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Old 10-14-2006, 06:30 PM   #1
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Aluminum driveshaft V.S. Carbon fiber Driveshaft

Just wondering what is the common preference over the 2? Which is more reliable?? Is the higher price of the carbon driveshaft worth it performance wise?
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Old 10-15-2006, 08:43 PM   #2
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are you considering this for your V6 car? I can think of about 100 things that would give you more gain for the $ value....

Aluminum would win, as Carbon fiber is EXTREMELY expensive. Also, carbon fiber doesn't have the impact resistance that aluminum would have, IIRC. Hence, it could shatter if something hit it, rather then dent, like the AL shaft would. a dented driveshaft would make you pull over see what's up, a shatter carbon fiber driveshaft would be like polevaulting your car.

I don't think the price of carbon fiber is worth it, unless you're doing a bonneville salt flats thing, and need the last 2HP or so, and need to shave the weight like crazy.
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Old 10-15-2006, 11:01 PM   #3
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There are few advantages to the carbon fiber driveshaft but over all the price differece does not justify one.

Critical speed- CF is higher because of the higher stiffness to weight. But this really shouldn't matter since a 3" 4th gen shaft has a critical speed over 9000 rpm. That's really really fast.

Weight- might save you a couple pounds. There are cheaper was to cut weight.

Strength- depends on a lot of things. If "tuned" properly the CF shaft has the ability to damp out shock loads since it can be tuned to be less stiff torsionally than a metalic shaft.

Mostly the CF shaft is just really cool, and that is it.
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Old 10-15-2006, 11:01 PM   #4
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Lighter driveshafts are the LAST thing I would be looking at in order to gain power.

But the aluminum ones are so light anyway, i cant see carbon fiber ones being that much more of an advantage. It's one of those things where the weight loss is so minimal, you will see no difference.
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Old 10-16-2006, 10:39 AM   #5
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Thanx guys... Well my inital plan was to mod the heck outta this V6 since the body is in great shape and the engine has just been rebuilt for free but the more i'm on these boards the more im thinking of goin V8. This 'power' thing is ADDICTIVE. I'm considering an LT1 or LS1 swap but i've heard many times the aluminum driveshafts can't handle lots of power especially stock ones. I read alot of mod magazines including tuner mags (I know, I know) and alot of those guys spring for the carbon fibre shafts...
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Old 10-16-2006, 12:16 PM   #6
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I thought the whole marketing thing with aluminum driveshafts was "lighter and stronger than stock"
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Old 10-16-2006, 02:00 PM   #7
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GO carbon fiber...if you can afford it initially AND afford to replace it every few years....... - They're not intended for street use.
If you want to debate a street ds, then either aluminum or chromemoly.....
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Old 10-16-2006, 03:22 PM   #8
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size for size aluminum isn't stronger. If you thicken it up, and make it larger, it can rival the strength (ie, be good enough), and still be less weight.
Remember, it's not the fact you lose 10lbs, (I mean, put down the twinkies and you can lose that), but the fact it's rotating mass. Every lb of rotating mass you remove is worth a lot more than static mass.

oh, leave the tuner mags for the r|cer boys. It's a whole different ballgame with an american V-8 compared to a little 4 banger from japan. Lets not get into the debate, but in short, our engines are very low on the efficiency, and high on the size. Increasing efficiency (or size) gives huge gains, for small $. Japanese motors are already at very high efficiency, meaning mods are more expensive, and give far smaller gains. They're a lot closer to the upper limit of power on their motors then we are. Hence why they go to something that costs $1000 to gain a few HP, when we can drop on mediocre heads for $600 and gain 40 HP.
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Old 10-17-2006, 12:32 AM   #9
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It is always people who have nebver tried one that seem to be the experts agaist it.

{"Shagwell Quote -GO carbon fiber...if you can afford it initially AND afford to replace it every few years....... - They're not intended for street use.
If you want to debate a street ds, then either aluminum or chromemoly....."}

This is so wrong.

I happen to own two vehicles that are both DAILY DRIVERS and BOTH have ACPT carbon fiber driveshafts in them for several years now. Both are in perfect shape and do not have even the littlest dings or nicks in them from road debris. They still look brand new.

Both cars also suffered from harmonics at high cruising speeds when throttle was applied and released at different enertias. Both vehicles are completely now 100% free of any harmful drivetrain vibrations of harmonics that WILL EVENTUALLY cause failure of trans and u-joint componants over time. I have nothing and both cars are smooth as glass up to 140 mph so far- Thats as fast as each has in them. One had a steel originally and the other had aluminum originally. Both cars now rev higher rpms than were capable before.

