Flexible Drive Shaft

A flexible drive shaft is a mechanical pole that transmits power from an engine to the vehicle's wheels and is equipped with flexible, rotating gear apparatus at both ends that connect to both the rear and front wheel bases. Flexible drive shafts provide rotary power transmission along curved or adjustable axes and they are used in a wide variety of power transmission applications. The two basic types of flexible drive shafts are unidirectional and bidirectional. A unidirectional shaft rotates in a clockwise or counterclockwise rotation and is used for power transmission along non-linear axes. Bidirectional flexible drive shafts can be rotated in either direction and even reversed. They are suitable for cyclic applications and some flexible drive shafts resist corrosion and can withstand contaminants from the environment like fluid, dust, and oil. Other flexible drive shafts have a casing around them for safety and protection.

Requirements for flexible drive shafts include maximum speed, torque capacity, diameter, minimum bend radius, length, stiffness, torsional deflection, and axial stretch. Maximum speed means the maximum, rated rotational speed under load and units of measure include revolutions per minute or rpm. Torque is the measure of force that is applied to produce rotation and the maximum, continuous torque transmission is the torque capacity. Torque is determined by multiplying that applied force by the distance from the pivot point to the point where the applied force is. The shaft diameter includes the shaft casing which helps determine the speed and torque requirements. The minimum bend radius is measured during flexible drive shaft operation. Measuring the centerline of the shaft will give you the end to end length.

If you find yourself needing to replace the flexible drive shaft in your vehicle, be prepared that it can be somewhat challenging if you have never had experience in replacing them before. There are five easy steps to replacing the flexible drive shaft and you may be able to accomplish the task right in your own garage or driveway. The first step to replacing the flexible drive shaft is to support your car on ramps or jack stands so you have easy access to the underside of the vehicle. Make sure you put your car in neutral. Next, you are going to locate the rear yoke and mark the end of the flexible drive shaft at the yoke to make sure that the new one goes in at the same position as the old one when it came out. Set the emergency brake on your vehicle or put it in gear so the drive shaft does not turn while you are unbolting it. Once you have done that, remove the bolts from the rear yolk. You may need to remove one then go release the emergency brake, turn the flexible drive shaft to remove another and repeat the process until all four of the bolts are removed. A crowbar may be needed to pry the flexible drive shaft from the yoke so have one handy in case you need it. You always want to be prepared while working on your vehicle.

Next, you are going to disconnect the flexible drive shaft from the transmission by pulling the rear part of the shaft towards the rear of the car. Be careful not to damage the seals or you will need to replace them too. All you have left to do is to install the new flexible drive shaft by following all the steps you took to remove it in reverse order. When you connect the shaft to the transmission, it will only fit one way so you will have to rotate the flexible drive shaft until it slides into place. You have now replaced your own flexible drive shaft.

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