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Thread: Driveshaft Loop

  1. #1
    Senior Member Fixit's Avatar
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    Driveshaft Loop

    Not trying to be a smart-azz here... but what is the actual need for a safety loop on a shaft 20" long?
    (Maybe a strap across the tunnel under the front U-joint, but a full SFI loop? As someone who has snapped one on a "full size" car, and sheared a pinion shaft as well, I know the need with a 5 foot long driveshaft...)

    I'm thinking more a scattershield in the U-joint "fling" zones... .040 aluminum between me and 5000+ rpm shrapnel isn't healthy.
    John D. - Minneapolis 'Burbs

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    Senior Member phileas_fogg's Avatar
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    I believe the idea is to prevent the free end of a broken drive shaft from "helicoptering" and taking out the transmission tunnel frame, seat, and legs.

    Most of us building street machines install some version like the Metco safety loop, pictured below.


    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fixit View Post
    Not trying to be a smart-azz here... but what is the actual need for a safety loop on a shaft 20" long?
    (Maybe a strap across the tunnel under the front U-joint, but a full SFI loop? As someone who has snapped one on a "full size" car, and sheared a pinion shaft as well, I know the need with a 5 foot long driveshaft...)

    I'm thinking more a scattershield in the U-joint "fling" zones... .040 aluminum between me and 5000+ rpm shrapnel isn't healthy.
    I think its pretty cheap insurance. If you look where you will be sitting, basically your hip and kidneys are about a foot from the shaft, anything coming through 0.040 AL sheet will be going into you. Anything to help control the chaos happening down there is a good thing. At build school they tell a story of one cutting right through the 3/4 tube like it was nothing. Guy walked with a limp after that. For $130 Metco loop with easy installation to me it's a no brainer.
    Mk4 Roadster #9319, complete kit Received 4-10-18. Moser 8.8. 3 Link. Wilwood brakes. Blue Print 427, w Holley 850 Double Pumper, manual Choke, 501 hp with 498 lb-ft torque. TKO 600 0.64 OD

  4. #4
    Papa's Avatar
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    +1 Cheap insurance.

    Super simple to install, too.

    There are 10 types of people in this world;
    those who understand binary and those who don't.

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  5. #5
    Senior Member Fixit's Avatar
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    Gotcha guys...
    My head is still somewhat into lets say "longer wheelbase" cars.
    As I think about it, these things are pretty much like vintage front engine dragsters - you're sitting on top of mechanical mayhem, and your nuggets are really at risk.
    John D. - Minneapolis 'Burbs

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    Well, this thread cost me $150 or saved me from physical harm, just put in an order. I am still building, nearing the 1st go cart stage and this is a good time to install the loop.
    20th Anniversary Mk IV, A50XS Coyote, TKO 600, Trunk Drop Box, Trunk Battery Box, Cubby Hole, Seat Heaters, Radiator hanger and shroud.

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    I've seen on this forum photos of a roadster's driveshaft failure and yes, "mechanical mayhem" is an apt description. Having seen the impressive damage, I installed Forte's loops on both u-joints, and may put some titanium sheet inside the tunnel at some point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob McCrea View Post
    I've seen on this forum photos of a roadster's driveshaft failure and yes, "mechanical mayhem" is an apt description. Having seen the impressive damage, I installed Forte's loops on both u-joints, and may put some titanium sheet inside the tunnel at some point.
    I like Titanium, too (especially on rub strips - great big white sparks!), but if you're looking to stop an energetic penetration, spend the same amount of money and use 4x the thickness of steel. Titanium's main benefit is at high temperatures, which doesn't help here. At the same thickness, Titanium isn't going to stop a penetration any better than plain steel.

    I almost wonder if ballistic nylon would be a better choice. You know, body armor.
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    Quote Originally Posted by initiator View Post

    I almost wonder if ballistic nylon would be a better choice. You know, body armor.
    Your question piqued my curiosity so I did a quick search to see what's available. Nothing for driveshafts specifically, but plenty for transmissions. I don't see why you couldn't fab a cylindrical enclosure out of alumimum around the driveshaft, and then wrap it in a ballistic transmission blanket like this one:

    https://www.jegs.com/i/JEGS/555/60970/10002/-1

    That way you'd have 100% containment of any driveshaft failure.

