CV Joints: What Are They And How Do They Work?


Every car in America has only one engine, but four wheels. This creates a problem: how do you deliver power to both axles and all four wheels with only one source of power? The answer is through the use of a complex series of joints to properly transfer the power. Originally this was done by using universal joints, since they allowed the rotational force of the engine to be transferred to any angle. You will still see such connections used to drive the rear wheels on delivery trucks and some off road cars. But it has been noticed since the 17th century that these universal joints do not maintain constant velocity throughout the rotation, which puts stress on the axle and causes it to receive power unevenly. The solution is to develop a constant velocity or “CV” joint, which can deliver power from one shaft to another more exactly.

There are many types of CV joints, but they all do effectively the same thing: they cushion the rotational force of one shaft against another by putting ball bearings or additional connections between the two. This enables the receiving shaft to, ultimately, rotate at the same speed as the powering shaft as it is driven forward by the bearings instead of a direct connection. The bearings transmit the force directly and over time instead of in the indirect and angular method used in older universal connections. This enables a CV connection to deliver more power, more efficiently, and with less wear than traditional connections.

CV-Joint2The CV connection has been used in front wheel drive cars since the 1960s, and it is also used on all four-wheel drive cars. It is necessary to have at least two of these connections in order to deliver power to the front axle, and the use of such adapters allows the axle to “bend” around the passenger compartment. They are also essential in rock crawlers, off road vehicles and trucks which have been modified for mudding. The high ground clearance of these cars necessitates that the drive shaft be “stretched,” and the use of a CV in the right spot can ensure that the drive shaft is properly angled and able to maintain a proper angle and connection as the truck moves over rough terrain.

At Rocky Mountain Driveline, we offer the best constant velocity connections and products for your vehicle. We can help you pick out what is best for the sort of drive line arrangement you want to have, and help you plan out how your drive line may change if you have your vehicle lifted or lowered. We also offer reconstructed constant velocity connections of all sorts, so you can get the best prices on the best products.

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