The CV joint or constant velocity joint helps in the process of transferring power from the driveshaft and transmission to the wheels of the vehicle. To be more specific, the constant velocity joints make it possible through those variable angles existing between the wheels and the driveshaft. This way, the rotating angled joints won’t have any effect on the rotational speed of the vehicle’s wheels since there won’t be any friction than there could have been if the joints were straight.
The constant velocity joints are found in the wheels of a vehicle that turn. This means that if you own a front-wheel drive car, it is possible that the constant velocity joints are found in its two front-wheels. On the other hand, if you have a rear wheel drive car, the CV joints will be found in its two tires at the back.
Now, you might think that all vehicles use the same constant velocity joints. But the truth is that there are actually 5 primary types of constant velocity join that can be found in vehicles. In fact, there are over 5 types but listed below are those that are most commonly used. Take note that all types of joints work well for particular vehicle types.
A front-wheel drive car has drivetrains that have two constant velocity joints for every half shaft. You can find both an outer CV joint and an inner CV joint. The inner CV joint is found close to the transaxle while the outer CV joint is close to the wheel.
If you own a rear wheel drive car, the inboard CV joint is located closer to the differential while the outboard joint is near the wheel.
Ball-Type Joints and Tripod Joints
Plunge points could be either a ball-type joint or tripod joint. The latter has a tripod or spider with three trunnions. These are parts with spherical rollers that are attached to the needle bearings. The tripods are often used as inner plunge joints for front-wheel drive vehicles. Ball-type joints have cross groove style and double offset style.
Fixed Tripod Joints
There are front-wheel drive cars with fixed tripod joints with the trunnion mounted on the joint’s outer housing. The input shaft has an open tulip with three roller bearings that turn against it. The steel spider keeps the joint together through locking this in place.
It is an outer constant velocity joint often used in vehicles. This joint has 6 spherical balls that lower the operating angle by as much as 50%. The gears’ teeth don’t transmit the torque across the joint. Instead, the balls are going against their tracks. It was among the first constant velocity joints made. Alfred H. Rzeppa is the engineer who developed the joint in 1920 and this has been in use since then.
Front-wheel drive cars have the inboard joint known as the plunge joint while the outboard joint is called fixed joint. The fixed joint usually handles most of the job since it helps maneuver around the angles as you steer the wheel. The plunge joints are more common in rear-wheel drive vehicles. Every axle shaft has one plunge joint if there is independent rear-wheel suspension.
Learning more about the constant velocity joint is important to know their real purpose and function in your vehicle and your overall driving experience.