The Effect of Outer Ring Distortion on Wheel Bearing Friction Torque 2017-01-2521
Wheel bearing friction torque (“drag”) directly contributes to vehicle fuel economy and CO2 emissions. At the same time, one of the most important factors for long-term durability of wheel bearings is effective seal performance. Since these two factors are often in conflict, it is important to balance the desire for low friction with the need for optimal sealing. One factor that affects wheel bearing sealing performance is the distortion of the outer ring that occurs when the bearing is mounted to the steering knuckle with fasteners. Minimizing this distortion is not just important for sealing, however. This paper explores the relationship between the outer ring distortion and the resulting friction torque. A design of experiments (DOE) approach was used in order to study the effects of the fastening bolt torque, constant velocity joint (CVJ) fastening torque, and outer ring distortion on component-level drag. The correlation shows the importance of maintaining raceway roundness in order to both improve sealing effectiveness and reduce friction within the wheel bearing.