This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Beam axle" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (October 2021) (Learn how and when to remove this message)
Diagonal Panhard rod bolted to a black rectangular profile beam axle on a front-wheel drive 2002 Mazda MPV. This is an example of a "dead axle". A "live axle" doesn't just connect two wheels but drives them.

A beam axle, rigid axle or solid axle is a dependent suspension design in which a set of wheels is connected laterally by a single beam or shaft. Beam axles were once commonly used at the rear wheels of a vehicle, but historically they have also been used as front axles in four-wheel-drive vehicles. In most automobiles, beam axles have been replaced with front (IFS) and rear independent suspensions (IRS).


Solid axle suspension characteristics: Camber change on bumps, none on rebound, large unsprung weight

With a beam axle, the camber angle between the wheels is the same no matter where it is in the travel of the suspension.

A beam axle's fore & aft location is constrained by either: trailing arms, semi-trailing arms, radius rods, or leaf springs. The lateral location can be constrained by a Panhard rod, a Scott Russell linkage or a Watt's linkage, or some other arrangement, most commonly by the leaf springs. Shock absorbers and either leaf springs, coil springs, or air bags are used to control vertical movement.

The Twist-beam rear suspension is a similar suspension design, however its beam axle is able to twist, thereby functioning as an anti-roll bar to control the roll motion of the body, and is considered to be a semi-independent suspension design.

Live axle vs dead axle

A live axle in a Jeep. This is the front suspension, using coil springs.

See also: Axle § Dead axle (lazy axle)

A live axle is a type of beam axle in which the shaft (or, commonly, shafts connected to move as a single unit) also transmits power to the wheels; a beam axle that does not also transmit power is sometimes called a dead axle. While typically used in vehicles with Hotchkiss drive, this suspension system can also be used with other types of power transmission.




Modern production vehicles with solid front axle

Unibody modern production vehicles with solid axle

See also


  1. ^ THE COST OF CHOOSING BIGGER 4x4 TYRES. Retrieved 2024-04-12 – via
  2. ^ 2022 Season Video: A Highlight of the Jeepspeed Race Series. Retrieved 2024-04-12 – via
  3. ^ "10 Off Road tips for inside the cab". 4 Wheeling Australia. Retrieved 2024-04-12.
  4. ^ Lingeman, Jake. "Autoweek explains: What is the 'death wobble'?". Autoweek. Retrieved 2 October 2021.