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Student Workbook

LV12
Drive Shafts
(1)

LV12/SWB
Student Workbook for Technical Certificates in
Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair

MODULE LV12
Drive Shafts (1)

Contents
Page ………... .Page

Drive Train Layouts: 3 Drive Shaft Joints: 11


Front engine rear wheel drive 3 Construction of the Hooke’s joint 11
Power transfer 4 Construction of a rubber coupling 11
Front engine front wheel drive 4 Drive shaft joints 12
Mid engine rear wheel drive 5 Tripod joint 13
Four wheel drive (full-time 4WD) 5 Constant velocity joints 13
Non-permanent four wheel drive 6 Drive shaft assemblies 14
Operational requirements of drive
shafts and propeller shafts 7 Drive Shaft Construction: 15
Steering condition 7 Propeller shaft 15
Wheel rebounding 8 Two piece propeller shafts 15
Disadvantages of the simple Front propeller shaft
universal joint 8 (intermediate shaft) 16
Angular velocity 9 Drive shaft layout 16

Fitting Propeller Shafts: 10 Drive Shaft Operation: 17


Propeller shaft alignment 10 Progress check 18

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Drive Train Layouts
In this unit we consider the means by which power is transmitted between the
power source and the driven wheel

Front engine rear wheel drive

Power produced by the engine must be transferred to the driving wheels of


the vehicle. This is achieved by a series of shafts and specialised joints.

Front engine rear wheel drive

The power produced by the engine in this illustration must be transferred from
the front to the rear of the vehicle. This is achieved by using a propeller shaft.
At the rear, the differential and half shafts transfer the power to the rear
wheels within a rigid axle casing.

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Power transfer

In this example the power is also transferred from the front to the rear of the
vehicle, but the differential transmits the power to smaller shafts, generally
referred to as drive shafts, before driving the rear wheels. This allows each
drive shaft to move independently of each other, rather than together in the
rigid casing of a conventional rear axle.

Front engine front wheel drive

The position of the engine and transaxle close to the driving wheels of this
front engine front wheel drive example means that a propeller shaft is not
required.

Engine power is transferred directly to the differential and from there to the
driving wheels by two drive shafts.

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Mid engine rear wheel drive

In the same manner this mid engine rear wheel drive vehicle has an almost
identical layout.

Four wheel drive (full-time 4WD)

This permanent four wheel drive layout is a combination of the front wheel
drive and rear wheel drive systems previously explained.

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Non-permanent four wheel drive

In this example of a non permanent four wheel drive vehicle engine power is
transferred to the rear wheels by a propeller shaft. However before leaving
the transmission the power is also transferred, via a transfer unit, to a front
differential and then to the front wheels.

In this layout there is a means by which the front differential can be


disconnected leaving the vehicle in two wheel drive mode. Engine power can
be transferred from the differential units to the wheels by either a rigid axle or,
in independent suspension systems, by separate drive shafts.

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Operational requirements of drive shafts and propeller shafts

The transmission is normally fixed to the vehicle chassis by flexible rubber


mountings. The rear differential and rear axle are usually supported by the
rear suspension. Therefore suspension travel, due to vehicle loading and
bumps in the road, causes the rear axle and differential to change position in
relation to the transmission. The propeller shaft must therefore be designed
to constantly change length and transmit power through a variety of angles.
To allow changes in length the propeller shaft is usually connected to the
transmission by a sliding splined shaft. Each end of the propeller shaft is
fitted with a universal joint to enable it to absorb changes in drive angle.

Steering condition

Similarly in the above illustration of a front engine front wheel drive


arrangement the engine and transaxle are connected to the chassis. The
front hubs and wheels are supported by the suspension and move in relation
to the transaxle.

Therefore drive shaft operational requirements, to change length and drive


through varying angles, are the same as for the propeller shaft arrangement.
The situation is further complicated because the front wheels are also the
steering wheels. The turning radius of the vehicle is affected by the ability of
the outboard drive shaft joint to deliver power smoothly through an angle of at
least 40 degrees, indicated by symbol Ø in the illustration.

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Wheel rebounding

The angle (usually in the order of 20 degrees) through which the inboard joint
needs to transmit power is considerably less. The effects of suspension
movement require the drive shaft to change length and in this illustration the
inboard joint can slide in an axial direction. The distance is usually 25 – 50mm.

Disadvantages of the simple universal joint

In this illustration a simple universal joint, often referred to as a Hooke’s or


Spider joint, can be seen to have a major draw back. Rotating at an angle of
30 degrees the speed of shaft B varies in relation to shaft A. This is often
referred to as changing angular velocity. If action was not taken to overcome
this problem vibration and surge at the wheels would be produced.

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Angular velocity

Variations in angular velocity are cancelled out by fitting a similar joint to the
other end of the shaft. The drive and driven shafts are also fitted parallel to
each other to smooth out variations in rotating speeds and torque.

