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Drivelines

The driveline consists of the mechanical connection from the transmission output shaft to the drive wheels.

Types of drivelines

Rear Wheel

Rear wheel drive vehicles have all of the power delivered from the transmission to the rear wheels. A typical rear wheel drive vehicle will have a driveshaft and a solid rear axle. Modified versions include vehicles with independent rear suspension. These vehicles still have a driveshaft but instead of a solid axle the have a rear differential housing and half shafts extending from it to the rear wheels.

Front Wheel

All front wheel drive vehicles will have the power from the transmission delivered directly to the front wheels. Front wheel drive vehicles will not have a rear differential housing or gear. Instead, this gear is within the transmission. The transmission will have half shafts connected directly to it extending to the front wheels.

Four Wheel

Four wheels drive vehicles deliver the power to the rear wheels from the transmission. The driver has the option to split this power to the front wheels. This is an advantage is rough or wet driving conditions. These systems will have a transfer case mounted to the rear of the transmission. The purpose of the transfer case is to apply torque to all the wheels on the vehicle as necessary. The transfer case will have two drive shafts attached to it. One will mount to the rear axle and one to the front axle

All Wheel

In all wheel drive systems the power from the transmission is divided among all four wheels. The amount of power each wheel gets is determined by the vehicle and depends on driving conditions and style. These systems also have a transfer case.

Driveline Components

  • Transfer case
  • Rear driveshaft
  • Front driveshaft
  • Half shaft
  • Rear axle- Solid or “Live” and Swing or Differential Gear Housing
  • Front axle

Not all drivelines will have all of these components. The type of driveline and suspension will determine what parts are present on your vehicle.

Transfer case

The transfer case accepts the power from the transmission and routes it to the front wheels. It is mounted directly to the rear of the transmission. The transfer case is only found in four wheel and all wheel drivelines.

Rear Driveshaft

The rear driveshaft transfers the power from the transmission to the rear axle. It is connected directly to the transmission output shaft or the transfer case output shaft.

Front Driveshaft

The front driveshaft connects the transfer case to the front axle. It is very similar to the rear driveshaft in form and function.

Half shaft

The half shaft connects the transmission or rear differential gear to the wheels. Half shafts are connected directly to the transmission in front wheel drive vehicles.

Rear Axle

Solid or “Live”

The solid rear axle transfers the power from the driveshaft to the rear wheels. It has several components inside of it that make this possible. This axle assembly is rigid and provides a mounting point for the suspension components.

Swing or Differential Gear Housing

A swing axle or differential gear housing also transfers power from the driveshaft to the wheels. This type of axle is a housing for the differential gear. Half shafts connect it to the rear wheels.

Front Axle

The front axle transfers the power from the front driveshaft to the front wheels. It is generally a solid axle and functions the same way as a rear axle.

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