The wheels of any vehicle are only able to rotate because of their axles. Sometimes these axles are directly connected to the wheels of the vehicle. Other times, the axles are connected to the body instead. Either way, the axles still serve the same purpose for the wheels. The axles also serve another important purpose because they assist in supporting the vehicle’s weight as well. At least, this is the case when your vehicle is equipped with a semi-floating axle or full floating axle. The type of vehicle you have will determine which axle is installed in it.
Below you can learn about what makes each axle unique.
When the axle shaft is attached to the wheels, then it is a semi-floating axle. It assists in transferring differential power to the wheels, which allows them to rotate. The axle housing and axle road surround the bearing. The axle rod is what supports a lot of the vehicle’s weight too. Not only that, but the rod also absorbs the effect of the bending and the torque. This takes the weight pressure off the assembly. As a result, a semi-floating axle can support more weight in comparison to a non-floating axle. However, a full-floating axle can handle more weight than a semi-floating axle.
Semi-floating axles are common in 4-wheel drive vehicles. More importantly, these axles are better for lighter weight vehicles, such as passenger cars. They are not meant for heavier vehicles like pick-up trucks and sports utility vehicles. On the upside, semi-floating axles are lightweight, so they are easier to install. It is also cheaper to hire a mechanic to install them as well.
Full Floating Axle
When the axle rod and wheel hub are connected, then it is a full-floating axle. The wheel is mounted to the axle housing, not the axle rod. Therefore, there is no bending effect for the axle rod like there would be if you had a semi-floating axle. The only thing the axle rod will receive is the differential torque power which goes to the wheels. All the vehicle weight falls upon the assembly instead of the axle shaft. This gives it the strength to hold more weight than either of the other two axles.
Full floating axles are meant for larger and heavier vehicles, such as sports utility vehicles, big trucks, and pick-up trucks. Either the vehicles themselves weight a lot or they’re designed to haul a lot of heavy weight in the back of them. Only a full floating axle can handle this much weight so that you stay safe on the road. Remember the wheels are connected to the wheel hub, not the axle. So, you don’t need to worry about the axle breaking because the wheels will continue to rotate and won’t be affected by this. The same cannot be said for the semi-floating axle which has the wheels attached to the axle.
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Okay, so why doesn’t everybody just get a full floating axle and stay safe? Well, the expensive cost of the full floating axle is one setback that people have about it. If you don’t need to haul heavier loads or drive heavy vehicles, then there is no sense in wasting money on a full floating axle. A semi-floating axle is fine for the average person who drives a standard economy car. Of course, if you’re driving and the axle breaks, then it will loosen your wheels and cause a serious accident. To prevent this from happening, get regular inspections of your axle to ensure it is in good condition. It is better to be safe than sorry.