A drive shaft, also known as drive shaft, drive shafts, turning shaft, shafting, and tailshaft is a moving vehicle part for transmitting torque and force, usually utilized to link another machine parts together, such as the crankshaft and the main shaft. It is the most critical part of your engine since it is where the engine rotates and the shaft links the rotational movement to that of the crankshaft and the main shaft. You may find several different types of materials used in drive shafts, such as brass, steel, iron, bronze, aluminum, titanium, iron, carbon fiber, steel, and carbon. Drive shafts are typically made with brass because of its high elasticity and ductility. However, due to excessive heat, brass tends to rust easily.
The main reason behind clunking noises coming from your vehicle is due to the engine running into gear and then engaging the drive shaft at high speeds. Clunking becomes louder at higher speeds and happens more frequently at higher engine revolutions. Clunking noise may also be caused by an improperly or inadequately oiled crankshaft. Another major contributor to clunking noise in an engine is worn out or damaged drive shaft seals. Seals play a major role in preventing oil from dripping and accumulating dirt and sludge in the engine.
The other main cause for vehicle noise is because of the center differential between the front and rear engines. The center differential functions as a single drive shaft by which both the front and rear crankshafts are linked. This enables the vehicle to lower its center weight thus allowing it to accelerate more quickly. The downside of this is that when the vehicle is in motion, such as during a race or hard acceleration, the engine speed starts to increase making the drive shaft unwarranted.
In addition to the above, an improperly fitted or misaligned transmission shift knob, linkage, or Universal Joints could also contribute to the problem. Most auto transmission work should be done by a professional transmission service center to ensure the right specifications and quality control are met. A universal joint is often misaligned because of wear caused by continuous use or misaligned shape. Other common reasons for this include incorrect sealing, wear, and bending. Shifting gears is much easier and efficient with the correct type of joint.
Another culprit in a vehicle's muffling its wheels. The wheel bearings of a vehicle are responsible for transferring power from the drive shaft to all the components of the vehicle. If these tires have insufficient or dirty air-tight tread areas, the vehicle will not be able to accelerate properly. This in turn, will result in a clunk sound from the transmission.
Wheel alignment is another way of addressing the problem. If the inside of the wheel is slightly misaligned, this will affect the torque converter, which moves torque through the drive shaft and on to the axle. The improper angle in the joint will negatively affect the amount of torque that is transferred from the drive shaft to the axle. A good fit and proper torque converter will prevent this undesirable noise from occurring.
Lastly, the most extreme case of a transmission muffling can be damage to the drive shaft. The prop shaft in the engine's transmission is used to connect the propeller shaft to the clutch and brakes system. If damage occurs to this portion of the shaft, the vehicle will not be able to accelerate properly. In addition to affecting how the vehicle moves, this noise can also be very loud.
To address the above problem, a professional should replace the joint on the drive shaft as well as the axle. They will likely need to perform several replacement operations to get everything working again, but this is the best option available. If you own an RTR or SportTrac 2.3L, it is highly recommended that you have the transmission and axle checked by a professional before driving it on a regular basis. This maintenance will help ensure that you get the best performance possible out of your drive train.