Mahindra TUV is the only compact-SUV on sale in the country with a ladder-frame chassis and a live rear axle. However, this one also features a locking differential to do some mild off-roading.
Mahindra has been selling UVs in the country since 1954. The carmaker’s current lineup comprises of SUVs, with the exception of the KUV100. The smallest of the lot are the XUV300 and TUV300. The latter is the one that boasts of a ladder-frame chassis and a solid axle at the rear. Therefore, it is much better suited for driving on the bad roads. Though Mahindra does not offer the TUV300 with 4WD, even as an option, the great articulation of the rear diff gets the job done. However, we came across a video on YouTube, where a TUV300 owner has installed a differential locker on the SUV’s rear axle. The video was uploaded by TSiVipul on his channel.
There are 3 types of differential lockers available in the market – air lockers, mechanical lockers, and electrical lockers. The owner has preferred to use the mechanical type locker on his TUV300. This is the same locker that was offered with the Thar as standard while it was nearing the end of its production cycle. Differential lockers aid cars with immense capabilities and the owner has tried to showcase the same in the video. He goes over different obstacles in his TUV300 without the locker installed and then with the locker in place. The difference between the two is evident. As with the locker engaged, the TUV300 pulls over some of the steepest and banked inclines with ease.
The MLD (Mechanically Locking Differential) that the owner has installed in his TUV300, however, possesses one big drawback. It can’t be kept dis-engaged or engaged at will, as the locker gets engaged and disengaged automatically. It works on the principle of centrifugal force. When one of the half axle shafts starts rotating at a much higher speed than the other half-axle shaft, the locker gets engaged. It does so with the use of centrifugal force of the rotating shaft. Also, when the speeds of both the shafts are aligned for longer duration and the centrifugal force is not enough to keep the differential locked, it gets disengaged.
With the rear locking differential engaged, this TUV300 can pull off some of the trickiest obstacles with ease.
Talking of the cost of this differential locker, the owner got it installed from Mahindra’s service centre itself. According to him, Mahindra installed the locker for free under warranty, as he complained of wheelspins while making turns. However, as a paid unit, it would set one back by around Rs. 75,000, inclusive of labour and taxes.