Are they worth the money- I have purchased not just one, but two of them for a reason- that reason is that I personally have experienced them first hand and am sold on the difference they make in prolonged reliability from wear and rpms.

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Old 10-17-2006, 10:53 AM   #10
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What did you pay for them anyway?

Actually, we used carbon fiber to make A-arms for our SAE race car here at the university of calgary. We used an industrial adhesive to bond it to aluminum mounting tabs, this was spec'ed by 3M, one of our sponsers. We did destructive testing of these arms, loading them, then even hammered on them while loaded, to simulate poor road conditions, and rocks. They passed.

This doesn't mean they are nearly as durable as a metallic. They work great in the lab, and "sometimes" on the road. However, the material properties of carbon fiber show it doesn't have the toughness of a metal. I'd stick with steel due to the fatigue properties myself.
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Old 10-17-2006, 02:12 PM   #11
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Since you don't know me, don't say whether or not I've ran one. We run them in several race cars. Two in street cars. They can/will wear out in high power situations, and you can easily end up with a weed-eater swinging under the car. All I was saying is that for the money spent, any street vehicle would be far better off with an aluminum or chromemoly shaft. - The difference between a good aluminum or moly shaft vs a carbon is so minimal that it will never be noticed on even highly modded street cars.

Any good ds company will agree.
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Old 10-17-2006, 02:53 PM   #12
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while i cant justify the cost for them for most people on here (esp a v6)... they are perfectly fine for the street.

id love to have one, but i cant justify the cost diff between it and a chromoly one... besides the aftermarket steel one is physically smaller, and i need all the exhaust room i can get.
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Old 10-17-2006, 05:32 PM   #13
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I paid $1100 for this custom ordered carbon fiber driveshaft with 1350 u-joints and yoke. This one is 69.5" long (6ft) and is on a Chev 1/2ton truck that putsd down 370hp. I drive this truck as my daily driver worktruck and I regularly carry heavy loads up to 3000lbs routinely in the bed (the frame is welded and braced). I beat the livin crap out of this vehicle daily and this driveshaft is about 6 years old.

The one in my Camaro is an over the counter application for 3rd & 4th gen f-bodies. It retails at $795.00. I have owned the second one for about 3 years now. This car has solid axle mounts and I get "absolutely none" drivetrain vibration in the shifting console. Try that with an alum LS1 ds with solid bearing axle mount points like I have. Your shifter console with rattle all over the place going down the road.

Did power bands increase? Absolutely yes in both vehicles. The truck has unbelieveable top end power that it did not have with a custom steel unit I had in it before.

I will enclose three pictures showing the truck. 1st is its engine/ 370 rwhp. 2nd is the drivetrain with a Currie 9" and a custom built 5 planetary 700r4 that will knock your head on the back window every time it upshifts. 3rd is the old broken tailshaft housing from the vibration damage and harmonics the steel shaft was giving it. I broke the original aluminum shaft years ago.

Question- Does this truck need a very strong and very good vibration dampering driveshaft? Yes, I have shown the proof. The steel shaft and the aluminum shaft have been proven not to hold up to the task I throw at it. The CF shaft is still ticking strong. I rest my case. Show me proof otherwise and stop the heresay.

ps- the truck shaft is 7.8 lbs and 4" diameter. The Camaro shaft is 4.2 lbs and is also 4" diameter. Both weights are without u-joints
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File Type: jpg acpt truck.JPG (70.3 KB, 199 views)
File Type: jpg 700r4tailshaft.JPG (71.8 KB, 131 views)

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Old 10-17-2006, 05:42 PM   #14
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Also be caustious before you buy. Some so called carbon fiber driveshafts are not 100% carbon fiber tubing. Such as BMR's units. They are aluminum shafts with carbon fiber wrapping so they are just as heavy if not heavier than a factory LS1 aluminum shaft. This is why some people do not see gains with CF shafts, they are not true CF 100% shafts
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Old 10-17-2006, 10:49 PM   #15
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What are the differences between a factory aluminum driveshaft and an aftermarket aluminum driveshaft?
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Old 10-31-2006, 01:31 PM   #16
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Well, it might have been mentioned earlier, so you save (x) amount of pounds (probably not alot). The diference is the reciprocating mass, I mean less weight on anything the revolves will alow that certain mass to get up to speed quicker (faster rpm rise), and also slow down quicker (faster rpm drop). But if it's gonna be used for the street, go alum or moly.
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Old 04-06-2011, 09:06 PM   #17
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Re: Aluminum driveshaft V.S. Carbon fiber Driveshaft

