The driveshaft of every vehicle is a vital component of the transmission and its operation. The driveshaft must be in correct alignment and balance for your vehicle to drive smoothly, efficiently and safely.
You can measure up the driveshaft of your vehicle yourself, however it is recommended that the driveshaft is accurately balanced prior to fitting. This requires specialist equipment suitable to test the driveshaft for your vehicle at the appropriate rotation speed and torque, for your vehicle, whether it is a car, truck or any specialist machine.
If you’re planning on making changes or repairs to any part of the transmission of your vehicle, it is important to take careful measurements to make sure that any replacements are exact, and available. There are a number of factors to consider before you start. GJ Drivelines has put together 5 Tips on Measuring a Driveshaft to make the job a little easier.
1. Know you vehicle…what it has, and what it needs
It is vital that you are familiar with your vehicle, and its requirements
A driveshaft that has not been accurately measured and fitted can be dangerous and cause great damage to your vehicle.
Understand type of work and terrain that your vehicle will encounter so that you know how far the maneuverability of the differential will be to ensure that the driveshaft will stay connected, and not disconnect.
Refer to the manufacturer’s specifications, or download the correct diagrams for the driveshaft for your vehicle beforehand, as a reference point. Any differences may also indicate whether there has been any previous modification to your vehicle.
Take photos of all sections of the driveshaft before you start.
Driveshafts, and how they are fitted differ for different vehicles. It’s important that you know the driveshaft configuration of your vehicle, including what and where to take exact measurements, before attempting work on your vehicle. This will reduce the possibility of inaccuracy and mistakes.
2. Safety First
Before starting, check your Owner’s Manual for the correct lifting points for the jack to ensure that your car doesn’t slip from the jack, or cause any damage to your vehicle.
If you are using hydraulic jacks, you will need even jack stands, the number required will depend on your vehicle. It is essential that you have sturdy, stable jack stands that are appropriate for the weight and type vehicle.
Do not use hydraulic jacks only, it is extremely dangerous.
Make sure that the jack stands are securely in place under the axle before starting work underneath.
3. Make sure your equipment is accurate
Before you start, make sure you have the correct equipment and materials needed. Being prepared will prevent inconvenience and delay.
You will need good light, a strong torch, preferably one that has flexibility for hand holding as well as freestanding or hanging.
A Sturdy hydraulic floor jack which can take the weight capacity of your vehicle.
A minimum of 4 even jack stands suitable to take the weight of your vehicle, and high enough for you to be able to work comfortably.
An accurate steel tape measure, and if possible some digital calipers, or precision steel ruler for smaller parts.
Notebook and pen
Phone/camera to record labels or engraved information as you go
Sturdy wheel chocks
4. Make sure the environment is stable
Your vehicle should be evenly balanced on a flat surface.
Soft or uneven surfaces compromise the safety of the exercise, and make the jack and the jack stands less stable and more hazardous.
Whatever the surface, place wheel chocks firmly against the front tyres to prevent the vehicle from slipping.
5. If in doubt ask an expert – it will save you money
There’s a large variety of driveshaft types and they’re used in different ways, depending on the vehicle and its use.
If you have limited or no experience with measuring driveshafts or working on vehicle transmissions, it is well worth speaking with an expert before attempting the job yourself. An experienced mechanic can talk you through the different steps of the process and advise on specific equipment that you may need for your vehicle.
Getting expert advice before you start may save you money and lots of heartache should you get it wrong!