I'm installing a new flex plate (flywheel) on a 1998 Chevy 3/4-ton with an automatic. The teeth got chewed up by the starter. I installed the plate and the transmission, but there's about a quarter-inch gap between the plate and the torque converter. I’m worried about tightening the bolts.
Answer: The torque converter does slide rearward (toward the transmission) normally when unbolted. You should be able to slide it forward to where it's flush up against the flex plate during installation. Try gently prying on the converter; sometimes spinning the converter as you push also helps. If the converter will not go forward, and/or spin, you've got a problem. It may be the wrong flex plate, or it may even be installed backwards. Whatever you do, do not force it forward or try to draw it in by tightening the bolts. That may cause extensive transmission damage. If it won’t budge, remove the transmission and evaluate.
How To Reach Alex
If you have a technical question regarding your pickup, SUV, or van, feel free to contact Alex, a master technician with the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Send a letter to him in care of Truck Trend Garage, 831 S. Douglas Street, El Segundo, CA 90245, or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the VIN with your question. Due to the volume of questions received every month, we cannot guarantee that everyone's question will be personally answered or will appear in the magazine.
Can't wait for help with a problem you're having with your Truck or SUV? Ask the expert we trust here at Truck Trend Garage -- visit Alex Steele at www.RealWorldAutomotive.com.