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Fundamentals of Automotive All-Wheel Drive Systems PD130556ON

This e-seminar provides an introduction to the fundamental concepts and evolution of passenger car and light truck 4x4/all- wheel drive (AWD) systems including the nomenclature used to describe these systems. Basic power transfer unit and transfer case design parameters, component application to system function, the future of AWD systems, and emerging technologies that may enable future systems are covered.

Based on the popular classroom seminar, the four and a half hour course is divided into eight modules accompanied by a handbook. It is an excellent follow-up to SAE's A Familiarization of Drivetrain Components e-Seminar (which is designed for those who have limited experience with the total drivetrain).


By participating in this course, you will be able to:

  • Identify front wheel drive and rear wheel drive vehicle architectures
  • Identify part time, full time, and on demand all-wheel drive systems
  • Explain the benefits of all-wheel drive over two-wheel drive
  • Quantify all wheel drive traction and mobility benefits
  • Describe auxiliary axle disconnect systems
  • Explain basic vehicle dynamics performance and the effect of AWD on performance
  • Identify couplers vs. biasing devices and their basic function
  • Describe the differences between mechanical and electrical implementation in AWD systems
  • Describe basic control strategies and logic
  • Discuss advanced propulsion concepts and systems

Materials Provided

  • 90 days of single-user access (from date of purchase) to the 4.5 hour course
  • Links to streaming video modules
  • Course Handbook (downloadable, .pdf's)
  • Instructor follow up to your content questions
  • 0.5 CEUs*/Certificate of Achievement (with satisfactory learning assessment score)
*SAE International is authorized by IACET to offer CEUs for this course.

Is this e-Seminar for You?

This course was designed for engineers (working with passenger cars, light trucks, and SUVs) who need to master AWD components and their functions and effects. Engineers new to the 4WD/AWD field, as well as managers, marketing personnel, purchasing professionals and others interested in all-wheel drive fundamentals, will benefit from this course.

This course satisfies a requirement in the Transmission/Drivetrain Certificate Program.

Have colleagues who need this course? See Special Offers to the right.

Click on the Requirements tab to make sure you are properly equipped to interact with this course.

For More Details

Email, or call 1-877-606-7323 (U.S. and Canada) or 724-776-4970 (outside US and Canada).

Related Topics
Click on each topic for an expanded view.
  • All-Wheel Drive Systems Overview
  • Part-Time Systems
  • Full-Time Systems
  • Transfer Case Design
  • Couplers
  • Vehicle NVH
  • Emerging Technologies
  • All-Wheel Drive Interactions/New Developments

  • Windows 7, 8, 10 (other operating systems and mobile platforms are not supported but may work)
  • Internet Explorer 11, Mozilla Firefox 37 , Google Chrome 42 (other browsers are not supported)
  • Broadband-1Mbps minimum

Joe J. Doe
Joe Palazzolo

Joe Palazzolo is employed as Chief Engineer – Geared Products at GKN Driveline Torque Technology Group where he manages the mechanical design and development of new automotive gearboxes, torque transfer devices, concepts, and integration into production applications. His prior professional experience includes all-wheel systems design and development, power transfer unit and transfer case design, and torque management device development at Visteon Corporation, Warn Industries, and Ford Motor Company.

Mr. Palazzolo is an ASE certified Master Technician, chaired the SAE All-Wheel Drive Standards Committee, and has been an active SAE member since 1990. He is a past recipient of the SAE Forest R. McFarland Award for distinction in professional development and education (2007) and also achieved the SAE Master Instructor designation (2010).

Mr. Palazzolo is the award winning author of High-Performance Differentials, Axles & Drivelines. He has designed, built, campaigned and supported various race cars and teams for both professional and amateur racing organizations. His scope of work has been entire vehicle inclusive but also focused on competitive, high-performance drivetrain systems. He holds a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cleveland State University and a Masters degree in Automotive Engineering from Lawrence Technological University. He has received numerous patents for his work and creativity in advancing mobility systems.

0.5 CEUs


"The course content exceeded my expectations and left me much more confident in my understanding of driveline systems."
Mark Schulte
Senior Sales Engineer
Stoneridge, Inc.

"A good introduction to all-wheel-drive systems with good balance between theory and real-world experience."
Chris Teslak
Technical Specialist
Ford Motor Company

"This program was very beneficial to my general understanding of the components and dynamics of various all wheel drive systems."
Andrew Schulte
Honda R&D Americas

Access Period:90 Days

Duration: 4.5 Hours
Members save up to 20% off list price.
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Special Offers: Have colleagues who need this course? Purchase access for one individual at the appropriate member or list price, then purchase access for up to four additional employees at 10% off the list price. Contact SAE Customer Service to arrange online access for all individuals at the same time or mention the confirmation number for the first purchase. The offer is good for only the same e-Seminar. All participants will receive a personal account and opportunity for CEUs.



Quantity discounts for six or more students and corporate access options also are available - complete a Corporate Learning Solutions Request Form for a quote.