As far as vehicles are concerned, the axle bearing is a type of bearing that uses the axle design to operate. To be more specific, the bearing rollers ride directly unto the axle shaft, allowing the same axle to spin without resistance, wear, or seizure.
The roller type bearing assists in its continuous movement with little wear-down. Compared to the ball bearing, the axle bearing offers a wider surface area when it comes to contact. However, a replacement might be called for once the axle acts up and begins to showcase a grinding noise as it moves or rides.
Which Axle Bearings Should You Purchase
When shopping for axle bearing replacements, you need to get ones for semi-float or full-float axles. Check the axle you're replacing bearings for before anything else.
- Semi-Float Axles: If your automobile is using semi-float axles then this means that this axle has the support of a single bearing that's linked to the end of the axle housing. Through this setup, the axle is capable of carrying the full weight of the vehicle on the axle shaft. If damaged, you might either need to buy a new bearing for this axle type or altogether replace the whole thing depending on the extent of the damage or what was damaged.
- Full-Float Axles: Full-float axles have multiple bearings instead of one bearing followed by a wheel hub that's supported by a fixed spindle. This is a full-float type of axle because the bearing floats from within the axle assembly that in turn supports the weight of the car, load included. This allows the axle to focus on transferring as much torque as possible from the engine to the wheel via the differential. This bearing is usually found on 1-ton or ¾-ton light trucks, medium trucks, and heavy trucks or tractors.
- Key Design Attributes: Know the key design attributes of your bearing. Aside from compatibility to the make and model of your vehicle, which should be a given anyway, you should also search for direct-on-shaft bearing design in order to simplify the act of mounting the bearing. The design should also be compact to ensure that your axle gets the same or even an improved overall high-load capacity. If you can upgrade to better bearings to the point of customizing your car or truck, do so.
- Axle Steel Grades: When buying bearings for your axle, you should know axle steel grades as well. These parts are usually made of chromium-molybdenum or chrome-moly steel and carbon steel. This steel has a 41xx SAE grade and is more costly to produce than carbon steel because of how strong and durable it is. There are also carbon steel axles with a 10xx SAE grade that's easier to weld. Your bearing should match the steel grade of the axle housing it, with them being made of the same material.