Title:
Turbine blade tab attachment means for a torque converter dampening spring retainer and a method of manufacturing said attachment means
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
In a turbine assembly, arranged for disposition in a torque converter, having a turbine blade, a turbine shell, and a spring retainer, an attachment means for securing the turbine blade to the turbine shell and the spring retainer, including at least one first blade tab extending outwardly from the turbine blade arranged to engage at least one first slot within the turbine shell and at least one second slot within the spring retainer. The at least one first blade tab is arranged to fix the at least one blade with respect to the spring retainer. In general, the retainer shell comprises an interior surface and an exterior surface, the exterior surface is arranged to contact the turbine shell, and in some aspects, the at least one first blade tab is arranged to be bent to contact the interior surface.



Inventors:
Parks, Kevin (Wooster, OH, US)
Olsen, Steven (Wooster, OH, US)
Application Number:
11/796480
Publication Date:
11/01/2007
Filing Date:
04/27/2007
Assignee:
Luk Lamellen und Kupplungsbau Beteiligungs KG (Buehl, DE)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F01D5/30
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
VERDIER, CHRISTOPHER M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SIMPSON & SIMPSON, PLLC (5555 MAIN STREET, WILLIAMSVILLE, NY, 14221-5406, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. In a turbine assembly, arranged for disposition in a torque converter, having a turbine blade, a turbine shell, and a spring retainer, an attachment means for securing said turbine blade to said turbine shell and said spring retainer, comprising: at least one first blade tab extending outwardly from said turbine blade and arranged to engage at least one first slot within said turbine shell and at least one second slot within said spring retainer.

2. The attachment means of claim 1 wherein said at least one first blade tab is arranged to fix said at least one blade with respect to said spring retainer.

3. The attachment means of claim 2 wherein said retainer shell comprises an interior surface and an exterior surface, wherein said exterior surface is arranged to contact said turbine shell, and wherein said at least one first blade tab is arranged to be bent to contact said interior surface.

4. The attachment means of claim 1 further comprising at least one second blade tab extending outwardly from said turbine blade and wherein said turbine shell further comprises at least one third slot, said at least one second blade tab is arranged to engage said at least one third slot, and said at least one second blade tab is arranged to fix said at least one blade with respect to said turbine shell.

5. The attachment means of claim 1 further comprising at least one third blade tab extending outwardly from said turbine blade and wherein said turbine assembly further comprises a core with at least one fourth slot and wherein said at least one third tab is arranged to engage said at least one fourth slot.

6. In a turbine assembly, arranged for disposition in a torque converter, having a turbine blade, a turbine shell, and a spring retainer, an attachment means for securing said turbine blade, to said turbine shell and said spring retainer, comprising: at least one first blade tab extending outwardly from said turbine blade and at least partially disposed in at least one first slot within said turbine shell and in at least one second slot, within said spring retainer.

7. The attachment means of claim 6 wherein said at least one first blade tab is configured to fix said at least one blade with respect to said spring retainer.

8. The attachment means of claim 7 wherein said retainer shell comprises an interior surface and an exterior surface, wherein said exterior surface is in contact with said turbine shell, and wherein said at least one first blade tab is bent to contact said interior surface.

9. The attachment means of claim 6 further comprising at least one second blade tab extending outwardly from said turbine blade and wherein said turbine shell further comprises at least one third slot, said at least one second blade tab is at least partially disposed within said at least one third slot, and said at least one second blade tab is configured to fix said at least one blade with respect to said turbine shell.

10. The attachment means of claim 6 further comprising at least one third blade tab extending outwardly from said turbine blade and wherein said turbine assembly further comprises a core with at least one fourth slot and wherein said at least one third tab is at least partially disposed within said at least one fourth slot.

11. In a turbine assembly, arranged for disposition in a torque converter, having a turbine blade, a turbine shell, and a spring retainer, an attachment means for securing said turbine blade to said turbine shell and said spring retainer, comprising: a first blade tab extending outwardly from said turbine blade and arranged to engage a first slot within said turbine shell; and, a second blade tab extending outwardly from said turbine blade and arranged to engage a second slot within said turbine shell and a slot within said spring retainer.

