Lube Notes: Gear Lubes and Synthetic Gear Oil

Volume 2 Issue 2 - Extra

lube-notes_thumbIn this issue of Lube Notes, I will respond to the numerous questions I receive from month to month about gear lubes. From the questions I receive, I realize that folks are not really sure what gear lubes are or exactly why they are different from motor oils. I want to briefly introduce gear lubes and discuss their classification system. Then we will look at proper applications for gear lubes.

First, a little knowledge of gears is important in order to understand the function of gear lubes (please refer to Figure One on the next page for this discussion). Gears transmit motion and power from one rotating shaft to another rotating shaft providing multiple applications of power transmission. There are several types and various geometric shapes for gears but I will only address automotive applications. In Figure One, spur gears, bevel gears and hypoid gears are displayed; sun and planetary gears will be discussed with automatic transmission systems. Spur gears are simple gears with easily meshing gear teeth that transfer power between parallel shafts. Bevel gears allow intersecting shafts to transmit power. Hypoid gears facilitate the transfer of power between non-intersecting shafts at right angles. The important concept to grasp in these gear sets is the action of contact and sliding motion. The spur and bevel gears are engaging and rolling in motion whereas the pinion and ring in the hypoid gears are contacting and sliding. This sliding action allows the Hypoid gears to transmit greater power (the force is distributed over the sliding area), providing for smaller differentials in auto and truck applications.



Revolutions: Gasoline vs Diesel

Volume 2 Issue 2 - Extra

During the past several weeks, I have had the opportunity to talk with several former diesel truck owners. Each of them had succumbed to last year’s high fuel prices and to a feeling that owning a diesel was simply too expensive – they had swapped their diesel-powered vehicle for a gasoline-powered counterpart. While I empathize with the feeling that something must be done when fuel costs double – a statistic that means thousands of dollars in additional fuel expenses per vehicle even for relatively low mileage drivers – but better to go do something benign, like write your elected officials, than to switch from diesel power to gasoline; at least if the desired result is to save money on fuel as well as on the total cost of ownership (TCO) of your vehicle.

Gasoline vs Diesel

I felt intuitively that diesels are less expensive to own and operate than gasoline-powered vehicles but when I looked at the numbers I was surprised at just how much money could be saved (or lost if you elect to follow the gasoline route). So here is my take on gasoline vs diesel.



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