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Lighter gear oil for winter driving?
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michaelbteam
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 11:32 am    Post subject: Lighter gear oil for winter driving? Reply with quote

Did my annual Syncro transmission drain and fill, to monitor wear, debris on drain plug.
AND, I had the "bright" idea to replace gear oil with synthetic 75-90 weight, instead of normally 75-140, to see if cold weather shifting would be easier.
Is this a mistake, in anyone's humble expert opinion? Thanks!
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 11:36 am    Post subject: Re: Lighter gear oil for winter driving? Reply with quote

It would help to know where you are located. Yuma, Arizona is a bit warmer than Fairbanks, Alaska during the winter.

A 75w140 is not the recommended oil for the summer in most places. I would use it in a final drive, but not in a transmission or transaxle.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Lighter gear oil for winter driving? Reply with quote

Yes.
A very simple filtration system using gravity.
2 batches of transaxle lubricant.
One for winter, one for summer.

Settle the oil on a shelf for 6 months, pour the purified oil off the top and put the good stuff back in the trans.
Add a little fresh oil for the dregs that you discarded.

As the Swepco oil engineer told me (with regards to purification by gravity) "It's 100%".
I was more than a little surprised that an oil salesmen would tell you to purify your own oil rather than just dump it out and purchase another gallon (from him).
And so asked him again if it really works, and he repeated "It's 100%".
He was saying that 100% of the metal dust goes to the bottom.

I saw significant results in a few weeks.
6 months is fersure.

Discussed for 14 pages a few years back, the first 9 pages had the classical "oil discussion problems" we all know about.
Useful results appear in the thread 9 weeks later: Proposal:Settling metal fines out of gear oil that's still fresh
Oil discussions are always risky, but the Swepco engineer agreed settling was a good plan.

Where's this metal coming from that you "need" to settle out?
Answer: Old high-mileage transaxles with double-the-horsepower engines bolted on.
There's a lot of them out there.

If the oil still "looks" clean, has some clarity I'd run it for sure.
I don't think there's an argument against 100%.
This gets the metal out 2x per year.
Probably can use a pair of gallons for about 5 years. (a wild guess)
Oil can be stored 5 years with no degradation of the additives.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 11:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Lighter gear oil for winter driving? Reply with quote

Question is from Utah, Syncro with 2.5 Subaru, driven mindful of potential transmission abuse. Thanks for the advice on reusing gear oil after particle settling.
I've forgotten exactly why I thought using 75-140 [Royal Purple] was a good idea, probably after mind numbing perusal of endless oil forums.
I'll read them again.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 6:46 am    Post subject: Re: Lighter gear oil for winter driving? Reply with quote

I have been running the Swepco 202 full synthetic for a couple years. Summer and winter. It makes shifting easy even in our below 0° winters. I have been very happy with this gear oil.

Cheers,
Ron
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 8:34 am    Post subject: Re: Lighter gear oil for winter driving? Reply with quote

michaelbteam wrote:

I've forgotten exactly why I thought using 75-140 [Royal Purple] was a good idea, probably after mind numbing perusal of endless oil forums.
I'll read them again.


A normal transmission usually has helical cut spur gears (1st thru 4th).
The Ring&Pinion (R&P) is often a Hypoid gear, which have high loads with "sliding' contact.
The vanagon transaxle has both helical gears and a hypoid in the same case, same oil, so you want an oil for the higher load condition ----> the hypoid especially if you have a larger engine.

As such, the shifting might be less pleasurable when lubricating for the hypoid in focus.
Blame that on the feller who put the big engine in, because that's why you have to focus on the hypoid now.
You might have to shift "slower".
No more ham-fisting like it's a Toyota or something.
You have the power you always wanted but your gears are your children now.
Think of the children. Wink

======= Here's Wikipedia FWIW ======
API Category GL-4 designates the type of service characteristic of spiral-bevel and hypoid gears in automotive axles operated under moderate speeds and loads. These oils may be used in selected manual transmission and transaxle applications.

API Category GL-5 designates the type of service characteristic of gears, particularly hypoids in automotive axles under high-speed and/or low-speed, high-torque conditions. Lubricants qualified under U.S. Military specification MIL-L-2105D (formerly MIL-L-2015C), MIL-PRF-2105E and SAE J2360 satisfy the requirements of the API GL-5 service

===========

Hope this helps a little.

