Eliminate CV Joint Maintenance with High Angle Drive Shafts

Product by High Angle Driveline

Aug. 02, 2007 By Mike Lyon

     High Angle Driveshafts for off-road cars!

      Every year sand enthusiasts need to perform some preventative maintenance on their sand cars. Part of this routine is checking the CV joints. Maintaining CV joints is generally the biggest pain in the butt for the owner of   a sand car that is driven hard. Whether they are breaking or being worn out in a season, servicing or replacing them is a messy job that no one enjoys! Imagine never having to service a CV again! 

      Jesse Jaynes, founder of High Angle Driveline, has been building heavy duty drive shafts for 4x4 trucks for over 20 years. His drive shafts are built to handle extreme angles and have with-stood some serious off-road abuse on the trail. About 15 years ago Jesse made a set of drive shafts for his off-road car to replace the CV joints. The drive shafts worked well for Jesse but he didn?t act on the idea until a couple years ago when he began to hear the 'groans' of the off-road crowd concerning their weak link, the CV joint. Jesse now makes High Angle Drive Shafts for sand and off-road race cars. 

      After a hard season on Project SCU we had 2 CV joint failures and the other 2 ready to let go. After a few greasy hours of servicing CV joints we decided it was time for something better! Jesse's off-road drive shafts are custom made for each customer. The main bodies are made from large 3 inch DOM tubing (other companies use 2 inch) while the splines are custom machined and then heat treated. We opted to have our splines nickel plated to allow them to plunge easier. Each drive shaft uses a 1410 series U-joint from a 2000-2007 Ford Superduty truck and has a grease zerk fitting for periodic maintenance. Each U-joint is fitted to double welded journals. Over the splines are 2 heavy duty rubber boots to keep sand out. Inside these boots is another zerk fitting. Jesse recommends greasing all zerk fittings every 2-3 weekends of use. He also recommends installing a hoop around the drive lines in case something does happen. While he is very confident with the durability of his drive lines, there is always a chance something could happen. Many off-road cars have gas tanks and batteries mounted near the trailing arms. If something hit either one of these at high speeds the results could be devastating.

      Changing CV joints over to drive shafts seems to be taboo in the off-road world. Many say they will not plunge properly and cause severe transmission damage. Jesse's High Angle Drive shafts are a bit different than the competition. His have the spline/slip area at the bottom of the drive shafts (near the tire) rather than at the top (transmission side). This allows grease to stay in the splines during plunging rather than fall into the shaft housings. Also with the extra large, one piece, nickel plated splines and proper maintenance Jesse says his drive shafts will hold up better than a CV joint. CV's max angles are about 25 degree's while the High Angle Drive lines allow for 36 degrees. This could solve some problems for cars that have extreme angles. 

      Each set of drive shafts comes with pre-drilled bolts that allow easy installation of safety wire to ensure the bolts never back out. We took it one step further and used a set of Stage 8's locking fasteners. Stage 8 makes many types of very unique locking fasteners that eliminate the need for safety wire. We used their 'Abutment System' which is a normal looking 12-point CV bolt. The difference is once the bolt is installed properly an oblong retainer is installed over the head. The inside hole of this retainer is also 12-point to match the bolt which will not allow it to spin on the head of the bolt. The other end of the retainer sits up against the drive shaft. If the bolt ever came loose, the retainer would not allow the bolt to spin at all. A C-clip is installed over the retainer to prevent it from falling off. While the Stage 8 locking bolts cost more money, we thought not having to use safety wire justified paying the additional money and we also felt the way these bolts are designed is very ingenious!

      Installation of the High Angle Drive lines can be somewhat tedious. First you must make sure the bolt threads in the micro-stub axles are perfectly clean! We used Q-tips soaked in alcohol and took our time making sure they were perfectly clean. The reason for this is you must get the bolts in more than half way by hand due to the limited room between the u-joint yoke and the plate that bolts to the micro-stub axle. If the bolt threads are not clean you will not be able to screw them in by hand! Once they are in half way you can get a 3/8's box end wrench on them to finish the job.

       On our first ride we were skeptical and took it easy at first. After a few hard turns and small jumps we felt confident the drive shafts were able to plunge properly and not cause transmission damage. Even with the added weight of the drive shafts we didn't notice anything different in performance over traditional CV joints. Our second trip on the drive shafts was to the Idaho sand dunes where we severely abused the drive shafts to see just what they could with-stand. Whether slinging the car sideways in a high speed turn or cresting a steep razor back, the High Angle Drive shafts worked flawlessly. We are especially looking forward to next summer when there will be no need to get our hands greasy inspecting CV joints!


High Angle Driveline
7245 Clark Road
Paradise , Ca 95969

530-877-2875 Shop

530-877-2907 Fax


64 Louise Street
San Rafael, CA 94901
(800) 843-7836 

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