So has carbon fiber improved any since the creation of this thread? (way back in 06) There seem to be two very differing opinions here. One is "don't use 'em on the street" and the other is "I've been using mine on the street for years". Is there any danger to using one? If/when they finally break, is there some risk of pole vaulting or harm to the vehicle?
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Old 04-09-2011, 11:03 AM   #18
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Re: Aluminum driveshaft V.S. Carbon fiber Driveshaft

Bump for last question.
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Old 04-12-2011, 08:21 PM   #19
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Re: Aluminum driveshaft V.S. Carbon fiber Driveshaft

Hey! HEYHEYHEY!!!
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Old 04-13-2011, 08:08 AM   #20
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Re: Aluminum driveshaft V.S. Carbon fiber Driveshaft

A carbon fiber driveshaft is well suited for daily driving. They do no need to be replaced every couple years. I am a Mazda Technician and the rotary powered RX8 with the 6 spd manual trans come equiped with CF Driveshafts from 2004 to present day models. Never had to replace one. May transmissions and rear ends though lol

Another interesting thing about the rx8 is that it too is a torque arm suspension car like our cars.
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Old 04-13-2011, 09:28 AM   #21
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Re: Aluminum driveshaft V.S. Carbon fiber Driveshaft

Its been said before, and I will repeat it. There are better ways to spend 2 grand+ than on a carbon fiber drive shaft on a third-gen.
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Old 04-13-2011, 09:35 AM   #22
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Re: Aluminum driveshaft V.S. Carbon fiber Driveshaft

Get a custom driveshaft from PST if that's what you really want.

I'd go for a chromoly one, but the carbon fiber driveshafts aren't that expensive. I think the site says anywhere from around $600 to $1,500 at the most. You won't notice any difference performance wise though. I went from a stock iron GT driveshaft to an aluminum 03-04 Cobra driveshaft when I had the 6 speed swapped in, and all I noticed was slightly better gas mileage.

May as well settle for aluminum instead of going for the most expensive option if you're planning on keeping the 6. Otherwise just save for a V8 swap of some sort and don't waste the money for your V6 setup. Whether it be an old SBC, LT1, LS, whatever floats your boat.
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Old 04-13-2011, 11:02 AM   #23
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Re: Aluminum driveshaft V.S. Carbon fiber Driveshaft

As others have said, anything that reduces rotating weight (such as a CF DS) is GOOD. Of course they aren't cheap, but nothing strong usually is.
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Old 04-13-2011, 11:18 AM   #24
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Re: Aluminum driveshaft V.S. Carbon fiber Driveshaft

^ That's basically the point I tried to make. It's a toss up though, really a matter if it's worth it.

Most people hop on the whole "anything that doesn't directly impact the amount of power you make at the crank is worthless" band wagon, and then declare lightweight driveshafts useless for the money.

I like the idea of freeing up HP that's there and just being wasted, but no one ever gets noticeable gains through just a lightweight driveshaft. Most see it as a necessaity on high HP applications where torsional strength comes into play, and they actually need the better quality/build materials of an aftermarket driveshaft.

Then again, tons of people blurt out stuff on just how they think it'd be. For the crowd that thinks CF doesn't handle impact well, whether it be from something like dropping the clutch, or an impact on the road, I'd like to see them volunteer to be smacked over the head with a CF hood.

http://www.oppracing.com/opp_pages.p...rbon_fiber_101
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Old 04-13-2011, 11:47 AM   #25
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Re: Aluminum driveshaft V.S. Carbon fiber Driveshaft

Would you take a wack over the head with an aluminium one?
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Old 04-13-2011, 12:45 PM   #26
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Re: Aluminum driveshaft V.S. Carbon fiber Driveshaft

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Would you take a wack over the head with an aluminium one?
Good job, you completely missed my point, and don't really pay attention. I'm running an aluminum 03-04 Cobra driveshaft on my 2001 GT. I was speaking of the strength of CF, not in any way implying aluminum is weak. Why would I imply anything bad about an aluminum driveshaft if I have one?

