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Wheel end with bi-directional overrunning clutch

Image Number 3 for United States Patent #6336537.

An integrated wheel end assembly for a vehicle including a wheel hub, a stub shaft, a torque flange and a bi-directional overrunning clutch member is configured such that the clutch automatically acts as a hub lock. The wheel hub is drivingly engaged to a drive flange mounted at an inboard end thereof. An outer circumference of the drive flange has a plurality of external teeth spaced evenly therearound. An outboard end of the stub shaft is rotatingly supported in the wheel hub and an inboard end thereof defines a housing for a CV joint. This CV housing and the drive flange are positioned axially adjacent to each other. The bi-directional overrunning clutch member comprises two clutch plates, one drivingly connected to the CV housing and the other drivingly connected to the drive flange. In a first configuration the clutch plates are disengaged such that the rotating CV housing causes only the corresponding clutch plate to rotate and no drive torque is transferred from the half shaft to the wheel hub. In a second configuration the clutch plates are engaged so as to co-rotate and drive torque is transferred from the half shaft to the wheel hub through the engagement. The clutch utilizes its overrunning feature to disengage the clutch plates when the wheel is rotating faster that the drive shaft and automatically engages when the rotational speed of the wheel equals that of the drive shaft.

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