12. The attachment means of claim 11 wherein said first blade tab is arranged to fix said at least one blade with respect to said turbine shell and said second blade tab is arranged to fix said blade with respect to said spring retainer.

13. The attachment means of claim 12 wherein said spring retainer comprises an interior surface and an exterior surface, said turbine shell comprises an exterior surface, said retainer exterior surface is arranged to contact said turbine shell exterior surface, said first tab is arranged to be bent to contact said turbine shell exterior surface, and said second blade tab is arranged to be bent to contact said retainer interior surface.

14. In a turbine assembly for insertion in a torque converter having a turbine blade having a first blade tab and a second blade tab, a turbine shell having a first shell slot and a second shell slot, and a spring retainer having a retainer slot, a method for manufacturing an attachment means for securing said turbine blade to said turbine shell and said spring retainer, comprising the steps of: inserting said first tab through said first shell slot; inserting said first tab through said retainer slot; and, manipulating said first tab to fix said blade with respect to said spring retainer.

15. The method of claim 14 wherein said spring retainer comprises a surface and wherein manipulating said first tab further comprises bending said first tab to contact said surface.

16. The method of claim 14 further comprising inserting said second tab through said second shell slot and manipulating said second tab to fix said blade with respect to said turbine shell.

17. The method of claim 16 wherein said turbine shell comprises an exterior surface and wherein manipulating said second tab further comprises bending said second tab to contact said exterior surface.

18. The method of claim 16 further comprising brazing said blade to said turbine shell after inserting said second tab and prior to inserting said first tab.

19. The method of claim 16 further comprising welding said blade to said turbine shell after inserting said second tab and prior to inserting said first tab.

20. The method of claim 14 wherein said turbine assembly further comprises a core with a core slot and said blade further comprises a third tab; and, said method further comprising inserting said third tab through said core slot and manipulating said third tab to secure said blade to said core.

21. The method of claim 20 wherein said core further comprises an interior surface and wherein manipulating said third tab further comprises bending said third tab to contact said interior surface.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C. § 19(e) of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/796,506 filed May 1, 2006.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates generally to torque converters and, more specifically, to a spring retainer attachment using tabs for a torque converter and a method of manufacturing the spring retainer attachment.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This present invention relates generally to a turbine blade tab attachment means for a torque converter dampening spring retainer and a method of manufacturing the attachment means. Torque converters are known in the art having dampening springs and attachment means.

It is well known that a torque converter is used to transmit torque from an engine to a transmission of a motor vehicle. FIG. 1 illustrates a general block diagram showing the relationship of the engine 7, torque converter 10, transmission 8, and differential/axle assembly 9 in a typical vehicle.

As illustrated in FIGS. 2-6, the three main components of the torque converter are the pump 37, turbine 38, and stator 39. The torque converter becomes a sealed chamber when the pump is welded to cover 11. The cover is connected to flexplate 41 which is, in turn, bolted to crankshaft 42 of engine 7. The cover can be connected to the flexplate using lugs or studs welded to the cover. The welded connection between the pump and cover transmits engine torque to the pump. Therefore, the pump always rotates at engine speed. The function of the pump is to use this rotational motion to propel the fluid radially outward and axially towards the turbine. Therefore, the pump is a centrifugal pump propelling fluid from a small radial inlet to a large radial outlet, increasing the energy in the fluid. Pressure to engage transmission clutches and the torque converter clutch is supplied by an additional pump in the transmission that is driven by the pump hub.

In torque converter 10 a fluid circuit is created by the pump (sometimes called an impeller), the turbine, and the stator (sometimes called a reactor). The fluid circuit allows the engine to continue rotating when the vehicle is stopped, and accelerate the vehicle when desired by a driver. The torque converter supplements engine torque through torque ratio, similar to a gear reduction. Torque ratio is the ratio of output torque to input torque. Torque ratio is highest at low or no turbine rotational speed (also called stall). Stall torque ratios are typically within a range of 1.8-2.2. This means that the output torque of the torque converter is 1.8-2.2 times greater than the input torque. Output speed, however, is much lower than input speed, because the turbine is connected to the output and it is not rotating, but the input is rotating at engine speed.

