Thom, G., Sheets, A., Brendel, F., and Long, K., "Development of an Analytical Modeling Method and Testing Procedures to Aid in the Design of Cardan Joints for Front Steerable Beam Axles," SAE Technical Paper 2013-01-0819, 2013, doi:10.4271/2013-01-0819.
The Cardan joint of a steerable beam front axle is a complicated mechanical component. It is subjected to drive torque, speed fluctuations, and joint articulation due to powertrain inputs, steering, and suspension kinematics. This combination of high torque and speed fluctuations of the Cardan joint, due to high input drive torque and/or high steer angle maneuvers, can result in premature joint wear. Initially, some observations of premature wear were not well understood based on the existing laboratory and road test data. The present work summarizes a coordinated program of computer modeling, vehicle Rough Road data acquisition, and physical testing used to predict the joint dynamics and to develop advanced testing procedures. Results indicate analytical modeling can predict forces resulting from Cardan joint dynamics for high torque/high turn angle maneuvers, as represented by time history traces recorded in rough road data acquisition. This new approach can then be used to size the joint for durability, thus improving the life of the Cardan joint and preventing premature wear.