts the whole lifetime of a vehicle.

With proper maintenance of the vehicle, it can last up to 200,000 miles. When there is an issue with the converter, it is because of wear-out components. So, it is better to replace the converter than try to repair it.

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