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Propeller Shaft

Views:227     Author:Cardan Shaft Manufacturer     Publish Time: 2020-07-24      Origin:Sitong Cardan Shaft Co.,Ltd

propeller shaft

The propeller shaft (likewise called drive shaft or transmission shaft) is a part of the drive train in a vehicle, with the reason for conveying torque from the transmission to the differential, which at that point transmits this torque to the wheels so as to move the vehicle.


Caedan shafts are used differently in different vehicles, varying greatly in cars with distinct configurations for front-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, and the previously mentioned front-engine rear-wheel drive.

The propeller shaft is essentially used to exchange torque between parts that are isolated by a separation since various segments must be in various areas in the vehicle.

A front-motor back wheel drive vehicle must have a lengthy drive shaft associating the back pivot to the transmission since these parts are on inverse sides of the vehicle.

§ Propeller Shaft is the shaft that transmits power from the gearbox to the differential gear in a motor vehicle from the engine to the propeller in a boat or flying machine.

§ Propeller shaft sometimes called a transmission shaft, transmits power from the gearbox to the rear axle. Regularly the shaft has a tubular section and is made in maybe a couple of piece construction.

§ The two-piece arrangement is supported at the midpoint by an elastically mounted bearing. Short drive shafts are incorporated for the transmission of power from the last drive assembly to the road wheels in both front and rear-wheel drive layouts.




The main functions of the propeller shaft that if transmit rotary motion and power to the differential. Prop shaft consisting of three parts, i.e. hollow shaft, universal joints, and slip joints.


Prop shaftWhere the engine and axles are separated from each other, as on four-wheel-drive and rear-wheel-drive vehicles, it is the propeller shaft that serves to transmit the driving force generated by the engine to the axles. The longer the shaft, the more liable it is to bend, and bending is further promoted when rotation is applied causing vibrations and resulting in an increase in noise. For this reason, the propeller shaft has been designed to suppress vibrations arising from a wide range of causes.In some vehicles, the engine is kept at the front and the front wheels of the vehicle are being driven. In some other vehicles, the engine is at the rear and the rear wheels are being driven. For such arrangements, a short propeller shaft is used to drive each wheel.


The engine and the transmission unit are attached to the vehicle frame with some flexible mounting. The rear axle housing with differential and wheels are attached to the vehicle frame by suspension springs.


To sum up, the propeller shaft does the following functions:


1. It transmits rotary motion of the gearbox output shaft to the differential and then to the wheels through the axle shafts.


2. It transmits the motion at an angle which is varying frequently.


3. It accommodates changes in length between gearbox and rear axle.




Single-Piece-Type Propeller Shaft:



The friction welding adopted at the junction contributes to an improvement in the strength, quality, and durability of the junction. A reduction in the number of component parts and in the weight has been achieved.

Propeller Shaft


Used in vehicles with a short separation between the motor and axles, and MR based four-wheel-drive vehicles. The erosion welding adopted at the intersection adds to an enhancement in the quality, quality, and strength of the intersection.


On a single piece propeller shaft, you may have a solid connection to the axle while a slip yoke connects it to the transmission. The yoke slides over the splines of the transmission’s output shaft. The reason this is done is to allow the driveshaft to “change sizes” during flex. The drive shaft will be able to slide back and forth on these splines to keep from binding, while effectively being able to apply power.

You may also have a propeller shaft upfront, similar to what is found on a two-piece driveshaft, which offers a fixed mounting position on the transmission but still allows the transmission shaft to extend as needed.

Between the yoke and the transmission shaft—and used as the connecting point for the driveshaft and the differential—are universal joints or u-joints. U-joints are used to manage the angles. The transmission and transmission shaft sits at an angled pitch and this means that the driveshaft will need to pivot as it rotates. U-joints are what make this possible.


2-piece-type/3-piece-type Propeller Shaft:



The division of the propeller shaft into two- or three-parts allows the critical number of revolution to lowered preventing vibration problems from occurring when the overall length of the shaft increased. The dynamic damper inserted into the pipe reduces the vibration and noise.

The friction welding adopted at the junction contributes to an improvement in the strength, quality, and durability of the junction. A reduction in the number of component parts and in the weight has been achieved.

Two-piece propeller shafts do all the same things as a single-piece driveshaft, just in a slightly different way. Rather than using a slip yoke to attach to the rear of the transmission, these are mounted in a fixed position with the use of a u-joint on the output shaft of the transmission and a u-joint on the axle.

