Cardan shafts – Maintenance and care

In agriculture in particular, the cardan shafts of commercial vehicles are subject to enormous strain. That is why the right maintenance and care are extremely important.

Cardan shaft maintenance – a must for all farmers

Cardan shafts are subjected to high stress during operation and need to be well maintained and serviced. This applies to all motor vehicles, but particularly to those in agricultural operations. In our shop, you will find everything you need for maintenance and care: from grease and grease nipples to tools for assembling and disassembling your cardan shafts.

For each of our brand partners – Bondioli & Pavesi, Eurocardan and Walterscheid –, we offer you separate lubrication schedules for cardan shafts. Of course our assortment includes the right grease, as well as grease presses for cardan shaft maintenance.

Special attention to the friction couplings

Friction couplings in cardan shafts are exposed to pressure from the springs all year round. However, if the couplings are not used for a longer period of time – which can happen in the winter months, for example –, the friction disks can “stick” to the counter plate. In the worst case, they no longer move – which could result in damage to the machine.

These problems can be avoided however, if you observe a few basic notes:


In order to compress the springs, the nuts on friction couplings with inner compression springs must be tightened evenly.


In the non-tensioned state, the coupling must be able to be turned independently of the hub. If this is not possible the frictions disks are “stuck” and must be mechanically separated.


Next, the nuts must be equally unscrewed from the springs such that the springs fit again and the friction linings are pressed on.


You should also make sure that the hub does not have too much clearance on the power take-off in order to avoid increased wear and prevent the coupling from starting to knock.


To avoid even more severe damage, you should not wait too long and inspect the friction disk for wear and sticking at regular intervals.

Lubrication schedules for cardan shafts

We are making the lubrication schedules for the most important cardan shaft types from our “Cardan Shaft and Drive Technology” catalog available to your here as PDF to download. They have been designed for printing out and posting in the work center. Each time you lubricate, remember to use the high-quality lubricating greases recommended by the relevant manufacturer. Files are only available in German.

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“Cardan Shafts and Drive Technology” catalog

On 400 pages, we present almost 4,000 relevant items from our assortment to you – additionally, you will find lots of technical information that makes it easier to quickly identify the right part, and information on installation, maintenance and care. (The catalog is only available in German.)

Which cardan shaft should I select?

The selection of the right cardan shaft (drive shaft) is always based on the conditions under which it will be used. The cardan shaft must be suitably robust in order to transmit the generated torques under all operating conditions.

In agricultural machinery drives such as those of tractors, torques are highly variable depending on the machine type and operating conditions. They also depend on which product is being processed and the speed at which the machine works.

Based on these general conditions, the cardan shaft can be selected. The angle of articulation, required service life of the universal joints, rotational speed and required lubrication interval must also be determined. The following factors must be observed:


High rotational speed impact the service life of needle bearings in cardan shafts.


Increasing the angle of articulation significantly reduces the service life of universal joints.


The lubrication interval is a key factor for ensuring a long service life for universal joints – inadequate lubrication will lead to cardan shaft damage.

Cardan shaft sizes

When selecting the right cardan shaft, you must note the size, angle of articulation and length compensation – this is the only way to for you to achieve optimal machine performance, operational safety and power transmission. Our tips for identifying suitable models:

What is a cardan shaft?

Cardan shafts are also called drive shafts and propshafts. They facilitate the transmission of power (more precisely, the transmission of torque) between offset axles. They are used in almost all motor vehicles, from tractors and trucks to cars.

Most cardan shafts contain universal joints mounted on both sides in order to accomplish transmission between the drive axles. Two cardan joints are used in order to avoid the “cardan problem:” when only one universal joint is used, the result is uneven, fluctuating rotational speed transmission.

Changes in distance or length during operation can also be compensated for by a length compensator, a sliding piece inside the cardan shaft.

Joints in cardan shafts are usually jacketed with collars or another suitable cardan shaft guard to prevent contamination or water from penetrating into the joint. At the same time, thorough relubrication at regular intervals with high-quality lubricating grease is essential for smooth functioning.

The right type is crucial

Numerous factors are important for power transmission effectiveness, including the cardan joints’ angle of articulation. It also has a decisive impact on the joint’s service life. The joint must also match the rotational speed at which the cardan joint will be used.

As you can see, many factors must be considered when you are selecting the right cardan shaft. One of our technical specialists would be happy to provide you with technical support.

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