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Old 06-09-2009, 08:49 PM
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I need to ask this question

Today, the Toyota factory rep visiting my dealer told me that my Sienna has a "limited-slip" differential.

To me, it clearly does not, since, it will spin one wheel while the other remains uselessly stationary (in spite of the fact that the FWD is, of course, independently sprung).

Then both he and the dealer's mechanic tried to tell me that a "Positraction" differential is not the same as a "limited-slip" differential.

From my experience, beginning when my interest in cars was sparked more than fifty years ago, they are the same.

There is the common open differential (which the Sienna obviously has as part of its transaxle), the limited-slip (or Positraction, or any of the other names by which it is called) and finally the locked differential which, of course cannot be used on the road since it does not allow for a differential rotation of the whells while negotiating turns.

Am I right? If not, please explain.



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Old 06-09-2009, 09:20 PM
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You're right. Your factory dealer rep is another one of those fools that think that something exists in between a open differential and a positraction(generic word) differential that is called a "limited slip".

See Curtis, I told you that these people exist
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Old 06-10-2009, 12:18 PM
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On wikipedia (I know) I found two more varieties of "limited-slip differential."

They describe a "viscous type," utilized on the Maxda MX-5 and AMC Eagle, and also the "electronic limited slip differential," used along with Electronic Stability Systems (with which my Sienna is equipped). Do you think that perhaps the factory rep was thinking along these lines?

(I should say that when this discussion came up, the dealer mechanic started describing the interior components of differentials, and I think I remember him mentioning something about clutch discs).

At this point, I am tempted to jack up the front end of my Sienna, attempt to turn a wheel and watch what happens to the other wheel (if I recall correctly, I can't turn the rear wheels on my '87 Grand National, which of course has Positraction, or whatever Buick used to call it).

My Sienna dug a nice rut in my lawn with the right front wheel only on a rainy day. While the left front wheel was apparently not pulling at all.

By the way, the Sienna brochure mentions FWD and AWD versions, also of course the ESC, Traction Control (Hah!) and anti-lock braking, but makes no mention of a limited-slip differential, nor could I find the term limited slip differential mentioned in conjunction with the Sienna anywhere on the web (the usual false leads, aside, e.g., when you click on a link, it doesn't actually mentioned what is implied in the google search results).

Last edited by Jack Black1; 06-10-2009 at 12:27 PM.
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Old 06-11-2009, 08:14 PM
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I went ahead and jacked up the front end of the Sienna and sure enough, when you rotate one front wheel, the front wheel on the other side of the car rotates in the opposite direction. This is a sure indication that the Sienna has a traditional open differential.
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