Utilized as a piece of vehicles with long separation between the motor and axles, and Front motor front-drive base four-wheel-drive vehicles. The division of the propeller shaft into a few sections enables the basic number of transformations to brought down keeping the vibration issue from happening when the general length of the pole expanded.

The 2-piece-type prop shaft still needs to manage flex, and this is done between the two driveshafts instead of at the transmission. This is important for 4WD vehicles that see extreme flex—as the use of a slip yoke could actually result in the driveshaft falling out of the vehicle.


Common Bad Propeller Shaft Symptoms


propeller axlesSince propeller axles rotate quickly, theyre able to move the rear wheels of your vehicle. The only way they can keep rotating quickly is if they remain weighted down and balanced exactly right. If your driveshaft were to ever go bad, then there would be some clearly visible symptoms that would present themselves. More specifically,  Here are some common signs to watch out for that will let you know there is a problem with the drive shaft or slip yoke.


1) Vibrations

If you’re driving the vehicle and you feel a lot of harsh vibrations coming from under it, then your prop shaft may be in trouble. This is usually the first symptom that people recognize when there is a drive shaft problem.

The vibrations are likely due to worn out bushings of the drive shaft. These bushings are what normally keeps the propeller Axle from vibrating in the first place.

If the problem is not fixed soon, the vibration will get more severe. It will get so bad that your passengers will be able to feel it too. The worst part is that other drivetrain components can also be affected and damaged.

2) Clunking Noise

A failing propeller shaft could cause clunking sounds to be heard as you step on the gas pedal or drive in reverse. These may be in addition to the squeaking sounds that you normally hear all the time.

If you hear clunking noises in any of these cases, then it could mean your drive shaft has an issue and should be promptly inspected. Often, this is a common symptom of a bad slip yoke.

At this point, you should feel more than motivated to want to replace your shaft before some real damage occurs.

3) Squeaking Noise

This could be due to worn out internal components such as bushings or bearings within the shaft or U-joint or possibly an imbalance in the shaft. Usually, the noise increases as you go faster. It could possibly be out of balance or some other part of it could be worn out.

 4) Universal Joint Movement

Your propeller shaft has a U-joint that rotates at a steady pace. If the U-joint of your drive shaft rotates too fast or fails to rotate, then it’s a problem with your propeller Axle. Perhaps you have a bad U-joint or your bearings have rust on the cap seals. This may require you to replace your entire driveshaft if the damage is too significant.

5) Turning Problems

steering wheel off-center

If you try to make a turn with your vehicle and the wheels don’t turn immediately or they hesitate, then you have an issue with your drive shaft.  Your wheels won’t receive the proper amount of torque due to a U-joint issue at the end of the driveshaft, so making turns will be very difficult due to the additional resistance.

Once you confirm it’s the driveshaft at fault, you need to get it replaced quickly or risk an accident due to not being able to control the vehicle.


Propeller Shaft Vibration Analysis

Noisy propeller shafts, vibrations in the driveline, or annoying resonance may indicate a problem in the propeller axle. Ignoring this phenomenon may cause damage to bearings and hull or other parts.You can prevent this damage.


propeller shaftsVibration in a transmission shaft can be caused by many conditions. One of the most common causes of driveline vibration is worn U-joints or slip splines, out-of-balance components, yokes out of phase or misaligned angles, approaching critical speed range, and yoke ears that are not concentric with the splines. Vibrations problems must be diagnosed accurately and corrected quickly to avoid damage to the driveline components. It is often difficult to determine if a vibration of the vehicle is coming from the driveshaft or something else.  Here are some things to think about while you are troubleshooting any driveshaft problem.      


A First type propeller shaft vibration will cause one shake or disturbance for each revolution of the driveshaft. Anything that is out of balance will only cause the first-order vibration, never any higher-order vibrations.


First type driveshaft vibration is usually caused by:


A component rotating the same speed as the drive shaft that is out-of-round.

A component rotating the same speed as the propeller shaft that is out-of-balance.

Transmission shaft balance issues can generally be felt at speeds over 30mi./h  

The Second type of driveshaft vibration will cause two shakes or disturbances for each revolution of the transmission shaft. A component that is out of balance will NEVER cause a second or other type of vibration, only a first type of vibration.


