Take a Close Look at the Toyota Previa's Fascinating Accessory Driveshaft

Image credit: Toyota

Typically, a car’s driveshaft is what allows torque transfer between an engine and wheels that are a fair distance away. But in the lovable, supercharged, mid-engine, rear-wheel drive Toyota Previa minivan, there exists a front driveshaft that does things a bit differently.

While bouncing around on YouTube, I came across a video by Hoovies Garage, and in it, the host, Tyler, points out the most fascinating accessory drive mechanism I’ve ever seen:

It’s called the SADS, which stands for Separated Accessory Drive Shaft, Supplemental Accessory Drive System, or Supplemental Auxiliary Drive Shaft, depending upon whom you ask. In any case, this captivating spinning cylinder spans from the mid-mounted engine to the front of the van, powering various underhood accessories like the alternator, cooling fan, A/C compressor, power steering pump, and even the supercharger. Here’s how it’s set up:

Image from zenseeker

Normally, engine accessories are powered by either chains driven by a sprocket on the motor’s crankshaft, or by belts driven by the engine’s crankshaft pulley. But that’s not the case with the Previa. It’s a van that never ceases to amaze me with its weirdness.

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About the author

David Tracy

Sr. Technical Editor, Jalopnik. Always interested in hearing from auto engineers—email me. Cars: Willys CJ-2A ('48), Jeep J10 ('85), Jeep Cherokee ('79, '91, '92, '00), Jeep Grand Cherokee 5spd ('94).