Comparing Tibus: Top US Axle Portals Explained

Comparing Tibus: Top US Axle Portals Explained

Jun 20, 2023Justin Jackson

Love off-road adventure but don't know which portal axle is the best for your truck? If so, you’re in luck.

Previously we introduced Tibus Portal Axles in our article “Transforming the 6Gen Ford Bronco Experience”. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to read it first to get a good grounding on portals and Tibus, a leading brand in the off-road industry with decades of experience manufacturing bolt-on portals. 

Our mission in this article is to answer your burning questions about portal axles, mainly focusing on the intricacies of portal axle technology, offering a clear understanding of Tibus' positioning in the market and how it stacks up against the competition.

So, whether you're a seasoned mechanic or a curious off-roading enthusiast striving to gain more insight, this FAQ piece will serve as your go-to guide, shedding light on the complex world of portal axles. 

That said, buckle up and prepare to level up your knowledge!

Who Makes TIBUS Portals?

Tibus portals are manufactured by TIBUS Offroad Engineering, a company managed by passionate off-roaders who, for over 40 years, have focused on offering the best portal axles in the world. The result of this passion is that today Tibus is the benchmark for quality in the industry.

Proof of this is that Tibus was the first to introduce bolt-on portals in 2003. For many years, Tibus was primarily alone producing portals, evolving their technology and materials and developing ever better iterations of vehicle portals. Eventually others entered the bolt-on portal market, copying older versions of Tibus’ design.

However, as pioneering companies like Apple have shown so many times, copying a product is not the same as duplicating it. Years of material and design testing has given Tibus nuanced experience and expertise that cannot be duplicated by the copy-cat manufacturers and keeps Tibus at the forefront of portal axles development.

While other brands are saving costs by using the less optimal 6061 aluminum where possible, Tibus portal boxes use 7075 T6 aluminum throughout. Also, while others are trying to adapt extreme off-road performance to on-road comfort - a combination Tibus, in previous evolutions has found is unattainable with independent front suspensions (IFS) - Tibus’ newest generation of bolt-on portals are robust enough to tackle the most extreme conditions and also provide unequaled performance and comfort for daily (IFS) drivers.

That leads us to the next question: What is Tibus’ value proposition? What makes them different?

What makes TIBUS gears stand out from the rest of the competition?

The key difference lies in the gear cut and the number of gears. Tibus' main competitor employs a 4-gear straight-cut system, whereas Tibus Portals operate on a 3-gear helical-cut mechanism. The helical cut enables the Tibus Portal to deliver superior power using a smaller gear surface area, rendering it significantly more efficient than 4-gear straight-cut systems. 

Tibus learned this improvement through testing and design. In 2003 Tibus started with a 4-gear straight-cut system but evolved to a 3-gear helical-cut system as testing proved it was a superior design, especially with IFS systems which are common with today’s daily drivers.

A common concern with helical gears is their tendency to push apart. To prevent this, Tibus has implemented an innovative solution. The upper and lower gear are reinforced with tapered roller bearings and the lower gear is equipped with a substantial wheel bearing housing and an additional tapered roller bearing. This additional support keeps the gear securely in place. Furthermore, an extra roller bearing provides further support for the lower shaft. This unique construction ensures the middle gear remains steady, effectively eliminating lateral forces and ensuring maximum reliability and durability.

That being said, efficiency and durability are not the only aspect that separates Tibus from its competitors. If you’ve never heard them, portals can be loud. As much as you try to ignore it, that constant whining -distinctive of straight-cut gears- is a discouragement for many who use their truck as a daily driver.

Tibus’ innovative helical gears solve the noise problem. Helical gears are so quiet, they can’t be heard over normal tire-road noise. This noise difference between straight-cut and helical cut gears can’t be over stated! A good illustration is getting in a manual transmission car and driving in reverse. Do you hear that whine? Those are straight gears. Now engage first, second, or any other gear - quiet. Those are helical gears. 

Helical gears experience less friction and wear than straight-cut gears, which explains why they are so popular in applications that require daily driving such as a car’s manual transmission.

So it all comes down to geometry, physics, and logic. Straight-cut teeth are in contact with each other fully and for longer periods of time; that's a fact, period. Meanwhile, assuming the same tooth size, helical gears can carry a higher load since they can distribute the applied force more evenly, given their diagonal layout.

So if someone argues that straight-cut gears are better for portal axle applications, don't waste your time trying to correct them, just visualize him driving in “whiny” reverse and laugh.

What is the difference regarding rear axle shafts?

Regarding rear axles for portal applications, Tibus again leads the way.

While other portal brands are still experimenting with 4340 steel full-float shafts, a robust and durable material widely used in generic off-road applications, Tibus uses 300M full-float shafts, which is a variant of 4340 steel used in leading racing applications. The choice of 300M steel comes from Tibus' extensive experience in both on and off-road applications.

So if you're looking for the toughest, most reliable rear axle, you know where to find it.

How does TIBUS compare to the competition regarding lift? Why does it matter?

Let's start with the facts. While other brands boast that their portals provide a 3.88" lift, Tibus delivers a jaw-dropping lift of 5.5". So, it's not up for debate who's ahead in terms of lifting! But how does this almost 2” inches of additional clearance benefit you, the adventure enthusiast? For this, we must go back to basics; why do you want a portal in the first place? Correct, primarily to get better ground clearance.

That's why the Tibus portal axles' higher lift matters. It provides your truck or SUV with superior off-road capabilities by elevating the body and key components well above ground level, reducing the risk of damage from rocks, uneven terrain, or water fording. Furthermore, the higher lift improves the vehicle's approach, departure, and break-over angles, which is critical in off-road situations as it allows the vehicle to tackle steeper inclines and navigate challenging obstacles more efficiently. Therefore, the higher lift of TIBUS portal axles provides tangible benefits in terms of performance, durability, and safety in off-road conditions.

How reliable are TIBUS portals?

Tibus portals have undergone years of reliability testing and annually meet all the requirements of TÜV and European road safety regulations. Tibus has a solid track record of equipping hundreds of cars without any issues related to the forces on the portals or axles. Some customers have even driven up to 150,000 miles with Tibus portals without encountering any problems. That's quite impressive, isn't it? No other portal brand has that kind of history to be able to accurately gauge their reliability!

What type of oil do TIBUS portals use, and what maintenance is recommended?

TIBUS portals use gear oil, specifically 75W90 or a similar type, just like in the differential. It's designed to function optimally around an oil temperature of 167° Fahrenheit (75° Celsius). As for maintenance, it's recommended to check the oil every 30,000 miles (50,000 km). If necessary, you might need to rebuild the portals after 100,000 miles. But remember, many cars equipped with Tibus portals have been driven for over 150,000 miles without any issues. Always remember regular checks and proper maintenance are key to a long-lasting portal system.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we have done our best to answer the most frequently asked questions related to Tibus axle portals. That said, at BroncBuster, we are always ready to assist you if you wish to delve further into this fascinating subject.

Whether it's consultation, purchase, or after-sales support, BroncBuster is your go-to for all things Tibus. Contact us today and elevate your off-road adventures to new heights. Because when it comes to superior performance, nothing beats TIBUS.

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