  10. #10
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    I have been considering a loop also. Then I saw the list of safety features of the Mark 4 roadster from FFR.
    Listed is "Driveshaft safety bars". Not sure what that means
    Mark IV, 351c, Levy 5 link

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    Senior Member CraigS's Avatar
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    Since I am not an engineer I don't know for sure but I would be leary about trans blanket material in this use. To me that works for shrapnel. If you blow a drive shaft there may be some shrapnel but the real damage is done by that shaft swinging around. I would rather contain that w/ steel plate.
    FFR MkII, 408W, Tremec TKO 500, 2015 IRS, DA QA1s, Forte front bar, APE hardtop.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigS View Post

    I would be leary about trans blanket material in this use. To me that works for shrapnel. If you blow a drive shaft there may be some shrapnel but the real damage is done by that shaft swinging around. I would rather contain that w/ steel plate.
    +1.


    A similar concern of mine is flywheel / pressure plate safety - Steel (not cast) flywheel for me along with a Quick Time steel bellhousing - too close to the knees for comfort...


    Here's a pic of a roadster u-joint / yoke failure from a few years ago:


    DriveshaftCarnage-1_sm.jpg

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    Papa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike223 View Post
    +1.


    A similar concern of mine is flywheel / pressure plate safety - Steel (not cast) flywheel for me along with a Quick Time steel bellhousing - too close to the knees for comfort...


    Here's a pic of a roadster u-joint / yoke failure from a few years ago:


    DriveshaftCarnage-1_sm.jpg
    Great example! Looks like it took out everything in the tunnel (e-brake cables, battery cable, electrical harness). This should answer the questions about running brake and fuel lines through the tunnel.

    Dave
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  16. #14


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    Mike just posted the photo I was going to show---Joe Lloyd back in 2003. Thanks for saving me from having to dig it up Mike!

    It's kind of like using a seat belt or wearing a helmet on a motorcycle...unneeded unless something goes wrong.

    Jeff

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  18. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Kleiner View Post

    Thanks for saving me from having to dig it up Mike!
    lol - I looked at this thread yesterday and knew I had that picture saved somewhere...

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    That is the photo I recall, which looks like a "once is enough" life experience.

    That being said, are there any common denominators for these things failing on roadsters and the like? An imbalanced driveshaft? Improperly installed u-joints? I'm not surprised by that kind of failure on a truck with an ill-designed lift kit, or on a drag car that lifts the wheels. Assuming non-defective parts, what would you have to do (or not do) to have that sort of failure on a 2,300 pound car with 300-500 horsepower?

  20. #17
    Papa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob McCrea View Post
    That is the photo I recall, which looks like a "once is enough" life experience.

    That being said, are there any common denominators for these things failing on roadsters and the like? An imbalanced driveshaft? Improperly installed u-joints? I'm not surprised by that kind of failure on a truck with an ill-designed lift kit, or on a drag car that lifts the wheels. Assuming non-defective parts, what would you have to do (or not do) to have that sort of failure on a 2,300 pound car with 300-500 horsepower?
    Jacob,
    Just search pinion angle to see how many times this question enters the forum and assume that a fair number of builds are on the roads and tracks with drive line angle/phasing issues that could eventually lead to a part failure.

    Dave
    Last edited by Papa; 11-14-2018 at 10:04 PM.
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  21. #18
    Member Texas Driver's Avatar
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    What about Carbon Fiber sheets that lined the tranny tunnel? Obviously as well as using the steel the driveshaft loop. A guy I race with designs and makes customer carbon fiber wings and splitters for race cars. He might have some insight as to how well it would stop mayhem from entering the cockpit and keep it under the car. I am sure not the cheapest idea but if it would work essentially the same as plates steel and save a lot in the weight department. Thoughts?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Texas Driver View Post
    What about Carbon Fiber sheets that lined the tranny tunnel? Obviously as well as using the steel the driveshaft loop. A guy I race with designs and makes customer carbon fiber wings and splitters for race cars. He might have some insight as to how well it would stop mayhem from entering the cockpit and keep it under the car. I am sure not the cheapest idea but if it would work essentially the same as plates steel and save a lot in the weight department. Thoughts?
    Commercial airliners use carbon fiber burst containment around the engines. A LOT of engineering goes into their design. Which I appreciate, when I sit above the wing, in the plane of rotation for the hot section.
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    Senior Member UnhipPopano's Avatar
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    There is a difference in smallish parts that go ballistic and a driveshaft that is still attached at only one end to something driving it around and around. For example, a bullet proof vest will stop a bullet, but is not much protection from someone repeatedly hitting you with a tire iron.

