Propeller Shaft – Parts, Types, Diagrams, Functions

What is Propeller Shaft?

The propeller shaft is a component that transmits mechanical torque, rotation, and power. Driveshafts, driving shafts, tail shafts, and Cardan shafts are all names for these shafts.

The driveshaft is used to transfer torque between components that are not directly connected due to distance or the need for relative motion.

The driveshaft is prone to torsion or shear stress because it transports torque. As a result, they must be robust enough to withstand the strain while avoiding gaining too much weight, which will increase their inertia.

Different configurations of driveshafts are employed in different vehicles, including front-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, and front-engine rear-wheel drive in automobiles. Driveshafts can also be found in motorbikes, locomotives, and naval vessels.

Parts of Propeller Shaft

Parts of propeller shaft

Following are the main parts of the propeller shaft:

  1. U-joint
  2. Tube
  3. Centre bearing
  4. Midship shaft
  5. End yoke
  6. Slip yoke and Tube yoke
  7. Flanges

1. U-joint

A universal joint, often known as a U-joint, is a mechanical joint that connects rotating shafts. Nowadays, rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive cars are more likely to have driveshafts and universal joints.

2. Tube

A tube is a component of a drive shaft that is commonly found in front-engine and rear-drive vehicles. The tube’s role is to maintain the rear end in position while accelerating and braking.

3. Centre Bearing

The drive shaft’s two halves are connected by a centre bearing. These bearings are designed to maintain both sections of the driveshaft solid during acceleration to reduce harmonic vibrations.

4. Midship Shaft

Midship shafts are the most basic components of a coupling shaft and are part of a driving shaft that is mounted on a centre bearing to the frame.

5. End Yoke

For accuracy and durability, an end yoke is used. The use of an end yoke helps to reduce noise and vibration, allowing your driveline to run smoothly.

6. Slip Yoke and Tube Yoke

A universal joint connects a slip yoke to the driveshaft itself. The slip yoke is designed to slide into and out of the transfer case to transmit power. The tube yoke is also required to ensure that the U-joints spin smoothly with the drive shaft.

7. Flanges

Flanges are used to link the driveshaft to the transmission, transfer case, and differential in automobiles. Driveshafts are also connected to power take-offs, hydraulic pumps, and a variety of accessories using flanges.

Functions of the Propeller Shaft

In cars, the engine is located in the front, and the vehicle’s front wheels are driven. In some cars, the engine is located in the back, and the rear wheels drive. To accomplish this, each wheel is driven by a miniature propeller shaft.

The engine and transmission units are mounted to the vehicle’s frame using flexible mountings or bearings. The rear axle, differential, and wheels are all connected to the vehicle frame by a suspension spring.

The gearbox output and input shafts in the rear axle housing are on separate planes in the above layout. The propeller shaft that joins these two shafts is forced to keep them inclined as a result of this.

Furthermore, when the back wheels encounter road irregularities, the rear axle swings up and down, compressing and expanding the suspension springs. As a result, the angle between the output shaft of the transmission and the propeller shaft shifts.

In addition, the propeller shaft’s length varies. The propeller shaft and rear axle rotate on arcs with the points of their axes of rotation, causing this variance.

Material Used In Propeller Shaft

The propeller shaft is made of tabular hardened steel. Between the two propeller shafts is where the centre bearing is located. Alloy steel is used to make the propeller shaft. They can also be made out of spring steel.

Types of Propeller Shaft

Following are the types of the propeller shaft:

  • Single piece type
  • Two or three piece type

1. Single Piece type

Propeller Shaft

This shaft is utilised in four-wheel-drive cars and vehicles with a short distance between the engine and the axle. Friction welding is used to improve the shaft’s strength, quality, and long-term durability.

2. Two or Three Piece type

Propeller Shaft

Vehicles with a lengthy distance between the engine and the axle, as well as four-wheel-drive vehicles, use two- or three-piece shafts. The number of revolutions is reduced by splitting the propeller shaft into two or three sections.

Conditions of Propeller Shaft

In order to achieve efficient functions, the propeller shaft requires the following:

  1. High torsional Strength
  2. Toughened and hardened
  3. Efficiently combined
  4. Dynamically balanced
  5. Low thrust load

1.   High Torsional Strength

To achieve great torsional strength while functioning, they must be formed of a solid or hollow spherical cross-section.

2.   Toughened and Hardened

These are frequently made out of hard, stiff materials. As a result, they’re made of high-quality steel that’s been induction hardened.

3.   Efficiently Combined

When they’re in use, they need to be securely connected. As a result, they are often fused using a submerged carbon dioxide welding method.

4.   Dynamically Balanced

The propeller shaft is tested on an electronic balancing machine since the rotation factor is critical at high speeds.

5.   Low Thrust Load

Because the shaft’s life is compromised by the resonance.

To avoid this, they direct the shaft’s excessive dynamic force to the shaft’s end support.


The propeller shaft, as you may know, is an important component of the drive axle because it transmits rotational force from the gearbox and engine to the drive axle while permitting relative motion between the gearbox and drive axle.

Now, I hope I’ve covered everything there is to know about Drive Shaft, including parts, types, and functions. If I missed anything or if you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.

Please share this post with your friends if you enjoyed it.

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1 Comment

  1. I am doing automotive mechanics within zambia 🇿🇲 this post has really helped me learn something, i didn’t know the operation of the propeller shaft, now i know, thank you.

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