Front Axle (Automobile)
Front Axle and Steering System
Front axle carries the weight of the front part of the automobile as well as facilitatessteering and absorbs shocks due to road surface variations. The front axles are generallydead axles, but are live axles in small cars of compact designs and also in case of four-wheel drive. The steering system converts the rotary motion of the driver’s steering wheelinto the angular turning of the front wheels as well as to multiply the driver’s effort withleverage or mechanical advantage for turning the wheels. The steering system, in additionto directing the vehicle in a particular direction must be arranged geometrically in such away so that the wheels undergo true rolling motion without slipping or scuffing.Moreover, the steering must be light and stable with a certain degree of self-adjustingability. Steering systems may also be power assisted. The chapter discusses the front axleconstruction and its alignment, and steering geometry and steering systems.
The front axle (Fig. 27.1) is designed to transmit the weight of the automobile from thesprings to the front wheels, turning right or left as required. To prevent interference dueto front engine location, and for providing greater stability and safety at high speeds bylowering the centre of gravity of the road vehicles, the entire centre portion of the axle isdropped. As shown in Fig. 27.1, front axle includes the axle-beam, stub-axles with brakeassemblies, u ack-rod and stub-axle arm.Front axles can be live axles and dead axles. A live front axle contains the differentialmechanism through which the engine power flows towards the front wheels. For steeringthe front wheels, constant velocity joints are contained in the axle half shafts. Withoutaffecting the power flow through the half shafts, these joints help in turning the stub axlesaround the king-pin.The front axles are generally dead axles, which does not transmit power. The front wheelhubs rotate on antifriction bearings of tapered-roller type on the steering spindles, whichare an integral part of steering knuckles. To permit the wheels to be turned by the steeringgear, the steering spindle and steering knuckle assemblies are hinged on the end of axle.The pin that forms the pivot of this hinge is known as king pin or steering knuckle pin.Generally dead front axles are three types. In the Elliot type front axles the yoke for king