Types of Axles

An axle is a central shaft for a rotating wheel or gear. On wheeled vehicles, the axle may be fixed to the wheels, rotating with them, or fixed to the vehicle with the wheels rotating around the axle. Generally speaking, there are three types of axles: rear, front, and stub axles. This blog will explain each of the three types and what makes them unique.

A rear axle assembly sits between the differential and wheels where it transmits power from the differential to the wheels. The rear axle is not a single piece, but instead is two halves connected by the differential. One half, known as the half shaft, is connected to the sun gear of the differential and the outer end of the driving wheel. Almost all rear axles on modern automobiles are considered live axles, meaning they revolve with the wheels. Dead axles, on the other hand, remain completely stationary. There are three subtypes of rear axles: semi-floating, full-floating, and three quarter floating.

Front axles are used to carry the weight of the front part of a vehicle, facilitate steering, and absorb shocks caused by road surface vibrations. It is a critical part of any vehicle, and thus must be well-constructed. The front axle is usually made from steel with 0.4% carbon steel or 1-3% nickel steel. It is made of an I-section in the center, with circular or elliptical ends. In this configuration, the front axle takes bending loads from the weight of the vehicle. The different parts of the front axle are the beam, stub axle, swivel pin, and track rod. Like rear axles, front axles are either live or dead.

The front wheels of a vehicle are mounted on the stub axles which are connected to the front axle by pins. Stub axles are machined from nickel steel and alloy steels such as chromium and molybdenum. The stub axle turns on the pin which is fit in the axle beam eye and held in place by a taper cotter pin. To provide a bearing surface for the pin, phosphor bronze bushings are fitted into the forked ends of the axle. Vertical loads are absorbed either by a steel washer or thrust bearing on the top of the stub axle or under the axle beam. There are four types of stub axles: elliot, reverse elliot, lamoine, and reverse lamoine.

At Just Parts Unlimited, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you source all types of axle parts and deliver them with short lead times and competitive prices. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@justpartsunlimited.com or call us at +1-412-212-0606. Our team of dedicated account managers is standing by and will reach out to you in 15 minutes or less.


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