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What is the universal joint?
An universal joint, is a component that connects the driveshaft to the differential, and sometimes connects the driveshaft to the transmission or two driveshafts to each other. It’s a cross shaped piece with a bearing at each end, that allows for lateral and side to side movement of the driveshaft.
What does the universal joint do?
A u-joint allows for slight positions changed between the driveshaft, transmission, and differential. In other words; the driveshaft connects the transmission to the differential, but it can’t be a static, solid connection. Since the differential moves independently from the rest of the vehicle over terrain, the transmission and differential don’t stay perfectly aligned with one another at all times. The u-joint compensates for motion, keeping the driveshaft connected and spinning freely.
universal joint application
medical and optical devices
Uinversaljoints are available with two hub styles:
The two bored styles that deviate from the convention of round, hex or square styles are:
solid hub universal joints are solid and have not been machined, and as a result, do not have a hole.
bored styles of u-joints generally derive their name from the shape of the hole in their hub, as with round, hex or square styles.
has longitudinal grooves inside of the bore.
has keyways to prevent rotation of the u-joint on the corresponding shaft.
Universal Joint Characteristic
Universal joints are available in steel or in thermoplastic body members. Unlversal joints made of steel have maximum load-carrying capacity for a given size. Universal joints with thermoplastic body members are used in light industrial applications in which their self-lubricating feature, light weight, negligible backlash, corrosion resistance and capability for high-speed operation are significant advantages.
What Happens If You Don’t Replace Your U-Joints
- When the U-joint bearings wear down, the driveshaft can move outside of its normal rotational path. This causes imbalance and vibration.
- This happens in a similar manner to how a transmission might be damaged, but at the other end of the driveshaft.
- Some people will ignore vibrations from the driveline and just keep driving. Eventually, a U-joint will completely fail and fall apart under load.
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