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Gear Oil Specifications Require Extreme Temperature and Pressure Protection in Order
to Prevent Wear, Pitting, Spalling, and Scoring
|AMSOIL Technical News Article
|Don't Forget The Gear Oil
|Maintaining a vehicle requires the use of many lubricants, each specifically designed to
perform a certain task or set of tasks. The most common lubricant requiring routine attention from motorists is
engine oil. Gear oil, on the other hand, is often-times overlooked when it comes to scheduled maintenance.
Gear Oil Basics
High quality gear oils must lubricate, cool and protect geared systems. They must also carry damaging wear
debris away from contact zones and muffle the sound of gear operation. Commonly used in differential gears and
standard transmission applications in commercial and passenger vehicles, as well as a variety of industrial
machinery, gear oils must offer extreme temperature and pressure protection in order to prevent wear, pitting,
spalling, scoring, scuffing and other types of damage that result in equipment failure and downtime. Protection
against oxidation, thermal degradation, rust, copper corrosion and foaming is also important.
Gear Oil and Motor Oil are Not the Same
Gear oil is very different from motor oil. Most people assume that SAE 90 gear oil is much thicker than SAE 40
or 50 motor oil, however, they are the same viscosity. According to AMSOIL Technical Drivetrain Products Manager
Kevin Dinwiddie, the difference is in the additives.
“Motor oil has to combat byproduct chemicals from gasoline or diesel ignition and should contain additives
such as detergents and dispersants,” said Dinwiddie. “Since an internal combustion engine has an oil pump and
lubricates the bearings with a hydrodynamic film, the need for extreme pressure additives such as those used in
gear oils does not exist in engines.”
Engine oils and gear oils both have anti-wear additives, they both must lubricate, cool and protect
components, but gear oils are placed under extreme amounts of pressure, creating a propensity for boundary
lubrication. For example, differentials in cars and trucks have a ring and pinion hypoid gear set. A hypoid gear
set can experience boundary lubrication, pressures and sliding action that can wipe most of the lubricant off
the gears. To combat this extreme environment, extreme pressure additives are incorporated into the oil. AMSOIL
uses an extra treat of extreme pressure additives in its gear oils in order to reduce wear and extend the gear
and bearing life.
Because many of the components found in the drivetrain consist of ferrous material, the lubricant is required to
prevent rust and possible corrosion to other materials. Rust and corrosion problems are not nearly as prevalent
The many small and intricate components that make up gear sets found in the drivetrain can be quite noisy and
may be subjected to shock loading. The viscosity and extreme pressure formulation of gear oil quiets gears and
dissipates shock loading.
The rotating motion of the gear sets also tends to churn the lubricant, resulting in foaming. If a gear lube
foams, the load carrying capacity is significantly reduced because the air suspended within the oil is
compressible. For example, when the gear teeth come into contact with each other any trapped air bubbles will
compress, therefore reducing the thickness of the separating oil film. In turn, this reduction could lead to
direct metal-to-metal contact between gear teeth and result in accelerated wear. The gear oil must have the
ability to dissipate this entrapped air, insuring sufficient lubricating film exists to protect the gears from
Typical Drivetrain Fluid Additives
Much like engine oil, the chemical compounds, or additives, added to drivetrain stocks either enhance existing
properties or impart new ones. Some of the additives that may be found in a drivetrain fluid include:
• Extreme pressure and/or antiwear agents - These additives are used to minimize component wear in
boundary lubrication situations.
• Pour point depressants - This type of additive is used to improve low temperature performance.
• Rust and corrosion inhibitors - These are used to protect internal components.
• Oxidation inhibitors - These additives are used to reduce the deteriorating effects of heat on the
lubricant which will increase the lubricant’s service life.
• Viscosity index improvers - These allow a lubricant to operate over a broader temperature range.
• Anti-foam agents - The churning effects of gears running in oil causes a foaming effect in the oil. To
reduce the harmful effects of air trapped in a lubricant, anti-foam additives speed the separation process.
• Friction modifiers - The required degree of friction reduction can vary significantly between differing
pieces of equipment in drivetrain applications. In some cases, friction modifiers may be required to obtain
the desired results.
Gear Design Dictates Lube Design
Gear designs vary depending on the requirements for rotation speed, degree of gear reduction and torque loading.
Transmissions commonly use spur gears, while hypoid gear designs are usually employed as the main gearing in
differentials. Common gear types include:
Spur (straight cut) gears are widely used in parallel shaft applications, such as transmissions, due to their
low cost and high efficiency. The design allows for the entire gear tooth to make contact with the tooth face at
the same instant. As a result, this type of gearing tends to be subjected to high shock loading and uneven
motion. Design limitations include excessive noise and a significant amount of backlash during high-speed
Bevel gears (straight and spiral cut) transmit motion between shafts that are at an angle to each other.
Primarily found in various types of industrial equipment as well as some automotive applications
(differentials), they offer efficient operation and are easy to manufacture. As with spur gears, they are
limited due to their noisy operation at high speeds, and are not the top choice where load carrying capacity is
Worm gear sets employ a specially-machined “worm” that conforms to the arc of the driven gear. This type of
design increases torque throughput, improves accuracy and extends operating life. Primarily used to transmit
power through non-intersecting shafts, this style of gear is frequently found in gear reduction boxes as they
offer quiet operation and high ratios (as high as 100:1). Downfalls with this type of gear set are its
efficiency, high price per HP and low ratios (5:1 minimum).
Hypoid gear sets are a form of bevel gears, but offer improved efficiency and higher ratios over traditional
straight bevel gears. Commonly found in axle differentials, hypoid gears are used to transmit power from the
driveline to the axle shafts.
