PORTAL AXLE 101
Four Wheeler|September 2021
Why are they so cool?
Verne Simons

What are portal axles and why are they so cool? That’s a great question, and one we get asked often. So, here’s a look at what makes portal axles so darn cool for off-roading.

Simply put, portal axles use a series of gears and a housing mounted on each axle end or control arms next to the wheel to increase ground clearance under the axle. The design raises the centerline of the axle and axle tubes or control arms, raises the differential relative to the wheel mounting surface, and pushes the wheels down relative to the differential and axle tubes or control arms. It’s like free ground clearance at what is usually the vehicle’s lowest point. And, as you know from spending time on the trail, the lowest fixed point on your vehicle is usually what stops your 4x4 from moving forward when you get stuck. Portal axles are cool, although somewhat complex, answer to a simple problem that we have all had off-road. A portal axle offers the same benefits as running a much larger tire without many of the complications that larger tires would add.

SOURCES

74Weld industrial.74weld.com/

AxleTech axletech.com

Jesse Haines Fabrication jessehainesfab.com/

Tibus Offroad Engineering tibus-offroad.com/

1 Mercedes-Benz Unimogs are the production vehicle that most folks associate with portal axles, and their origins as a tractor that could be driven on the road belie another area where portal axles are common because the ground clearance is needed: agriculture. Still, Unimogs are not the only-production vehicles with portal axles.

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