One of the largest original equipment suppliers in the world, GKN Driveline, has introduced a new, lightweight constant velocity (CV) joint for rear-wheel drive platforms. The new joint allows a more than a 4 kg (9 lb) weight reduction for most vehicles and is targeted towards the premium and luxury segments.
Called the VL3 CV joint, the new lightweight offering increases torque capacity by up to 27 percent without increasing package size. GKN Driveline offers the VL3 in four sizes with a torque capacity of up to 3,300 Nm (2,434 lb-ft), improving on the previous design’s 2,600 Nm rating. That performance can be held despite reducing weight by four or more kilograms and package size by 7 percent.
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The VL3 CV joint is made of a monobloc tubular shaft and face split connection for the wheel hub. These secrets to its weight reduction also mean less vibration, which reduces noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) in the vehicle. GKN Driveline pioneered the CounterTrack principle at work in this new joint, with track geometry of the splines utilizing four pairs of opposed ball tracks (instead of the standard three), giving it more torque capacity. A diaphragm boot replaces a standard boot and cap, reducing volume and the amount of grease required to fill it.The company says that the VL3 CV joint has entered series production and will be on the road in vehicles beginning with the 2016 model year. This technology was a finalist for the Automotive News 2016 PACE Award.