Turbine 38 uses the fluid energy it receives from pump 37 to propel the vehicle. Turbine shell 22 is connected to turbine hub 19. Turbine hub 19 uses a spline connection to transmit turbine torque to transmission input shaft 43. The input shaft is connected to the wheels of the vehicle through gears and shafts in transmission 8 and axle differential 9. The force of the fluid impacting the turbine blades is output from the turbine as torque. Axial thrust bearings 31 support the components from axial forces imparted by the fluid. When output torque is sufficient to overcome the inertia of the vehicle at rest, the vehicle begins to move.

After the fluid energy is converted to torque by the turbine, there is still some energy left in the fluid. The fluid exiting from small radial outlet 44 would ordinarily enter the pump in such a manner as to oppose the rotation of the pump. Stator 39 is used to redirect the fluid to help accelerate the pump, thereby increasing torque ratio. Stator 39 is connected to stator shaft 45 through one-way clutch 46. The stator shaft is connected to transmission housing 47 and does not rotate. One-way clutch 46 prevents stator 39 from rotating at low speed ratios (where the pump is spinning faster than the turbine). Fluid entering stator 39 from turbine outlet 44 is turned by stator blades 48 to enter pump 37 in the direction of rotation.

The blade inlet and exit angles, the pump and turbine shell shapes, and the overall diameter of the torque converter influence its; performance. Design parameters include the torque ratio, efficiency, and ability of the torque converter to absorb engine torque without allowing the engine to “run away.” This occurs if the torque converter is too small and the pump can't slow the engine.

At low speed ratios, the torque converter works well to allow the engine to rotate while the vehicle is stationary, and to supplement engine torque for increased performance. At high speed ratios, the torque converter is less efficient. The torque ratio of the torque converter gradually reduces from a high of about 1.8 to 2.2, to a torque ratio of about 1 as the turbine rotational speed approaches the pump rotational speed. Torque ratio of 1 is called the coupling point. At this point, the fluid entering the stator no longer needs to be redirected, and the one way clutch in the stator allows it to rotate in the same direction as the pump and turbine. Because the stator is not redirecting the fluid, torque output from the torque converter is the same as torque input. The entire fluid circuit will rotate as a unit.

Maximum torque converter efficiency is limited to 92-93% based on losses in the fluid. Therefore torque converter clutch 49 is employed to mechanically connect the torque converter input to the output, improving efficiency to near 100%. Clutch piston plate 17 is hydraulically applied when commanded by the transmission controller. Piston plate 17 is sealed to turbine hub 19 at its inner diameter by o-ring 18 and to cover 11 at its outer diameter by friction material ring 51. These seals create a pressure chamber and force piston plate 17 into engagement with cover 11. This mechanical connection bypasses the torque converter fluid circuit.

The mechanical connection of torque converter clutch 49 transmits many more engine torsional fluctuations to the drivetrain. As the drivetrain is basically a spring-mass system, torsional fluctuations from the engine can excite natural frequencies of the system. A damper is employed to shift the drivetrain natural frequencies out of the driving range. The damper includes springs 15 in series to lower the effective spring rate of the system, thereby lowering the natural frequency.

Torque converter clutch 49 generally comprises four components: piston plate 17, cover plates 12 and 16, springs 15, and flange 13. Cover plates 12 and 16 transmit torque from piston plate 17 to compression springs 15. Cover plate wings 52 are formed around springs 15 for axial retention. Torque from piston plate 17 is transmitted to cover plates 12 and 16 through a riveted connection. Cover plates 12 and 16 impart torque to compression springs 15 by contact with an edge of a spring window. Both cover plates work in combination to support the spring on both sides of the spring center axis. Spring force is transmitted to flange 13 by contact with a flange spring window edge. Sometimes the flange also has a rotational tab or slot which engages a portion of the cover plate to prevent over-compression of the springs during high torque events. Torque from flange 13 is transmitted to turbine hub 19 and into transmission input shaft 43.

