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Your engine can generate a lot of power, but all that torque is useless sitting under your hood. Somehow that power has to be translated to motion and sent to your wheels, or your vehicle isn't going anywhere. The responsibility of turning your wheels belongs to your driveshaft. The driveshaft is a propeller shaft that takes engine power and sends it to your drive wheels. If you have a front wheel drive car, truck, or SUV, you've got two driveshafts that are often referred to as half shafts. For rear wheel drive vehicles, you will find one long driveshaft that extends to the back wheels. The actual rotary motion captured by your driveshaft comes from the powertrain'your engine and transmission. As your driveshaft carries this rotary motion to the drive axles, it must also articulate with the movement of the rear axle as your vehicle hits road imperfections. Since the driveshaft is a rigid structure, it is under quite a bit of strain. One of the biggest problems you can run up against is snapping or otherwise damaging your driveshaft. If this happens, there is no question about what is going to occur as a result: your vehicle is going to stay right where it is, because without your driveshaft, your wheels can't turn. Fortunately, your driveshaft is a pretty tough piece of equipment, so you won't have to worry about investing in a new driveshaft every six months. Still, if your driveshaft breaks due to wear and tear, or one of the universal joints on your driveshaft stops moving, you can replace this essential component quickly and conveniently with our great selection of automotive parts in our extensive online catalogue.
Driveshaft Buying Guide
A driveshaft is described as a pole that transfers power from the engine to the drive wheels. It is important that your car is equipped with a driveshaft fit for your car. A bad one could be costly because of lost power.
Have in mind some considerations when picking a new driveshaft for your car or truck.
Power and Load Balance
A driveshaft's transferring capabilities should be balanced with an engine's power. Remember that with every horsepower increase, there also is the increase in load the driveshaft must carry. Too much power from a powerful engine can twist and destroy the driveshaft. On the other hand, make it too strong for a weak engine and you'll be spending too much on something you and your car does not need.
Length and Diameter
Dimensions of a driveshaft have great effects on its critical speed. Basically, critical speed is the limit a driveshaft has of properly being able to carry an engine's power. Exceed the critical speed and the driveshaft becomes shaky and unstable. Push it more and you'll get it bent and useless. A general rule is that a long and wide driveshaft has a higher critical speed compared to short and thin ones.
A driveshaft is constructed using different materials which also affect its critical speed. Take note of this when picking one for your driving or racing needs.
- OEM: The lowest level of driveshaft capable of handling engines between 350-400HP. This type is not suitable for racing.
- DOM/Chrome-Moly: This steel driveshaft can carry the power range of 1,000-1,300HP. It is quite heavy compared to other types. Chrome-molly driveshafts are tougher variant and can carry the same load as the DOM type.
- Aluminum: Though lightweight, this is common in performance cars because of its capacity to support 900 to 1,000 HP. It can be prone to twisting because it is lighter than steel.
- Carbon Fiber: This is the strongest and most expensive type of driveshaft. With high a high critical speed, carbon fiber can carry an engine with 900 to 1,500 HP.
Fixing a Busted Driveshaft
A driveshaft is responsible for transferring power from the transmission to the axles of the drive wheels. If it is damaged, a lot of power is wasted and lost. Hence, it is important to immediately repair broken a broken driveshaft to ensure the car runs well.
Difficulty Level: Moderate
- Floor jack and jack stands
- Wrench set
- Socket set
- Handheld sledgehammer
- Transmission Fluid
- Replacement driveshaft
Step 1: Park your car on a flat surface, put it in neutral gear, and elevate with a floor jack. Secure the car on jack stands to avoid accidentally dropping the car.
Step 2: Go underneath the car and locate the rear yoke of the driveshaft which is connected to the rear axle. Mark the connection of the driveshaft to the axle with chalk for later reference. Wedge a screwdriver in the u-joint gap and remove one of the bolts. To access the other bolts, take off the screwdriver and manually turn the driveshaft. Once other bolts are in reach, wedge the screwdriver again and remove the bolt. Once the last bolt is removed, support and lower the driveshaft and lower it to avoid a sudden drop. In case the driveshaft is stuck, lightly tap it with a small sledgehammer.
Step 3: Repeat step 2 for the front yoke.
Step 4: Once the driveshaft is completely off, prepare the new driveshaft by rubbing transmission fluid on the front yoke to be attached to the transmission. Make sure the splines and joints fit when the front yoke of the driveshaft is inserted. Use your chalk markings as a guide. Secure all bolts removed.
Step 5: For the rear yoke, simply raise it to your chalk marking, fit it to the joint and return all the bolts removed.
Step 6: Lower the car and start the engine. Warm up the car for a few minutes before taking it on a test drive.The whole process can be done in a little over 1 hour.
- Ask for help from another person especially when fitting the joints and spines.
- Use goggles to prevent accidental drippings to the eyes.