A Familiarization of Drivetrain Components 98024

An efficient, robust, and quiet running drivetrain is as essential to customer satisfaction as styling and interior creature comforts. In this seminar, you will be exposed to various methods that can be used to accomplish this goal. Designed to help you visualize both individual components and the entire drivetrain system - without reference to complicated equations - this seminar focuses on the terms, functions, nomenclature, operating characteristics and effect on vehicle performance for each of the drivetrain components. Attendees will receive an introduction to the various components of the drivetrain, including the clutch or torque converter, manual or automatic transmission, driveshaft, axle, wheel ends, and brakes.

This course also provides insight into: the structure and function of each component; vehicle integration; and related noise, vibration and harshness issues. You will be equipped to evaluate the space requirements, mounting needs, clearances required, and effect on vehicle response for each component.

Attendees will receive a copy of James Halderman's book, The Automotive Technology, 4th Ed.

Learning Objectives

By attending this seminar, you will be able to:

  • Discuss both practical and technical aspects of smoothing clutch operation by incorporating cushion and torsional dampers.
  • Compare different types of transmission synchronizers, automatic transmission torque converters, hydraulic clutch operation and epicyclic gear trains.
  • Describe the interaction of gear ratios and vehicle performance as related to engine horsepower and torque curves.
  • Explain phasing and mounting of propeller shafts as related to torsional excitation and secondary couple loads
  • Review different types of differentials.
  • Compare common misconceptions of limited slip devices to their actual performance.
  • Recognize four-wheel drive systems and the need for an inter-axle differential.
  • Appraise electronic control of torque through braking and clutching devices.
  • Evaluate the total drivetrain package as a system.

Who Should Attend

This seminar is intended for engineers now working with passenger car, sport utility, truck, bus, industrial, and off-highway vehicles who have had minimal prior experience with the total drivetrain.

Also available as an SAE On Demand Course!
A Familiarization of Drivetrain Components (PD730555)


An engineering undergraduate degree in any discipline would be beneficial.


"Excellent overview of the entire drivetrain, but includes some detail and practical insight instead of being too broad and overgeneralized."
Scott A. Van Luvender
Applications Engineer
Acadia Polymers

"An informative seminar for general introduction to the drivetrain components and terminology for any one entering the drivetrain industry."
James Lee
Friction Material Manager
Sulzer Euroflamm US, Inc.

"This course tied together the subjects that I have been trained in very well."
Brent Pawlak
Sales Engineer

You must complete all course contact hours and successfully pass the learning assessment to obtain CEUs.

  • Clutch (dry/wet)
    • Pressure Plate (Cover)
      • Direct pressure
      • Indirect pressure
      • Belleville
      • Over center springs
    • Disc
      • Hub
      • Facing support member
      • Torsional damper -- damper springs; co-axial damper springs; damper friction devices
      • Facings - Organic; Ceramic/metallic; cushion types
    • Linkage
      • Hydraulic
      • Cable
      • Mechanical
  • Transmission
    • Automatic
      • Hydraulically controlled
      • Electronically controlled
      • Planetary or epicyclical gearing
      • Hydraulic multi-disc clutches
    • Torque Converters
      • Impeller
      • Turbine
      • Stator
      • Lock-up clutch
    • Manual
      • Synchronized
      • Non-Synchronized
      • Electronically shifted
      • Gear rattle
  • Propshaft
    • Cardan Joints
      • Torsional excitation -- cancellation (two or more joints)
      • Secondary couple
    • Constant Velocity Joints
      • Rzeppa type
      • Others
  • Axle
    • Rigid -- Semi-float; Full-float; Carrier type; Banjo type
    • Steering
    • Independent
    • Gearing -- Spiral bevel; Hypoid
    • Differentials
      • Two pinion
      • Four pinion
      • Limited slips
      • Full locking
      • Plate types -- spring loading of plates; springs between side gears and plates; springs between gears; gear loading of plates
      • Cam loading of plates
      • Viscous types
      • Speed loaded types -- hydraulic pump; viscous pump
  • Axle (continued from Day One)
  • Transfer Case
    • Full Time
      • The requirement for a differential -- bevel differential; planetary differential
    • Part Time
      • Two-wheel drive
      • Locked four-wheel drive
    • Wheel Ends
      • Independent
      • Live vs. Dead Spindle
      • Bearing architectures
    • Brakes
      • Disc
      • Drum
      • Hydraulics
        • Master Cylinder, Proportioning valve
      • Electronic Control of Brakes and Torque
      • Anti-Lock Brake Systems
Joseph Palazzolo

Joe Palazzolo is Director - eDrive Systems at GKN Autmotive. He leads the development team responsible for mechanical and electrical design of new automotive propulsion systems and torque transfer devices, as well as the industrialization of new driveline technologies from concept to production readiness. Previously, Joe was GKN Driveline’s chief engineer for Geared Products, holding increasingly responsible roles since joining GKN Driveline in 2006. He is also a GKN Engineering Fellow. Prior to joining the company, he was a development engineer and technical fellow at other automotive suppliers.

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Mr. Palazzolo holds more than a dozen patents and is an award-winning author of two books, High-Performance Differentials, Axles & Drivelines and How to Rebuild the Ford 8.8 and 9-inch Axles. He also wrote three chapters in the Automotive Engineering Encyclopedia. He maintains the ASE certified Master Technician and Undercar Specialist certifications, has chaired the SAE All-Wheel Drive Standards Committee, and has been an active SAE member since 1990. Mr. Palazzolo was a recipient of the SAE Forest R. McFarland Award for distinction in professional development and education in 2007. In 2010, he achieved the SAE Master Instructor designation and continues to maintain this in his three seminars, which he has been teaching globally since 1999. In 2013, he reached the SAE Fellow membership grade which recognizes his technical and professional accomplishments to the industry.


He has designed, built, campaigned, and supported various race cars and teams for both professional and amateur racing organizations. His scope of work has been inclusive of the entire vehicle but also focused on competitive, high-performance drivetrain systems. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cleveland State University and a master’s degree in Automotive Engineering from Lawrence Technological University. He has received numerous patents for his work and creativity in advancing mobility systems.

Duration: 2 Days
CEUs: 1.3

Format: Classroom

Event ID: 7088

Location: Troy, Michigan

Session Info:

8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Fees: $1,535.00

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