Second type propeller shaft vibration is usually caused by:


Incorrect Vehicle Trim Height

Powertrain Mounting Problems

Failed or Failing U-Joints

Improperly phased or twisted driveshafts

very low speeds, and higher speeds

Drive Axle Problems


Third type propeller shaft vibration will cause three shakes or disturbances for each revolution of the driveshaft.


This type of vibration is very rare and will not be present on vehicles with Cardan U-joints. A component that is out of balance will NEVER cause a third or higher type vibration, only a first type of vibration.


Third type propeller shaft vibrations are usually caused by:


Failed, failing, or binding Constant Velocity (CV) Joints.  Remove the drive shaft and rotate the CV-joint through its full range of motion while feeling for any rough spots or looseness.


Another common problem is caused by oil leakage from a faulty propeller shaft seal. Also, radial sealing stuffing boxes, which do not adapt to misalignment of the prop shaft, often cause leakages. Other leakages may occur due to the long-term wear of gaskets on the propeller shaft. In order to prevent leakages, we often use propeller shaft seals that ensure longitudinal sealing.


These propeller shaft seals have self-centering lip seals rotating with the drive shaft against a counter-slip ring. A major advantage is that the cooling/lubricating medium remains on the outside and is not pressed in between the sliding surfaces. This is often the cause of leakages.


Replacing The Propeller Shafts

Although propeller shafts design and purpose is incredibly simplistic in nature, replacing a drive shaft center support bearing is not one of the easiest jobs to complete.


The exact removal of a driveshaft will vary from vehicle to vehicle, and the exact how-to cant be covered with one single process across the board.


propeller shafts

To remove a driveshaft, you usually only need basic hand tools, which include a socket wrench and socket set along with box wrenches. 

Additionally, pry bars will be needed to help encourage the driveshaft to break free after the mounting hardware has been removed.


1. Remove propeller shaft Bolts

Remove the shaft differential flange mounting bolts. These bolts will be very tight so use good quality tools to avoid stripping. Some bolts can head 12 point heads as in this example which used a 13mm 12 point socket to remove. These bolts also use lock tight to avoid coming loose while in operation and can be reapplied when reinstalling.

2. Remove propeller shaft Flange

Using a plastic hammer gently shock the driveshaft loose from the differential flange by striking the rear yoke (U joint mount). At this point, the back half of the shaft will be free to hang onto it. On some cars, there will be center support which must be undone by removing the two center support mounting bolts. When removing an older vehicle transmission shaft use electrical tape to wrap around u joint cups so they don't fall off and release the cup needle bearings.

3. Remove propeller shaft

Using both hands gently slide the driveshaft from the transmission or transfer case. A small amount of fluid might leak out so have a fluid catch basin ready. This would be a good time to replace leaking transmission tail housing seal, universal joints or if removing the transmission or differential repairs are needed.

4. Check U joints

At this point, the U joint at either end of the shaft should be checked. Grasp the yoke and move it in all directions. It should be a smooth motion with no rough spots or play in any direction. If a play or rough spots occur then the U joint needs to be replaced.

5. Reinstall propeller shaft

Before re-installing the driveshaft apply a small amount of grease to the yoke. This will help lubricate the output shaft seal in the transmission or transfer case.

6. Reinstall Flange Bolts

Once the front yoke is installed pull the drive shaft back into place while inserting a mounting bolt by hand to avoid cross-threading.

The process of replacing one falls into a higher level of difficulty than simply replacing u-joints or installing a new transmission shaft. A savvy tech can take the time to break into these units to repair what’s specifically broken, but often it’s quicker to simply replace the whole driveshaft.

Recycling of Propeller Shafts

Both brand new replacement propeller shafts for passenger vehicles and professionally reconditioned drive shafts are available on the market. When used transmission shafts (most of which will have been damaged) are reconditioned, the old parts are taken back from vehicle garages for professional recycling in special production plants in accordance with the standards set for original equipment.

Recycling of Propeller ShaftsAs part of this process, all usable steel parts are reused. The old propeller shafts are inspected, taken apart, cleaned, machined, and then put back together for the car repairs market. Other materials resulting from the reconditioning process (old grease, metal chips or worn steel parts, for example) are disposed of in the correct and proper way in accordance with applicable environmental guidelines. Recycling significantly reduces the consumption of both raw materials and energy and makes a significant contribution to the active protection of the environment.

The above is the detailed content of the propeller shafts, more related content will continue to be updated.

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