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Fitting Propeller Shafts

Correct fitting

Incorrect fitting

It is vital that propeller shafts are fitted correctly. Propeller shaft ends must be
marked so that they can be refitted in exactly the same location. If this is
ignored vibration and noise will be the result. In the above illustration the top
shaft assembly is fitted correctly and the lower assembly is incorrect.

Propeller shaft alignment

Alignment marks as illustrated should be added before disassembly.

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Drive Shaft Joints
Construction of the Hooke’s joint

The Hooke’s joint illustrated has the advantage of simple construction. One of
the yokes is welded to the propeller shaft and the other yoke is an integral part
of a splined joint, which when inserted into the transmission output housing
provides a sliding joint. A forged spider is installed between the yokes and
needle roller bearings are installed in bearing cups press-fitted into the yoke
mountings. The cups are located in some instances by circlips or snap rings
and can be dismantled and serviced. Other versions use shell type bearings
instead. The cups are crimped in position and this version cannot be
dismantled.

Construction of a rubber coupling

An example of a rubber based flexible propeller shaft joint.

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Drive shaft joints

A Birfield joint, sometimes known as a Rzeppa joint, has an inner race fitted
into an outer race between which steel balls are held in position by a steel
cage. Simple construction and the ability to transmit large torque through a
considerable angle means this joint is a common feature of drive shafts fitted
to front wheel drive vehicles. Because the intersecting point (0 in the
illustration) of the driving and driven shafts and the centre (P in the illustration)
of each ball bearing is constant this is a constant velocity joint. The rotational
speeds of the drive and driven shafts are identical.

The expression constant velocity is commonly abbreviated as C.V. and a joint


of this type often referred to as a C.V. joint. The joint is encased in a flexible
boot to retain the appropriate lubricating grease.

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Tripod joint

The Tripod joint has three trunnion shafts on which three rollers, which have
roller bearings, run. The outer casing has a groove in which each of the
rollers is located. It is a relatively inexpensive joint which usually has axial
movement. The joint is encased in a flexible boot to retain the appropriate
lubricating grease. Failure of drive shaft joints are usually preceded by failure
of the flexible boot allowing the loss of lubricant and the ingress of road dirt.

Constant velocity joints

In this constant velocity joint an inner race and an outer race have between
them a ball cage. As can be seen from the illustration the outer race has a
series of grooves in which the ball bearings run, providing axial movement.
The joint is encased in a flexible boot to retain the appropriate lubricating
grease. Failure of drive shaft joints are usually preceded by failure of the
flexible boot allowing the loss of lubricant and the ingress of road dirt.

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Similar constant velocity joint, the major difference being that, as can be seen
in the illustration, the grooves of the outer race are set at an angle to those of
the inner race. The joint is produced in two versions one with axial movement
and one without. The joint is encased in a flexible boot to retain the
appropriate lubricating grease. Failure of drive shaft joints are usually
preceded by failure of the flexible boot allowing the loss of lubricant and the
ingress of road dirt.

Drive shaft assemblies

A drive shaft assembly will usually have a combination of two types of joint as
illustrated.

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Drive Shaft Construction
Propeller shaft

Propeller shafts are usually made from a high carbon steel tube to prevent
torsional and bending forces. Despite a careful balance process, and the
addition of balance weights, a single shaft having a joint at each end can
suffer from imbalance and vibration at higher rotational speeds because of its
greater length.

Two piece propeller shafts

A two-piece shaft having three joints and a centre bearing has the advantage
of shorter shafts. Bending and high speed vibration is therefore reduced. The
longer shaft is often two piece with rubber insulators fitted in between.
Because of these advantages this propeller shaft arrangement is more
commonly used.

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Front propeller shaft (intermediate shaft)

To reduce vibration and noise even further the centre propeller shaft bearing
is mounted in rubber.

Drive shaft layout

Whilst most shorter drive shafts are solid, longer drive shafts are often made
from a tube. This increases stiffness to match the rigidity of shorter shafts.

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Drive Shaft Operation

During sudden acceleration the front of a vehicle tends to rise up. If drive
shafts of significantly different length are fitted, as in the top illustration, joint
angle Ø1 will be much greater than Ø2. This will cause the wheel attached to
the shortest drive shaft to attempt to ‘track or toe in’ further than the wheel
attached to the longer drive shaft. This will cause the vehicle to veer toward
the side with the longest drive shaft.

This can be prevented from occurring, by keeping joint angles and drive shaft
length the same. An intermediate shaft is often fitted, as shown in the bottom
illustration.

An illustration of an intermediate drive shaft fitted to maintain straight-line


stability during acceleration.

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Progress check
Answer the following questions:

1. What is the purpose of a sliding joint on a propshaft?

2. What is cyclic variation?

3. When removing a propshaft it is good practice to mark a line across the


sliding joint. Why is this?

4. If a vehicle is fitted with a two-piece propeller shaft, what advantages


would this have over a single piece shaft?

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