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Some lucky souls have the remarkable gift of immediately and completely grasping the functions of an assembly, but for most of us, it takes a while. The differential is a great example of this — an everyday device with simple parts, but their operating principles can be a little hard to understand, even before you start throwing limited-slip devices, lockers, and electronics into the mix.

Fortunately, there’s this neat, old-fashioned, Chevrolet-produced explanation of the bare-bones automotive differential. It looks like it was made in the fifties or so, and even if your understanding of this little piece of the grand automotive puzzle is complete, it’s still a cool video. There are some neat little historic tidbits mixed in, and (weirdly) some synchronized motorcycling at the beginning (skip to around 1:50 if that doesn’t catch your interest). All in all, this is a nifty little throwback with an educational twist, and well worth ten minutes.

How a differential gear works [YouTube]

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6 Responses to It’s Just Cool: Old-Fashioned Differential Tutorial

  1. kyle says:

    you mention limited slipcomplicates the subject but the picture you posted is actually of a limited slip diferential

  2. Lex Dodson says:

    You’re right, that’s a clutch-type LSD. The number of available images was fairly limited, and that was one of few which showed the internals well.

  3. Kurt Schwind says:

    That was the one of the best explanations of the differential I’ve ever seen. Really nice video.

  4. Shopmonger says:

    Yeah and when you want to get really complicated look a Subaru central differential. Same basic concept…but way more advanced….

    nothing like Posi to get your day going…


  5. Constructopolis 2.0 says:

    Hey!! It was the easiest way to learn how a diferential works!!!!!……great find….


  6. Paul says:

    great video, now get one like that for a torsen diff and we’ll all be set!

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