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  25. #21
    Senior Member CraigS's Avatar
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    I think CF could be OK but it would need some careful design and fabbing. One concern would be how it is attached to the frame. For me, if I were really concerned running drag tires, I would buy some 3/16 steel plate and weld it into the frame on the inside of the 3/4x3/4 tubes on top and both sides and full driveshaft length plus an inch or two.
    FFR MkII, 408W, Tremec TKO 500, 2015 IRS, DA QA1s, Forte front bar, APE hardtop.

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    Senior Member frankb's Avatar
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    Titanium is a good choice from the standpoints of strength and low weight. However, it is really (read: REALLY!) expensive at more than 20 times the cost of similar thickness steel! Save your money and get the driveshaft loop!

    Frank B
    Last edited by frankb; 11-15-2018 at 09:03 AM.
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    I think the question has turned more into what about the miscellaneous shrapnel vs the driveshaft. I DO think the driveshaft loop for me is a must have, but that doesn't stop the U-Joint caps or pieces of the yoke that may break off from making their way into the cockpit of the car. Cars with IRS, is there a way to install a fixed pipe that would go from the trans output seal to the pinion yoke to encapsulate the entire thing and all its moving pieces?
    Attachment 97520Attachment 97521
    Metal seems a little thin for me but this gives you a visual of my thought.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Texas Driver; 11-15-2018 at 09:24 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by frankb View Post
    ... Save your money and get the driveshaft loop!
    Awwww, come on Frank. It's that kind of thinking that keeps the wheel from being reinvented. Well that plus the fact that the wheel is working perfectly well as is.

    Cheers,
    jeff

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    Now you guys have me scared to buy a new car. No driveshaft loops, no scattershield, no trans blanket, not even a fuel cell.

    I'm just not going to get out of bed.

    Thanks a lot, jeeezzz, yup, thanks a lot.

    Jim

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  32. #26
    Member Crawleyscobra's Avatar
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    I installed Forte's loop to contain the drive shaft and I installed 16 gauge steel plates all along the inside of the tranny tunnel to help slow down the small projectiles that might occur during a failure. I also plated the foot boxes, Just not comfortable with that thin aluminum between me and the road, which is one of the reasons mine is a hog, weighting in at 2600 lbs. But I feel safer :-).
    FFR6682 - received 7/30/08 - MK 3.1 complete kit, Forte built Ford Racing BOSS 427W(475HP/500lbs), TKO600, Power steering, Power Brakes, Hydraulic Clutch, VPM Front/Rear sway bars, Bump steer kit, SAI mod, 13"Front/11.65"Rear Mustang Cobra rotors w/calipers, NITTO NT05s - 255/40R17-Front, 315/35R17-rear,3.55 IRS.
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    Senior Member Avalanche325's Avatar
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    I think anything more than a driveshaft loop is simply not needed. A U-joint cap would have to be shot out of a cannon to come through the floor.

  34. #28
    Senior Member rich grsc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Kleiner View Post
    Awwww, come on Frank. It's that kind of thinking that keeps the wheel from being reinvented. Well that plus the fact that the wheel is working perfectly well as is.

    Cheers,
    jeff
    Ya, what Jeff said, lets reinvent the wheel at least 6 different ways, using the most outlandish ideas and materials we can think up. You know, like 1" thick stainless steel tubing, mounting the shaft inside of it, then wrap bullet proof vest material around that.

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    Senior Member Fixit's Avatar
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    About the only plausible reply has been to "Keep the shaft from helicoptering"... and beating the snot out of the tunnel (which the reply pic indicates).

    A simple mid-shaft loop, and call it done. These cars have 247 other ways to kill/maim you - many of which don't involve mechanical failure.
    John D. - Minneapolis 'Burbs

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  36. #30
    Senior Member CraigS's Avatar
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    Jeez Rich, need stronger meds? I think this is an interesting discussion.
    FFR MkII, 408W, Tremec TKO 500, 2015 IRS, DA QA1s, Forte front bar, APE hardtop.

