Different Types of CV Joints

Different Types of Constant-Velocity (CV) Joints

Unless you are familiar with CV joints, you will freak out when you will hear a cranking noise every time you turn our car. To make your worry into a nightmare, the sound may increase with the acceleration of your vehicle. This is undoubtedly a scare experience for anybody who’s just been using a car for a while. 

The most common reason for such incidents is a bad CV joint. Well, we actually know these joints as constant-velocity joints; they are simply termed CV joints by users. If you know how CV joints work, you will never scratch your head ever again if it’s hampering your smooth driving. 

Today, we will be discussing some of the common types of CV joints for your precaution! 

Overview of a vehicle CV joint

There is a transmission in the vehicle that can deliver power to the wheels. It can also be generated from the driveshaft, as well. Usually, power is transmitted from these two points to the wheels, especially the vehicle’s front wheels.

CV joints assist in this process. It actually allows this process through the variable angles that are placed between the wheels and the driveshaft. 

As these joints are not straight, the front wheels’ rotation speed doesn’t contradict the angled joints’ rotation. Thus you get a smooth turning experience. 

CV joints are usually found in the wheel-area of the wheels that actually turn the vehicle. If you are driving a front-wheel turning vehicle, the joints will be there.

If you are using a car that comes with a rear-wheel-turning vehicle, the joints will be on the rear wheels. So, it’s kind of must for you to know how constant velocity (CV) joints work.

Different Types of Constant-Velocity Joints

At this point, if you think that CV joints are all the same, you are mistaken. There are more than 6 types of CV joints that are regularly used for vehicle operation. Here, in this piece, we will be discussing some of the most commonly used CV joints for you.

  • Rzeppa CV Joint
  • Fixed and Plunge Joints
  • Plunge Joints (Tripod & Ball-Type)
  • Tripod Joints
  • Fixed Tripod Joints
  • Inboard Joints and Outboard Joints

1. Rzeppa CV Joint

The first CV joint in our list is the Rzeppa CV joint. This one is one of the most prominent joints that are widely used by vehicles in different regions. This one is also one of the oldest ones that have been discovered as yet. A US engineer named Alfred H. Rzeppa made this joint in 1926. 

As you can tell, the joint has been named after him since then. He continuously tried and put effort into improving the joint’s design for more years after the invention. 

6 spheres are found in the midsts of the inner and outer race. There are tiny windows there to protect these spherical balls in their places from any type of threat of damage. This specific CV joint design allows power transmission via these 6 different balls. It simply passes between both the inner and outer race.

The design of this joint explicitly allows the ball to cut the angle that is operating in half. You can find similarities between this joint to a bevel gear in terms of the way it actually works.

The only mismatch between the two will be, in the case of the Rzeppa CV joint, the torque cannot be transmitted along the CV joint with the teeth of the gear. In this case, the spherical balls can move forward in the inner and outer housing against their tracks. 

2. Fixed and Plunge Joints

Fixed and plunge joints are two different joints that work in two different places. The plunge one is actually an inboard one that is placed and used in the front-wheel operation of the vehicle. On the other hand, the fixed joint is considered an outboard one. You can easily carry on your tasks if the fixed joint is working fine without applying the plunge one. 

Again, it would be best if you made sure that the outer joint has the ability to sync well with the larger angles. These larger angles are actually quite important for the steering of the vehicle. 

If you are using a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, it will come with a rear suspension. You can easily fix a single joint to every ax-shaft. 

3. Plunge Joints (Tripod & Ball-Type)

The plunge joints are pretty unique among the different types of CV joints. You can find a tripod in the joints or a central joint in it. Inside the tripod, which is also known as the spider, you can find three trunnions. 

These trunnions come with sharp needle bearings. You can also find rollers that come in a spherical shape. The joints also come with an outer housing, or sometimes, with the tulip. 

Plunge Joints-CV jonits

Some tripods come with a confined outer housing design. This is why the roller tracks stay fully inside the tripod. Again, there are some that come with an open tulip, as well as some outer housing that may keep the roller outside of it. 

Tripod joints are basically and most commonly used for the front-wheel-drive system. 

As for the Ball-type oints, these are actually plunging type that takes two different forms. One is a cross groove type, and the other one is the double-offset type. The cross groove’s outer housing will appear to be a doughnut that actually lies flat with the angled grooves. 

And the double-offset one will come with an outer housing that is kind of cylindrical. It also comes with straight grooves. 

4. Tripod Joints

Now, the tripod joints have some similarities to plunge joints. The interior of the drive shaft comes with a tripod joint. Even if there is an angle shifting, the tripod joint makes sure that the power is smoothly transmitted to the wheel. 

One of the unique characteristics of a tripod joint is that it comes with a 3-legged spider. It is found on the rollers that look like barrels. These parts end up in a cup that contains three grooves that are synced with a differential. 

As for these rollers that look like barrels, they are mounted on each other at a 120-degree angle. Plus, these rollers can quickly move forward and backward in the tulip. 

5. Fixed Tripod Joints 

At times, the front-wheel-drive system will apply a tripod joint that is completely fixed, similar to the outer joint. You can find the outer housing of it comes with a trunnion on it. Again, the input shaft will have an open tulip that has a number of roller bearings that will continuously turn. A steel spider holds the joint and completely locks it. 

6. Inboard Joints and Outboard Joints

The vehicles that are run with front-wheel drive usually come with drivetrains containing two CV joints for every half shaft. One is an inner CV joint, and the other is the outer CV joint. The inner one is attached to the area of the transaxle. The outer one is attached around the wheel. Remember to use the best replacement CV axles for the CV joints to work correctly.

On the other hand, in the case of a rear-wheel drive, the inboard one will be on the differential, while the outboard one will be around the wheel. 

Final Words

When you have an in-depth idea of different types of CV joints, it’s going to be a smooth ride for you every time you board on the vehicle. That’s because you know how exactly your wheels are turning, and if there’s a cranking sound, what exactly is to replace and repair. 

We hope this article has given you a precise idea of some of the most commonly used CV joints. Keep this piece bookmarked for further references! 

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