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Glossary of Axle Terms

AXLE SHAFT SEMI-FLOATING - Shaft that carries vehicle load and transmits torque.

BACKLASH - The amount of clearance or play between two meshed gears.

BANJO-AXLE DESIGN - An axle assembly with a final drive assembly that assembles into the housing and is bolted into place.

BEARING CAP - The portion of the axle housing that is bolted in place to secure the differential bearings and differential assembly.

BEARING CONE - The inner race of a tapered roller bearing.

BEARING CUP - The outer race of a bearing assembly.

CARRIER - The casting center section of a drive axle that contains the differential assembly, ring gear, pinion gear and support bearings.

CENTER SECTION - The carrier portion of a drive axle.

COAST - A load condition in which the vehicle is driving the engine, as during deceleration.

DECELERATE - To reduce speed.

DIFFERENTIAL - A gear arrangement that allows the drive wheels to be driven at different speeds and divides the input torque of one shaft between two output shafts.

DRIVE - A load condition in which the engine is applying power to the wheels.

DRIVE GEARS - A large gear that meshes with a smaller gear. Also known as a Crown Gear.

END YOKE - Yoke-shaped forging that forms part of the universal joint connection the drive shaft to the transmission or axle.

EXTREME PRESSURE (EP) LUBRICANT - A lubricant designed to stay in place and keep the gears from touching when under extremely high pressure (e.g., heavy torque loads).

SALISBURY AXLE DESIGN - Axle assembly with final drive components assembled into one piece housing.

SHIM - A thin spacer used to adjust preloads and ring gear to pinion gear backlash may also be used for controlling pinion gear positions.


FLOAT - A load condition where two parts are turning at the same speed with no driving force between them.

FLANGE YOKE - Same as an end yoke except circular in design.

FULL-FLOATING AXLE - Axle shaft which transmits torque only and carries no vehicle load.

GEAR - A wheel with teeth that transmits power or motion to another gear.

GEAR RATIO - The ratio in the number of teeth on the driving and driven gears; it is calculated by dividing the number of teeth on the driven gear by the number of teeth on the driving gear.

HEEL - The outer end of a bevel or hypoid ring gear tooth.

HOUSING - Portion of the axle assembly that consists of the carrier and axle tubes.

HYPOID GEAR - A special form of bevel gear that positions the gear axis on non-intersecting planes and is commonly used in drive axles.

LIMITED SLIP DIFFERENTIAL - Differential in which the difference in rotational speed or torque between two output shafts is mechanically limited to prevent wheel spin on difficult terrain.

NEWTON METER (N.M.) - The metric measurement of torque.

PINION GEAR - A small gear that meshes with a larger gear.

PITCH LINE - The effective diameter of a gear; midpoint of the gear tooth.

PRELOAD - A load placed on parts during assembly to maintain critical clearances and adjustments when operating loads are applied.

R.T.V. - A formed-in-place gasket material; a rubber like compound that vulcanizes at room temperature.

TOE - The inner end of a bevel or hypoid ring gear tooth.

TORQUE - A turning or twisting force that is normally measured in pound-feet or Newton meters.

VISCOSITY - The resistance to flow of a fluid.


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