Vehicles with automatic transmissions have a flex plate. The flex plates connects the engine and transmission. Most flex plates are made of a thick piece of sheet metal with bolt holes for the torque converter and teeth for the starter. The job of a flex plate is to allow for expansion of the torque converter as engine RPM increases. The constant expansion and contraction of a flex plate over time can result cracks and/or shearing of the flex plate. A damaged flex plate can create serious.. (more)
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Even though they both turn the crank on startup, the flywheel and the flexplate are different parts. Your Ford E-200 Econoline isn't going to have a flywheel if it has an automatic transmission. Mounted to the front of your transmission is the torque converter, and as the engine revs up it applies some resistance so that the torque is delivered gradually. Those holes in your Ford E-200 Econoline flexplate act as voids that allow it to flex as the torque converter resists its momentum; ensuring smooth acceleration across the power band.
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