A New Hydraulic Coupling Unit (HCU) for 4WD Vehicles
This year (1989) Mitsubishi Motors Corp. introduced, on some models, a newly-developed Hydraulic Coupling Uint (HCU), by which 2WD vehicles can be converted into 4WD ones in the same way as done by a viscous coupling (VC). This HCU is similar in the configuration to a vane pump: the oil discharge is returned to the suction chamber through a number of orifices. The rotor and cam ring (housing) are respectively connected to the two shafts; either of the one with the front wheels and the other with the rear wheels. Accordingly, it works as a slip-sensitive differential like a VC while it has a merit of progressive and parabolic torque-response characteristic, which offers stronger traction and acceleration capability and also minimizes tight-corner braking. This paper discusses primarily the configurations, functions and test results of the HCU and also presents an overview on further development possibilities of the 4WD system.