2008 - Linear Actuators
|8290 Mini Forklift
||8291 Dirt Bike
|8292 Cherry Picker
|8295 Telescopic Handler
||8296 Dune Buggy
|8297 Off Roader
A mechanical linear actuator was released. This actuator is roughly equivalent in size to a pneumatic actuator, but instead of pressure uses an internal screw. The advantage of this is ease of motorization and the ability to hold position. The disadvantage is difficulty in routing the mechanical power to remote locations and a lack of correlation with the function of many real machines.
The actuator has an internal clutch which slips if driven at too high a torque but never with a back-driving load. A pair of brackets were released to adapt the actuators to structure.
It was initially feared that the linear actuators were a replacement for pneumatics and therefore that pneumatics were out of production. This fear persisted until 2010 when pneumatics reappeared. Some future sets would even include both.
This part was revised in 2010 after the initial release of the 8043 Excavator to increase internal clearance and decrease friction. New versus old parts can be distinguished by a molding mark near the input axle slot.
Other new Power Functions parts included a pole reverser and some LED lights. The pole reverser serves the same function as the switch on the battery box, but can be located remotely and is somewhat easier to use. The LED system includes two bright white lights and a diode block. Both of these parts appeared in sets only very rarely, but are present in the supplemental Power Functions set.
A new differential gear housing was released. The primary difference is better support for the pinion gears (in slots) which makes it easier to assemble. The ring gear also changed from a spur type to a bevel type. The older differential remained in production and still sees some use when it is the only one which will fit.
A new suspension control arm was released with a 2L wishbone width and a ball joint at the end. Overall size is slightly smaller than the old control arm with narrower end.
After 31 years of production, the 4L U-joint was replaced with a 3L version to better integrate with the studless system. The new U-joint is also made from a harder plastic which should provide extra durability.
The 2L studless beam was supplemented with a new 2L version that has both an axle hole and a pin hole. The 3L pin was changed from black to blue to help differentiate it from the regular pin. Finally, a smooth axle connector was released. The old ridged connector was retained for use with the driving ring transmission parts, but the new smooth connector is used where consistency with the angle connectors is needed.
Wheels and Tires
A set of new wide low profile 43.2 x 26 balloon tires and wheels was released.