I'm watching for anything that will help an over-loaded transaxle for "over-engining" a transaxle full of old old gears (but possibly new bearings & synchros) which is what most people have in our 200-400k mile trannies.

I haven't seen any hardcore evidence that specialty oils can get you more than 7-11% higher film strength.
Except in high-heat conditions, specialty oils outperfom normal oils, but we're not racing. We have high heat requiring a racing oil only when a transaxle is fooked. You can't oill for a fooked transaxle. Not for long.
Note that 6.17 gears raise oil temperature significantly because the hypoid slips much more. It's like a worm gear.

It is a little strange when you think about the focus on oil brands is WAY WAY more prevalent than the focus on lubricant cleanliness. The power of advertising. The reality is that if you have attained 11% better lubricity it all goes to sh*t as soon as there's metal in the oil, and there WILL be fairly soon in a trans with 200-400k mile gears in there.

If you can visually detect any dust in oil (sparkles) those particles are 5-10 times bigger than the oil film thickness. So there is metal-to-metal contact in your trans. You should pay attention to the condition, and either change the oil (or purify it if you can do that 'hobby'). Wink

If its brass from synchros it's not so bad. If steel, it's bad, steel will ruin your bearings.

[IMHO] Vanagons have moved into a different maintenance regime now that the transaxles have "old NLA gears",
and at the same time, don't forget that we hung big engines on them.
For that combination to last, you need to pray or pay.
Or at least live by a new standard..... "Cleanliness is next to Godliness"[IMHO]

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


This inspired me to go look at my last oil batch that's sitting on the shelf,
sitting motionless upside-down for 5 months.
In a super-clear water jug.
That's $100 synthetic oil (Lubrication Engineers Synolec 9919).

If that's all brass (sitting on the angled sides) that's not terrible.
But there must be SOME steel, cause I don't shift "ham-fisted" AFAIK.
I'll poke a pipe into it and drain the good stuff out then try to guess how much steel is in that "stuff".
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michaelbteam
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 9:27 am    Post subject: Re: Lighter gear oil for winter driving? Reply with quote

Thanks for sharing your insights and experience. What is the detriment to using 75-140 gear oil instead of 75-90? My trans and diff were rebuilt around 100K and I have about 134K on my Syncro now, with about 17K since Subaru conversion. So it could last a while if I'm careful.
I drained the Royal Purple 75-140 this fall and refilled with Mobil One 75-90 synthetic partly because it was available off the shelf at FLAPS.
I'm not afraid to do this again with "better" oil.
I've found that double clutching enables smoother shifting if there's any resistance, especially when it's cold.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 11:16 am    Post subject: Re: Lighter gear oil for winter driving? Reply with quote

michaelbteam wrote:
Thanks for sharing your insights and experience. What is the detriment to using 75-140 gear oil instead of 75-90? My trans and diff were rebuilt around 100K and I have about 134K on my Syncro now, with about 17K since Subaru conversion. So it could last a while if I'm careful.
I drained the Royal Purple 75-140 this fall and refilled with Mobil One 75-90 synthetic partly because it was available off the shelf at FLAPS.
I'm not afraid to do this again with "better" oil.
I've found that double clutching enables smoother shifting if there's any resistance, especially when it's cold.


Here is a thread to read:

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=650514&highlight=
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 10:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Lighter gear oil for winter driving? Reply with quote

Syncro Jael wrote:
michaelbteam wrote:

I've found that double clutching enables smoother shifting if there's any resistance, especially when it's cold.


Here is a thread to read:

Swepco 202 - Moly XP 75W90 Synthetic Transmission Oil

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=650514&highlight=


MBT you’re asking what are the conditions that 140 is advisable over 90 when you know its gonna be less pleasant to shift. 140 will have a higher film strength and its what you probably should use when your engine HP is significantly more than OEM.

30% more is huge.
EJ25 is like 83% more.
Huge huge.

But you don’t have to make it put out 83% more all the time.
If you drive 75-80 and especially with lotsa stuff like rocketbox etc ontop - thats real hard on the little trans.

Id run Swepco 202 in my trans. I’m running flaps right now but plan to put my “settled/purified Synolec 9919” back in soon.

Note: You wanna be sure your trans was real clean at rebuild time if you are to changeover to synthetic. Depends on who rebuilt it and what eqpt they have etc.

