How Much Play Should A Cv Axle Have

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When it comes to vehicle performance, one of the most important parts is your axle. What kind you use, how much torque yours can handle, and what size greta you need depend mostly on three things: wheel diameter, track or footprint, and amount of play in the axles.

The last part is often overlooked when talking about cv axles but they are very important! The more travel in the wheels, the better. This allows for greater traction and control while driving as well as improved handling. Too much movement can also cause damage to the suspension system or break down due to stress!

There are two main types of CV joints that people talk about- solid and fluidized. Both work by having balls roll in a cup shaped area where there is some type of greased lubricant. As the car moves, these balls move along with them creating friction which limits speed. They also have valves that regulate pressure so that as the tire pushes up onto the ground, the ball does not stick too tightly causing excessive drag and loss of power.

Too much play can damage suspension components

how much play should a cv axle have

One of the most important parts of your car is its suspension. Your suspension will determine how comfortable you feel when driving, as well as how good it is at handling the road.

Suspension systems work by using springs to absorb shocks caused by bumps in the roadway or uneven pavement. The spring constant, length, and thickness are key factors that influence how soft or hard the suspension is.

By having a stiffer suspension, you will enjoy riding over bumps with less noise and stress being put on the vehicle. This is why some cars have very expensive dampers that are fully adjustable!

Too much bounce in the suspension can cause premature wear and failure of the stabilizer bars, lower control arms, or even ball joints. These pieces help keep the wheels aligned while allowing the suspension to flex properly.

Too much vertical movement also puts more torque onto the axle bearings which could lead to them becoming worn out. If this happens, then the wheel will not rotate freely causing excessive friction and eventually seizing up.

This could be disastrous if you need to make a quick stop somewhere or use the vehicle for working.

Play is different for each wheel and each tire

how much play should a cv axle have

As mentioned before, play in your CV axles comes from two sources- stress relief at the pivot points and rollers or bearings that reduce friction as the axle rotates.

The first source of softness you will want to look into are the roller bearing units. These work by having a inner race, an outer race, and a set number of ball bearings in between. The balls do not need to be made of steel, however they DO NEED TO BE A FIRM FIT! If they are too loose, then they can actually move out of place and lose their grip, allowing the axle to rotate more freely. This would be uncomfortable for driving and possibly damaging to the vehicle if it happens at highway speeds.

Another way to manage this type of play is to use plastic spacers. You can buy these online or through most any parts store, they are about half a millimeter thick and fit in either 6mm or 9mm diameter holes. They help increase the stiffness of the unit and prevent the bearings from rubbing together.

Play allows for proper alignment

how much play should a cv axle have

When wheels are not spinning, there is no way to know if they are aligned properly or not! A small amount of drag or play in your axle is okay, but more than that can cause havoc on the vehicle.

As discussed before, an overly tight wheel fit will create torque which may damage the knuckles or break the rim. An undertightened tire will result in excessive wear and possibly catastrophic failure down the road.

Play in axles comes from many different sources. Loose bearings, rusty gears, and stretched suspension parts are some major causes. Even thin lubricants can contribute to friction and play.

Thin grease is a common culprit in our article about how to fix a dirty clutch. If you ever need to check your CV gear ratio, try using thicker greases as a test run!

By having adequate suspension travel, your car can handle heavier loads and take better advantage of curbed roads. This also helps prevent wheel roll-back when going into corners, thus reducing chances of accident or injury.

To ensure correct wheel balance and minimal play, it is important to make sure all components are lined up correctly. Setting them up with a good gauge piece of paper and a trusted tool can help you do this easily.

Play allows for shock and spring compressions

how much play should a cv axle have

One of the key components in your vehicle’s suspension is the control arm or cv axle. These are what connect the wheels to the chassis of the car. The amount of “play” that the cv axle has can have an effect on how much roll, pitch, and/or dive your vehicle will do.

Too much play can result in uncomfortable ride quality as well as accelerated wheel wear due to excessive movement. Vehicles with overly flexible cvs often suffer from this!

Vehicles with tight cvs usually have smoother rides, but they may not hold up well under hard use. This could be because the parts of the suspension fail before the cv axle does!

There are several different ways to determine the right amount of play for your specific vehicle.

Play allows for tire wear

When your car is new, having some amount of play in your axle is okay! But as your vehicle gets older, this play can be a problem.
As we mentioned before, cv axles are built with rubber bushings to reduce friction between the wheel and shaft. This way, when you torque the car down or push the car up with weight, the wheels will not bind too much!

However, if there is enough play in the axle, then the bushing can break away which would increase the binding force of the wheel on the shaft. If this happens at high speeds, it could cause injury to yourself or someone else.

This effect is called “wheel hop” and was one of the main reasons why people got hurt while racing cars. Fortunately, most race tracks have safety equipment that helps prevent this from happening.

But what about during day-to-day use? You probably don’t want to spend money on extra hardware just because you made an accident happen once.

Play allows for shock and spring compressions

how much play should a cv axle have

When your car is parked, you want it to be able to bounce back after being hit hard. This kind of rebound is called play. As mentioned before, cv axles have some built in play due to the pivot points we talked about earlier.

This play gives your vehicle more “spring” which can help mitigate heavy dents and bumps.

Play allows for shock and spring compressions

how much play should a cv axle have

When your car is parked, you want it to be able to bounce back after being hit hard! This kind of rebound comes from two sources- play (flexion) in the suspension system and friction between the surface area of the vehicle and the surface area of the road.

As your axle moves up and down with every stride, it’s got to get out of its own way! It does this by creating some amount of friction with the surface of the roadway, and it also creates an equal and opposite force within the suspension component — the spring.

The longer the spring, the more compressed it gets, but it can only get so far before it snaps or breaks. The same thing applies to the extent of the fork’s drop. As the wheel goes up, there’s less air in the tube, which makes the fork drop lower. But it will never go all the way down because there is always some degree of friction keeping it stuck.

This loss of compression is what gives us our first source of play in a solid axle. Because the fork can’t fully collapse, it produces some small movement as it presses into the bed of the truck. We call this limited roll-back or flexation travel.

Now that we know how much flexation play your axle should have when the vehicle is stationary, let’s talk about the second type.

Play allows for shock and spring compressions

how much play should a cv axle have

One of the key components of any vehicle is its suspension or balance-beam system. This component helps to eliminate wheel bounce so that you do not lose traction when driving down an incline, it aids in weight transfer from one side of the car to the other as cars enter and exit curbs, and it gives your car some level of roll control.

When drivers talk about how much “play” their vehicle has, they are referring to the amount of compression and extension the springs can undergo before being compressed beyond their limit or extended past this limit.

This play is what enables the vehicle to absorb shocks properly and keeps the wheels rolling smoothly over uneven roadways and bumps. Too little play will result in a poorly tuned ride quality, while too much play will be uncomfortable and cause damage to the tires, bodywork, and suspension parts.

General tips When working with axles it is important to always keep them lubricated! Using heavy oil such as engine tranny fluid will help prevent corrosion and make changing gears easier.

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