Energy absorption can be accomplished through friction, sometimes called hysteresis, if desired. Hysteresis includes friction from windup and unwinding of the damper plates, so it is twice the actual friction torque. The hysteresis package generally consists of diaphragm (or Belleville) spring 14 which is placed between flange 13 and one of cover plates 16 to urge flange 13 into contact with the other cover plate 12. By controlling the amount of force exerted by diaphragm spring 14, the amount of friction torque can also be controlled. Typical hysteresis values are in the range of 10-30 Nm.

A torque converter comprises many parts which must be assembled in a limited space. Axial space is always at a premium, especially in front wheel drive vehicles. Thus, there is a long-felt need for maximizing the efficient use of space within a torque converter to reduce axial space. What is needed, then, is a turbine blade tab attachment means for a torque converter dampening spring retainer and a method of manufacturing the attachment means which efficiently uses axial space to reduce axial displacement of the torque converter.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention broadly comprises, in a turbine assembly, arranged for disposition in a torque converter, having a turbine blade, a turbine shell, and a spring retainer, an attachment means for securing the turbine blade to the turbine shell and the spring retainer, including at least one first blade tab extending outwardly from the turbine blade arranged to engage at least one first slot within the turbine shell and at least one second slot within the spring retainer. The at least one first blade tab is arranged to fix the at least one blade with respect to the spring retainer. In general, the retainer shell comprises an interior surface and an exterior surface, the exterior surface is arranged to contact the turbine shell, and in some aspects, the at least one first blade tab is arranged to be bent to contact the interior surface.

In some aspects, the attachment means includes at least one second blade tab extending outwardly from the turbine blade and the turbine shell includes at least one third slot, the at least one second blade tab is arranged to engage the at least one third slot, and the at least one second blade tab is arranged to fix the at least one blade with respect to the turbine shell. In some aspects, the attachment means includes at least one third blade tab extending outwardly from the turbine blade, the turbine assembly further comprises a core with at least one fourth slot, and the at least one third tab is arranged to engage the at least one fourth slot.

The present invention also broadly comprises, in a turbine assembly, arranged for disposition in a torque converter, having a turbine blade, a turbine shell, and a spring retainer, an attachment means for securing the turbine blade to the turbine shell and the spring retainer, including at least one first blade tab extending outwardly from the turbine blade and at least partially disposed in at least one first slot within the turbine shell and in at least one second slot within the spring retainer. The at least one first blade tab is configured to fix the at least one blade with respect to the spring retainer. In general, the retainer shell comprises an interior surface and an exterior surface, the exterior surface is in contact with the turbine shell, and in some aspects, the at least one first blade tab is bent to contact the interior surface. In some aspects, the attachment means includes at least one second blade tab extending outwardly from the turbine blade, the turbine shell includes at least one third slot, the at least one second blade tab is at least partially disposed within the at least one third slot, and the at least one second blade tab is configured to fix the at least one blade with respect to the turbine shell. In some aspects, the attachment means includes at least one third blade tab extending outwardly from the turbine blade, the turbine assembly includes a core with at least one fourth slot, and the at least one third tab is at least partially disposed within the at least one fourth slot.

The present invention further broadly comprises, in a turbine assembly, arranged for disposition in a torque converter, having a turbine blade, a turbine shell, and a spring retainer, an attachment means for securing the turbine blade to the turbine shell and the spring retainer, including: a first blade tab extending outwardly from the turbine blade and arranged to engage a first slot within the turbine shell; and a second blade tab extending outwardly from the turbine blade and arranged to engage a second slot within the turbine shell and a slot within the spring retainer. The first blade tab is arranged to fix the at least one blade with respect to the turbine shell and the second blade tab is arranged to fix the blade with respect to the spring retainer. The spring retainer comprises an interior surface and an exterior surface, the turbine shell comprises an exterior surface, the retainer exterior surface is arranged to contact the turbine shell exterior surface, and in some aspects, the first tab is arranged to be bent to contact the turbine shell exterior surface, and the second blade tab is arranged to be bent to contact the retainer interior surface.

