"Never, never select a driveshaft assembly to function as a fuse in the driveline," says Bob Morgillo, warranty/technical support manager with Spicer Driveshaft of Dana Corp. "Doing so normally results in under-specifying, and is a sure-fire ticket to maintenance headaches and shortened product life."
Morgillo was reacting to an item that appeared in the October 2002 issue of Construction Equipment. A caption under the photograph of two twisted driveshaft tubes read: "Part of a driveshaft's job is to function in the driveline much like a fuse in an electrical system, absorbing overloads (torque, in this instance) to protect expensive components from damage."
"Not so," says Morgillo. "While a variety of factors need to be considered when specifying a driveshaft assembly, the 'fuse factor' is most definitely not one of them. Instead, factors such as gross torque, vehicle gradeability and wheel slip, as well as transmission and axle ratios, are the important criteria."
Although that may sound a bit cumbersome and complicated to the average vehicle buyer, says Morgillo, all quality dealers and all OEMs have computerized programs that can accurately identify the correct driveshaft system for any application and incorporate the latest technology in the process.
For example, today's driveshafts from Spicer, he says, are far more advanced than those of only five years ago. Also, maintenance intervals have been greatly extended, life cycles are longer and torque-carrying capacities are at an all-time high, while weights continue to decline with no sacrifice to the integrity of the products.
The result: "Hardly something even remotely resembling a fuse," says Morgillo. "When properly specified, installed and maintained, today's driveshafts will be the last item to short-circuit any vehicle's performance."