It’s kind of cool realizing that my Chevy 350 small-block and TKO 600 trans are finally getting close to hitting the open highway. But wait, I may be overlooking something – oh yeah, the driveshaft. If the shoe fits, wear it, right? Well no, you spent good money on that V-8 you just hopped up and that new upgraded transmission may end up a different length than the stock three speed.
My question is this, why would you overlook the weak link? It’s true that the tiny stock driveshafts that came with the straight-six trucks were not made to handle the power of a V-8, let alone the higher rpm’s. Worn U-joints will most likely hold up with straight-six engines, but put on some sticky tires, drop in a V-8, or do any performance driving and you will be asking for trouble.
Ever do a burnout on a back road thinking everything was OK? Now imagine that same burnout ending with a bang because your U-joint broke or driveshaft twisted like a pretzel. I’ve seen what happens when a U-joint gives way, and not only could it damage your tailshaft housing, but it could also crack the transmission case. Not good! On the other hand, a replacement driveshaft, or possibly a longer or shorter driveshaft to fit the new concoction under the hood, may be the only thing you need.