The function of constant velocity joints, or constant velocity joints, in a vehicle is to allow power to be transferred to the wheels from the transmission.
Power is transmitted at a constant rotational speed although there is little friction. That’s why when you have a problem with your CV joints, you’ll probably feel a jerk when you accelerate.
You’ll find CV joints on almost all front-wheel drive vehicles and most newer rear-wheel drive vehicles with independent rear suspension. The rear axles will have constant velocity joints at the end of their axle shafts.
Types of CV joints
Here are the six most common types of CV joints used in vehicles today, along with how they work.
Related: Common Symptoms of a Bad CV Joint
#1 – Rzeppa CV joint
The “Rzeppa” external CV joint is the most common type of joint. Designated engineer Alfred H. Rzeppa invented this seal in 1926 and thus came up with an improved design ten years later.
The design of this joint allowed power transmission through 6 spheres located between the outer ring and the inner ring. These spherical balls are secured in place by small windows within a cage assembly. This assembly is what happens between the outer ring and the inner ring.
The seal is designed so that the balls widen the angle of operation. Its operation is similar to the operation of a bevel gear.
The difference is that the torque is not transmitted through the joint by the gear teeth. Instead, in both the outer and inner casings, the spherical balls move against each of their tracks.
Read also: 4 joint ball throws
#2 – Fixed and submerged sections
A floating seal is an internal seal in front-wheel drive applications. A fixed joint is an external joint. Plunge joints are unnecessary for these two if at least one of the joints can do the job correctly.
Additionally, it is essential that the outer seal can tolerate the larger operating angles required for steering.
For rear-wheel drive applications with independent rear suspension, you can connect one link per axle shaft. Angels that run less than perfect are because you are not using the wheels to steer. Consequently, you can use immersion joints on one or both ends of the axle shafts.
#3 – Dip Joints (Tripod and Ball Type)
These items have a tripod or central drive. The tripod, or spider, has 3 trunnions that have needle bearings with spherical rollers. They also have an outer casing; or a tulip.
Some tripod joints have a closed outer shell, so the roller tracks are completely inside. There are also seals with an open tulip and an outer casing with machined raceways.
The most common use for tripod joints is front pull within dip joints.
Plunge ball joints come in 2 styles. The seal is cross groove and the offset is double. The former has a smooth donut-shaped outer shell with rectangular fins, while the latter has a cylindrical outer shell with straight fins.
#4 – Tripod Joints
The inner end of the drive shaft has a tripod joint. This allows power to be transmitted whether there is an angle mismatch or not.
The tripod joint features include a 3-prong spider mounted on barrel-shaped rollers. These fit into a cup with matching 3 slots that are attached to a differential.
These barrel-shaped rollers are positioned at 120° to each other and have the ability to slide back and forth on their rails within the tulip.
#5 – Tripod Joints (Fixed)
Front-wheel drive applications sometimes use a fixed tripod component as an outer joint. The trunnion is located in the outer casing.
Then the input shaft has an open tulip in which 3 roller bearings will rotate against it. The joint is held by a steel spider that locks it.
#6 – Seals inside and out
In an FWD vehicle transmission, each half shaft has 2 constant velocity joints. The inner seal is closest to the transaxle and the outer seal is closest to the wheel.
On RWD vehicles with independent rear suspension, the inner joint is the one closest to the differential and the outer joint is the one next to the wheel.