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HQ 965168

July 25, 2002

CLA-2 RR:IA 965168 JLV


TARIFF NO.: 8482.10

Director, Port of Chicago
U.S. Customs Service
Chicago, Illinois 60607

RE: Request for Internal Advice No. 01/007; double-flanged hub assembly; hub assembly for non-driving wheel; hub bearing assembly; housed bearing; NY 818084; HQ 960049

Dear Port Director:

You have submitted a request for Internal Advice (No. 01/007) in response to a request by counsel on behalf of Power Train Components, Inc. (Power Train), concerning the classification of hub assemblies for use on the non-driving wheels of motor vehicles. Our decision follows.


The hub assembly is Model PT513012 and is used in motor vehicles of Chapter 87, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS). The article is described as a double-flange “non-driven hub assembly” consisting of a mounting flange, wheel flange and a bearing. Counsel initially described the hub assembly as having “two tapered bearing sets that are mounted in the housing [mounting flange]. Counsel also described the wheel flange as being “pressed into the inner races of the bearings.” In a follow-up submission in which counsel responded to questions from Customs, it was again stated that the bearings are housed and a diagram of the hub assembly was submitted. The diagram indicates that the rolling components are balls rather than tapered rollers, that the mounting flange comprises an outer ring with a flange, that the wheel flange comprises an inner ring with a flange, and that there is a small component that completes the inner ring (apparently pressed against the other components when one end of the flanged inner ring is swaged).

Based on the sample, the description and the submitted diagram, the mounting flange component appears to be the outer ring of a bearing. Described as a “bearing housing” by the importer, this component has been machined to form the outer race or ring. This outer ring incorporates an integral flange for the attachment by four bolts to a non-driving straight axle tube. The wheel flange component appears to be the principal component for the inner ring of a bearing. Described as a “flanged shaft” by the importer, this component has been machined to form the inner race or ring. This inner ring incorporates an integral five-bolt flange for attaching the wheel. The rolling elements in the bearing are balls rather than tapered rollers. These balls are loose (i.e., not contained by a cage) at the time they are assembled with the other components. The completed hub assembly is permanently sealed when the inner and outer rings are swaged to form a single unit.

Double-flanged hub assemblies for non-driving wheels, of the kind described above, are “third generation hub units” which, in order to reduce weight and cost, are designed so as to consolidate the functional features of the wheel flange and shaft with that of the inner ring into a single component. This component, as in the case of the PT513012, is combined with the outer ring (mounting flange) and a smaller inner ring by swaging the end of the inner ring (wheel flange) over these two components in order to clamp them together. These components may also be clamped together by a hub nut that screws onto the end of the inner ring and shaft. See discussion found in the article “Trends of Production Engineering for Bearings and Unit Products,” by Mr. Keiji Morita, KOYO Engineering Journal English Edition No. 159E (2001), page 31 (http://koyo.ds-navi.co.jp/enu/tech/ej/img/no159e/159e_12.pdf ). As noted in the article, one of the purposes achieved by use of unit products is the consolidation of various functions into a single unit. Unlike other non-driving hub assemblies which are designed to fit over and be clamped to a shaft or axle end, such as the second generation unit in HQ 960049, the Model 513012 double-flange hub assembly eliminates the need for an axle shaft or axle end.

You propose to classify the Model PT513012 in HTS 8708 as bearings in heading 8482 HTS. Counsel for Power Train argues that these hub assemblies consist of housed bearings and, therefore, are classifiable in heading 8483, HTS. In its argument, counsel points out that conflicting rulings appear to exist. Specifically, counsel identifies NY 818084 of February 7, 1996, and HQ 960049 of August 26, 1997. In HQ 960049 Customs classified, as bearings in heading 8482, a second generation hub assembly (hub unit with a single flange for attaching to the wheel) that were designed to fit over the end of the non-driving axle and to be secured by an axle nut. In NY 818084 Customs classified, as other parts of motor vehicles in heading 8708, a third generation hub assembly which incorporated a flanged spindle that was splined so that a matching spindle could be inserted at the time the mounting flange is secured to the front drive component of a motor vehicle.