The present invention broadly comprises a method of assembling a turbine shell assembly, including the steps of: inserting a first tab for a turbine blade through a first slot in the turbine shell; inserting the first tab through a slot in the spring retainer; and manipulating the first tab to fix the blade with respect to the spring retainer. The spring retainer comprises a surface and in some aspects, manipulating the first tab includes bending the first tab to contact the surface. In some aspects, the blade includes a second tab and the method includes inserting the second tab through a second slot in the turbine shell and manipulating the second tab to fix the blade with respect to the turbine shell. The turbine shell comprises a surface and in some aspects, manipulating the second tab includes bending the second tab to contact the surface. In some aspects, the method brazes or welds the blade to the turbine shell after inserting the second tab and prior to inserting the first tab. In some aspects, the assembly includes a core with a fourth slot and the blade includes a third tab. Then the method includes inserting the third tab through the fourth slot and manipulating the third tab to secure the blade to the core. The core includes an interior surface and in some aspects, manipulating the third tab includes bending the third tab to contact the interior surface.

It is a general object of the present invention to provide a turbine shell and spring retainer assembly for a torque converter that minimizes axial space requirements in the torque converter.

It is another general object of the present invention to provide a method of assembling a turbine shell and spring retainer to create an assembly for a torque converter minimizing axial space requirements in the torque converter.

These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will be readily appreciable from the following description of preferred embodiments of the invention, from the accompanying drawings and from the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The nature and mode of operation of the present invention will now be more fully described in the following detailed description of the invention taken with the accompanying drawing figures, in which:

FIG. 1 is a general block diagram illustration power flow in a motor vehicle, intended to help explain the relationship and function of a torque converter in the drive train thereof;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of a prior art torque converter, shown secured to an engine of a motor vehicle;

FIG. 3 is a left view of the torque converter shown in FIG. 2, taken generally along line 3-3 in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the torque converter shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, taken generally along line 4-4 in FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a first exploded view of the torque converter shown in FIG. 2, as shown from the perspective of one viewing the exploded torque converter from the left;

FIG. 6 is a second exploded view of the torque converter shown in FIG. 2, as shown from the perspective of one viewing the exploded torque converter from the right;

FIG. 7 is a back view of a present invention turbine assembly for a torque converter;

FIG. 8 is a side view of the assembly shown in FIG. 7; and,

FIG. 9 is a cross sectional view generally taken along line 9-9 in FIG. 7 of the assembly shown in FIG. 7 in a torque converter.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

At the outset, it should be appreciated that like drawing numbers on different drawing views identify identical, or functionally similar, structural elements of the invention. While the present invention is described with respect to what is presently considered to be the preferred embodiment, it is to be understood that the invention as claimed is not limited to the preferred embodiment.

Furthermore, it is understood that this invention is not limited to the particular methodology, materials and modifications described and as such may, of course, vary. It is also understood that the terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular aspects only, and is not intended to limit the scope of the present invention, which is limited only by the appended claims.

Unless defined otherwise, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood to one of ordinary skill in the art to which this invention belongs. Although any methods, devices or materials similar or equivalent to those described herein can be used in the practice or testing of the invention, the preferred methods, devices, and materials are now described.

FIG. 7 is a back view of present invention turbine assembly 110 for a torque converter (not shown).

FIG. 8 is a side view of assembly 110 shown in FIG. 7.

and FIG. 9 is a cross sectional view of assembly 110 generally taken along line 9-9 in FIG. 7.

