Axle Cracking

Chromium steel alloy.

Motorized vehicle.

The axle was manufactured in Germany in 2005. Visual inspections revealed 36 out of 50 vehicles had a cracked front axle. The axle design has been used since the 1990s.

Service Life
Approximately 12 years.

Stress corrosion cracking was not responsible for the failure. Cracking had initiated from both the outer surfaces of the top and bottom of the axle beam. The longitudinal character of the cracking, in the thickest section of the axle beam, suggested a high-temperature failure process. The series of angular character micro cracks adjacent to the principal longitudinal crack suggested a high-temperature stress-rupture failure mechanism.