Heres Another related thread: Syncro transaxle shifts "slower" than 2WD transaxle
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 3:44 am    Post subject: Re: Lighter gear oil for winter driving? Reply with quote

Sodo, usually I’m just trying to stir up the transmission oil threads but have you guys ever tried centrifugation to speed the settling process? You wouldn’t have to spin very hard given the big density differentials.

Wow,I punned without even trying. I guess I have pun clap.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:19 am    Post subject: Re: Lighter gear oil for winter driving? Reply with quote

Abscate wrote:

Wow,I punned without even trying. I guess I have pun clap.

They have a pill for that!
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:20 am    Post subject: Re: Lighter gear oil for winter driving? Reply with quote

That's awesome, Sodo: "Think of the children!!"
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:56 am    Post subject: Re: Lighter gear oil for winter driving? Reply with quote

michaelbteam wrote:

AND, I had the "bright" idea to replace gear oil with synthetic 75-90 weight, instead of normally 75-140, to see if cold weather shifting would be easier.
Is this a mistake, in anyone's humble expert opinion? Thanks!


Not a mistake, but it wouldn't be predicted to make any difference in cold shifting, presuming the base stock is the same 75 grade in both products. The 75 is the grade of the base stock, and that's the grade the oil will behave as when cold.

At 40ºC, the 75 gear oil base is equivalent in viscosity to a 10-15w engine oil. At 100ºC the 75w90 is behaving like a 90, so it has the approximate viscosity of a 50 grade engine oil at the same temp. 140 is off the charts as far as comparisons to engine oil grades, probably close to a 70 if anyone made that.

It's the upper number that will change things, because the 140 will have higher effective viscosity at 100ºC than the 90. The oil itself isn't thicker, it's the same base stock after all, the upper grade performance is achieved by the action of additives.

My Syncro transaxle was rebuilt for me by AA Daryl before he left us, about ten years ago. It now has about 100k miles on it, I've run Mobil1 75w90 in it the whole time. Last summer on a hot day I thought I could hear a slight pinion whine. It was due for an oil change so I filled with half M1 75w90 and half 75w140, to boost the hot viscosity a bit. Haven't heard any whine since (it was extremely faint anyway, the wind and ambient noise conditions happened to be just right for me to hear it at all), and now we're into winter there is no difference in cold shifting from before.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:39 am    Post subject: Re: Lighter gear oil for winter driving? Reply with quote

Abscate wrote:
Sodo, usually I’m just trying to stir up the transmission oil threads but have you guys ever tried centrifugation to speed the settling process?


Im currently testing the “one revolution per day” centrifugation method.
Coupled with that method is additionally, rotation around the sun, which I’m about 41.667% into the first rotation, and already concluded the experiment successful. The only eqpt needed was “a jug & a shelf”.
I haven’t seen a need to speed up the Purification process, other than to shorten the maintenance intervals of old and/or over-engined transaxles
.....from once per decade down to once or twice a year.

Anyway.....
Last time I looked at my $100 Synolec 9919, (maybe 2 months ago?) there was nothing visible settled.
Dangit I don’t know when that was.
Since nothing was piling up, I assumed my filtration system had already captured the “settle-able” or “visible” particles and there was nothing more gonna settle.
So I forgot about it.
Then This Samba post appears! ....regarding winter/summer oils which raises the possibility that There could be a
Exclamation a 2nd Samba member Exclamation
settling gear lubricants and reporting findings to the forum..... so I go out to the garage & LOOK.
And Now theres sediment.
Hallelujah.
You could say “bad things come to those who wait”
Or
“lubricant contamination creeps up on ya”😉😉
Pun intended.

Well 'the guy' says he may fiddle with a drainplug every 6 months but he didn’t commit to settin it on a shelf as if its still usable or worth $70-$100 or something. Wink

I like the idea of a centrifuge inside the gearbox somewhere that would gather and hold metal dust over the life of the trans.
But it needs to be on the input shaft (3400rpm etc) and theres no space for it in the trans.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Heres a pic of the centrifugal separator on the crankshaft of a motorcycle engine.
They spin 5,000+ RPMs maybe 8,000, and the lubricant is “thin”, hot motor oil.
The only place on a Vanagon trans with space is in the differential area, but the diff only spins ~700rpm @ freeway speeds. Way too slow. Crying or Very sad

Well anyway, changing the oil every season (and setting it on a shelf) is not so difficult for a Vanagon tinkerer (the few, the committed).
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'07 EJ25 with '12 longblock, (Peloquin TDB on the shelf), locker, transaxle oil cooler/filtration system. LiFePO
....KTMs, GasGas, and a Stumpjumper
Gear oil is like underwear (aesthetics, comfort, runtime, etc. 😉)
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 11:19 am    Post subject: Re: Lighter gear oil for winter driving? Reply with quote

A winter rated motor oil (i.e. 5w20 or 20w50) carries a cold cranking and pumping temperature rating that will be substantially below 0°C (32°F).

