Portal Hubs Explained | Do I need them?
It may seem a silly question, but why on earth would anyone direct drive huge 40" (or larger) tyres via a low gear ratio transfer case all via a 1.50" (38mm) or 1.75" (44mm) axle? When 4WD vehicles had 30" and 31" Tyres in the 80's and 90's, enthusiests would often break axles and CV joints if we tried to fit bigger engines, larger tyres and/or wheels.
Over the years, Off Road Racing and ULTRA 4 Rock Racing, and Rock Bouncing Vehicles have increased their tyre size signifiantly and 37", 39", 40", 44" tyres are quite common at events every weekend.
When you think about the task competitors are asking a direct driven axle and CV joint to perform, you would be insane to direct drive a large off road tyre.
Lets take a look at some vehicles that were designed from day one to drive "large" off road tyres in the dirt, not built from car parts that were "increased" in size.
You should note that none of the vehicles shown above drives the wheels directly via an axle. Off Road Vehicles have a small gearbox at each driven wheel which increases the axle torque between 200% and 1000%. An axle that is driven into a 2:1 gearbox can drive a wheel twice as large as an axle that drives a wheel directly.
Off Road Race and Rock Racing vehicles have evolved alot over the years, but the basic designs are all build aroud OEM direct axles and Drivetrain systems that started their life on Passenger Vehicles. Most off road "Race Components" you see on buggies and trucks are typically "Larger" versions of what you can purchase from your local Auto Spares Shop every day.
So lets put things in perspective. If a medium sized pickup truck, Jeep, or 4WD that has a 1.25" Axle, designed to drive 33" tyres is modified for competition with a big horsepower engine, a special low range Transfer Case and Low Range diff ratios, the Axle could easily experience 500% to 2000% more torque/load than driving on the highway and occassionally seeing a weekend of 4 Wheeling.
200% -300% Torque
Special Low Range Transfer Case
High Ratio Differentials
Updating mid sized truck diffs and CV Joints with 35, 40 or even 44 Spline Axles does not realy fix the problem. Off Road Competitors apply 5 to 20 times the torque to his axles than the manufacturer intended. Have a look at all the exploded and broken compoenents below, many of which were broken whilst they were used at competition events less than 10 miles in duration. Imagine if a tractor or harvester broke drivetrain parts every 10 or even 100 miles of use?
Off Road Enthusiests and Competitors have started to "expect" to regularly break drivetrain components and keep buying bigger and bigger versions of the same part, INSTEAD of looking at the root cause of the problem and an effective solution.
Competitors are breaking massive 40 Spline Hollow Axles, asking them to "Direct Drive" massive 40" and 44" tyres using big horsepower engines, low ratio Transfer Case Gears and High Ratio Diff Gears. Portal Hubs are Ideal for ULTRA 4 Rock Racing, Rock Crawling and Off Road Vehicles. Portal hubs HALF the stress on your axle and DOUBLE the torque applied to the wheel - SIMPLE.
Vehicles fitted with Portal Hubs have 50% less stress placed on the CV Jionts, Axles and of course the Diff Components
Typical OEM axle that has been over stressed by a big engine, big tyres and super low range transfer case. Portal buns multiple the axle torque by 200% and reduce the axle load and stress by 50% Portal hubs are perfect for ULTRA4 Off Road Racing and Rock Racing Vehicles
Another Example of an axle that is being asked to drive a big off road tyre. Tractors, Haul Trucks, Front End Loaders all drive the large wheels via a reduction hub in the wheel. Asking a CAR axle (OEM or Competition Made) to drive 40" or larger tyres direct (Without a reduction hub) is madness.
Directly Driving a large tyre in Off Road Motorsports is a bad idea. Large wheels should be driven by a reduction in the wheel end, to reduce the stress placed on the axles, CV joints and Differential Components
Running a Portal Hub Doubles the Torque At the Wheel and HALVES the stress on the axle. Asking a 35 spline axle to drive a 40" or taller tyre is a big ask... Use a reduction drive for your next ULTRA 4 vehicle or Rock Bouncing Rig
No More Broken Ring and Pinion Sets when you run a Portal Drive. Running a portal drive HALVES the stress on your ring and pinion. Imagine a 20" Diameter Ring and Pinion driving your car? That is what a Portal Hub provides. The hub is effectively doubling the strength of your Differential Components
Running Proformance Portal hubs will HALF the stress that your differential ring gear and pinion experience. Portal hubs multiple the AXLE torque by 200% and reduce the DIFF STRESS by 50% This is significant.
Direct Driven Axles are often broken by excessive torque that is applied in Rock Racing and Ultra 4 Motorsport events. Direct driving massive off road tires is not ideal any more. The tires in ULTRA 4 Racing and Rock Bouncing are so large that even 40 and 44 spline axles are being broken Poral Hubs half the torque at the axle and double the torque at the wheel, reducing Axle stress by 50%. More Race Finished - More race Wins - Simple
Axles that are twisted will be a thing of the past when you run Portal Hubs in your next Rock Race Truck or ULTRA 4 Buggy. Portal Hubs reduce the stress on axles by 50% and DOUBLE the axle torque at the wheel end.
