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J.E. Reel Cornay Drive Shafts - Steeper Angles, Longer Life

Posted in How To on March 1, 2009
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When it comes to drive shafts, street guys have it easy. Low wheel travel numbers and relatively long wheelbases make it easy to build long-lasting, low-tech drive shafts. That's not to say that street queens don't need high-quality drive shafts, because they do. But off-road drive shafts face tasks that are well beyond those experienced on the pavement.

First, off-road drive shafts have to handle monster-sized torque loads brought about by meaty, large-diameter tires and low-axle gears. Next, off-road drive shafts have to be able to withstand hits from rocks and other random debris. Furthermore, off-road drive shafts must be able to take a soaking from a water crossing, or the frigid temperatures of a winter adventure, and survive. Finally, off-road drive shafts must be able to live at extreme angles caused by big wheel travel and short wheel bases. That's a tall order.

The Cornay Joint is a patented drivetrain joint that holds a lot of promise for off-road applications. There are more models in the works, but right now, Cornay offers its CVX-30 joint to the motoring public. The CVX-30 is equivalent to the strength of a Spicer 1350-series CV (AKA "double Cardan") joint. The Cornay CVX-30 is a sealed unit that maintenance-free for long life in a variety of temperatures, terrains, and weather conditions.

While those are all admirable qualities, they're not what sets the Cornay CVX-30 apart. A Spicer 1350 CV joint can run at angles from 0 to 12 degrees with long life. Go much further than that, and the CV won't last long. By contrast, the Cornay CVX-30 is capable of long life at angles up to 30 degrees. How much longer? About two and a half times longer. What this means for the end user is peace of mind in the dirt. It means that long-travel suspensions can be built without the drive shaft becoming the limiting factor. It means fewer breakdowns during your hard-earned trips to the dirt.

J.E. Reel driveline is a maker of dirt-tough drive shafts in Pomona, California. Reel builds the driveshafts for a number of UROC rock crawling competitors, but you'll find J.E. Reel drive shafts under SCORE Trophy-Trucks, too. While the crucible of competition is important to us, we're more interested in how a Cornay-equipped J.E. Reel drive shaft will hold up under our own dirt equipment. Therefore, we've set one under our driveshaft bomber: Editor-in-Chief Jerrod Jones's Big-Block Blazer. It's a perfect test bed.

The Blazer's short wheelbase, 4.88 ring-and-pinion gears, 39-inch tires, and high-travel four-link rear suspension mean that any drive shaft will have a hard life under this truck. Combine these physical factors with a mean big-block motor and an abusive throttle foot, and it's now sink-or-swim time.

We took a trip to J.E. Reel to watch Jim Reel and crew put the finishing touches on Senor Jones's new rear drive shaft. We'll let Jerrod test-thrash the Cornay-equipped drive shaft for a while and report the results. A long-lasting drive shaft in Jerrod's Blazer is a tall order, but we're confident that the Reel/Cornay 'shaft is up to the task.

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J.E. Reel Drive Line Specialists

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