I do not know if there are similar cold use temperature ratings for gear oils or not, I don't remember ever having seem them, just the 40°C (104°F) rating . I know that at one time at least many car manufactures including VW recommended running ATF in their gear boxes at temperatures below about -15°C (5°F), but gear oils have improved over the years so this might not apply all that well any more. Have no idea what someone in say, Billings, MT or Casper, WY might run in their older VW transaxles during the winter these days.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 11:39 am    Post subject: Re: Lighter gear oil for winter driving? Reply with quote

For me, with an over-engined van (173HP EJ25) the lack of Extreme Pressure (EP) additives in my transaxle would kinda give me "the willies".
For me, it's API rating "GL5" that gives me comfort.
Even if I have to shift slower, I can do that.
And double-clutching, for a few minutes when the trans is cold.
I kinda enjoy that, actually.
All our other cars (and pickup) are automatics.
I enjoy the manual and its quirks.

I like that a modern automatic downshifts on downhills etc.
I HATE some other quirks of modern automatic, like the programmed 'delays'.
Other than that, the modern automatics work well (6 speed).

I'd use motor oil or ATF as a flushing agent though, and drive very lightly on the throttle, low speeds etc,,, I wouldn't make it push the brick at highway speeds.
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....KTMs, GasGas, and a Stumpjumper
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 12:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Lighter gear oil for winter driving? Reply with quote

Im thinking you could centrifuge it in the garage for an hour and recycle the fluid much quicker.

Then, of course, you can sell it as a service. Monthly removal of gear box swarf

With the right marketing spin, you could rotate stock and go full circle with the opportunity.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 12:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Lighter gear oil for winter driving? Reply with quote

Sodo wrote:
For me, with an over-engined van (173HP EJ25) the lack of Extreme Pressure (EP) additives in my transaxle would kinda give me "the willies".
For me, it's API rating "GL5" that gives me comfort.
Even if I have to shift slower, I can do that.
And double-clutching, for a few minutes when the trans is cold.
I kinda enjoy that, actually.
All our other cars (and pickup) are automatics.
I enjoy the manual and its quirks.

I like that a modern automatic downshifts on downhills etc.
I HATE some other quirks of modern automatic, like the programmed 'delays'.
Other than that, the modern automatics work well (6 speed).

I'd use motor oil or ATF as a flushing agent though, and drive very lightly on the throttle, low speeds etc,,, I wouldn't make it push the brick at highway speeds.


In the old days, gear oil would gel when it got cold enough so not only did ATF make shifting easier, it provided much better lubrication than standard gear oils, thus the reasons that manufacturers recommended its use.

For a 1974 Transporter

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 1:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Lighter gear oil for winter driving? Reply with quote

Wildthings I don't doubt ATF is better for arctic climates.
Probably not sustaining 75mph for hours on end either like we do in the West in the summertime.

Abscate wrote:
Im thinking you could centrifuge it in the garage for an hour and recycle the fluid much quicker.
Then, of course, you can sell it as a service. Monthly removal of gear box swarf
With the right marketing spin, you could rotate stock and go full circle with the opportunity.


They make devices for that.
It's called a "filter cart". Google it..
I think some of them include centrifugal separation.
Industry uses that service on eqpt that needs lubrication service yet must remain up& running 24/7/365.
I saw one on eBay for $2500 once.

The filter cart need to be cleaned thoroughly between customers.
Like some feller with a $10,000 trans doesn't wanna jump in right after some guy who says "I don't think I've ever changed my gear oil in ten years".

You could do it at Vanagon festivals as a service if you could find a way to clean the filter cart between customers.
Suck out of the filler hole and back in the same hole.
A Vanagon shop could do it as a service to their customers who have $100 gear oil and don't wanna dump it.
And analyze what shows up in the filers.
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....KTMs, GasGas, and a Stumpjumper
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 2:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Lighter gear oil for winter driving? Reply with quote

Quote:
Suck out of the filler hole and back in the same hole.


Ive seen this in Asia but thats a different Forum
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