Understand Differentials

A differential - regardless of if it’s a used one from an Auto Salvage Yard or a new one from a dealership - is a certain type of device that is supposed to split the engine torque in two separate ways. This is what allows each output to spin at a different speed. You can pretty much find it on all present-day cars and trucks.

We’re just going to jump right into it, okay?

The differentials on your car have three main jobs:

1. Direct the power of the engine to the wheels.
2. Serve as the final gear reduction in your car; slows the rotational speed of your transmission one last time before it actually hits the wheels.
3. Pass on the power to the vehicle’s wheels while at the same time, allowing them to go around at different speeds.

The Reasons That You Need Differentials
Did you know that your car wheels spin at different speeds? Whether you bought them from the same Auto Salvage Yard or from different wheel places, they’re going to spin at different speeds - especially when you’re turning. Each wheel that’s on your car will travel a different distance when you turn; your inside wheels will usually travel the shorter distance.

More on Open Differentials
Open differentials will always apply the same amount of torque to each wheel on your vehicle.

When your car is driving straight down the road, both of the drive wheels on your vehicle are spinning at the same speed. There’s input pinion that’s turning over the ring gear and cage; none of the pinions that are within the cage are rotating. The input pinion is a smaller gear than the ring gear - it’s the last gear reduction that’s in the car.

When you want to make a turn, the wheels have to spin at different speeds. When you turn the steering wheel, the pinions that are located in the cage start to spin at the same time that car starts to turn - this is what allows the wheels to move at different speeds. The inside wheel will usually spin slower than the cage and the outside wheels will spin faster.

The Deal With Differentials & Traction
There are two main factors that will determine how much torque is allowed to be applied to the wheels: equipment & traction. If you drive in dry conditions (where there is usually plenty of traction), the total amount of torque that’s applied to the wheels is limited by both the engine and the gearing. When it comes to driving in low traction conditions, the amount of torque is then limited to the greatest amount that will not cause one of your wheels to slip under those scary conditions.

Clutch-Type Limited Slip Differential
Usually known as the clutch-type LSD - it’s the most common differential that there is. This one has all the same components as the open differential, the only thing is that it adds a spring pack and a set of clutches.

The spring pack is there so it can push the side gears against the clutches - these are attached to the cage. Both of the side gears will spin when both of the wheels on your vehicle are moving at the same speed. I guess you can say that the clutches aren’t really needed; the only time that they’re really used is when something happens to make one wheel spin faster than the other, like a turn or something. I’m not saying you should give your clutches to an Auto Salvage Yard since you don’t need them, they’re still apart of the car, just not used .. you know what I mean?

I think this is enough information, don’t you?