Each part, be it a driveshaft...
Each part, be it a driveshaft or other part, must be labeled as to the installation date, the size/dimension, catalog number (you would be surprised how hard it is to find the part number to re-order a failed part), and then a lap history generated that will track its life.
Establishing projected service life is something you are already doing routinely. All we need to do now is write the projections down and believe in them. Ask your suppliers, friends, and competitors for their advice. Inquire about any failures you see at the track and ask how old the part was. There aren't any right or wrong answers. The more information you gather, the clearer the guidelines will become.
The best time to implement your parts management life-ing system is now! The initial budget will be about $5 for Sharpies and index cards. A life-ing system that is several weeks behind current activities is worthless. A simple well-kept system for even one part can prevent disaster on a Saturday night. It's frustrating to fail a part once and drop out of a race. But it's maddening to fail the same part twice because you know you should have replaced it more often.
Ideally, if you just built a new car with all new components, the process will be easy and the records will be very accurate. For a used car, just estimate the current mileage for each part as best as you can from your memory and lap charts and start from there.
Conclusion Whether you implement a parts management and life-ing system just to monitor your driveshafts or expand it to cover other critical components, you will be taking a positive step toward preventing failures, overcoming aggravations, and smoothing the path to Victory Lane. This will be the best $5 you ever spent on your DSS (Decal Support System). And when you do win and your driver does that long smoky burn-out, please get your driveshaft checked afterwards. Driveshafts hate burn-outs!
Racing driveshafts are ordered for the following reasons:
* A new car is being built and needs a shaft fitted.
* The Crew Chief decided to move the engine back because no one is checking.
* The current shaft caused a vibration on the chassis dyno and must be replaced.
* The current shaft has been damaged in a crash and must be replaced.
* The Tech Guy checked and said to move the engine forward to where it belongs.
* The current shaft broke in the race and it and most of the car had to be replaced.
* The New Guy jacked the car up without looking where the jack pad was hitting.
The Best Reason Is:
* An active shaft has reached the end of its projected life and should be replaced.
Let's review the simple steps to establishing a parts life-ing system:
* Determine which parts are to be monitored
* Mark each part with a unique ID
* Create a data record for each part's ID
* Record accumulated mileage for each car as it is used
* Note any parts changes relative to when they occurred during prep or the event
* Update each part's data record regularly with its recorded mileage
* Establish maintenance or replacement intervals based on remaining life
* Identify and service or replace parts that are due to fail