Your vehicle’s differential is likely not top of mind while hauling snowmobiles or ATVs for a fun weekend on the trails. Unfortunately, towing is in the severe service category and places extreme stress on your drivetrain. Today’s vehicles produce substantially more horsepower, torque and towing capacity than their predecessors, yet the design of differential gears and bearings remains largely unchanged. Many differentials even use less gear lube and lower viscosities than before in an effort to reduce drag and increase fuel economy. In essence, less gear lube is responsible for providing more protection.
Fighting the Grind
Differential designs have inherent weaknesses. In a traditional automotive differential, the pinion gear concentrates intense pressure on the ring gear. As the gear teeth mesh, they slide against one another, separated only by a thin layer of lubricant. The repeated stress the lubricant film bears can shear gear lubes, causing permanent viscosity loss. Once sheared, the fluid film weakens, ruptures and allows metal-to-metal contact, eventually leading to gear and bearing failure. The situation is amplified by severe-service applications like towing.
The extreme pressures and temperatures placed on gear lubricants can lead to a serious issue called thermal runaway. As temperatures in the differential climb, some gear lubes lose viscosity and load-carrying capacity. When extreme loads break the lubricant film, metal-to-metal contact occurs, increasing friction and heat. This increased friction and heat, in turn, results in further viscosity loss, which further increases friction and heat. As heat continues to spiral upward, viscosity continues to spiral downward. Thermal runaway is a vicious cycle that leads to irreparable equipment damage from extreme wear, and ultimately catastrophic gear and bearing failure.
AMSOIL SEVERE GEAR Synthetic Gear Lube
SEVERE GEAR excels in protecting gears and bearings from the rigors of severe-service operation. By design, it resists breakdown from high heat, preventing acids and carbon/varnish formation. Its wax-free construction also improves cold-flow properties, improving fuel economy and cold-weather performance.
• Superior film strength
• Controls thermal runaway
• Protects against rust and corrosion
• Helps reduce operating temperatures
• Maximum efficiency
• Long oil, seal and equipment life
• Flexible easy-pack for clean, fast installation