Auto engineering from the fringe!


Allright, let’s hear your hare-brained ideas about how you envision “making a better mousetrap.”

Here’s mine: five-wheeled cars! In a recent post, I made reference of how a four-wheeled vehicle requires some expensive, breakdown-prone equipment in the form of a differential, a problem that is exacerbated in FWD cars. One solution was the three-wheeled car, but they made some unpleasant handling compromises.

A 5-wheel car would keep conventional steering geometry, but stick a 5th wheel, attatched to the tranny via a chain. This wheel would be on an arm w/ a pivot well above the chain, so that when you give it more gas, the wheel would press down harder, thus maintaining enough pressure to avoid wheelspin (within certain limits).

Now, a 5th wheel would add weight, but also save the weight of differential, axle, and CV joints. (Space limitations would almost require a small, light-weight wheel.) There’d be rolling resitance, but power losses in differential would be avoided. It would seem almost certainly cheaper to produce, and cheaper to operate, as well.

Feedback appreciated, but I want to hear yours, as well! (Fair warning: if you don’t, you’ll be forced to hear me drone on about pneumatic starters and check-valve e-brakes!)


I wouldn’t place any money on this idea.

Why would you want only one wheel powered when you can have two or four wheels powered? Talk about a vehicle with horrible traction in ice and snow!

File this one in the round bin and try again…