We’re all guilty of this whilst driving a couple of hundred kilometres to our favourite campsite – and it’s killing our cog-shufflers!
Being the typical Aussie, my favourite camping spot is a solid 300 kilometres away. Why? Because it’s just no fun going down the road to go camping for a couple of nights.
We’ve all been there, sitting on 100km/h, AC-DC crankin’ out on the CD player, one arm on the window sill holding the steering wheel, the other resting on the gear stick; thinking about the next two hours ’til you pull up stumps for a relaxed weekend without the hustle and bustle of home. And therein lies the problem. Besides the arm hanging out the window (we are Australian, right?), the hand casually resting on the gear stick is slowly destroying your gearbox.
We caught up with Richard Soley at Diff Trans QLD to explain to us (in really small words) exactly what we’re doing wrong.
Inside your box, you’ve got the cogs, counter cogs, bearings and synchros; but something seldom spoken about (and often the original cause of all of the other issues) is the selector forks and hubs.
Where the forks sit on the hubs is where the issue happens, as on the end of the forks there are tabs that sit in the hubs with a couple of ‘thou’ clearance. Driving around with your hand on the stick holds pressure on one side of the fork, to the hub, and slowly (or quickly) wears away the tabs with their minute tolerances. Interestingly, the hubs are hardened steel, and most forks are alloy. Guess which one wears first? Take extra note here HiLux owners – yours are alloy and they die quicker than Miley Cyrus’ acting career.
With as little as 1mm of wear on a fork, when you go to select gears, you’re not going to get a solid selection into gear; and you’ll start grinding that gear (which in actuality is the hub and the synchro grinding), throwing metal through the gearbox (read: into bearings). And that’s when all the fun bits like collapsed bearings and munched synchros come about.
As anyone who’s ever been up for a gearbox rebuild will know, it’s not a fun or cheap exercise.
So when you’re cruising in your 4X4, whether it be around town or to the next camping spot on your trip around Aus, keep your bloody hand off the stick! It may just save you a couple of grand.
How it all works
Your shifter goes into the top of your box and connects up to the shifter rails, which in turn connect to your shifter forks that shuffle your hubs around… which is ‘gear selection’.
We asked Richard while we were there if there was anything else that he’d suggest to keep an eye on when it came to the ol’ cog-shufflers. He said he could give us a list longer than the list of parts Dex has broken over the years. Suffice to say, he said if you are going to get a rebuild done on your box (or an exchange gearbox when it all falls to pieces), make sure whoever rebuilds it uses good quality Japanese bearings. It may cost you a bit more but they will last years; as opposed to just to the end of the warranty period. The Taiwanese and Chinese bearings are cheap for a reason.
Massive thanks to Richard and Amanda Soley for letting us into Diff Trans QLD in Bundaberg and showing us around and giving us the ‘what for’… and especially for using those small, single syllable words.