Journal Article Title: Beware of Embrittled Automotive Rear Axle Drive Shafts
Article Author(s): GLATER, IRVING W., P.E.
Volume: 7
Volume #: 2
Month: December
Year: 1990


In the late 1960s, a novel engineering idea was introduced into American automobiles-Oldsmobile, for example, began implementation of it in 1968. Prior to that time, the outboard ends of automotive rear axle drive shafts were, in most cases, supported by conventional roller bearing assemblies. Then some clever chap came up with the idea that the inner races of the bearing assemblies could be eliminated if the surfaces of the axle shafts could be made as hard as the bearing races. This was accomplished by choosing an axle shaft material which could be induction hardened to produce a layer of sufficient thickness and hardness, thus effectively integrating the bearing inner race with the axle shaft. The rollers ran directly on the axle shaft surface. The new axle shafts displayed superior torsional strength over the old style. Undoubtedly, other engineering and design benefits accrued to this idea.

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