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Driveshaft safety loop 101

Old 04-15-2005, 01:20 AM
PistolWhip's Avatar
MD Bad Guy
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 109
Default Driveshaft safety loop 101

The Kit I used is the Lakewood LAK-18015 from Sumit Racing. The kit says it's for a 79-92 Mustang but the fit was outstanding on my 2000.
This one cost me $28.99, a far cry from some of the other more useless crap that I've installed through the years and this one actually serves a very impotant purpose.

The first question that I'm sure some of you are asking, is why do I need a Driveshaft safety loop? Skip this if you know the answer.
The driveshaft is held in place by two "U" joints that are basically cast iron joints that look more like an X than a U. These joints are what actually link the driveshaft to the yoke on the transmission side and to the pinion shaft on the rear side and also become the weakest link in your driveline when you start adding power. If the back one breaks under power, the driveshaft should simply slide out of the transmission and most likely fall on the ground. There is a potential for damage and of cousre trouble for anyone behind you, but not nearly as much as if the front U-joint breaks. The back of the driveshaft is bolted to the rear, therefore if the front joint breaks, the rear will remain connected and since the rear will most likely be spinning, the driveshaft will be as well. Now, picture a driveshaft spinning in the transmission tunnel which is nothing more than stamped sheet metal and picture it spinning at say, 30-40 MPH. That dirveshaft is going to be whipping around like a Mace and very well may end up coming through the floor. That is the best scenario. If the shaft drops to the ground (and remains connected in the back) there is the potential for it to "dig into" the pavement and act as a pole vault. The next step is your car on it's roof and you having a VERY bad day. That is worst case scenario, but either way, it will cause TONS of damage that will cost WAY more than the $28 part that will stop it.

What tools do I need for the install and can it be done by a novice mechanic?
If you have a basic knowledge of hand tools and mechanical princples, you can do the job in your garage or on your driveway. The tools you will need are: a drill, 9/16" socket, 9/16" open end or box wrench (prefferably wratcheting), 16mm deep well socket, 3/8" drill bit, 5/16 (or any smaller) drill bit, a socket wrench two jack stands and a floor jack. A buddy to help you tighten the bolts is suggested.

Now the install
Start by removing both front seats. The bolts are 16mm and will require a deep socket to get to the fronts. After the seats are removed, jack the front of the car high enough to be able to move freely under the car and put it on jack stands. The loop itself consists of 4 sepperate parts (and allot of bolts): a driver side bar, a passenger side bar, an upper halo and a lower halo. The halo's bolt to the two bars to make a loop around the driveshaft, the two bars bolt to the floor pan. It is very important that you put the correct bar on the correct side. The longer of the two, goes on the driver side while the shorter goes on the passenger side. The two halos are also different sizes. The larger one goes on top, the smaller goes on the bottom. (see the pics in the next post for a better idea).
Bolt the lower halo onto the two bars but leave the bolts loose. The lower halo get's bolted to the very bottom holes. Now slide the loop in between the cat pipe and up under the driveshaft about 3-4" from the front U-joint. Once you have the assembly positioned right, the passenger side will be on an uneven surface. There is a spacer included with the kit to take up the difference in this uneven surface of the floor. You don't need to worry about that yet. Once you have the two bars positioned in the correct spot, and you make sure that the driveshaft will spin freely inside the loop without hitting any of the bolts, mark the holes in the floor pan with a Sharpie. DOUBLE CHECK BEFORE YOU DRILL AYTHING! The loop should be bolted up so that the bolts go in from the inside of the loop and the nuts are on the outside of the loop.
Once you have the holes marked out, try to eyeball that area of the carpet so that you can cut a small peace away (it's under the seat and you will never see it). I cut the carpet like a flap so that I could fold it right back in place. On the driver side, there is a wiring harness that is routed directly in the path of the drill bit, so make sure you keep that in mind when perfroming the next step. Take the smaller drill bit and drill (from under the car) into the spots you marked out. These are going to be your pilot holes for the 3/8" bit. Once you have the pilots drilled you can drill the 3/8" hole from the inside of the car so as to avoid hitting anything important.
Now grab you driver's side bar and bolt it into place leaving the bolts loose. slide the upper halo into place (the bolt holes should be lined up with the second from the top holes on the bars). Leave those bolts loose also then install the passenger side bar with the provided spacer taking up the gap in the uneven floor pan. After you bolt the upper halo to both floor bars, install the lower halo and tighten all the bolts. DONE! You shouldn't have to remove the cat pipe or the driveshaft or anything else for that matter. I did the entire install in about an hour with nothing but the tools mentioned above. The beginner mechanic should have no problem installing this loop in less than two hours tops.
Hope this helps someone cause it sure took a long tim to write it.... :icon_joke
If you have any questions, please feel free.
Old 04-15-2005, 01:22 AM
PistolWhip's Avatar
MD Bad Guy
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 109

Here's the loop.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
lak-18015.jpg (10.2 KB, 131 views)
Old 04-15-2005, 07:44 AM
Blue02GT's Avatar
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: St. Louis
Posts: 868

Nice write and just in time. I gotta put mine in before Michigan so I can run slicks.
Old 04-15-2005, 07:51 AM
spike_africa's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Orlando,Florida
Posts: 11,974

this needs to go to our tech section.

Very good write up.
Old 04-15-2005, 08:06 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Long Island NY
Posts: 127

Nice write up man...I'm installing the exact same one tonight...mine is also the 79-92 model that I had brand new in the box, just laying around.
Old 04-15-2005, 10:58 AM
PistolWhip's Avatar
MD Bad Guy
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 109

It'll fit perfect
Old 04-16-2005, 12:58 PM
madmatt's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Lexington, SC
Posts: 7,939

Great write up man, its in the tech forums now.
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