1. Is the double flanged hub assembly for a non-driving axle classifiable as a bearing in HTS 8482, as a housed bearing in HTS 8483 or as a part of a motor vehicle in HTS 8708?

2. Are NY 818084 and HQ 960049 inconsistent?


First, we note that classification in HTS 8483 would not be considered in any case because, in this case, these hub units are solely used in motor vehicles of Chapter 87. If the hub units are determined not to be bearings of HTS 8482, then classification in HTS 8483 would be precluded by application of Note 1(l) to Section XVI. Therefore, the classification issue is whether these hub units are classified as bearings or as parts of motor vehicles.

Heading 8482 of the HTS provides for ball or roller bearings. The Explanatory Notes (EN) to heading 8482 provide the following guidance: the heading covers all ball, roller or needle roller type bearings, and bearings normally consist of rolling elements (e.g., tapered rollers or balls), concentric inner and outer rings and a cage. For purposes of tariff classification, the term “bearing” refers to such an assembly. References to the rolling elements in bearings are to “balls, needles or rollers.”

Bearings reduce friction by providing smooth metal balls or rollers, and a smooth inner and outer metal surfaces (rings) for the balls to roll against. Bearings function in situations involving radial or thrust loads. The balls or rollers "bear" the load, allowing a device to rotate or move smoothly. In the automotive field, axle or wheel bearings have traditionally been pressed between a shaft, such as an axle shaft, and another component, such as a wheel hub. However, newer designs for the automotive field have enhanced the bearing design so that the outer or inner rings are flanged for attachment directly to a suspension component or for attachment of a wheel or hub.

Such is the case with the double flanged hub unit that is under consideration. In this case, the inner ring for the bearing is also a flanged shaft. As such, the wheel attaches directly to the inner ring of the bearing. Inasmuch as there is no axle shaft onto which the bearing will be assembled, the bearing functions in place of an axle shaft.

A hub unit for a non-driving wheel is distinguishable from a hub unit for a driving wheel. In NY 818084 we considered a hub unit for a driving wheel. The design of the hub unit required that the flanged inner ring be machined with a spline on the inner surface of the inner ring so that, when pressed onto the driving axle, the power from the axle could be transmitted to the wheel. In that case, Customs noted that the splined hub unit performed a function separate from the function of a bearing. Therefore, the splined hub unit for a driving wheel of a motor vehicle was properly classifiable in heading 8708 rather than as a bearing in heading 8482.

Based on the design of the PT513012 hub unit for a non-driving wheel, we conclude that the hub unit meets the terms of heading 8482 as a “ball bearing.” It consists of inner and outer rings, both of which are flanged, with rolling elements (the balls).

Concerning the second issue, we conclude that HQ 960049 and NY 818084 are not in conflict. In HQ 960049 Customs classified a second generation hub unit for a non-driving wheel as a bearing in heading 8482, HTS. The design of that hub unit was such that the inner ring fitted over an axle shaft and the outer ring was flanged to allow attachment of the wheel or hub. Classification as a bearing is appropriate and, furthermore, is consistent with our decision on the hub unit at issue in this decision. In NY 818084 Customs classified a third generation hub unit (splined) for a driving wheel as a part of a motor vehicle in heading 8708, HTS. The design of the hub unit incorporated a splined inner surface (on the inner ring) for transmitting the power of the driving axle to the wheel. This feature distinguishes a hub unit for a driving wheel from both the second and third generation hub units for non-driving wheels. For the reasons explained in that ruling, classification of such hub units for driving wheels as parts of motor vehicles is correct.


By application of General Rule of Interpretation 1 and the terms of heading 8482, the hub unit for the non-driving wheel of a motor vehicle is classifiable in heading 8482, specifically in subheading 8482.10, HTS, as a ball bearing.

The decisions in NY 818084 and HQ 960049 are not in conflict and reflect a consistent position on the classification of hub units for driving wheels and non-driving wheels.


Myles B. Harmon

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