Cardan Shaft: The Cayenne’s Achilles Heel
If you’re a Porsche Cayenne owner or prospective owner, you may have heard about issues with the cardan shaft. (The cardan shaft, also referred to as a tail shaft, prop shaft or drive shaft is the shaft that takes drive from the transmission to the rear diff.) There are two wear points to the cardan shaft:
- A centre support bearing
- A flex coupling at one end of the shaft
Like engine mounts and suspension bushes, the cardan shaft is a wear item which needs attention from time to time.
Why does it fail?
There are many foreseeable reasons that a cardan shaft would wear over time and need replacement, for example: vehicle weight, performance, tire width and driving style all put strain on the drivetrain and its components, CV’s and bushings.
Over time these factors add up and maintenance is required.
As mentioned previously, the two wear points are the centre support bearing and the front rubber coupling. Over time and many Cayennes later we’ve found that replacing these parts individually is not an economically viable option.
Pulling apart the cardan shaft to replace the centre support bearing is time intensive, and therefore expensive. While the centre support bearing is being replaced, chances are good that the support bushing is also nearing the end of its service life, which means that it will also need replacing. Disassembling the shaft to fit the new centre support bearing means that you will also need to factor in the cost of having the shaft rebalanced.
For these reasons, our recommendation is to simply replace the cardan shaft with a brand new OEM quality part.
Are there warning signs?
If you can hear knocking or clunking sounds from the transmission tunnel, chances are good your car’s cardan shaft needs some TLC.
If you hear noises on pulling away and stopping, which lessen when cruising at a steady low rpm or if you hear noises on acceleration or deceleration and possibly a brief pause in power delivery, call us on (02) 9905 1455 and arrange to bring your Cayenne in for a check over before any serious damage occurs.