Are you one of those people who tend to go on off-roads a lot? Do you love the adrenaline rush and the driving experience that comes with driving on rough terrain?
If so, you need a bunch of accessories on your 4WD car to ensure that the terrain doesn’t impact your engine, gears, and bearings, and their resulting performance and longevity. Some of the important accessories that can improve the longevity of your car are snorkels and diff breathers.
In this article, we’ll learn about diff breathers and everything there is to know about them. You can also visit VMN website to find out more about the diff breathers.
What Are Diff Breathers?
Let’s start with the basics first.
Diff breathers are an additional fitting or modification made to your 4WD cars to make it more suitable for driving through water bodies such as rivers, ponds, and lakes. This is all the more important if you plan to use your 4WD cars for frequent drives across rugged terrain.
These diff breathers are a simple hose that runs from your differentials to a higher point in your car and comes with a filter on one end to ensure that dust and dirt do not enter your car. This hose should be connected to your diff through a push fitting for maximum durability.
Diff breathers are a good choice even if you don’t plan to drive through water, but just off the paved roads, as it can prevent dust and other contaminants from entering your engine and grinding it to a halt.
How Do Diff Breathers Work?
Imagine you’re driving through a rugged terrain that generates a lot of heat due to the friction of the diff gears. In turn, this heats the air around it, causing the air to expand. Now, this hot air has to be let out because it occupies a higher volume now and this extra volume can add pressure to your bearings and gearbox.
The diff breather acts as a one-way valve that lets the hot air out of the engine, so it reduces the pressure on your castings and engine. Without this, the hot air will look to escape through the weakest link that could lead to problems for your car and its internal parts. In worst cases, this can bring your car to a grinding halt in the middle of nowhere.
Now, let’s look at a different scenario.
The engine and its parts are hot due to extended driving. Now you suddenly have to enter the water that is obviously cooler than your engine. When hot and cold water come into contact with each other, it shrinks and the diff will try to suck it in. If you don’t have diff breathers, what happens is that the water mixes with your oil by entering the oil seals. In general, the oil helps to lubricate your gears and bearings, but when it gets mixed with water, the purpose of the oil is defeated. Worse, the water accumulation can cause your gears and bearings to get rusted soon, so you’ll end up spending a ton of money on service, repair, and maintenance.
But when you use diff breathers, they send the hot air out, so the possibility for it to get mixed with cold water is low. Also, when your diff sinks in with the additional water, the breathers will suck in air so water will not enter the engine through oil seals.
Thus, this is how diff breathers work to protect your car from the possible damage that can come with driving through water bodies.
How To Fit In Diff Breathers?
Now that you know how diff breathers work and why they are essential for your care, the next step is to know how to fit them into your car. The good news is diff breathers are one of the easiest accessories to fit in and anyone with a basic mechanical knowledge of the car should be able to do it.
To do this,
· Remove the breather that is already present in the diff. A simple spanner will do this trick for you.
· Put the thread tape that comes with the kit on the new fitting. Screw it in tightly.
· Move the other end of the hose to the engine and while doing this, make sure you don’t touch any of the car’s hot components as it can scald your skin.
· You can even use cables to tie it along the way for a firm fit
· When you reach the engine bay, mount it on a small bracket.
· Attach the fittings well and double-check to ensure they are tight.
· Finally, attach the filter. That’s it and you’re good to go.
While doing this, just ensure that there is enough hose for the diff breathers to flex while the engine moves. Tying the hose tightly may cause it to break and sometimes, your hose may even come out when the diffs start moving with the suspension.
Buying Diff Breathers
Most manufacturers today sell diff breathers that are designed to suit specific car models. You can also buy the generic ones and fit them in your car if you think that works for you.
Another option is to make your own diff breather kits. This is not so difficult as you can get the required materials such as a hose, cables, filters, and brackets, and fix them by yourself. It just depends on your expertise level and personal choice. If you’re unsure how to fit in, reach out for help, even if it sets you back by a few hundred dollars. In general, never skimp on having diff breathers, as they can save you a lot of money in maintenance. In many ways, they act as cheap insurance if you plan to go on off-road adventures often.
To conclude, diff breathers protect your engine by letting out hot air, prevent the dust and dirt from impacting your engine and, other car parts most importantly ensures that water does not enter the car through the oil mixer when you’re driving through water bodies. For these reasons, they are a must-have for every 4WD.