Where driveshaft vibrations meet hard-hitting tools.

Driveshaft Repair

How to Properly Measure a Driveshaft

The driveshaft transfers power from the vehicle’s transmission to the wheels’ axles, so if you need to replace your transmission or other components, you’ll need to measure the driveshafts to ensure replacement with compatible parts.  This article is designed to help you measure the driveshaft length properly.

  1. Determine your driveshaft configuration.
  • Knowing the proper configuration will help you measure it correctly.
  • There are 4 common designs for drive shafts:  spline to end yoke; end yoke to end yoke; end yoke to flange; and flange to flange.
  • Splines look like miniature gears, end yokes are metal pieces that look like the a “U”, and flanges have flat metal discs on the ends.

2.  Use a ruler or tape measure to measure the driveshaft.

  • A tape measure usually works fine for the actual length.
  • A 6″ ruler is typically better for components and smaller measurements
  • Remember:  Measurements must be precise, otherwise the length or alignment may be off and not fully correct your issue.

3.  Take all driveshaft measurements with the rear wheels on the ground.

  • The vehicle’s suspension must be kept in proper alignment when taking measurements.

4.  If you need more clearance to measure, use a suitable jack and lift the vehicle, then place safety stands under the differential housing.

  • When measuring 4 x 4 trucks, both the front and rear wheels should be off the ground.

5.  Take your measurements.

  • Spline-End Yoke Type:  Measure from the end of the spline to the center of the u-joint.
  • End-Yoke to End-Yoke Type:  Measure from the first u-joint to the center of the second u-joint.
  • End-Yoke to Flange Type:  Measure from the center of the u-joint to the flat part of the flange.
  • Flange-to-Flange Type:  Measure from the flat of the first flange to the flat of the second flange.

6.  Give your measurements to the driveshaft manufacturer, dealer, or repair shop.

Is it even your driveshaft vibrating and making that noise?  Find out here.

Tools Needed to Measure a Driveshaft

Make no mistake, if you’re going to try to fix a driveshaft issue as a do-it-yourself project, you’re in for a real “treat”.

Definitely plan on your vehicle being out of commission for a bit, and plan ahead.

Here’s just the tools  you’ll need:

  • Auto Jack
  • Safety Stands
  • Ruler and Tape Measure
  • U-Joint Removal and Pressing Tool
  • Snap-Ring Pliers
  • Brass Punch or Drift
  • Dial Indicator
  • Vehicle-specific tools may be required.
  • NOTE:  You may also need to be able to weld, check the balance, etc. — Check with Jeff at Western Driveline (402.879.1867).  He’ll give you a quick, professional, no-obligation phone consultation.

Be sure you also have all the right parts, too. 🙂

Need to diagnose your driveshaft vibration first?

Get your trouble-shooting flowchart here.

Driveshaft Measuring Tips

If you’ve changed transmissions and need to measure for a new one, it’s important to measure from the face of the seal on the tailshaft to the flat surface on the pinion-yoke with the pinion-yoke installed and the car sitting at it’s proper height. Changing to a billet pinion-yoke can alter the length by as much as 3/4 inch.

With this measurement, the driveshaft shop can create the complete shaft with the required slip-yoke and predetermined play for the slip-yoke. For most applications, 1 inch is more than enough for suspension travel. Don’t let a shop talk you into leaving more play than that. Some transmission or driveshaft shops will insist on running 1.5 inches. This could be disastrous. That much of the slip-yoke hanging out of the transmission could mean less than 3 inches of splined yoke in the transmission, creating a wobble in the yoke and causing a heavy vibration at various rpm. Stick with the 1-inch rule and you’ll be good to go.

1. Call the driveshaft repair/building shop or manufacturer if you are having problems. Many can provide phone support for customers who are experiencing difficulties. (You can use the “Call Me” button to your right, and Google with connect you with a repair shop for free.)

2. Use diagrams to help you figure out your configuration and measurements if necessary.

Click here to be redirected to an outside site with more measurement information.

Click here to be redirected to an outside site for diagrams.

Get your Driveshaft Vibration Diagnostic Flowchart here.