The eigensensitivity analysis does not meet the increasing industrial requirements of the dynamic performance of a vehicle transmission system. To reduce vibration, it is necessary to include response sensitivity in the guideline in the design stage. In this study, we developed a nonlinear lateral–torsional coupling spur gear system model considering the effect of time-varying mesh stiffness, clearance, mass eccentricity, and transmission error. Then the dynamic response sensitivity to system parameters was systematically analyzed by taking the shaft torsional stiffness, for example. The equation of response sensitivity was deduced by a direct method (DM) based on the fitting of the clearance function curve using a polynomial function. In allusion to the characteristic of the aperiodicity of response sensitivity curves of the nonlinear system in the time domain, a novel assessment method—differential sensitivity based on the root mean square (RMS) of response is proposed. This method provides statistical results in a certain range, thus avoiding the inaccuracy of the partial amplitude. The vibrational energy of modified system (MS) can also be estimated. All the abovementioned characteristics make it possible to provide the theoretical support for dynamic modification, model updating, and optimal design.

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