Differential Diagnosis and Repair
The differential assembly uses a conventional ring and pinion gear set to transmit the driving force of the engine to the wheels. The open differential allows the wheels to turn at different rates of speed while the axle transmits driving force. This prevents tire scuffing when going around corners and premature wear on internal axle components. Open differentials deliver equal torque to both wheels at all times. When a vehicle is equipped with a standard differential when one tire slips the other wheel does not receive enough torque to move the vehicle. To correct this condition, most manufacturers us a limited-slip differential (LSD).
Many models of all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicles on the road today use a viscous coupled limited-slip differential. The design uses a series of closely positioned plates, which do not physically touch each other. The plates are housed in a sealed chamber, which is filled with a thick and viscous silicone-based fluid. The silicone allows normal speed differences between two shafts, resisting high-speed differences associated with wheel slip/spin.
Some conditions that warrant a drivetrain inspection are:
- Noisy When Coasting
- Intermittent Noise
- Constant Noise
- Noise on Turns