Yet another example of a broken axle/stub shaft that was asked to run Large Diameter Off Road Tires. Running portal hubs DOUBLES the strength of your Rock Racer or Ultra 4 Vehicle Portal Hubs reduce the stress on your stub axles, CV Joints and Differentials by 50% and increase Torque at the wheel by 200%
Portal Hubs will reduce the possibility of breaking axles by 50%. The portal hub reduction increased the strength of your axles by 200% and decreased the axle loads by 50%
Portal hubs Reduce the stress on your ULTRA 4 CV Joints and Half Shafts by 50% and increase the torque at the wheel by 200% No More Broken CV Joints
Can you believe ULTRA 4 Rock Racers are now starting to break, stretch and explode the largest CV used, the monster series 30 CV Joint. There must come a time when competitors will realise that direct driving those massive tyres will require axles so large that they will simply NOT fit inside the diff housing. Portal hubs reduce the stress on your axles by 50% and increase the torque at the wheel by 200%
IFS or Live Axle, the ULTRA 4 Competitors manage to break every drivetrain component imaginable. 35 Spline Axles, 40 Spline Axles, 44 Spline Axles, Series 21 and Series 30 Ultra 4 Joints - What next? Running a Portal hub reduced the stress on the axle by 50% or effectively DOUBLES the size of your Axles and CV Joints by 200%. Imagine 3.00" 70 Spline Axles and 10" Diameter CV Joints with 2.0" CV Balls? That is what a Portal Hub would provide if you were using 35 Spline Axles.
Proformance ULTRA 4 - Rock Bouncing - Tuff Truck all demand axles that can drive big horsepower through large tyres. The result - broken axles and Cv joints Portal hubs reduce the stress on your axles by 50% and increase the torque at the wheel by 200%
Vehicles Using Portal Hubs
Reduction and Portal Huns have been used for more than 50 years. A classic example is the Volkswagon Kombi (See the image). Oher examples are shown below:
Agco Spra Coupes
A stock H1 Hummer may appear to have very small CV joints and half shafts compared to today's hand built off road competition vehicles, but the axle torque is multiplied by 200% (actually 191% but lets round things up) at the portal hub. The H1 Hummer was designed from initial concept to drive 37" tyres by engineers that knew the benefits of Portal Hub Drive Systems.
Although a STOCK OEM Hummer Axle is only 28mm (1.125") in diameter, the Portal Hub DOUBLES the torque that the axle provides and HALVES the torque applied to the Axle so you can imagine a 56mm (2.25") diameter 66 spline axle driving the large 37" tyres.
If a 2.25" axle sounds strong, that is only comparing a STOCK, small H1 Hummer axle with a typical axle. Now imagine a Purpose Built, 35 Spline 1.500" Heavy Duty Chrome Moly Axle and Series 21 CV race joint MULTIPLIED by 200% at the Portal Hub.
A 35 Spline axle driving via a portal hub would be like driving your truck with a 3.00" 70 Spline Axle and having 10.0" diameter CV joints with 2.00" CV Balls !!! (Who could break that?)
Running 2", 2.5" or even a 3.0" (As above), 8" or 12" CV Joints in a vehicle is totally rediculous, but this is where the competitors are heading. Everyone is making bigger and bigger axles and CV joints. Competiors that were at one time happy with Dana 44 Diffs and 33" tyres are now using expensive 10" Hand Made Diffs and 40 or 44 spline axles, but I think any engineer would agree, these are only badaids to the root cause of the problem. When will this madness end?
Increased Ground Clearance
Unimog, VW Kombi, Kamaz, Hummer and most Military Vehicles all benefit from the aditional ground clearance provided by Portal Axles (Hubs). The wheel hub (Output) is typically 100-150mm (4-6") below the centre of the Diff providing much more ground clearance.
Fewer Drivetrain Failures
As stated, a 2:1 gearbox places 50% less load on the Axles and CV Joints, so just imagine a 35 Spline 1.5" Axle running through a 2:1 portal hub equates to a 70 Spline 3.0" and you get the idea of the bebefits of a Portal Hub Drive System.
Imagine a Series 21 CV Joint multiplied by 200%. That would be a 10.5" (260mm) Diameter CV joint with massive 2.0" (50mm Balls)
CTIS (Central Tyre Inflation System)
An airline cannot be run through a CV Joint, but when the CV joint sits above the wheel spindle, Central Tyre Inflation becomes a reality. Being able to deflate and inflate your tyres whilst moving provides many benefits in Off Road Situations and Competition Use
Improved Braking Force
The gearbox multiplies the braking force applied at the disc by the gearbox ratio. For example, a 12" rotor connected to a 2:1 portal hub is similar to running a 24" (600mm) Disc Rotor on your vehicle.
Brakes protected from Dirt and Debris
Brakes that are mounted up inside the chassis are protected from the effects of mud, dirt and debris.
Smaller Diffs | Smaller Axles | Less Weight
Running Portal Hubs allows competitors to use much smaller Diffs, Tailshafts, Axles and CV Joints which results in a much lighter drivetrain and of course a much faster vehicle with better suspension and handling
Have a look at the size of the little diffs in a H1 Hummer, but remember to multipy the size by 200% when you look at the torque handling ability of drivetrain
Proformance Portal Hubs
Portal Hubs are not for everyone, but maybe they are just what you need? If you are a serious competitor and getting sick of breaking drivetrain components and the DNF that follows, then talk to our Imagineers about our Portal Hub Systems.
Our Portal Hubs are specifically designed for Off Road Motorsport are made to be light weight yet ultra reliable and are suitable for engines up to 1000HP and tyres up to 44".
For more information about Proformance Portal Hubs for ULTRA4 Racing and Rock Bouncing, click the portal hub image or click here.