I'd recommend chromoly over aluminum, but aluminum is definitely strong enough for probably 95% of street cars. Most OE iron driveshafts are actually, it's typically the yokes that go.
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Old 04-13-2011, 04:56 PM   #27
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Re: Aluminum driveshaft V.S. Carbon fiber Driveshaft

I'm a pretty big noob when it comes to this stuff. What is the difference between a chromoly driveshaft and an aluminum one? Is it slightly lighter weight?
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Old 04-13-2011, 05:10 PM   #28
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Re: Aluminum driveshaft V.S. Carbon fiber Driveshaft

Basically just 4130 steel. An alloy of chromium and molybdenum. It's the stuff that most quality roll cages are built out of, it's favored because it's slightly lighter, and way stronger than mild steel.

It'll probably be slightly heavier than a comparable aluminum driveshaft depending on thickness, but way stronger. Better for the major torsional strain that a driveshaft experiences during a high RPM launch.
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Old 04-13-2011, 05:28 PM   #29
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Re: Aluminum driveshaft V.S. Carbon fiber Driveshaft

Imo they are worth it, kind of amazing how many people think they are a waste tbh, its rotational weight, were not talking about static weight reduction like seats here, and yes while they are about 3x as much as an aluminum they are half the weight, going from an aluminum to a CF DS is like going from a steel driveshaft to an aluminum one. Its really just a matter of how much you are willing to spend, but its less rotational weight which actually will increase power as well as improve acceleration, basically if its worth it to you to get aluminum vs steel, then you may as well go right for the CF if you can afford it imo because its twice the weight reduction, also they are extremely strong, a CF DS is as strong as a chromemoly one, pretty sure they can take 2k hp if memory serves. Last but not least they are safer in the event of a DS failure as they well shred instead of punching a hole in the floor and possibly you, if/when I ever have more money to put in my car it is on my planned mod list.
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Old 04-13-2011, 05:45 PM   #30
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Re: Aluminum driveshaft V.S. Carbon fiber Driveshaft

Also like the one guy said about the mazda, there are production cars out there using CF DS's and I doubt they would be doing that if CF wasn't a reliable material for the job, Also I forgot to mention the naysayers for doing this on smaller engines ie. v6 are completely wrong, it is in fact smaller less powerful engines that see the MOST gain from rotational drivetrain weight reduction esp with engines that like to rev, perfect example here is the lexus lfa, I don't recall for sure but I am pretty damn sure it has a CF driveshaft, the car also revs so damned fast they had to give it a digitalized tachometer display, I think the corvette zr-1 might also have CF DS, and probably others, obviously a larger engine will benefit as well and see bigger gains, but like someone said on here, when you have smaller displacement engines you have to focus on making the most of the power you have. I will however agree that for the money there are other things which can net much more power, but for someone not looking to touch the engine or whos taken it as far as they can, or needs a stronger DS it is worthwhile, I mean hell, people spend $500+ on fiberglass hoods to drop like 30 lbs of static weight, or in same cases spring for CF ones which cost about the same as a ds, guess which one sees more gains.
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Old 04-13-2011, 08:49 PM   #31
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Re: Aluminum driveshaft V.S. Carbon fiber Driveshaft

i think the point that being missed is that 99.9 percent of the people on this board will never need or notice any difference in performance from a steel driveshaft,to a aluminum driveshaft to a CF one at the power/performance levels they are at. Honestly, a 100$ 4th gen aluminum shaft is more than enough for most people here, and dollar for dollar the best "upgrade" you can do with the DS.

CF is nice, but seriously, i can find better things to spend a grand+ on than a CF driveshaft.

and if you guys are interested, a friend of mine has a CF driveshaft for his car, 3rd gen length, and i found it disappointingly heavy compared to a 4th gen aluminum shaft. he got it for a good price 2nd hand though, but i would never pay new prices for the minimal weight savings of it. I should really weight it....
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Old 04-13-2011, 10:00 PM   #32
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Re: Aluminum driveshaft V.S. Carbon fiber Driveshaft

Havnt thier been more complaints about the 4th gen aluminum shafts twisting then the 3rd gen aluminum? I just got my 3rd gen aluminum balanced and cleaned up. Goign to put it in this weekend. But I know any lighter rotating mass is good for the car, for the 1/4 mile, for the drivetrain etc..
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:21 AM   #33
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Re: Aluminum driveshaft V.S. Carbon fiber Driveshaft

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But I know any lighter rotating mass is good for the car, for the 1/4 mile, for the drivetrain etc..
Speaking of that, I have noticed one other major improvement with my aluminum driveshaft. Vibration, interior noise. Mustangs are notorious for dash rattles at 70 or so on the highway. Now I can do 80 or 90 quietly if I want, pretty much as quiet as possible with my exhaust setup.

