DO RWD cars have cv joints?

lexus

#1

I was just wondering what kind of connection is used between the driveshaft and the wheel in rear wheel drive cars? Are they CV joints? I have a Toyota 4runner rear wheel drive SUV and I also have a rear wheel drive Lexus IS, do they use CV joints to drive the rear wheels or some other type of connection? Thanks.


#2

Vehicles with solid rear axles, like most pick-up trucks, do not have CV joints in the rear.

Other vehicles with independendently sprung rear wheels may have CV joints.

My guess is your 4Runner does not have CV joints, but your Lexus IS probably does. You could crawl under and look.

My AWD Subaru has CV joints at all four corners.


#3

Some RWD do not use CV joints, some do not, but they are not needed. The use of Cardan joints, commonly called universal joints (U joints, for short) is adequate if a pair of joints is used, and if properly lined up do not transmit torque pulses.

HOWEVER, if they are not properly lined up, or only one U joint is used, a Cardan joint WILL transmit a torque pulse. You can sometimes feel this on heavy acceleration of solid rear axle cars when the pinion angle changes due to the torque.

Because FWD cars steer on the front axle, a Constant Velocity (CV) Joint is needed to control these torque pulses when the steering wheel is turned…


#4

Your 4-runner has a solid rear axle (no CV Joints).

Not sure what the setup is on the Lexus.


#5

What kind of a connection is used to connect the driveshaft to the wheel in my 4runner then? I understand that it has a solid rear axle and does not use cv joints so my question is what kind of a connection does the driveshaft have with each of the rear wheels? Thanks


#6

In a typical RWD vehicle the drive shaft has two U-joints, one at the transmission end and another at the differential end.

U-joints and CV joints do much the same thing, but the CV joint is more complicated and allows a greater range of motion.


#7

Good answer Turbo. The only rear drive cars that would have CV joints are those that require the rear wheels to STEER as well (4 wheel steering). We had a number of these cars built in the past, all Japanese, I believe. They seem to have gone out of fashion.


#8

"The only rear drive cars that would have CV joints are those that require the rear wheels to STEER"
Sorry, but that is not at all true. My Lincoln LS has CV joints in the rear, but it does not have rear steering. AFAIK, all RWD cars that have independent rear suspensions use CV joints. At one time, very few RWD cars had independent suspensions, but I think that more do now.
Even my 93 Thunderbird had CV joints in the rear.


#9

Docnick,
Every Subaru and most European rwd/awd cars among many others, use CV joints in the rear. Even the full size Nissan Armada uses them in the rear. CV joints in the rear make it possible to have driven rear wheels and still have 4 wheel independent suspension, very popular these days.


#10

Thanks for the answers; are you shure these are not just U-joints with dust covers on them. CV joints are larger, more complex and much more expensive. If so, I stand corrected.


#11

"…are you shure these are not just U-joints with dust covers on them. CV joints are larger, more complex and much more expensive."
Absolutely, I am sure. I’ve worked on them.
Here’s an exert from the service manual for the unbeliever(s).
http://deneau.info/ls/s6x~us~en~file=s6x55004.htm~gen~ref.htm


#12

I suspect there’s some confusion entering into the discussion. CapriRacer “nailed” it when he alluded to torque pulse. U-joints do not by their nature transmit a constant torque to the driven side when the joint is articulated. It becomes a sinesoidal wave. It’s not a big problem as long as the angle or articulation is small, but as it grows so does the wave. At the angles that steering joints need to bend U-joints simply do not work well. Even driveshafts that have a large angle between the tranny output shaft and the differential input shaft will often use two U-joints to “break up” the angle into two smaller angles.

CV joints are an entirely different design, sort of like a ball joint with slots between the ball and the socket with ball bearings riding in them. They have the ability to bend to higher angles while still transmitting torque smoothly.

RWD cars with independent rear suspension can use either, since they don’t bend the axles much, but for really high loads U-joints are much stronger.

The question asked by Paperclip “what kind of a connection does the driveshaft have with each of the rear wheels?” is an unrelated question. It goes past the rear U-joint and into the differential, into the pinion gear, the ring gear, and the whole concept of a rotating encasement with planetary gears pulling the spur gears on the axles along. If any of you would like to explain that verbally, be my guest.


#13

RWD cars can use CV joints in the rear, IF they also have IRS (independent rear suspension). Your 4Runner has a solid axle in the rear, so no CV joints. (If it is 4WD it will have them in the front, though.) Your Lexus almost certainly does.


#14

If you want to be excruciatingly technical, I just remembered that the 4Runner does have a type of CV joint (not the same type used on FWD cars) on its PROPELLER shaft(s). (Propeller or drive shafts connect transmissions and differentials.)


#15

I once owned a '69 Coupe DeVille Convertible which used CV joints in it’s driveshaft…This technique removes every trace of driveline vibration…Also, there are different types of CV joints, open and closed, they are not all the same…I suspect your 4-runner uses standard U-joints to accommodate the up and down motion of the axle…


#16

A number of vehicles use CV joints/halfshafts on the rear. My Lincoln Mark and Merkur has them. You will generally find them on independent rear suspension vehicles and it’s not rare at all.

Subaru and Volkswagen are a couple more examples.


#17

My 66 Fleetwood had the same shaft…When it needed to be replaced was when I got rid of the car…Even a refurbished shaft at the time was $500…I only paid $50 for the car.


#18

“tardis” and “mcparadise” get my support for what ever it’s worth…
I have a RAV and a 4Runner; one does, one does not for all the reasons stated by them.
My tractors have no joints (cv or uv) on the drive train on the back and the pitiful ride/handling to prove it.