Planetary gear sets, such as those found in automatic transmissions, provide the different gear ratios needed to
propel a vehicle in the desired direction at the correct speed. Gear teeth remain in constant mesh, which allows
for gear changes to be made without engaging or disengaging the gears, as is required in a manual transmission.
Instead, clutches and bands are used to either hold or release different members of the gear set to get the
proper direction of rotation and/or gear ratio.
Helical gears differ from spur gears in that their teeth are not parallel to the shaft axis; they are cut in a
helix or angle around the gear axis. During rotation, parts of several teeth may be in mesh at the same time,
which reduces some of the loading characteristics of the standard spur gear. However, this style of gearing can
produce thrust forces parallel to the axis of the gear shaft. To minimize the effects, two helical gears with
teeth opposite each other are utilized, which helps to cancel the thrust out during operation.
Herringbone gears are an improvement over the double helical gear design. Both right and left hand cuts are used
on the same gear blank, which cancels out any thrust forces. Herringbone gears are capable of transmitting large
amounts of horsepower and are frequently used in power transmission systems.
The differences in gear design create the need for significantly different lubrication designs. For instance,
gears normally seen in automotive differentials are hypoid gears and require GL-5 concentration and performance
of extreme pressure additives.
“This is because of the spiral sliding action that hypoid gears have,” said Dinwiddie.
Most manual transmissions have helical gears and do not require GL-5 performance.
“The helical gear is almost a straight cut gear, but on an angle,” said Dinwiddie. “There is spiral action
and very little sliding action, hence there is less need for extreme pressure additives.”
Gl-4 gear lubes have half of the extreme pressure additives of GL-5 lubes.
AMSOIL Provides Gear Oil Options
AMSOIL carries drivetrain lubricants to meet nearly any application. The synthetic base stocks and top-quality
additive packages found in AMSOIL gear lubes
and transmission fluids provide the
ultimate in wear protection for cars, trucks, outboards, differentials, heavy-duty and racing applications.
is the undisputed leader in
Since 1972, AMSOIL Synthetics have proven to be
AMSOIL also engineers and
manufactures Super Duty Oil filters which have a 25,000 mile service life as
well as specialized filtration systems for commercial and fleet applications in
cars and light, medium and heavy trucks which can filter particles down to less
than one micron (a standard full flow oil filter can only filter to 20-25
microns with any degree of efficiency) making oil changes virtually
unnecessary and virtually eliminating engine wear.
These filters have been
proven by millions of miles of over-the road trucks, construction equipment and
AMSOIL saves you time and money.
The only 25,000 mile/one- year and
35,000/one- year motor oil in the world.
Exceeds the most stringent performance
specifications of all major U.S. and foreign automotive and truck manufacturers.
Provides up to two-times the wear protection
of other motor oils.
Increases the life of your vehicle.
Improves performance, fuel economy and
Diesel oil and filtration products designed
to deliver 1,000,000 miles for over-the-road trucks before engine overhaul.
Used by many national racing teams, fleets,
police departments, construction firms and trucking companies.
Enhanced Synthetic Oil is comprised of a group of
highly skilled team of Engineers and Lubrication and Filtration Specialists.
You too, can join our group when you become an AMSOIL Dealer and take advantage
of all that we offer as you use products in your own vehicles or begin your own
AMSOIL business. You won't find a more knowledgeable and skilled group of
Dealers anywhere which is very important when you need support as you build your
In addition, as a Dealer in our group you will
receive exclusive unlimited product, technical and business support from the
only group of Truck and Automotive Engineers and Lubrication Specialists on the
We do not only run our business on the internet. We
also have numerous commercial, industrial, trucking, excavating, construction,
logging, police, racing and many more accounts that we support and service on a
regular basis. We have several fully stocked warehouses and fully equipped shop
facilities. This provides us with excellent knowledge of the products, equipment
and the business and the ability to respond
immediately to any of your needs.
will use this knowledge and experience to help you get started so you too can
achieve your goals.
We possess the skills, desire and knowledge
to answer questions, solve problems, improve efficiency, reduce downtime,
maintenance costs and increase the durability and life of all of your vehicles.
Read what our
satisfied customers have to say about us. Read
through our website. Contact us with any questions. If you decide to become an
AMSOIL Dealer you will be joining, in our opinion, the most skilled AMSOIL group
there is. We will help you get started and provide you with the tools and
information in order to be successful in this business or with technical and
product assistance to use AMSOIL products in your own vehicles.
We offer several options to receive information on AMSOIL. We welcome the
opportunity to work with you personally as your servicing AMSOIL Dealer.
Option 1 -
The best option
If you are serious about AMSOIL products and the
business opportunity this is
the best option. You will receive extensive
technical and business support from both myself and my AMSOIL Dealer Group. We
look forward to helping you learn about AMSOIL.
Also, we can help you set up a
website to promote your AMSOIL Business. If you would like a
comprehensive wholesale pricing,
product, technical and business package
sent to you just click the following
link to our form:
Free Catalog and Information Packet
Email us at
we will send you an exclusive comprehensive package
of product, technical and business information.
Option 3 -
smaller, very general information package (which includes a catalog and Dealer
application) you can request information via any of the links below.
To request a FREE Factory Direct Catalog
For Information on Becoming an AMSOIL Dealer
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To visit the AMSOIL Corporate Website for Product and Business Opportunity
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Enhanced Synthetic Oil, a Division of
Racers Products, LLC
Ogden, Utah 84403
Phone Toll Free: 877-786-9582
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