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Unusual Clutched Hub; Possible Prototype?

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

Brian posted these pics of a hub he has to FB’s Flatfendering Aficionado Monthly group. It’s not something I recognize. The work looks good enough to have been a prototype hub that never made production. It may have been an auto-engaging hub? Some commenters suggested a type of limited slip hub, where when a wheel begins to slip it auto-engages.

Brian wrote, “Has anyone ever seen these locking hub contraptions? Were these produced or is it a one-off? It appears to use 3 clutch plates and the ring in the center moves down over the roller cams to apply pressure to the plates. The covers look to be welding bottle caps that have 2 access holes to pry the collar from the outside.”

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8 Comments on “Unusual Clutched Hub; Possible Prototype?

  1. Konwakiton

    those do look like limited slip clutch discs in there ? spicer powr-lok clutch discs have four tabs , these have six ..

  2. Brian in Fenton

    Who ever designed them must have worked on teens and twenties Buicks. The clutch looks like a miniature of the Buick. Buick also used 3 roller arm engagement early on.

    The cover is just a dust/dirt shield

    Turning the knurled knob which must be threaded on the ID applies pressure to the clutch pack multiplied via the thread pitch, arms and rollers. I assume enough pressure generates a non slipping clutch.

    Too complex compared to more common designs that we are all familiar with.

  3. Brian

    The clutch hub approach is interesting. Unlike conventional hubs, it could provide both the lock/unlock feature plus slip at extreme loads to act as a fuse to avoid breaking axles. Seems like it would be very difficult to tune the friction/clamping force to get the axle fuse idea to work though. Not only a challenge to dial it in to stay locked up to the point of slipping for axle protection, but also if one side slipped and other didn’t then it would suddenly steer crazy.

  4. Brian

    On second thought, with an open differential, I suppose once one hub slipped the other side would lose power too, so the steering wouldn’t get too crazy. But the diff and hub would just spin against each other and burn up the hub clutch plates if you kept your foot in it. Interesting thought experiment to think about how intermittent slipping hub clutch plates would effect handling and power transfer…

  5. Konwakiton

    my warn lock-o-matics work similar to these hubs – plus you can optionally lock them in

  6. muley

    if the 6 holes pictured mount to the hubs the things must be huge. no way you could pull off a wheel with them installed. cool though!

  7. muley

    I take it back, mebbe it’s the same osd as the wheel. as you can see, i’m intrigued, keep coming back to it. if the 6 bolts fix it to the hub, what holds the working parts to the axle?

  8. David Eilers Post author

    They are indeed a puzzle! I really would like to see them in action. Because that cover can be removed, I suppose the hubs could be observed in action.

    – Dave

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