CONVENTIONAL DIFFERENTIAL TORQUE DISTRIBUTION
LET’S now look at the same scenario, but this time we’ll leave the locker alone. Remember the small gears that are free to rotate within the carrier and are connected to each axle? Well, they ensure the torque is distributed evenly between both axles and there’s no torque bias to either side.
You still have a potential of 300N of resistive force of friction with the side in the mud, but the side on the road will also only get 300N thanks to the small, freelyrotating gears in the middle of the diff. So that’s a total of 600N. But the good news doesn’t end there.
Have you noticed when you’re pushing a large heavy object like a couch it’s hard to get going, but once it’s moving it seems like it’s not as hard to push? Well, that’s actually a measurable phenomenon known as sliding or kinetic coefficient of friction, and it will be measurably less than the static coefficient of friction.
So now as you put the foot down and start spinning the wheel in the mud, the coefficient of friction will drop from a µ of 0.3 to 0.2. Don’t forget with an open differential the torque on one side is equal to the other, so now instead of 600N we’re down to 400N. In the same scenario we’ve gone from 1300N with a locked differential to 400N with the standard open differential.