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Mustang Aluminum VS Stock Driveshaft

Created by Neal Jimenez
Date Created: 7/15/2016
Last Updated: 7/14/2022

We get many questions regarding Mustang Aluminum VS Stock Driveshafts here at LMR. In this article we will go over a few of these benefits with you!

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TYPICAL QUESTIONS


Some of the questions we usually hear are; “Why should I upgrade to an aluminum driveshaft over my stock unit?”, "Is an aluminum driveshaft really worth it?", or "What are some of the benefits of running an aluminum driveshaft on my Mustang?". Throughout all of the year models, there can be many beneficial aspects to upgrading to an aluminum driveshaft.

 


HOW MUCH HP CAN AN ALUMINUM DRIVESHAFT HANDLE?


There are a couple of factors that can affect the amount of power that a drive shaft can handle. One will be the diameter of the driveshaft, wall thickness, and the construction of the driveshaft. On average the aluminum driveshaft will be able to handle more horsepower than the stock steel driveshaft. Most companies do not like to put a number on the horsepower limit but aluminum driveshafts will be able to handle high horsepower setups well into 750+ horsepower on street-driven Mustangs. Of course, extreme launches when drag racing with drag compound tires adds additional stress on driveshafts and yokes that can exceed the limits of a driveshaft but these aluminum shafts will be able to handle more abuse of hard launches than the factory steel driveshaft.

 


DO ALUMINUM DRIVESHAFTS MAKE A DIFFERENCE?


Yes, aluminum driveshafts provide many benefits over factory steel units. These benefits mainly come from less weight which increases MPG, less rotating weight on the driveline, overall weight savings, and more precision balancing, reducing vibration issues that can be inherent on OEM driveshafts. In the instance of the 2005-2014 S197 Mustang and 2015+ S550 Ford Mustang, the stock driveshaft was a 2-piece design. The new aluminum ones are a one-piece design that will provide higher critical speed than the stock steel unit. This higher critical speed will prevent driveshaft failure during high-speed units on race tracks where speeds can push past 130 miles per hour.

 


HOW MUCH WEIGHT DOES AN ALUMINUM DRIVESHAFT SAVE?


Depending on the year and model of your Mustang, aluminum driveshafts can save some serious weight. For instance, on average S550 Mustang GT drive shafts can weigh 40-45 pounds. The aluminum driveshaft can weigh 16-20, depending on the brand. As you can see, the weight savings can be substantial, 5-25 pounds can be removed from your Mustang with the lighter aluminum driveshaft.

 


HOW MUCH DOES AN ALUMINUM DRIVESHAFT COST?


$400-$1,000 is the current market price for a driveshaft. The 1979-1993 Mustang driveshafts and 1994-2004 Mustang driveshafts are cheaper than the more complex and longer S197 driveshafts and S550 driveshafts.

 


ALUMINUM DRIVE SHAFTS-WHAT DOES A LIGHTER DRIVESHAFT DO?


OVERALL WEIGHT


Overall weight is one of the biggest benefits of upgrading to an aftermarket driveshaft. The lighter weight design will equal a decrease in overall rotational mass. What will this mean? Basically, this breaks down to how much physical torque it takes to turn the part. In the automotive field, this means a lot when it comes to racing, fuel economy, or even daily driving aspects of your Mustang. Depending on the year of your Stang, you can see a substantial drop in your ride's overall weight and take-off characteristics. For instance, 79-04 can save approximately 5 lbs, and 2005-2022 can save approximately 10-25 lbs!

 

SMOOTHER OPERATION


You will notice a decrease in driveline vibrations and noises when switching to an aftermarket aluminum driveshaft on Mustangs. Let’s take the tried but true Fox Body Mustangs. Some being over 30 years old now and still having the factory driveshaft in the car, may have substantial dents, dings, and missing counterweights. All of these factors can cause excessive driveline vibrations and noises. Some of your newer models like the S197 and S550 use a factory 2-piece design. These can be problematic as well with NVH issues. These models use a replacement 1 piece part that will be night and day different than the stock, but an adjustable upper control arm can be required to get the pinion angle back in specification on lowered cars to prevent tunnel clearance issues and high-speed vibrations.

 

STRENGTH

This is one of the most common reasons that Mustang owners will want to replace their factory units. Not everyone wants a bone stock car to ride in every day. The more bolt-ons you do to your car will equate to more overall power. The factory Fox is rated around 225 Horse Power and 300 LB-FT of torque. If you have invested in a new top-end kit, full exhaust, and full bolt-ons, you are well over that stock rating now. Many of us have heard horror stories of driveshafts breaking and causing catastrophic failure on all models of Mustangs. Believe me, this is the last thing you want when you go to the track. This will be one of the biggest reasons to upgrade your driveshaft, and at the same time, we strongly recommend a driveshaft safety loop! In the instance of the 2 piece driveshafts on the S197 and S550, the stronger 1 piece design will provide peace of mind when using your modified or stock Mustang in competition events!

 


IS AN ALUMINUM DRIVESHAFT WORTH IT?


Aluminum driveshafts on street cars, hot rods, muscle cars, and race cars are worth the expense. They can provide stronger, safer, and more performance out of your Mustang. A new driveshaft can replace a worn unit as well as provide you with performance increases to get more power to the rear wheels! A new driveshaft is a definite drivetrain mod that should be done to any Mustang!

 


IS THERE DRIVESHAFTS FOR AFTERMARKET TRANSMISSION ON THE MUSTANG?

There are custom driveshaft for different aftermarket transmissions that you can install into your Mustang. SVE has created a line of driveshafts that will help aide you in the installation of TKX, TKO, and T56 transmission on your Mustang. Shop SVE driveshafts for custom driveshafts. 

 


SUMMARY


I hope this has helped in your decision on why to go with an aftermarket aluminum driveshaft. If there is anything else you may need to know that I did not cover, please feel free to give us a shout. Our dedicated staff is well versed in this subject and is always willing to out a fellow Mustang Enthusiast!


1979-93 Fox Body Aluminum Driveshafts

1994-04 Mustang Aluminum Driveshafts

2005-09 Mustang Aluminum Driveshafts

2010-14 Mustang Aluminum Driveshafts

2015-22 Mustang Aluminum Driveshafts

Thumbnail image of the author of this article, Neal Jimenez.

About the Author

Neal has owned a 1996 3.8L, 2003 3.8L (Cobra Swapped), 2003 GT, 1998 3.8L (4.6L SOHC Swapped), 1990 GT Hatchback, 1990 GT Convertible, 2006 GT Single Turbo, and 2011 Twin Turbo/Cammed GT. Read more...