Four Wheeler Parts for 4WD Vehicles
Right, so you are now the proud owner of a 4WD and you’d like to know what makes it different from a normal rear wheel or front wheel only drive system? For this, you have to understand four wheeler parts.
Main parts of 4WD’s
Any four wheel drive will have a front and rear differential, transfer casing and – as additional components – it has to use locking hubs and advanced electronics to ensure proper traction control.
Differentials are present in between both the front wheels and the rear wheels. Hence, in total, there are two differentials which are responsible for transferring torque from the driveshaft to the transmission. This component is also responsible for spinning each wheel at a different speed through turns.
During a turn, the wheels to the inside will be set on a more direct path than those on the outside. Similarly, the front wheels and back wheels will all have different paths, which means that they have to spin at different speeds to maintain full traction. This is where the differential comes into the picture as it allows each wheel to regulate speed as needed. The transfer case also assists in doing this.
The next component of four wheeler parts is the transfer case, which is needed to relocate total power produced in the engine between the front and back differentials. Coming back to the turning motion of a 4WD vehicle, the differentials handle individual speed requirements while the transfer casing takes care of speed differentiation between the front and back differentials. It is thanks to the transfer case that 4WD’s can perform well on just about any surface.
4WD systems with part time transfer casing allow the front and back axles to lock together when the wheels are traveling on a low traction surface. This allows the front wheels to skid during a turn and save energy. However, on surfaces such as concrete which have high traction, doing this will give rise to jerkier turns and extra wear and tear of the drive train and tires.
A few advanced transfer cases will provide a gear range in the low setting where the speed of the vehicle will not exceed 5mph but will produce enormous torque at each wheel, making it capable of climbing the steepest of hills.
These are usually situated on the front wheels and are needed to lock them on front axle together or disengage them in such a manner as they are free to turn on their own. This ensures that the wheels are either left disconnected from the differentials or connected with them. In the former situation, it becomes a two wheel drive vehicle, while in the latter situation it becomes a four wheel drive.
In the past, the locking hub had to be disengaged or engaged by stepping out of the 4WD vehicle. Today, this can be done automatically from within the vehicle the moment a person switches over into the four wheel drive mode. The system of locking hub uses a sliding collar, which locks the half-shafts in the front with the hub. It is the same for both automatic and manual locking hubs.
Advanced electronics are not only exclusive to 4WD vehicles; they are also monumental in 2WD vehicles and can range from ABS to traction control. Some four wheeler parts ensure that advanced electronics are hardwired into them such as the clutch system that regulates the proper distribution of torque to the wheels from the engine.