John Deere Maintenance Monday: Gear oil
Radio interview source: Mike Daly, Senior Marketing Representative, John Deere
Listen here to the radio story (mp3) or read below
In this edition of Maintenance Monday, we're answering a question from Craig in Nebraska. He just bought a used, manual transmission tractor, and isn't sure what kind of fluids go into the gearbox.
Mike Daly is a senior marketing representative with John Deere. He says to use gear oil. It's designed to protect metals from wear when exposed to impact or sliding contact. Gear oil is used in the tractor transmission/rear axle and if the tractor has 4-wheel drive it us used in the front axle. The chemistry is set up with extreme pressure and anti-wear additives that are very robust for those applications.
"They have generally a thicker oil base," Daly says. "So that in a gear box the lubricant can carry from one component to the next through contact because often times there isn't a pump available to disperse the lubricant throughout the component or the system."
Daly says you could use hydraulic oil in some systems with a very light load, but it's generally not recommended because it doesn't offer the protection of a film between the metal parts.
However, gear oils come in several viscosities, and the viscosity ratings for gear oils are not directly comparable with those for motor oil. You should check your owner's manual to be sure you're using the right type. The wrong lubricant could cause more harm than the protection it's intended to provide. "Some of those thicker lubricants can be parasitic, taking away your efficiency because it takes too much energy to push through the oil as opposed to the way the system is intended to operate," says Daly. "Some of the things that destroy the fluid film would be dilution. If something were to be put into that system inadvertently, the wrong oil, a different type of oil, and would allow the metal-to-metal contact."
If the wrong fluid goes into the gear box, Daly says you would notice the poor conditions by the noise coming from that system.
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