Rig and Road Tests Used in Development of Temperature Reduction Automotive Gear Oils 2007-01-1983
Modern light-duty trucks and SUV's are designed to be aerodynamic to increase fuel economy. Such vehicle design significantly reduces the amount of air available to cool the rear axle in rear wheel drive vehicles. Reduced cooling coupled with higher power output and additional load from trailer towing operations results in higher axle operating temperatures, especially during the early operation or “break-in” phase of axle life. Higher axle operating temperatures decrease oil viscosity resulting in reduced oil film formation ability to protect against wear and contact fatigue. High temperature also shortens the useful life of gear oils. To facilitate the development of gear oils capable of reducing axle operation temperature, we have developed a laboratory simulation test method that can closely simulate actual trailer-towing driving on Baker's grade road under maximum GVCWR of close to 6,033 kg (13,300 lbs). To make the simulation realistic, we chose test variables that influence axle operating temperatures and affect the life of key components such as gears, bearings, and seals. They include airflow over the axle, aerodynamic drag, towing payload, speed, torque, and road grade.