Trans & Axles

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Excerpt from:
Evolution of Transmissions and Axles

by Mack Sheesley, Phoenix, Arizona

A standard in drivetrains

By 1930, the system we recognize as standard today, using a disk clutch, a lever shifted gear transmission, a tube-type drive-shaft with universal joints, and an enclosed rear axle had won the truck designers' favor. Practicality had done away with the husky chain drives, the sliding-cone friction clutches, primitively shifted planetary transmissions, experimental belt-drive differentials, and other fanciful chassis gadgetry.

Since then, the blueprints on draftsmen's tables and the machined models in experimenters’ workshops focused on producing clever engineering improvements of these basic components that resulted in the sophisticated truck of today. Despite all the modernization, however, the same basic machinery still spins under there. But instead of a well-trained driver, an electro­mechanical genie monitors, regulates, and shifts.

For the whole story, subscribe to Old Time Trucks® and read the Dec04/Jan05 2004 issue.

   
 

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