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How to Balance Drive Shafts

by Kiva Bottero

Any vibration felt when driving may be due to an imbalanced drive shaft. Driving over rocks or heavy debris often causes drive shaft problems. Dented drive shafts cannot be rebalanced, they need to be replaced. Fortunately, you can fix minor imbalances by balancing the drive shaft, a procedure that requires minimal parts --- only hose clamps. These clamps, when installed properly, act as weights that balance the drive shaft, leading once again to smooth, vibration-free driving.

1

Put the car on a lift and support the rear axle so the rear wheels can freely rotate. Place the car in neutral and release the parking brake.

2

Take off the rear wheels, then install lug nuts so the flat sides are against the brake drums.

3

Get an assistant to sit in the driver's seat. Lift the vehicle, making sure to set the lift's lock.

4

Ask your assistant to start the engine and to drive in high gear to a speed of approximately 40 to 50 mph. Do not run for long periods or faster than 55 mph since this can cause damage to the engine or transmission because there is no load.

5

Raise your chalk near the drive shaft's rear, using a stand for support. Raise it until you make contact with the rotating shaft. The mark shows the location of the shaft's heavy spot.

6

Ask your assistant to step on the brakes gently, then turn the engine off.

7

Install two hose clamps side by side onto the drive shaft, aligning the screw assembly 180 degrees opposite the chalk mark.

8

Tighten the clamps. Ask your assistant to turn the engine on again and accelerate to 40 to 50 mph. If you detect no vibration, replace the wheels, lower the vehicle and take it on the road for a test. If you detect vibration, equally rotate the two clamps away from each other the same amount. Tighten the clamps and continue tightening until you detect no vibration. When you feel no vibration, replace the wheels, and lower the vehicle for a road test.

Warnings

  • Avoid contact with rotating parts, especially the drive shaft's balance pads, since you can be seriously cut.
  • Always wear safety glasses.
  • You cannot install hose clamps on some cars due to light clearance. Though they may fit, they can hit the underbody when the suspension is compressed, causing serious damage to the vehicle. Always refer to the vehicle's service manual before installing hose clamps.

Items you will need

References

About the Author

As a freelance writer and editor since 2006, Kiva Bottero's work has appeared in magazines such as "Healing Path," "Green Living" and "Synergy." He started Mindful Word online magazine to explore his love of mindfulness and engaged living. Bottero holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Western Ontario and studied magazine publishing at Ryerson University.

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