It's a combination of the T56's lower .63 6th gear compared to the stock 5 speed's .67, but I know the reduction in vibration is due to switching from iron to aluminum.

I guess this is sort of another opinion question. There's really no correct or incorrect preference. However, the reduction in vibration, the slight bump in gas mileage, and the peace of mind of having a very strong driveshaft is worth the money in both cases. Either probably offers up to a tenth off of 1/4 mile times, but that's something you'd only notice if you had dozens upon dozens of before and after passes. No real seat of the pants feel difference.

I was actually going to go with a carbon fiber driveshaft since PST stocks one for 2003-2004 Cobras, and with my T56 it'd work, but I went with a stock aluminum driveshaft since I got a good deal on the package. I think they're only $999.
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Old 04-14-2011, 07:08 PM   #34
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Re: Aluminum driveshaft V.S. Carbon fiber Driveshaft

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Havnt thier been more complaints about the 4th gen aluminum shafts twisting then the 3rd gen aluminum? I just got my 3rd gen aluminum balanced and cleaned up. Goign to put it in this weekend. But I know any lighter rotating mass is good for the car, for the 1/4 mile, for the drivetrain etc..
4th gen shafts are thinner than the 3rd gen ones, and a slightly larger diameter. i have seen many of them broken, but if im drag racing the car, i would be using a chomomoly one anyway. Rather not take the chance with a aluminum or CF shaft breaking at launch
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Old 04-14-2011, 09:15 PM   #35
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Re: Aluminum driveshaft V.S. Carbon fiber Driveshaft

My local driveline guys said aluminum is just as strong to stronger than steel..I just had mine balanced and cleaned up. gotta throw it in.
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:13 PM   #36
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Re: Aluminum driveshaft V.S. Carbon fiber Driveshaft

Ok but how could you ever get a carbon fiber driveshaft balanced? Its easy to imagine how you would balance a metal driveshaft. Some machine spins the driveshaft very fast and shaves metal off in the out of balance areas. Pretty simple. But you couldn't do that with carbon fiber. Are the pre-balanced or something?
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Old 04-15-2011, 06:57 AM   #37
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Re: Aluminum driveshaft V.S. Carbon fiber Driveshaft

Prebalanced I believe, also I believe driveshafts are balanced the same way as wheels, by adding weights, not removing metal, though I may be wrong.
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Old 04-15-2011, 08:10 AM   #38
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Re: Aluminum driveshaft V.S. Carbon fiber Driveshaft

wow some of you have some deep pockets
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Old 04-15-2011, 06:32 PM   #39
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Re: Aluminum driveshaft V.S. Carbon fiber Driveshaft

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My local driveline guys said aluminum is just as strong to stronger than steel..I just had mine balanced and cleaned up. gotta throw it in.
well he is mistaken, because aluminum is not as strong as steel with the same dimensions. An aluminum DS will never be stronger than any steel driveshaft of the same material specs.

they do make aluminum shafts rated for 1000 horsepower, but they still dont have the durability of a steel shaft.
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Old 04-15-2011, 06:33 PM   #40
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Re: Aluminum driveshaft V.S. Carbon fiber Driveshaft

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Prebalanced I believe, also I believe driveshafts are balanced the same way as wheels, by adding weights, not removing metal, though I may be wrong.
i would assume they just glue weights to the CF shaft to balance it. never seen anybody remove material from a DS to balance it.
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Old 03-09-2013, 05:38 AM   #41
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Re: Aluminum driveshaft V.S. Carbon fiber Driveshaft

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are you considering this for your V6 car? I can think of about 100 things that would give you more gain for the $ value....

Aluminum would win, as Carbon fiber is EXTREMELY expensive. Also, carbon fiber doesn't have the impact resistance that aluminum would have, IIRC. Hence, it could shatter if something hit it, rather then dent, like the AL shaft would. a dented driveshaft would make you pull over see what's up, a shatter carbon fiber driveshaft would be like polevaulting your car.

I don't think the price of carbon fiber is worth it, unless you're doing a bonneville salt flats thing, and need the last 2HP or so, and need to shave the weight like crazy.
My car currently stock 3.1Liter v6 upgraded stock exhaust dynomax ..

What other things would you do I already did cai


I really want ceramic headers or the best I'm keeping my v6

Needs to be California legal.

I heard you can't do heaters too much heat ???
And u end up having to do alot of work replaced starter ?
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