The ring and pinion gears are a matched set. They are lapped (meshed and spun together with an abrasive compound on the teeth) at the factory. Then one tooth on each gear is marked to show the correct teeth engagement. Lapping produces quieter operation and assures longer gear life.
The spider gears are a set of small bevel gears that include two axle gears (differential side gears) and hvo pinion gears (differential idler gears). The spider gears mount inside the differential case. A pinion shaft passes through the two pinion gears and case. The two side gears are splined to the inner ends of the axles.
A final drive is that part of a power transmission system between the drive shaft and the differential. Its function is to change the direction of the power transmitted by the drive shaft through 90 degrees to the driving axles. At the same time. it provides a fixed reduction between the speed of the drive shaft and the axle driving the wheels.
The reduction or gear ratio of the final drive is determined by dividing the number of teeth on the ring gear by the number of teeth on the pinion gear. In passenger vehicles, this speed reduction varies from about 3:1 to 5:1. In trucks it varies from about 5:1 to 11:1. To calculate rear axle ratio, count the number of teeth on each gear. Then divide the number of pinion teeth into the number of ring gear teeth. For example, if the pinion gear has 10 teeth and the ring gear has 30 (30 divided by 10), the rear axle ratio would be 3:1. Manufacturers install a rear axle ratio that provides a compromise between performance and economy. The average passenger car ratio is 3.50:1.
The higher axle ratio, 4.11:1 for instance, would increase acceleration and pulling power but would decrease fuel economy. The engine would have to run at a higher rpm to maintain an equal cruising speed.
The lower axle ratio. 3:1, would reduce acceleration and pulling power but would increase fuel mileage. The engine would run at a lower rpm while maintaining the same speed.
The major components of the final drive include the pinion gear, connected to the drive shaft, and a bevel gear or ring gear that is bolted or riveted to the differential carrier. To maintain accurate and proper alignment and tooth contact, the ring gear and differential assembly are mounted in bearings. The bevel drive pinion is supported by two tapered roller bearings, mounted in the differential carrier. This pinion shaft is straddle mounted. meaning that a bearing is located on each side of the pinion shaft teeth. Oil seals prevent the loss of lubricant from the housing where the pinion shaft and axle shafts protrude. As a mechanic, you will encounter the final drive gears in the spiral bevel and hypoid design. as shown in figure 5-13.
Spiral bevel gears have curved gear teeth with the pinion and ring gear on the same center line. This type of final drive is used extensively in truck and occasionally in older automobiles. This design allows for constant contact between the ring gear and pinion. It also necessitates the use of heavy grade lubricants.
The hypoid gear final drive is an improvement or variation of the spiral bevel design and is commonly used in light and medium trucks and all domestic rear- wheel drive automobiles. Hypoid gears have replaced spiral bevel gears because they lower the hump in the floor of the vehicle and improve gear-meshing action.
As you can see in figure 5-13, the pinion meshes with the ring gear below the center line and is at a slight angle (less than 90 degrees). This angle and the use of
Figure 5-13. - Types of final drives.Continue Reading