QA1’s Carbon Fiber Driveshaft Fits Project Gift Horse Perfectly

The classic lines of the Tri-Five Chevys can easily be regarded as timeless. Their ride characteristics, however, can be considered dated and rife with upgrade options. Project Gift Horse is well on its way to becoming a modern highway hauler with all the contemporary bits, which makes it much more enjoyable to drive at highway speeds, and for much longer distances.

Light Is Right

We’ve all heard about the benefits of using lightweight components throughout our builds. There are so many areas to take advantage of shedding a few pounds on a vehicle that many might go unnoticed. One such overlooked item to reap the rewards of a mass reduction is the driveshaft residing under each of our cars.

You may have never thought of a driveshaft as a performance upgrade, but a lightweight, precision-balanced driveshaft can benefit a drag car as well as a highway hauler.

While using a lighter driveshaft such as QA1’s REV Series, custom fabricated shafts may not build one single horsepower under the hood, the reduced weight, added strength, and simplicity of installation bring much more enjoyment to the overall driving experience than a handful of high-rpm horsepower.

Losing weight doesn’t only matter when talking about racing or when you’re a month away from your class reunion. Shedding the pounds also benefits a street-driven car by increasing responsiveness (less inertial mass) and by removing unnecessary components, such as carrier bearings. According to QA1’s David Kass, “When compared to a factory steel driveshaft, our carbon fiber driveshafts will be over 50-percent lighter, even more, if we’re replacing a two-piece driveshaft with a carrier bearing.”

Each QA1 driveshaft comes with quality universal joints installed. We were using a 4L90E transmission, and QA1 does not currently offer a slip yoke for this application. We swapped out the yoke on our workbench before installing the driveshaft. Be sure to check that the yoke does not bottom out inside the transmission when the suspension moves throughout its travel.

While you’re losing those unwanted pounds, amazingly, you’ll gain strength and a smoother ride, due to each driveshaft being wound specifically for each application in QA1’s Lakeville, Minnesota facility. Ultimate strength and durability are woven into the very fiber of each driveshaft. The fiber is wound at specific angles for each application to ensure ultimate torque capacity under the most extreme conditions while maximizing critical speed.

Stable Versatility

QA1 offers both application-specific and custom-built driveshafts for a variety of cars that may be used for drag racing or street use. Both applications come bearing benefits, thanks to the severe-duty capability of a carbon fiber shaft and the meticulously-balanced assembly that each QA1 driveshaft receives during the build process.

QA1 carbon fiber driveshafts are wound in-house with 3M Matrix resin specifically designed for high-performance applications. Each strand of carbon fiber is wound at specific angles throughout the length of the tube to ensure the ultimate in torque capacity under the most extreme conditions.

“Our filament winding process allows us to tune the torsional stiffness resulting in much smoother operation at high-RPM and hard shift points,” says Dave. “Think of the driveshaft as a mini shock absorber. Being able to twist ever so slightly when torque is applied, it can absorb torque spikes otherwise felt by the driver. Another benefit is better 60-foot times when drag racing and less wear and tear on driveline components.”

Each QA1 driveshaft is proudly made in the U.S.A. and is serialized for each application.

QA1 has driveshafts rated for use up to 1,500 horsepower and 1,000 lb-ft of torque and higher-performing versions are available by request. Each driveshaft is extensively tested before, during, and after production to ensure the highest quality and is harmonic-tested to ensure NVH (Noise, Vibration, Harshness) requirements. This may not sound like much of a concern.

But, when you consider the forces from a bent or out-of-balance driveshaft working on the pinion and transmission output shaft, it becomes apparent how a lightweight driveshaft that spins true can benefit the entire driveline.

A QA1 driveshaft is durable, but like any driveshaft, it should not be dropped or damaged. Each driveshaft is packaged to secure it safely for shipping.

Mated to each end of the lightweight, carbon fiber tube is precision CNC-machined, forged yokes, which are specially developed using QA1’s 11-step bonding procedure. Within each yoke are U-joints made of high-strength alloy to provide durability and high-torque capacity. There are a variety of yokes available for most applications, either in one of the designs currently offered or through QA1’s custom driveshaft order form. Check out their website for more information and the appropriate order forms.

QA1 can make custom driveshafts for many applications. It has order forms on its website to assist you in designing your driveshaft. You can also call them and speak to a representative to ensure you get the proper length driveshaft and yokes for your application.

Completed driveshafts are precision-balanced to ensure smooth, vibration-free operation, and are torsion-tested and serialized for quality tracking throughout the build and beyond. The result is a driveshaft with the ability to handle the most extreme power levels. Your car will also reap the benefits from a refined level of trueness, responsiveness, and weight savings. These are all great advantages for either track-ready or road-going performance vehicles, and the reason we chose a QA1 carbon fiber driveshaft for Project Gift Horse.

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About the author

Andy Bolig

Andy has been intrigued by mechanical things all of his life and enjoys tinkering with cars of all makes and ages. Finding value in style points, he can appreciate cars of all power and performance levels. Andy is an avid railfan and gets his “high” by flying radio-controlled model airplanes when time permits. He keeps his feet firmly grounded by working on his two street rods and his supercharged C4 Corvette. Whether planes, trains, motorcycles, or automobiles, Andy has immersed himself in a world driven by internal combustion.
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