Alcoa to Participate in First Commercial Application of Slip-In Tube Drive Shaft for the Jeep Grand Cherokee

Alcoa Automotive announced today its participation in the first, large-scale commercial application of Visteon's aluminum "Slip-in-Tube" drive shaft technology on the 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee. This drive shaft design enhances noise-vibration-harshness performance and reduces weight while also improving vehicle maintenance and reducing warranty issues associated with transmission oil leakage.

"We are very pleased to be a member of the Visteon team delivering a performance advantage to Chrysler Corporation on their 2005 Grand Cherokee," according to Dave Dobson, president of Alcoa's Engineered Products business. "The successful combination of the Visteon's Slip-in-Tube design with Alcoa's retrogressively heat-treated seamless aluminum tube and extruded universal joint yokes has created a successful new product for both companies."

Slip-in-tube technology is well suited for an all-terrain vehicle such as the Jeep Cherokee because it offers driveline flexibility over various terrains and in a variety of acceleration and braking conditions. Previous slip-between-centers drive shaft designs featured heavier components, which led Visteon to engineer a lightweight, all tubular design that was both cost effective and enhanced vehicle dynamic stability.

"This led Visteon to a partnership with Alcoa where we were able to extend the forming limits of our tube via the development and application of retrogression heat treating. In addition, this technology also enhances the strength of our tube while preserving the precise dimensions required for this new drive shaft design," Dobson told a group of journalists gathered at the opening of Alcoa's new Automotive Center in Farmington Hills, MI.

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