Off-road builds aren’t quiet, so why would Eaton build a “quiet” ring and pinion set? We asked them, and their answers may surprise you.
Seriously, why should we care about how loud a differential is, provided it’s not about to explode into a trillion pieces. Not only would we probably not hear it over our growling mud-terrain tires, but we’ve always been told that quiet gears are usually weaker gears; at least, when it comes to straight-shift gear boxes, superchargers, and everything else that takes a high torque load. As it turns out, there are huge advantages in the way Eaton has designed their QuietTec gears. To find out why, we spoke to Jeffrey Saxton, Eaton’s Product Manager of the Automotive Aftermarket in North America.
Starting with the obvious question – why did Eaton feel the need to make their QuietTec ring and pinion sets? “The reason is because QuietTec ring and pinion gears aren’t just about being quiet,” Jeffrey began. “They exhibit many other desirable qualities as well. Eaton QuietTec gear sets are designed for certain high-performance driveline applications where a smooth, quiet gear setup has historically been difficult to achieve.”
Saxton explained how the QuietTec’s consistent tooth mesh and contact pattern makes for a more forgiving setup. “It makes it easier to quickly achieve proper mesh and reduce installation time and frustration,” he said. “Additionally, QuietTec ring and pinion sets are manufactured with extreme precision, meaning they provide optimized performance and reduced noise, vibration and harshness, or ‘NVH,’ in the vehicle’s driveline.
“While gear noise may not be a primary consideration in some high-performance vehicle applications, vibration is never a good thing due to its ability to fatigue other components in the driveline,” continued Saxton. “Vibration reduction therefore is always desirable.”
Vibration reduction is achieved through face hobbing, rather than milling the gear set out. “The basic differences between face hobbing and face milling are uniformity and efficiency,” said Saxton. “On the one hand, face milling the gear teeth essentially cuts one at a time, which reduces the ability to maintain accurate tooth-to-tooth consistency around the gear’s total diameter. Conversely, face hobbing machines the entire diameter of the gear simultaneously, which allows for significantly greater accuracy of overall tooth geometry.”
The result is far more accurate meshing between the ring gear and the pinion, which results in a reduction of NVH and an increase in durability. “Gear fatigue and impact strength are also improved due to the precise tooth-to-tooth mesh,” Jeffrey added. “This means that contact loads are optimized, and frictional heat is reduced, resulting in less stress on the gear teeth.”
This all sounds great, but how do these rings and pinions do in the real world? For that, Eaton uses a multi-million-dollar testing facility that includes an off-road zone. “Utilizing the multimillion-dollar resources of our company, such as our 700-acre Proving Ground facility in Marshall, Michigan, we apply our gear manufacturing expertise to all applicable products,” said Saxton. “This means that our transmissions, differentials, ring and pinion gear sets, and superchargers all receive robust scrutiny. We’re very proud of our product design, validation and manufacturing experience.”
We all know that Eaton stands by their name. That’s why modern technologies like their QuietTec ring and pinions sets are just another example of how they innovate products you don’t always think about until you need an excuse for replacement. When you get ready for your next set of tires, you should also think about getting a QuietTec gear set for your truck, SUV or Jeep at the same time. Your ride will have less vibration, better strength in its axles, and the installation is easier. Find out more about the QuietTec ring and pinion sets on Eaton’s website, and stay in touch with them on Facebook, too.