Drivetrain Components : Explained

The drivetrain refers to the components that convert engine brake horse power to wheel horse power. Although the technical definition varies between vehicle types, generally the drivetrain includes; transmission, drive and propeller shafts, the powered axle, differential plus wheels. Vehicle types built for specific terrain travel will have a different drivetrain. To illustrate this, the average car would consume approximately 15% of the engine power – think of your average 4x4 built for off-road includes additional transfer box, transmission brake, locking differential and final drive/portal gear - will often consume closer to 25%. Manual car drivetrain includes the flywheel and clutch. Automatic car drivetrain includes the torque convertor. Front wheel drive car drivetrain include the constant velocity joint (CV joint).

Drivetrain Upgrades

Given the size, scope and variety of drivetrains and the resultant array of components – drivetrain upgrade options are plentiful and something can be found suitable for all budgets.

Transmission Upgrades

The transmission upgrade will likely be a new clutch flywheel, which can come with/without the pressure plate. For the adventurous, you can purchase the clutch components separately; plate discs, clutch cover assembly and clutch plate. For the less-adventurous, you can purchase a clutch kit, compromising of those elements. Alternatively, upgrading the stock gearbox mounts is a more affordable modification.

Drive/Propeller Shaft Upgrades

Uprated raw material such as heat treated alloy bring benefits more accustomed to the particular rigours of the component. Shafts made of alloy with lower stiffness aid the comfort of the ride and will be able to deliver and handle additional torque.

Differential Upgrades

There are a variety of upgrade options to install an uprated differential gear system. Limited slip differentials are designed to direct power away from low resistance toward high resistant paths, reducing lost kinetic energy through traction loss or wheel spin. One-way differentials for front wheel drive vehicles can help reduce torque steer under load. Two-way differentials are for rear and all-wheel drive vehicles. 1.5-way diffs create a differential effect under load or deceleration and are for specialist rear wheel drive vehicles such as drift cars. Other differential options include; viscous diffs, torque sensitive diffs, cone, clutch or plate type diffs.

Quick Shift Kit Upgrade

Aftermarket gear sticks with shorter throws allow for quicker more efficient gear changing when driving aggressively, meaning the clutch is depressed for a shorter time, maximising use of engine power. Some replacements throws will have a satisfying click, or notch to let the operator know the gear was successfully selected. For a modest financial outlay, a manual gearbox with a lazy sensation can be tightened up with this popular modification.





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