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Drive Shaft Problems? Troubleshooting, Troubleshooting and Installation

Pulished on Jun. 17, 2021

One of the simplest and most important components of a vehicle is the driveshaft. Responsible for the transmission of the output of that transmission to said axle, it is essentially an axle that is driving the vehicle. Although it has a basic function, it plays an extremely important role in the operation of the vehicle, serving as the link between the engine and the moving vehicle. But before we can diagnose driveshaft problems, we need to understand some basic principles, which are shared with you by Driveshaft Suppliers below

How does a driveshaft work?

First, it is important to know that front-wheel drive vehicles do not use a driveshaft. Instead, the transmission and axle are combined into a unit called a driveshaft. However, on rear-wheel and four-wheel drive vehicles, the transmission and axle are separate. This means that the rotational motion of the transmission needs to be transferred to the axle in some form.

As a result, the driveshaft is usually made of steel or aluminum, sometimes even carbon fiber, and the driveshaft is tubular in design to ensure that it is both strong and lightweight. It is easy to think of it as a sturdy device that connects the transmission or transfer case to the axle. However, due to driveline angles and vehicle flexing, sometimes the driveshaft must consist of several components to function properly.

Driveshaft

Driveshaft

Depending on the model year, the driveshaft can be designed as a single-piece or two-piece unit. In addition, four-wheel drive applications have two driveshafts - one connecting the transmission to the rear differential and the other connecting the transfer case to the front differential.

Symptoms of driveshaft problems

Now that we know what the parts are, we can break down the driveshaft problem. It's good to remember that the driveshaft itself is rarely a point of failure. However, when it does fail, it is usually the result of long-term corrosion and stress, so you will usually notice certain signs and symptoms that indicate a problem.

Vibration/Chatter

Vibration from the driveline is a good sign that the Driveshaft is failing. This is usually caused by the driveshaft not being bolted in place or the unit being out of balance. Of course, if it gets hit by rocks or rusted and rotted while it's spinning, the problem will be obvious. But in reality, the likelihood that this is the cause of daily driver failure is very remote.

Loud noise

The most common point of failure in a driveshaft assembly is the U-joint. the U-joint uses bearings inside to keep the joint moving freely. Over time, these bearings will wear out and the u-joints will need to be replaced. You can usually tell these are going bad when you hear popping and clanking noises from the driveline.

Difficult Turning

Driveshaft problems can make it difficult to control the steering ability of your vehicle. If you feel hesitation or resistance when turning, or have difficulty getting in and out of parking spaces, this may indicate that your driveshaft is about to pull out.

Replacing and Repairing Driveshafts

Replacing and repairing driveshafts and U-joints can be combined into one conversation, as both procedures follow nearly the same steps. Lifting the vehicle or using a lift certainly makes the process much easier, but it is not required. The exact disassembly of a driveshaft varies from vehicle to vehicle and the exact operation cannot be done in a single, one-size-fits-all process.

We also have Crankshafts available, so please feel free to contact us if you need them!

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