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Development of 4WD System for Minivan

Article of Honda R&D Technical Review Vol.16 No.1


A torque on demand 4WD system has been developed with a front engine front drive vehicle as a base to balance traction performance and handling characteristics with fuel efficiency in a minivan. The response of torque to front-rear wheel rotation speed difference were studied to ensure superior traction performance and handling characteristics. The use of an initial torque between the front and rear wheels was considered as a method of improving the response of torque transmitted to the rear wheels when the front wheels slip. Using the Honda dual pump system as a reference, the results of calculations of the required traction force on snow and actual measurement values for tire traction characteristics were employed to find the optimal torque characteristic. As a result, 25% of maximum necessary torque was established as the ideal initial torque. A comparison of the optimal torque characteristic with the torque characteristic of the dual pump system in a simulation of vehicle starting on snow confirmed the effectiveness of the initial torque. It was possible to achieve the optimal torque characteristic with a simple mechanical structure. A one-way cam and a preset pilot clutch were added to the rear final drive unit of the dual pump system. Good fuel efficiency was ensured through setting an appropriate gear ratio for the rear final drive unit. As a result, the newly developed minivan 4WD system meets vehicle performance requirements while weighing only 54kg, making it the lightest in its class.


(1) Suzuki, K., et al.: Development of New Electronic Controlled 4WD System for Passenger Cars, 1998 JSAE Annual Congress Proceedings, No. 75-98, p. 1-4 (1998)
(2) Arai, K., et al.: Dual Pump System ni tsuite, Hydraulic and Pneumatics, 401, Vol. 33, No. 7, p. 70-76 (1994) (in Japanese)
(3) Hamada, T., et al.: Weight Savings of 4WD Vehicles by Optimizing Distribution of Torque between Front and Rear Wheels, Transactions of Society of Automotive Engineers of Japan, Vol. 24, No. 4, p. 99-103 (1993)
(4) Matsuno, K., et al.: Present Status and Future Trend of 4WD Technology, Journal of Society of Automotive Engineers of Japan, Vol. 57, No. 1, p. 70-74 (2003)

Author (organization or company)

Kentaro ARAI(Tochigi R&D Center)、Takaki YAMAOKA(Tochigi R&D Center)

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