A Familiarization of Drivetrain Components

90-Day Access Period

SAE International On Demand Courses

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.

While the course is approximately 11 hours in length, the estimated time to completion, including knowledge checks and the learning assessment, is 12 hours.



By participating in this On Demand Course, 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
  • 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


Materials Provided


  • 90 days of online single-user access (from date of purchase) to the 11-hour 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.


Is this On Demand Course for You?


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.

This course is the equivalent to the classroom seminar, A Familiarization of Drivetrain Components, and satisfies a requirement in the Transmission/Drivetrain Certificate Program.


For More Details

Email CustomerService@sae.org, or call 1-877-606-7323 (U.S. and Canada) or 724-776-4970 (outside US and Canada).

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