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Off-road Parts: Differentials and U-bolts in the Philippines

What are the different types of differentials used in cars?

  1. Open differential
  2. Limited slip differential
  3. Torque vectoring differential


Vehicles today have become so advanced that most of them already boast a number of interesting features. From infrared warning systems to automatic brakes, so many features contribute to the safety and efficiency of these vehicles. It’s important, however, to take a look at some of the older or less known components. In the Philippines, U-bolts are parts that when reinforced can increase reliability and structural rigidity of vehicles.

Aside from that, the part that has gone through a lot of iterations over the course of centuries is the differential. Nowadays, there are three main kinds of differentials—all of which have their own uniqueness to them.


Open Differential

Open Differential

This is the most basic form of the differential. It’s comprised of two halves of an axle with a gear on each end. They’re connected by a third gear, creating three sides of a square. In most vehicles, there’s another fourth gear to help add strength to the whole mechanism.

It’s further augmented by a ring gear which holds the core gears in place. the ring gear is connected via a pinion gear—enabling it to be power the wheels.

The open differential focuses on enabling the axle to smoothly corner by allowing the wheel on the outside of the turn to move faster in relation to the one on the inside.


Limited Slip Differential

This differential is the combination of the Open Differential and what is commonly known as the Locked Differential. The LSD has two primary types, but for now, the focus will be on the Mechanical Clutch LSD.

Picture the mechanism of an open differential. Now, surround the core gearings with pressure rings. These will exert force on two sets of clutch plates positioned along with the gears. These would then provide resistance to the independent motion of the wheels, changing the effect of the differential from open to locked.

The mechanical clutch LSD has three subtypes:

  1. One-way LSD – These only exert pressure under acceleration.
  2. Two-way LSD – Exerts pressure during acceleration and deceleration for added stability.
  3. One-and-a-half way LSD puts more focus and pressure during acceleration than on deceleration rather than providing equal pressure to both.

One thing worth noting is that mechanical LSDs need regular maintenance in order to keep them operational for the long run. They’re prone to wearing out so it needs to be well-kept.


Torque Vectoring Differential

Torque Vectoring Differential

TVDs are a step above the other two. Its systems are able to manipulate the vector of the vehicle in and out of the turns by encouraging specific wheels to receive much more torque at certain moments. This then improves overall cornering performance.

The TVD itself usually tricks the whole system in order to divert more torque through them. It does, however, increase the amount of power that can be applied and reduce the understeer experience.

The only disadvantage to TVD is that it’s very complicated and expensive. For general purposes, it’s not practical to have, however for racing and track applications, these are essential because of their highspeed cornering potential.


Key Takeaway

In the Philippines, U-bolts and differentials are some of the more underappreciated parts of cars. However, over the years, these components, particularly the differentials have made automobiles incredibly efficient to use and has opened up to more possibilities for better, faster, and safer vehicles.

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