What Is A Flexplate?

Are you curious to know what is a flexplate? You have come to the right place as I am going to tell you everything about a flexplate in a very simple explanation. Without further discussion let’s begin to know what is a flexplate?

Automotive engineering is a symphony of intricate components working in harmony to power vehicles and facilitate their movement. One such critical element, often overlooked but integral to the functionality of automatic transmissions, is the “flexplate.” The flexplate, also known as a flexplate flywheel, serves as a vital link between the engine and the transmission, enabling smooth torque transfer and supporting the vehicle’s overall performance. In this article, we’ll dive into the world of flexplates, their role, construction, and significance in the realm of automotive mechanics.

What Is A Flexplate?

A flexplate is a circular, thin metal plate located between the engine’s crankshaft and the torque converter of an automatic transmission. Its primary function is to transmit the rotational energy generated by the engine’s crankshaft to the torque converter, which then transmits the power to the transmission and subsequently to the wheels.

Construction And Composition

Flexplates are typically constructed from a durable metal material, often steel, that can withstand the high torque and rotational forces generated by the engine. They are designed to be lightweight yet strong, ensuring that they can handle the stresses of engine operation without adding unnecessary weight to the vehicle.

Key Components And Features

  1. Crankshaft Attachment: The flexplate is bolted directly to the engine’s crankshaft. It has a center hole that matches the crankshaft’s diameter, allowing it to be securely attached.
  2. Ring Gear: The outer edge of the flexplate features a ring gear. This gear is engaged by the starter motor’s gear when starting the engine, allowing the starter motor to turn the crankshaft.
  3. Torque Converter Mounting Holes: The flexplate also has holes or slots around the ring gear where the torque converter is attached. The torque converter’s mounting pads align with these holes, ensuring a secure connection.

Functionality And Significance

The flexplate’s role in the operation of an automatic transmission is crucial:

  1. Torque Transfer: As the engine’s crankshaft rotates, the flexplate transfers the torque to the torque converter. This torque transfer is essential for the functioning of the transmission and ultimately the vehicle’s movement.
  2. Starter Engagement: The ring gear on the flexplate is engaged by the starter motor’s gear, allowing the starter to turn the engine over during the starting process.
  3. Dampening Vibrations: Flexplates also play a role in dampening engine vibrations, contributing to a smoother and quieter engine operation.

Conclusion

While flexplates might not be the most attention-grabbing components in an automobile, their significance cannot be overstated. As the bridge between the engine’s power and the transmission’s function, flexplates are integral to the seamless operation of automatic transmissions. By transferring torque, engaging starters, and supporting the overall mechanics of a vehicle, these unassuming circular plates play a pivotal role in ensuring a smooth and reliable driving experience. The next time you step into an automatic transmission vehicle, remember that the unobtrusive flexplate is working diligently behind the scenes to make your journey possible.

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FAQ

Is A Flywheel And Flexplate The Same?

They are similar in overall shape and function, but the flywheel and flex plate come with a number of important differences. The flywheel is found primarily in vehicles that have a manual transmission, whereas the flex plate is found in automatic transmission vehicles.

How Do I Know If My Flexplate Is Bad?

Symptoms of a bad flex plate

  • Clunking, grinding, chirping, or rattling noises from rear of engine when engine is idling.
  • Knocking noise when engine is shifted into drive or reverse.
  • Heavy vibrations felt through the driver’s seat when driving at normal speeds.
  • Rough-running engine.
  • Loss of power at higher speeds.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Flex Plate?

How much is a replacement flex plate? The flex plate or flywheel plate should cost somewhere in the region of $50-160, on average.

What Causes A Flexplate To Fail?

More severe misalignment can break a flexplate in 15,000 to 30,000 miles. Excessive crankshaft flange run-out or end plate can also cause flexplate cracking. This may occur in worn engines or engine that have been poorly rebuilt.

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