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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by CraigS View Post
    Jeez Rich, need stronger meds? I think this is an interesting discussion.
    There aren't any stronger. We've tried.

  38. #32
    Seasoned Citizen NAZ's Avatar
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    I'm with Craig, this is an interesting discussion. Anytime you have a free-flow of ideas about a subject you will get a broad spectrum of thoughts. Even if you don't find them particularly good ideas some may stimulate further thought about how to tackle a problem. You may pick and choose bits and pieces of how others do things to develop your own method of dealing with an issue.

    I'm glad this subject is getting attention. Having experienced two driveshaft explosions I know first hand how much damage can occur and how quickly it can happen. I used the word "explosion" as that best describes how quickly it happens and the damage reminds me of when I was in the Army using explosives to demo metal structures. So when I built my car I installed a driveshaft restraint system that exceeds what NHRA requires as I know what the risks are.

    So if you're reading this thread and not quite sure if you need a safety loop I suggest you do an internet search and look for pictures of driveshaft failures and think about you and your passengers setting next to that spinning driveshaft. Then decide.

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    Has anyone priced out a carbon fiber drive shaft?

    https://www.hotrod.com/articles/the-...afts-from-qa1/
    Mk4, IRS, (Forte: 427 with EFI, T-56 MAG, hydraulic clutch, mechanical linkage) (Breeze: Front and Rear Double adjustable QA1's, Cockpit cubby, LED Lights) (Russ: Drop Trunk, Turn Signal)

  40. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fixit View Post

    A simple mid-shaft loop, and call it done. These cars have 247 other ways to kill/maim you - many of which don't involve mechanical failure.
    +1.




    Quote Originally Posted by NAZ View Post

    I suggest you do an internet search and look for pictures of driveshaft failures and think about you and your passengers setting next to that spinning driveshaft. Then decide.
    +1.

    Another thought - driveshafts are most likely to fail at launch or on the shift to 2nd.



    Flywheels, pressure plates and clutches generally fail near the rev limiter.

    Just food for thought...

    post-4657-1220271519.jpgpost-2671-0-07224200-1373957146.jpgPHR12-1_zpszzgjdou3.jpg

  41. #35
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    This one got my attention!

    There are 10 types of people in this world;
    those who understand binary and those who don't.

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  42. #36
    Senior Member CraigS's Avatar
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    Wow!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Papa View Post
    This one got my attention!

    It even shattered his shirt!!



    All that money and they didn't use a safety loop? Or do you think this was the result while even having a safety loop?
    Dave
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  44. #38
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    My Metco loop arrived today. Great people and show quality product. They follow up on your order immediately. I was surprised the loop included the hardware.
    20th Anniversary Mk IV, A50XS Coyote, TKO 600, Trunk Drop Box, Trunk Battery Box, Cubby Hole, Seat Heaters, Radiator hanger and shroud.

  45. #39
    Senior Member BEAR-AvHistory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NAZ View Post
    I'm with Craig, this is an interesting discussion. Anytime you have a free-flow of ideas about a subject you will get a broad spectrum of thoughts. Even if you don't find them particularly good ideas some may stimulate further thought about how to tackle a problem. You may pick and choose bits and pieces of how others do things to develop your own method of dealing with an issue.

    I'm glad this subject is getting attention. Having experienced two driveshaft explosions I know first hand how much damage can occur and how quickly it can happen. I used the word "explosion" as that best describes how quickly it happens and the damage reminds me of when I was in the Army using explosives to demo metal structures. So when I built my car I installed a driveshaft restraint system that exceeds what NHRA requires as I know what the risks are.

    So if you're reading this thread and not quite sure if you need a safety loop I suggest you do an internet search and look for pictures of driveshaft failures and think about you and your passengers setting next to that spinning driveshaft. Then decide.
    Agree 100%. A hundred dollars or so against a $30,000 & up hand built car with a drive shaft at your hip is a no brainer.
    Kevin
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  46. #40
    Papa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DadofThree View Post
    It even shattered his shirt!!



    All that money and they didn't use a safety loop? Or do you think this was the result while even having a safety loop?
    I don't think a safety hoop would have helped much in this case, but I couldn't resist sharing the picture.
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