Dodge Durango Universal Joints and Driveshafts
The Dodge Durango is a mid-size SUV that comes in rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive models. Because of these layouts, Durango transmission systems use driveshafts and universal joints. If drivers begin to experience transmission failure, it may be caused by the failure of these components.What is the function of driveshafts and universal joints?
The Dodge Durango universal joints and driveshafts are responsible for sending engine torque to the drive axles. This ensures that the tires respond correctly when a Dodge driver turns the steering wheel. The shafts connect the gear box and the axles, and the universal joints, located at each end, allow for rotation. This rotation is necessary; if it cannot move in relation to the other components of the drivetrain, it places unnecessary pressure on the Dodge Durango's transmission. Over time, this can cause permanent damage and diminish Dodge vehicle performance.What are the main parts of the driveshaft?
The shaft is a relatively simple drivetrain component. In Dodge Durango vehicles, it consists of the following parts:
- Shaft: The metal rod able to transmit rotational force. There are two-joint and three-joint varieties.
- Yoke: The metal piece fitted to the ends of the rod. Yokes have two round openings, which allow them to be conjoined with universal joints.
Universal joints are specifically designed to be used with shafts that transmit rotary power. Each joint assembly consists of several parts, and when these parts start to malfunction, the entire u-joint is compromised. Important parts include:
- Bearing Cap: Caps are secured to the end of the joint assembly, and they're filled with lubricating grease. This lubricant is essential; it prevents rotational friction and heat buildup.
- Cross Piece: At the center of the joint is the cross piece, which has four prongs.
- Grease Fitting: This small metal fitting has a one-way opening, which is used to add lubricant to the joint.
- Snap Rings: These rings are used to secure the joint components.
- U-Bolts and Straps: Bolts and straps are used to install the universal joint onto the shaft.
If these important transmission components start to fail, Dodge Durango drivers may notice the following symptoms:
- Squeaking noises: If a U-joint is improperly lubricated, the resulting friction can cause squeaking noises. Durango drivers may only notice these noises at low speeds, as the engine will drown them out when the vehicle is going fast.
- Vibrations: When the universal joints fail, the driveshaft may pull away from the Dodge vehicle's undercarriage. This can cause noticeable vibrations when the Dodge Durango is in motion.
- Dislocation: In worst case scenarios, the driveshaft becomes completely dislocated from the vehicle. As it's responsible for transferring power to the tires, the Dodge Durango will not be operational until it's fixed.