Ah, the welded differential, the back bone of any drift missile build. The Welded Differential is becoming very popular in the drift scene, as it is a cheaper option to keep both rear wheels spinning under load, and keeping away those unwanted one-wheel peels.
For those who do not know what a welded differential is, I’ll give you the short answer.
With a normal differential, the wheel on the inside of the turn has to rotate less than the wheel on the outside. This is because the wheel on the outside has a further distance to go, as it is on the long far side of the car from the corner. Bottom line, the outside wheel needs more revolutions than the inside wheel.
When a differential is welded, the axels are almost strung together and both wheels will rotate the same revolutions as each other. The wheels are now spinning at the same speed through a corner. Since the outer wheel needs to rotate a lot more than the inner wheel. The inner wheel is forced to spin at the same amount as the outer wheel. This forces the inner wheel to “skip” across the ground as it were playing a game of hopscotch.
This causes a car with a welded differential to behave very different than most cars on the road.
If you are a street drifter and looking to weld your differential, but are worried about all the stuff people on the internet tell you, I am here to tell you to not worry. Daily driving a welded differential isn’t the end of the world. but there are a lot of precautions and techniques that you should inform yourself with before starting your welded differential journey.
What I could do now is tell you that a welded differential can be dangerous, and will wear the tires quickly. If I did that, we wouldn’t be getting anywhere. I’d be giving you the same story that kids on the internet do. What I’m going to tell you is what it is like to drive these cars on the street, and the way you should adjust your driving to put the least amount of stress on the car when just cruising to and from the shops.
Something you’ll probably want to do before even thinking about welding the differential of your car is to get under it and check out the quality and condition of your drivetrain. This means everything from the clutch all the way back to the axels, and even sometimes the wheel bearings. Welding the differential will put a large amount of stress on these components and the last thing you want is your left axle crumbling to bits mid corner. Get under there, make sure everything’s secure and in good condition. For god sake, weld the differential properly or get someone who knows what they’re doing. Some welds can break fairly easily and it’s not ideal to have your differential full of shards of metal.
Now if you weld your differential, you’re probably a drift nut of some sort. This means that you’re probably wearing a “KILL ALL TIRES” shirt at the moment. With that being said, we won’t touch on the topic of tire conservation. However, we will have to discuss the preservation of everything else. This includes reducing stress on the drivetrain, and the stress in your brain from hearing the constant shck shck**shck while going round every corner. The key to reducing the amount of wheel hop that happens is to take the technical “racing line” through every turn. I know, this isn’t a racetrack, let me explain. The harsher the steering input you give whilst rounding the corner, the more stress and hop there is going to be. That being said, if you’d like to keep your sanity, the racing line is the answer. Let’s be honest though. Us car guys take the racing line through corners anyways!
The racing line can also be described as the “straightest line through a corner.” Since we don’t get any of that wheel hop going in a straight line, doesn’t it make sense that we will get less scrub taking the straightest line through a corner? Notice in the picture above how the red line (racing line) is the straightest of all three lines. This is done by using the full width of the road. This is recommended if you want to reduce the stress that is placed on the drivetrain during corners. If you want to be super hardcore in preserving your tires, you may resort to using the oncoming lane to get the best possible racing line through every corner. I do not recommend this, but the way you drive is up to you.
As if you didn’t already like navigating through the tight and crowded parking lot of your local shopping mall, boy, you’re day is going to get worse with a welded differential. Forget the Toyota Prius. Car parks have moved up to Public Enemy #1 on your list. I should mention that at high speeds and shallow bends, you won’t notice the effects of the welded differential at all. However, in slow, tight corners. All of it comes catching back up to you. The worst is in parking lots, as tricky tight maneuvers are needed to squeeze in and out of parking spaces. Be prepared for a large amount of wheel hop and a large number of shoppers wondering why your car is making strange noises. I should also mention that the effects of the welded diff will doubled when reversing out of a parking space.
Also be prepared for turning heads. Your car may be a rust bucket drift missile, but the combination of the noise from the wheel hop and your eBay stainless steel exhaust is sure to attract some attention from people nearby. That’s what it’s all about, right? When driving my welded diff Toyota Cressida, I’ve gotten so many different reactions. Some point laugh at me, some cheer, some tease, some give me a thumbs up, and most just stand there looking confused. I call those people “the non CTzens.” Point is, no matter what their reaction is, just own it. If they’re confused, explain. If they cheer, honk the horn. If they laugh, it’s okay. Just remember that your car can do maad drifts, and then you’ll feel better. :)
As cheesy as it may sound it’s pretty important. Through all the cringing wheel hop, the constant anxiety and the confusing looks from the non car people, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The car DRIFTS. And it drifts like it never has before. And that’s enough reason to block out the negatives, right? So even though the regular driving is gonna suck, just remember to hoon your missile whenever you can, make it worthwhile for yourself. If you don’t, then maybe welding your diff isn’t for you. If you have any other questions about welded diff driving, leave it in the comments below.
That’s my time guys.
Talk to you soon,
Performance and Luxury