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Transmissions: Thrust washer introduction…

Lets discuss what we call “thrust washers” inside 99% of all automatic transmissions. Thrust washers are buffers, made out of softer metals than the sufaces they are protecting. They protect by being a buffering agent between two hard metal surfaces that are not supposed to touch.

Here is a look at a thrust washer set:

T-35 Thrust washers

T-35 Thrust washers

The preponderance of thrust washers are coated with brass. Brass is softer than the steel parts they seperate and has self lubricating properties. In my shop, we trash all thrust washers during the course of rebuilding a transmission. A washer set is affordable and in the picture below you can see a worn thrust washer. Which probably caused the transmission to fail. When the brass particles shed from the wear of the washer and get mixed with the transmission fluid ( giving it a metal flake gold tint) the valves in the valve body start to stick, which causes shifting problems and ultimate failure. The valve body is the brain of your transmission, in essence, your transmission had a “stroke”.

Picture of bad thrust washers.

T-35 Bad washers..

T-35 Bad washers..

The bottom washer in the picture is brass coated and rides on the shiny metal washer as a buffer. By looking in the previous photo at the top two washers on the left, we can see how nice and pretty the new ones are. Based on the low cost of a washer kit, it is not worth re-usng old thrust washers when you stand a big risk of the transmission become re-damaged by reusing a ‘good looking’ used washer.

Of course the automatic transmission fluid is the lubricant for washers and has to be maintained (a transmission service at recommended intervals) on a regular bases to maintain it’s integrity.

One last truth about transmissions, any supplier who offers you a “rebuilt” transmission with ‘good used’ washers or bearings is a good sign to politely leave and find an other transmission shop. Of course if you want to save time and money you can take my advise. only sell transmissions with “new” thrust washers and all soft parts for that matter, Trust me, call the specialists at @ 866-320-1182 for more information from a real person.

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