A Familiarization of Drivetrain Components

Course code: PD730555

An efficient, durable, and quiet running drivetrain is as essential to customer satisfaction as styling and interior creature comforts. This seven-module, on-demand course is designed to expose you to various methods used to accomplish this goal and will help you to visualize individual components and their functions within the entire drivetrain system, without reference to complicated equations. Instructor Joseph Palazzolo provides an introduction to the terms, functions, nomenclature, operating characteristics, and effect on vehicle performance for each of the drivetrain components, including the clutch, torque converter, manual and automatic transmissions, driveshaft, axle, wheel ends, and brakes.

Insights into the structure and function of each component, vehicle performance, and related noise, vibration, and harshness issues are provided. You’ll also be equipped to evaluate the space requirements, mounting needs, and clearances required.


By participating in this on-demand course, you’ll 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
  • Describe 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

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Course dates

Starting date: Upon request

Type: TOD

Course duration: 90 days

Language: en

Price without VAT: 765 EUR


Starting date: Upon request

Type: TOD

Course duration: 90 days

Language: en

Price without VAT: 765 EUR


Type Course
Language Price without VAT
Upon request TOD 90 days en 765 EUR Register
Upon request TOD 90 days en 765 EUR Register
G Guaranteed course

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Course structure

Module I: Manual Transmission Clutch
[Total Run Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes]

  • Explain the function of a manual transmission clutch system
  • Identify all the components of the clutch system and their function
  • Calculate clutch torque capacity and explain the significance of each parameter
  • Explain the difference between pull and push type clutch actuation systems
  • Identify the different clutch pedal travel positions
  • Troubleshoot common clutch problems and potential solutions

Module II: Manual and Automatic Transmissions
[Total Run Time: 2 hours, 19 minutes]

  • Explain the functionality of torque multiplication and its relationship to speed
  • Identify the components that comprise manual and automatic transmissions
  • Explain the need and function for energy absorbing devices like synchronizers and clutches
  • Graphically illustrate the underlying fundamentals of gearing and multi-speed transmission powerflow
  • Describe the basic function of fluid couplings

Module III: Propshaft and CV Joints
[Total Run Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes]

  • Define the primary function of prophafts
  • Explain lead-lag phenomenon of single cardan joints and phasing to correct
  • Explain the difference between static and dynamic balance
  • Interpret the concept to constant velocity joints
  • Explain the function and use of halfshafts

Module IV: Axles
[Total Run Time: 3 hours, 10 minutes]

  • Distinguish the different drive gear types
  • Define the need for differentials and their function in the a vehicle
  • Explain the inherent pros and cons of open differentials versus limited slip
  • Identify the axle wheel end types along with common complaints and concerns

Module V: Transfer Case/Power Transfer Units
[Total Run Time: 30 minutes]

  • List the different types of all-wheel drive systems
  • Compare and contrast the different modes of operation and their use
  • Identify typical transfer case design parameters

Module VI: Wheel Ends
[Total Run Time: 10 minutes]

  • Explain the difference between live and dead spindle
  • Name the requirements for wheel end bearing packages

Module VII: Brakes
[Total Run Time: 1 hour, 12 minutes]

  • Explain the basic brake system function
  • Identify the different types of line routing methods and why they are used
  • Define the basic function of the master cylinder, brake booster, calipers, and wheel cylinders
  • Compare and contrast disc versus drum brake systems
  • Articulate the basic function and concept of anti-lock brake systems
Materials Provided
  • 90 days of online single-user access (from date of purchase) to the 11-hour video presentation
  • Integrated knowledge checks to reinforce key concepts
  • Course handbook (downloadable, .pdf’s)
  • Online learning assessment (submit to SAE)
  • Instructor follow up to your content questions
  • 1.2 CEUs*/Certificate of Achievement (upon completion of all course content and a score of 70% or higher on the learning assessment)

*SAE International is authorized by IACET to offer CEUs for this course.


This course has been developed for engineers working with passenger car, sport utility, truck, bus, industrial, and off-highway vehicles who have had minimal prior experience with the total drivetrain. An engineering undergraduate degree in any discipline would be beneficial.

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