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Old 07-18-2014, 10:56 AM
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Driveshaft length how long is too long

Got my s-10 up and running again with a real strong 350 and I did a richmond t-10 swap at the same time. The steady bearing was making noise before so I put a 1 piece driveshaft in the truck. Now it has broke 2 ujoints and ruined a driveshaft. Don't understand what is causing them to break. Unless the conversion ujoints I was running (moog) just can't handle the power?

Anyways the driveshaft is 58" long. Is that too long? The driveshaft angle was fine and pinion angle has never been changed.


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Old 07-18-2014, 11:14 AM
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Never mind the actual length much travel does the yoke have left to slide into the transmission, when the driveshaft is installed?? Needs to have at least 3/4-1" of travel remaining. Vehicle needs to be sitting with vehicle weight on the suspension, not with the rear axle hanging up in the air, when you make this check

If travel is OK, where are these driveshafts coming from?? If you are just getting different stock driveshafts from recycle yards that happen to be the length you need, typical late 70's/1980's driveshafts are of rather thin tubing, and not very may need to have a custom Hi Performance shaft built.

Conversion joints are also known for not being at strong as a standard joint.

If you can, go to all standard size joints in the shaft, then you can get stronger u-joints that don't have the grease passage drilled though the cross, so they are stronger. Typically called "Brute Strength" or something similar, prelubed with synthetic grease.

Spicer makes the better joints, compared to others.

If you decide to go the better shaft route, there are a handful of places making race shafts. Denny's Driveshaft , Drive Train Specialists, Inland Empire Driveline, Mark Williams, Strange Performance, Precision Shaft Technologies, and a few others if you search on Google.

All that said, 58" is on the longer end of the scale, especially if using stock materials, you likely need to go to a larger diameter, thicker wall tube for that length. A talk with a driveline company may well confirm this. Mark Williams I know has an online length and diameter recommendation page.
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Old 07-18-2014, 11:24 AM
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[Q The driveshaft angle was fine and pinion angle has never been changed.


But do the pinion angle and the motor centreline match?
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Old 07-18-2014, 01:05 PM
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The one that broke was out of a 1 ton dodge around 2005. I had it shortened. My yoke into the trans has plenty of room for travel, over a inch. I'm thinking the conversion ujoints must be the problem but spicer didn't build one for my application so I may have to have another driveshaft done that I can use a non greasable one

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Old 07-18-2014, 01:26 PM
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Counsel with the experts.....

Dennys Driveshaft and Driveline Parts High Speed High RPM Balanced Steel and Aluminum Drive Shaft Specialist

Driveline Parts: SFI Foundation, Driveshaft, Yoke, Universal Joint, Custom Driveshaft
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Old 07-19-2014, 11:46 AM
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Both shafts broke at the same place?

The shaft is not to long. But you need to verify shaft is correct length for your application. I suspect incorrect joints were used or shaft is incorrect length.
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Old 08-13-2014, 07:53 PM
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I spoke with Strange Engineering a while ago about max length of a driveshaft and they told me they would not make a d/s more than 60"
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Old 08-13-2014, 08:29 PM
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I think theres a more going than just failed u-joints.. driveshaft wise. Typically u-joint failure is caused by more than 1 event happening. The most common cause u-joint failure is binding of the joint itself. With that being said. Pinion angles vary from vehicle to vehicle +/- 1-3 degrees positive or negative to body centerline or the datum line. I say this because all vehicles twist and flex to some extent and the drive shaft compensates for it. The slip yoke in most applications the minimum is 3/4 inch and more than 1 inch is not necessary. This is measured with the rear suspension supported on safety stands or with the rear end on the ground. As far as u-joints are concerned The "series" of a driveshaft or universal joint is determined by the actual dimensions of the u-joint. While the front and rear u-joint can be of two different sizes the shaft is only as strong as the smaller one. The 1310 series u-joint measures approximately 3 1/4 inches wide. The 1330 and 1350 both measure approximately 3 5/8 wide. The 1310 and 1330 series can have cap diameters of 1 1/16 and/or 1 1/8 inch or a combination of both sizes. The 1350 series has a cap diameter of 1 3/16 inch and the body and journals are bigger than the 1310 or 1330. Remember 1350 is almost never found in production car driveshafts. It is always a good choice to upgrade to the 1350 series components whenever your application is used for racing or with high horsepower and street use. Stock driveshafts were designed to handle a modest amount of horsepower. If your application has more than 400 horsepower then its time to consider a new shaft. If you are breaking u-joints the answer can be that the u-joint series is too small for the application. Or possibly you are using an inexpensive parts store u-joint that does not offer strength. Maybe you are using a greaseable u-joint and it is breaking across the grease fitting hole. The corresponding yoke is damaged or distorted and causing premature failure. The least amount of driveline or u-joint angle is the best amount of angle. Try to achieve the least amount of u-joint angle but don't make it less than 1 degree. A little known fact about u-joints is that they require about 1 degree of operating angle to get the needle bearings rotating. If they do not rotate they will fail. Too much angle will also cause them to fail. The type of rear suspension also plays a big part in setting the angles as well as the engine/transmission angle. Leaf spring cars have a need for more downward pinion angle due to spring wrap-up while coil spring cars control the situation better. Hard acceleration as in the case of a drag race car requires a different setting than a street driven car. Traction bars, ladder bars, 4 links, independent rears all have special needs and requirements. Hope this helps a bit.
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Old 08-14-2014, 12:24 PM
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In an S10, you want about 4 downward pinion angle, a little less with traction bars, like 3 or so, and no more than about 1.5 coming out of the trans. The idea is to get to near 0 under load. I've got the engine set back a bit in my S10, and I'm running an 04 Trailblazer 4" aluminum shaft.
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Old 08-23-2014, 01:32 PM
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Years ago before I learned better I made the mistake of thinking that the angle of the driveline had to be zero and it all had to be perfect . I ruined a few driveshafts and ujoints before an old hotrodder showed me the correct way to line up the driveline to let the ujoints move . Never had any issues after that .
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Old 08-27-2014, 04:50 AM
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You said you never changed the pinion angle but you took out the center bearing, was the original a 2 piece shaft with center bearing? If so then the pinion angle was set from the center bearing to the pinion, now that you are going directly from the trans to the pinion you are running a more shallow angle overall. That could be causing you a phase issue and resulting I cracked or broken parts.
If it was a one piece shaft G may have had a reason for the center bearing.... try putting one back.
If you stay with the one piece shaft, you need to match the trans output angle to the pinion angle. In other words, the trans and pinion should be parallel not facing each other. Imagine a line through the trans from input to output long enough to go past the diff. Then another going through the pinion toward the trans. The two lines should not cross and be equally apart from one end to the other. The DS connects the two lines at an angle. This puts the two u-joints turning in the same angle and as long as they are indexed correctly they will turn easy without bind.

Last edited by Meierznutz; 08-27-2014 at 05:02 AM.
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Old 08-27-2014, 05:23 AM
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. X 2... you changed from shaft angle at the center bearing to shaft angle at the end of the tranny...

. The yoke at each end of the driveshaft should be turned the same way...
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