The gear box how does it work.
Internal-combustion engines run at high speeds, so a reduction in gearing is necessary to transmit power to the drive wheels, which turn much more slow
Internal-combustion engines run at high speeds, so a reduction in gearing is necessary to transmit power to the drive wheels, which turn much more slowly.
The gearbox provides a selection of gears for different driving conditions: standing start, climbing a hill, or cruising on level surfaces. The lower the gear, the slower the road wheels turn in relation to the engine speed.
The constant-mesh gearbox
credit photo google sites
The gearbox is the second stage in the transmission system, after the clutch. It is usually bolted to the rear of the engine, with the clutch between them.
Modern cars with manual transmissions have four or five forward speeds and one reverse, as well as a neutral position.
The gear turns freely on a bush, rotated by a meshing gear on the layshaft. The synchromesh unit, splined the the mainshaft, rests near by.
The fork moves the synchromesh towards the selected gear. Friction surfaces synchronise the shaft speeds, and synchromesh and gear lock together.
The gear lever, operated by the driver, is connected to a series of selector rods in the top or side of the gearbox. The selector rods lie parallel with shafts carrying the gears.
The most popular design is the constant-mesh gearbox. It has three shafts: the input shaft, the layshaft and the mainshaft, which run in bearings in the gearbox casing.
There is also a shaft on which the reverse-gear idler pinion rotates.
The engine drives the input shaft, which drives the layshaft. The layshaft rotates the gears on the mainshaft, but these rotate freely until they are locked by means of the synchromesh device, which is splined to the shaft.
It is the synchromesh device which is actually operated by the driver, through a selector rod with a fork on it which moves the synchromesh to engage the gear.
The baulk ring, a delaying device in the synchromesh, is the final refinement in the modern gearbox. It prevents engagement of a gear until the shaft speeds are synchronised.
On some cars an additional gear, called overdrive, is fitted. It is higher than top gear and so gives economic driving at cruising speeds.
How gear ratios work
credit photo shutter stock
All the gears except those needed for reverse are constantly in mesh. The gears on the output shaft revolve freely around it, while those on the layshaft are fixed. No drive is being transmitted.
In first gear, the smallest gear on the layshaft (with the fewest teeth) is locked to it, passing drive through the largest gear on the mainshaft, giving high torque and low speed for a standing start.
In second gear, the difference in diameter of the gears on the two shafts is reduced, resulting in increased road speed and lower torque increase. The ratio is ideal for climbing very steep hills.
In third gear, a still larger gear on the layshaft increases forward speed still further but reduces torque increase. Third gear is suitable for climbing low gradients, and provides agility in city driving.
In fourth gear, the input shaft and mainshaft are locked together, providing 'direct drive': one revolution of the propellor shaft for each revolution of the crankshaft. There is no increase in torque.
For reversing, an idler gear is interposed between gears on the two shafts, causing the mainshaft to reverse direction. Reverse gear is usually not synchronised.
Synchronising the gears
The synchromesh device is a ring with teeth on the inside that is mounted on a toothed hub which is splined to the shaft.
When the driver selects a gear, matching cone-shaped friction surfaces on the hub and the gear transmit drive, from the turning gear through the hub to the shaft, synchronising the speeds of the two shafts.
With further movement of the gear lever, the ring moves along the hub for a short distance, until its teeth mesh with bevelled dog teeth on the side of the gear, so that splined hub and gear are locked together.
Modern designs also include a baulk ring, interposed between the friction surfaces. The baulk ring also has dog teeth; it is made of softer metal and is a looser fit on the shaft than the hub.
The baulk ring must be located precisely on the side of the hub, by means of lugs or 'fingers', before its teeth will line up with those on the ring.
In the time it takes to locate itself, the speeds of the shafts have been synchronised, so that the driver cannot make any teeth clash, and the synchromesh is said to be 'unbeatable'.
Most modern cars have synchromesh on all forward gears, but on earlier cars it is not provided on first gear.
We also have this article in Spanish and French
The ultimate video course
We take this car to pieces and then build it again, explaining how every single part works.