FIG. 9 is a cross sectional view generally taken along line 9-9 in FIG. 7 of assembly 110 shown in FIG. 7 in a torque converter. The following should be viewed in light of FIGS. 7-9. Assembly 110 includes present invention turbine blades 120, which are shown in detail in FIG. 9. In some aspects, blades 120 include blade tabs 124 and 126. Assembly 110 also includes turbine shell 130 and spring retainer 140. In some aspects, shell 130 includes slots 132 and 134. FIG. 7 shows blade tabs 124 in registration with (aligned with) and protruding through slots 134. In some aspects, blade tabs 124 are bent onto exterior surface 170 of shell 130.

FIG. 8 shows in further detail spring retainer 140. In some aspects, spring retainer 140 includes two sets of circumferentially disposed retainer slots 142, one set radially outside the other. In the present embodiment, each blade 120 includes two retainer blade tabs 126 in registration with respective slots 142. It should be understood that a present invention assembly is not limited to the number and configuration of slots 142 and tabs 126 shown and that other numbers and configurations of slots 142 and tabs 126 are included within the spirit and scope of the claimed invention. In other aspects, retainer 140 includes four dampening springs 144, coiled into outer lip 146 of spring retainer 140. However, it should be appreciated that the present invention is not limited to the components or number and configuration of components shown for retainer 140 and that other components and number and configuration of components are included within the spirit and scope of the claimed invention.

FIG. 9 shows tabs 124 inserted through outer shell slot 134 of turbine shell 130 and bent. For example, the tabs are bent to contact exterior surface 170 of the shell. FIG. 9 also shows tabs 126 inserted through slots 132 and 142 and bent. For example, the tabs are bent to contact interior surface 172 of the retainer. It should be appreciated that a present invention assembly is not limited to the number and configuration of slots 132 and 134 shown, and that other numbers and configurations of slots 132 and 134 are included within the spirit and scope of the claimed invention. It also should be appreciated that in a present invention assembly, not every turbine blade need include tabs 124 and 126. It should be further appreciated that different blades 120 in a present invention assembly can have different numbers and configurations of tabs.

In some aspects, turbine shell 130 has two inner shell slots 132 and outer shell slot 134 for connection with turbine blades 120. The inner shell slots 132 are arranged such that they are in registration with respective retainer blade tabs 126, and outer shell slot 134 is arranged such that it is in registration with shell blade tab 124. It should be appreciated that this invention is not limited to turbine shell 130 having exactly two inner shell slots 132 and one outer shell slot 134 and that other numbers and combinations of inner and outer slots are included within the spirit and scope of the claimed invention. In some aspects, spring retainer 140 is arranged to include retainer slots 142 in registration with shell slots 132 of turbine shell 130.

In efforts to simplify manufacturing, in some aspects, blades 120 includes blade tab 128 disposed into core slot 152 of core ring 150. In some aspects, tab 128 is bent to affix each turbine blade 120 to core ring 150. For example, the tab is bent to contact interior surface 176 of the core. Core ring 150 serves as a stabilizer for assembly 110, specifically for blades 120. Core ring 150 is shown in FIG. 9 to have one core slot 152 for respective turbine blades 120. Slot 152 is arranged such that it is in registration with a core blade tab 128. It should be appreciated that this invention is not limited the number and configuration of tabs 128 and slots 152 shown and that other numbers and configurations of tabs 128 and slots 152 are included within the spirit and scope of the claimed invention. It also should be appreciated that other means of securing tab 128 to core 150 can be used.

Tabs 124 are disposed into each slots 134, tab 124 are bent to affix the blades to turbine shell 130. Further, tabs 126 are disposed into slots 132 and retainer slots 142, and tabs 126 are bent to affix spring retainer 140 to turbine shell 130 and the blades. Thus, core ring 150, blades 120, turbine shell 130, and spring retainer 140 are attached together.

FIG. 9 shows turbine shell 130 attached to turbine hub 160 by using hub rivet 162. Rivet 162 is shorter than a rivet would need to be if spring retainer 140 extended into this connection. It should be appreciated that this invention is not limited to using a rivet to connect turbine shell 130 and turbine hub 160, and that any connecting means known in the art including but not limited to, welding, staking, bonding, or press-fitting, can be used to connect assembly 200 and turbine hub 160.

