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Wednesday, December 7, 2022
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How to Kill Your Driveline

 photo by JackF via iStock

No one likes breaking stuff on their beloved rig. It usually turns into a very expensive repair and may even leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere. 

Parts don’t just break though. As soon as we become aware of the circumstances in which failures start to happen we can avoid them. Therefore, saving money and keeping our 4WD in one piece. 

Today we’re about how to kill your driveline, just so you know what to avoid. 

Launching the Front Wheels

4x4 in the air after launching over a hill

 photo by MousePotato via iStock

When an obstacle looks a bit too intimidating, we tend to go faster at it. Speed can many times send the front wheels off the ground. When they come down again, the violent impact and the sudden stop of rotational speed increases the risk of breaking your CV axles or even differential. 

A good way to avoid this is to let off the throttle when you feel the front wheels come off the ground. If you have lockers, you may be able to use them to slowly crawl up the obstacle. 

How to Kill Your Driveline: Forcing Drive While Stuck

Kill Your Driveline Forcing Drive While Stuck in the mud

 photo by YULIIA LAKEIENKO via iStock

If you are stuck frame deep in slippery mud, then the chances of breaking something are minor. However, if you are hung up on rocks and your wheels still have traction, more throttle will probably lead to breakage. 

The best thing to do here is to get out of the vehicle and assess why you are stuck or use a spotter to help you out. 

Reverse Gear is the Weakest

Gears

 photo by Phantom1311 via iStock

The teeth in your differentials are built to go forwards. When reversing, you expose the teeth to their weaker side. Therefore, avoid performing a recovery when driving backwards, and when stuck, don’t force too much power through reverse gear. 

How to Kill Your Driveline: Driving Too Hard

 Kill Your Driveline by Driving Too Hard over rocky terrain and mud

 photo by christys66 via iStock

This may sound obvious to many, but not all. Being too sharp on the throttle and brakes puts unnecessary stress on your drivetrain; therefore, you should avoid it. Hitting obstacles too hard will also guarantee breakages. It may not happen at first go, but it will at some point. 

CV Axle Angles

CV Axle Angles

 photo by Jason Finn via iStock

There are two ways you can end up with bad CV angles. The first one applies to both solid axle and IFS (Independent front suspension) vehicles. 

When in full steering lock your CVs are at their weakest possible angle. Therefore, if you are bogged and apply throttle you increase the possibilities of breaking a CV. Try to have the wheels slightly turned rather than on full lock. 

The second way applies only to IFS vehicles. Lift kits for this kind of suspension setup will change the angles of your CVs. This change in angle means they will be more prone to failure. For a lift kit up to 2 inches, this is not an issue. The angles start to become problematic above the 2-inch mark. 

Learn More:

How to Kill Your Driveline: Using Your Diff Lockers Wrong

using your diff lockers wrong

Using your diff lockers on a grippy surface while turning will lead to high stresses in your driveline. If no wheel can spin freely all that stored energy will end up breaking something. 

Using 4WD on Tarmac

4WD shifter

 photo by MG_54 via iStock

It can happen to all of us, you are in a hurry to arrive at the next destination, and you forget to disengage 4WD after exiting the trail. It usually isn’t too big of a deal. The best thing to do is get on a loose surface to help release the energy stored in your driveline. After that, you can disengage 4WD and continue your journey. 

How to Kill Your Driveline: Using Non-Genuine Parts

Kill Your Driveline by Using Non-Genuine Parts

 photo by wattanaphob via iStock

If you are buying replacement parts that are not genuine you are increasing the chances of breaking something out on the trail. There is a reason these parts are cheaper and that’s down to the lack of trial and testing the manufacturer puts into their parts. 

It doesn’t matter what brand of vehicle you own, always use genuine parts. 

Of course, there are some accessories that strengthen parts, those are great. This is referred to cheaper aftermarket ball joints or CVs for example. Those will only create a weak point in your vehicle’s driveline. 

The above were some of the most common ways driveline parts tend to break. If you keep these in mind and try to avoid them while off-roading you will eliminate the cost and headache of broken parts. 

What do you think? Are there any other ways that will guarantee broken parts? 

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