The objective of this investigation is to characterize the torsional characteristics of the hydrodynamic torque converter. Analytical and experimental techniques are used to quantify the relationship between torsional oscillations imposed on the pump to those at the turbine as a function of frequency, operating point and design. A detailed model of the hydrodynamic torque converter based upon one-dimensional flow theory is used to establish fundamental torsional behavior independent of the downstream mechanical system. A simplified linear spring-mass-damper representation of the hydrodynamic torque converter is derived whose coefficients are proportional to pump speed for a particular design. A transmission dynamometer test cell with the capability to produce torsional oscillations was used to develop frequency response functions for various torque converters in a transmission, operating at steady state conditions. It was found that the torque converter behaves like a low pass filter with a cutoff frequency dependent upon operating speed, torque and design. Angular vibrations below 20 Hz were found to pass through the torque converter with sufficient energy to excite natural frequencies of downstream drivetrain components.