View Full Version : Axle Questions

12-31-02, 10:13 PM
The axle in a Vette (most are independent rear supsension, so there should be two axles in a Vette, right?). I was looking in the Glossary and found this:

In reference to Corvettes, the 1953 to 1962 Corvettes. This name comes from the standard rear axle in these cars, as opposed to the swing axle, or independent rear suspension (IRS) of later years. A standard rear axle was in rear with normal leaf springs on each side. A straight axle Corvette tends to mean this reference to the rear axle and not the hot rod definition about the front axle, although one needs to be careful in discussing cars unseen. In the '60s, some older Corvettes had the front suspension replaced with leaf springs and straight or dropped axles as they were lighter for drag racing. These can be rather difficult to restore to the original suspension. See Solid Axle Corvette Club page for more information.

In reference to hot rods, street machines, and antique vehicles, straight axle means a solid beam axle with pivoting spindles mounted on kingpins on each end in which the centerline of the spindles goes through the centerline of the beam axis. The straight axle is usually mounted on leaf springs but not always. It is much lighter than the typical modern A-Frame front suspension and was used in drag racing cars where weight counted more than ride comfort or handling. Early cars (through the 1930s) mainly ran a straight axle front suspension. Also see Dropped Axle.

In reference to trailers, an axle that is straight from spindle to spindle. As such the ride height of the bed (deck) of the trailer has to be higher than the axle and its travel.

But, I don't think I'm understanding this. What exaclty is the definition of an "axle", better yet a straight or solid axle?

Thanks! :D


12-31-02, 10:28 PM
I spent 30 years in the axle building business . To us an axle was was the entire differencial while the parts that the drove the wheels from the "coconut" were axle shafts . To me the shafts on the Corvette independent suspension were half or prop shafts but although we made the C-4 diffs , we never saw the prop shafts . They were put on at Bowling Green . Cliff

12-31-02, 10:33 PM
Thanks, Cliff! But what is meant buy a straight shaft then?

Thanks again! :D


12-31-02, 10:52 PM
Well , TR , actually the term straght axle is a bit of a misnomer . Pretty much any axle without a differencial is refer to as a strait axle . Most of them do drop down . Im my opinion , the word straight refers to the fact that its just an axle rather than being a differencial . Alot of terms like these are open to interpretation . I've given you mine . Cliff

01-01-03, 03:48 AM
TR, I know exactly what DkBG is trying to tell you. He's explained it pretty well. I searched a few web sites on Google, by simply typing, "solid axle" (without the parentheses) and came up with many explainations and photos to boot. Think of it as a "tube" or an "I-beam" with a wheel attached at both ends. This would be your generic "straight axle." Basically, they can remain solid (U-Haul trailer type), or they can pivot like your front wheels do on your car. Many hot rods, or for that matter, the classic Model T bucket's front suspensions used way back when, were "solid axles."
Now lets talk about the Corvettes rear axles. In 1953 up to '62 for example, the axles are solid in design. Look at the back of any pick-up truck's rear axle and this would be termed a, "solid" axle. When they started to use independent suspensions at the rear on Corvettes, they kept the "coconut" (DkBG's name for it). This independent design kind of elimated the solid axle in a way. Since each wheel moved independently, they could move the wheel up and down, but kept the "coconut" stationary. This is where they used, "little drive shafts." Instead of using one long shaft, (just for arguments sake) they cut it in half. This is where the term, "1/2 shaft" came in to play. There are a lot of terms for the same part or item. You just have to acquire new, or similar terms like anything else. For example, how many names can you come up with describing a woman? See where I'm going with this? Keep learning.

01-01-03, 10:02 AM
Okay, I now understand! Thanks, guys! :D