In some aspects, turbine blades 120, turbine shell 130, spring retainer 140 and/or core ring 150 are made from stamped steel through rolling, stamping and trimming processes known in the art. Turbine hub 160 is generally made from steel by any casting or machining methods known in the art or from powdered metal. Each dampening spring 144 is made out of coiled steel. It should be appreciated that the present invention is not limited to using steel as the primary material in fabrication.

The present invention also includes in a turbine assembly, for insertion in a torque converter, having a turbine blade having a first blade tab and a second blade tab, a turbine shell having a first shell slot and a second shell slot, and a spring retainer having a retainer slot, a method for manufacturing an attachment means for securing the turbine blade to the turbine shell and the spring retainer. A first step inserts the first tab through the first shell slot. A second step inserts the first tab through the retainer slot. A third step manipulates the first tab to fix the blade with respect to the spring retainer. The spring retainer includes a surface and in some aspect, the third step bends the first tab to contact the surface. A fourth step inserts the second tab through the second shell slot and a fifth step manipulates the second tab to fix the blade with respect to the turbine shell. The turbine shell includes a surface and in some aspects, the fifth step bends the second tab to contact the surface.

In some aspects, a sixth step brazes the blade to the turbine shell after inserting the second tab and prior to inserting the first tab. In some aspects, an seventh step welds the blade to the turbine shell after inserting the second tab and prior to inserting the first tab. In some aspects, the assembly includes a core with a core slot and the blade includes a third tab. Then, an eighth step inserts the third tab through core slot and a ninth step manipulates the third tab to secure the blade to the core. The core includes an interior surface and in some aspects, the ninth step bends the third tab to contact the interior surface.

The following is a discussion of present invention methods with respect to FIGS. 7 through 9. The method described supra includes setting blade 120 into and between turbine shell 130 and core ring 150, inserting tabs 128 through core slots 152 of core ring 150, and inserting tabs 124 through slots 134 of turbine shell 130. Tabs 126 are inserted through shell slots 132. In some aspects, a roller is then passed over tabs 124 to bend shell blade tabs 124 onto the surface 170 to affix turbine shell 130 to turbine blades 120. In some aspects, a roller is also passed over core blade tabs 128 to bend core blade tabs 128 onto core ring 150, affixing core ring 150 to turbine blades 120. The assembly of turbine blades 120, turbine shell 130, and core ring 150 is now treated. The treatment can be brazing, welding, or laser welding and allows for turbine blades 120, turbine shell 130, and core ring 150 to be treated and affixed to each other without exposing spring retainer 140 to the treatment process, which can compromise the hardness of the spring retainer. It should be appreciated that the present invention is not limited to using core ring 150, but that the inclusion of the ring in the method simplifies manufacturing.

Spring retainer 140 is then affixed by aligning spring retainer slots 142 with retainer blade tabs 126 and inserting retainer blade tabs 126 through retainer slots 142. In some aspects, a roller is passed over tabs 126 to bend tabs 126 onto the retainer shell, thus affixing core ring 150, blades 120, turbine shell 130, and spring retainer 140. Turbine assembly 110 can now be used in any number of torque converters known in the art. It should be appreciated that the present invention is not limited to using a roller to bend the tabs and that any means known in the art can be used to secure the tabs to respective surfaces.

It should also be appreciated that the present invention can be implemented into any torque converter known in the art and is not limited to use with any particular size, configuration, or type of torque converter. Further, many torque converters known in the art would benefit from the efficient connection of the spring retainer in the present invention and the method presented and the saving of axial space provided thereby. It should also be appreciated that the present invention can be readily used in a torque converter that makes use of a stator.

Thus, it is seen that the objects of the present invention are efficiently obtained, although modifications and changes to the invention should be readily apparent to those having ordinary skill in the art, which modifications are intended to be within the spirit and scope of the invention as claimed. It also is understood that the foregoing description is illustrative of the present invention and should not be considered as limiting. Therefore, other embodiments of the present invention are possible without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.