Browse Publications Technical Papers 2020-01-0428

Design and Implementation of a Sequential Manual Gearbox in a Baja SAE Vehicle 2020-01-0428

Baja SAE is one of the SAE International Collegiate Design Series (CDS) competitions focused on the design of off-road vehicles by teams of engineering students from participating educational institutions. It is a well-established series that is currently in need of a new transmission with greater mechanical efficiency, to take full advantage of the low power of the Briggs & Stratton spec engine that is mandated by the rules. Powertrain designs utilizing a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) have become the standard, primarily because of their ease of use in the vehicle assembly process and their simplicity of operation. With no need for manual shifting of the transmission, any student can navigate the vehicle through a competition course. Conversely, the tuning of a CVT is complex, and durability is poor, especially under the often wet and dirty conditions of the Baja SAE series. While there are a few teams using manual transmissions, these designs are typically heavier, less efficient, and prone to failure due to poor implementation. In this work, a Sequential Manual Gearbox (SMG) is investigated for use in the Baja SAE vehicle at Kettering University. The SMG employs a transverse engine layout along with six forward gears, a manual clutch, a single-stage, parallel-axes gear reduction, and an integrated spool differential. The SMG drivetrain is physically smaller and lighter than the CVT variant it replaces, in both rotational inertia and vehicle weight, which provides higher fuel efficiency, better performance, and more freedom for other vehicle component packaging. Results from the design of the SMG and its adaptation into the Baja SAE vehicle are reported, including physical validation of prototype hardware and lessons learned from the design process.


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