Fixing the driveline shutter after you lift your Super Duty

One of the best kept secrets when lifting a Super Duty is the driveline shutter that develops.  NO one mentions a thing when shopping for a lift.  I believe in well designed systems and don't like to create more problems when you do upgrades to a vehicle.  Well, I lifted my 2001 SD CC SB 4x4 6.5".  Used all new springs and bought the shim kit for the carrier bearing that was suppose to help.  I had Offroad Unlimited do the lift kit for me.  Upon driving my truck for the first time after the lift, I noticed this offline shutter.  Come to find out, the carrier bearing was binding and causing the shudder.

People has experimented with different size shims for the carrier bearing mount.  When you shim the carrier enough to get the driveline straight again, you develop a high speed vibration too.  By shimming the carrier you actually cock it in it's own housing.  That tilt binds the rubber insulator.  No matter how you look at it it's all wrong.

Some people shim their carrier to get an ACCEPTABLE amount of shudder, then the lift manufacturers suggest putting traction bars to eliminate what's left..... Think about it..... Traction bars will NOT fix driveline vibration.  It may mask it some, but the problem is still the driveline.  If you have axle wrap that is causing wheel hop, then traction bars are for you!

I constantly peruse "The Diesel Stop" for information to fix, upgrade and troubleshoot different things to do with my Super Duty.  Some one mentioned the only way to kill the shudder was with a one piece driveshaft.  So I contacted Ralph at Dick's Driveshaft in Phoenix, AZ for a permanent solution.

If you have ever had a chance to work with Dick's Driveline, you will know they are top notch and know their way around a driveline.  I have used them extensively for my rock crawling applications.  When I first called Ralph he knew exactly what I was talking about.  He told me the Valley Spring (popular lift installer) sends him many drive shafts to convert to the one piece for their lifted trucks.  He reassured me this would be the correct fix.  I asked if I could do this after work (same day), and he said "absolutely, bring it down.  We can pull it in the parking lot and I will have a new one built by the afternoon to swap in."

On the way down in my work clothes I glanced up at my outside temperature.  This is what I saw!  120 degrees!  DANG! Well, when I got to Dick's Driveline, Ralph came outside and decided it was just to dang hot and nasty for us to pull it in his lot.

He sent me next door to Bryden's Auto for their expert mechanics to pull the shaft for us.
Once the complete assembly was removed, it was time for a close inspection.  So many moving parts here! Ford uses a non serviceable ujoint.
Looking close at the yoke that goes into the carrier, you can see it was getting beat up by the carrier shroud. This is the harmonic balancer Ford puts on the end of their shafts to control mild vibration problems.  The rubber was already cracked.
Meanwhile back in the shop, Ralph was putting together a completely new one piece shaft to replace this monstrosity.  Heavy duty ujoints, flanges and tubing are used.  Then the whole assembly is high speed balanced for long use and dependability!

Bryden removed the carrier bearing bracket from the frame.  Under heavy load with some lifted trucks this bracket could strike the new shaft under extreme conditions.  The bracket looks like they used big rivets, but they are actually bolted on.  Just remove the nuts and drop the bracket down.  Once that was done this shaft was just bolted in place.  5 minute job!


First impressions was ....... I got my stock feel back!  Nice and tight, no vibration!  I want to thank Ralph for working so quickly with me and provided a permanent fix for my rig.  I really enjoy light to light acceleration again!  Not afraid to put the power to it!

I would also like to thank Bryden and Scotty at Bryden's Auto Repair for dropping everything and R&R my shaft at the drop of a dime.

Bryden's has a neat deal too!  They work with Maricopa county in a special program to help people who can't pass emissions.  If you bring your vehicle to them to fix, Maricopa county will pay $550.00 and the customer only has to pay $150 to fix the problem.  No income restrictions, can't be a salvage title, have good registration for at least 60 days, and the vehicle has to be 12 years or older.  They are the only one in the county authorized for this program!  Check em out!  Bryden's a Super Duty owner too!  He's got a beautiful 2002 SD LB 4x4, lifted, AFE intake, Flowmaster 4" exhaust and runs a SuperChip.

  • Bryden's Auto Service

  • 2730 E McDowell Road

  • Phoenix, AZ 85008

  • 602-275-0291

Check out their Internet service too! 

Technical article and photos are copyright 1999-2003, Motoman's Madness.  Do not duplicate without express permission from Greg Banfield aka Motoman!


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