Axle whine phenomenon in light trucks: a combined numerical and experimental investigation

Koronias, G, Theodossiades, S, Rahnejat, Homer orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2257-7102 and Saunders, T (2011) Axle whine phenomenon in light trucks: a combined numerical and experimental investigation. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part D: Journal of Automobile Engineering . pp. 885-894.

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Axle whine is a continuous, steady state tonal sound, emitted from the differential unit’s hypoid gears. It is essentially induced by torque variations. This can be as a result of resonant conditions or torque fluctuations caused by engine order vibrations, compounded by gear transmission error. The principal mechanism of gear whine noise generation is, therefore, through transmission of vibration from the gear shafts and bearings to the differential housing, which is radiated as noise. Furthermore, interactions between the differential unit, axles and driveshafts often generate excessive tonal noises, which are the result of coupled bending and torsional resonances of assembled components. These resonances induce a magnification effect upon the noise source itself through exciting the gear shafts and distorting the alignment of the gear sets. Axle whine noise has become an important Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) concern, because of the nature of the noise, further compounded by the human aural system, which is highly sensitive in tonal memory. The result is a continuously increasing warranty costs or use of expensive palliatives to mitigate the phenomenon. In this paper, a combined experimental and numerical investigation of axle whine in a rear wheel drive light truck is presented. The aim is to reveal some root causes of the drivetrain’s NVH behaviour, which can be related to the amplification/reduction of axle whine vibration and noise. Correlation of the experimental results with the vibration modes of the drivetrain has shown that for vehicle coasting conditions a number of modes are excited, which can interact with the vibrations of the hypoid gear pair. Finally, some light is shed on the role that differential bulk oil temperature plays in the severity of the ensuing vibration.

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