Axle windup is the build-up of drivetrain tension when cornering with 4wd engaged (part-time) or centre diff locked (full-time). Possibly damaging.
When driving on low traction surfaces axle wind-up is dissipated by one or more wheels breaking traction when changing direction (see the Video Shorts below). On high traction surfaces, adhesion prevents tyres from breaking traction and wind up accumulates. This produces symptoms:
- Steering starts to feel heavy and you could get steering wheel kick back.
- The vehicle may feel like it wants to hop and jump around a corner.
- The gearbox, whether manual or auto, may have difficulty in shifting or may even get stuck in gear.
Ignoring the above could lead to expensive drivetrain damage. Raining Datsun cogs…
If any of the symptoms above are felt then it’s important to get rid of the wind-up ASAP:
- Stop. If necessary.
- Ensure that 4wd/cd has been disengaged and the warning light is off.
- Return to a low traction surface, if possible. Reverse if necessary to get the warning light to go off.
- Drive badly! Accelerate/decelerate/brake harshly. Go over speed bumps or any obstacle too quick to get one or more wheels to break traction. Warn passengers before doing this!
- In extreme cases, it may be necessary to stop and jack up one wheel to let the wind up dissipate.
PS. Driving with 4wd engaged/cd locked, on low traction surfaces, gives better control and helps reduce wear and tear. BUT it’s important to deselect and ensure the warning light is extinguished before returning to, or making your first change of direction on, a high traction surface.
Axle wind-up dissipated by wheels breaking traction on a low-traction surface. Volume up, as you hear it more than see it in these examples.