How to Select the Best Gearbox Lubricant for Your Equipment

Eugene Vargas

Some gearbox repair needs can be traced to a failure by the lubricant to do its work of cooling/protecting the moving parts of the system. This article discusses some factors that you should consider when selecting the right lubricants for the gearboxes of your heavy construction equipment.

Lubricant Viscosity

Very thick (viscous) lubricants resist movement and can adhere to the surface of moving gearbox components. This adherence limits the friction that would have taken place so the equipment will last longer. However, very viscous lubricants may not move easily through filtration systems so it may not be easy to remove any contaminants (such as particulates) that have found their way into the gearbox. Thus, it is important to strike a balance between fluid viscosity and its ability to remove contaminants from the gearbox without bypassing the filters. A good starting point to navigate your way around this issue is to consult the manual of your equipment. Pick a lubricant whose viscosity is within the recommended range you find in the manual.

Compare Dedicated and Universal Fluids

Dedicated lubricants are fluids that are formulated for a particular application. For instance, a lubricant maker can come up with a type of lubricant that is specifically formulated to be able to remove particulates like dust from gearboxes that operate in very dusty conditions (such as on construction sites). A universal lubricant is one that is formulated to provide general protection from all known threats to gearboxes such as moisture and high temperature. Carefully weigh the pros and cons of each kind of fluid before you choose it for your gearboxes. For instance, dedicated fluids may be more expensive, yet they are ideal for use under extreme worksite conditions.

Fluid Durability

Different gearbox lubricants may offer the same level of protection but differ in how long they can perform those protective roles before degrading. Take note of the durability indicated by the different manufacturers so that you select a lubricant that will give your equipment adequate protection for the longest possible time. This will reduce the downtime needed to flush the gearboxes and put fresh lubricants into the system.

It may be necessary to switch from one kind of gearbox lubricant to another. For instance, a new product that promises better performance may have been introduced on the market. Use the suggestions above to evaluate it so that you make an informed decision. Only then will you get a lubricant that will prevent frequent gearbox failures and repairs.

For more information on gearbox issues, contact companies like Shute Engineering.