A Five-Speed Starting Clutch Automatic Transmission Vehicle 2003-01-0248
A wet multi-plate clutch, designated as the “starting clutch”, is used to replace the torque converter in the automatic transmission in order to improve vehicle fuel economy. The transmission ratio spread must be increased to compensate for the torque multiplication of the torque converter and avoid penalizing the 0-60 mph acceleration performance. The main challenge of this concept is the control of the starting clutch to ensure acceptable vehicle drivability. This paper describes the system of a five-speed starting clutch automatic transmission vehicle and shows vehicle test results. Vehicle test data show that (i) the fuel economy benefit of the starting clutch is significant, and (ii) a starting clutch transmission can be designed to equal or better the 0-60 mph acceleration performance of a torque converter transmission by proper selection of the gear ratios.