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Size Does Matter

The Correct Driveshaft is Paramount When Harnessing Big Power

Mar 17, 2005

For many performance enthusiasts, the adage that "bigger is better" Is one to live by. Unfortunately, what's often missed with this theory is that the bigger you go, the more size--one way or another--really does begin to matter.

For example, Chevrolet passenger cars from 1958-64 aren't exactly small economy cars. Therefore, it's going to take some power to get those big boys up and running. That's why it's become a rather common thing to see builders dropping in some pretty stout big-block artillery. Only problem is, with all that power at your foot, other things can--and usually do--begin to give.

Take the two-piece driveshaft for instance. The minute you stomp on the gas of your 500-horse Rat that stock propeller shaft is going to let you know it didn't like all that twisting. Whether it's sluggish or just decides to snap in two, one way or another, it's going let you know it isn't happy. That's why Inland Empire Driveline in Ontario, California, has come up with a simple and efficient cure for the problem at hand with these big popular machines.

They now offer driveline kits specifically for those big behemoths with big-block power and torque under the hood. Referred to as the 502 Kit, it's plenty capable of handling a whole heard of ponies. In fact, the driveline kit is rated up to 800 hp from the manufacturer. However, when we say kit, we don't mean a few new parts here and there. No, in fact you get the whole enchilada. Inland Empire Driveline completely creates the entire driveshaft using big Spicer 1350 U-joints, 1350 trans yoke, large diameter tubes, 1.5-inch forged stub, 7075-T6 aluminum bearing with a polyurethane bushing, and a telescopic rear shaft section. The telescopic rear section just happens to be perfect for those rides with airbags or hydraulics.

These trick drivelines can be ordered and built to the specifications that you want. Whether it depends on the length, the trans yoke, the bearing, or even the material used, Inland Empire Driveline will get the job done. But for now munch on this appetizer and take a look at their stout 502 Kit.


Inland Empire technician Jose Munoz begins putting the driveshaft together by pressing in the yoke to the large diameter tube.

The 7075-T6 aluminum bearing mount is pressed in.

Jose checks to make sure everything is level and aligned.

The shaft is then measured to make sure it is correctly spaced.

Several tack welds hold the driveshaft together.

Jose then welds the entire diameter of the driveshaft to the tube yoke and spline stub.

The trueness of the driveshaft is measured, and by applying heat in the precise place Jose is able to sort out high and low spots.

The same process puts the second half of the driveshaft together. Then Jose assembles the driveshaft, which also includes the 1350 Trans yoke. You can see in the picture that the rear section of the shaft is telescopic.

The driveshaft is then taken to be balanced as a whole to ensure maximum smoothness.

By adding different sized weights to the shaft, Jose is able to balance the shaft to specifications.

The driveshaft is then painted.

Notice how the 1.5-inch stub is significantly longer and bigger than the OEM stub. The excess length allows the driveshaft to be telescopic.

Here you can see the difference between the stock U-joint, and the 502 kit 1350 big Spicer U-joint.

Yet again another close up of the difference between the stock U-bracket bearing, and the 502 kit 7075-T6 aluminum bearing with polyurethane bushings.

Check out the 1350 trans yoke on the right.

All done!


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