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"Sidewise" 4WD

"Axles" run front to back
 
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This idea is inspired by the drive systems found on the Jeep Hurricane concept and on the Batmobile in "Batman Begins."

Start with a longitudinally mounted engine, with a transmission and differential bolted on directly, essentially a transaxle like those found on mid-engine supercars and on newer Corvettes.

The halfshafts coming out of this transaxle would each go to two differentials on either side of the transaxle.

Out of these, a halfshaft runs to each wheel, where bevel gears, universal joints, and trailing-arm suspension connect them to the spindles. It might be possible to replace both the front-back halfshafts and the trailing arms with single torque tubes running to each wheel.

The center differential, then, works like the front and rear differentials in a normal 4WD vehicle, and the two side differentials control the front-rear distribution like a center differential or transfer case in a normal 4WD car.

This system has the advantage of the symmetrical drivetrain layout and independent suspension normally associated with AWD cars; but the ruggedness and modular design of a 4WD truck.

Since all three differentials are within a few feet of each other, it would be much easier and simpler to install and control things like torsen or locking differentials. It also offers better ground clearance than either system, because there are no axles or A-arms between the tires to get caught on obstacles.

discontinuuity, Jan 18 2006

How the Jeep Hurricane Concept Car Works http://auto.howstuf...jeep-hurricane3.htm
In case you were wondering about the inspiration for this idea. Good diagram of the drivetrain layout for comparison. [jurist, Jan 18 2006]

[link]






       Parallel parking's a problem?
coprocephalous, Jan 18 2006
  

       Yes, this would be essentially the same as the Jeep Hurricane, except it would only have the one engine with no crazy linkage between them, and with a different suspension setup. You could always steer each wheel independantly, but that would not really be necessary for everyday driving.
discontinuuity, Jan 18 2006
  

       I've had this idea myself, but dcided that for performance reasons, the conventional layout was generally preferable. [Jurist] seems to be right stating that the Hurricane works this way, albeit with two motors, but the Hurricane is only a concept right now so I'd say this idea is still half-baked.
5th Earth, Jan 18 2006
  

       Why not just one hugely complicated differential in the middle of the car with halfshafts coming out of it and going diagonally to the four wheels?
hippo, Jan 20 2006
  
      
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