A CLOSER LOOK AT DIFFERENTIAL COVERS

A new differential cover can help provide increased performance.

Although they’re not always top-of-mind for enthusiasts, differential covers play an important role in the performance of pickup truck differentials. In addition to providing access for changing gear lube, differential covers help dissipate heat that can damage differentials, and they protect gears from contaminants like dirt and water, as well as rocks and other large obstacles encountered when off-roading.

Enthusiasts seeking a performance boost and improved cooling often look toward the aftermarket for upgrades over their stock differential covers.

Better Cooling

Enthusiasts love to push their trucks to the limit, but adding power and hauling heavy equipment add heat and stress to the differential. Keeping gear lube temperatures down is key to extending differential life, and performance differential covers can make a significant difference. Features like cooling fins  allow more surface area for oil cooling, while differential covers constructed of aluminum provide improved heat disbursement that keeps the differential and gear lube cool. In addition, lighter aluminum differential covers are advantageous for competitors looking to shed overall vehicle weight.

Improved Strength

Differential covers constructed of thin steel can get dented, or they can bend and peel away from the differential when contacting rocks and other debris while off-roading, leading to gear lube leaking out and contaminants entering the differential and causing excess wear. Enthusiasts who put their pickups through the paces while off-roading often seek thicker, stronger differential covers constructed of heavy-duty iron.

Easier Maintenance

Some performance differential covers include features designed to ease maintenance, including gear lube drain plugs and dipsticks. Some drain plugs and dipsticks include magnets, helping owners check for excessive wear without draining the gear lube.

Enhanced Style

Upgrading a differential cover also offers the opportunity to add style to a pickup. Many differential covers are available with chrome-plating and polished aluminum for a beautiful finishing touch for customized trucks.

Look to the Experts

With many different differential cover designs on the market, it is important for enthusiast to find one that meets their specific needs. Experts like Banks Power specialize in this area and can provide professional guidance for enthusiasts seeking a performance upgrade.

Protect Differentials with AMSOIL SEVERE GEAR®

Today’s vehicles produce substantially more horsepower, torque and towing capacity than their predecessors, yet the design of differential gears and bearings remains largely unchanged. Many differentials even use less gear lube and lower viscosities than before in an effort to reduce drag and increase fuel economy. In essence, less gear lube is responsible for providing more protection.

Fighting the Grind

Differential designs have inherent weaknesses. In a traditional automotive differential, the pinion gear concentrates intense pressure on the ring gear. As the gear teeth mesh, they slide against one another, separated only by a thin layer of lubricant. The repeated stress the lubricant film bears can shear gear lubes, causing permanent viscosity loss. Once sheared, the fluid film weakens, ruptures and allows metal-to-metal contact, eventually leading to gear and bearing failure. The situation is amplified by severe-service applications like towing.

Thermal Runaway

The extreme pressures and temperatures placed on gear lubricants can lead to a serious issue called thermal runaway. As temperatures in the differential climb, some gear lubes lose viscosity and load-carrying capacity. When extreme loads break the lubricant film, metal-to-metal contact occurs, increasing friction and heat. This increased friction and heat, in turn, results in further viscosity loss, which further increases friction and heat. As heat continues to spiral upward, viscosity continues to spiral downward. Thermal runaway is a vicious cycle that leads to irreparable equipment damage from extreme wear, and ultimately catastrophic gear and bearing failure.

AMSOIL SEVERE GEAR Synthetic Gear Lube

SEVERE GEAR excels in protecting gears and bearings from the rigors of severe-service operation. By design, it resists breakdown from high heat, preventing acids and carbon/varnish formation. Its wax-free construction also improves cold-flow properties, improving fuel economy and cold-weather performance.

  • Superior film strength
  • Controls thermal runaway
  • Protects against rust and corrosion
  • Helps reduce operating temperatures
  • Maximum efficiency
  • Long oil, seal and equipment life
  • Flexible easy-pack for clean, fast installation

Oil Analysis Kits Available from Oil Analyzers Inc. Ed Newman|May 10, 2022 2:38 PM   In order to provide a cost-effective oil analysis option when a full fluid analysis is not required, Oil Analyzers Inc. has launched a new Oil Analyzers Value Kit that focuses on the most critical used-oil analysis tests. It provides less […]

Racer Secrets: Tips and Tricks to Help on Race Day Lindsay Premo|Oct 16, 2020 8:00 AM Happy October, race fans! There are a lot of things we know are necessary in racing. A helmet, driver’s suit, gloves, appropriate footwear and (obviously) something to race on/in are all essential to striving toward that checkered flag. But, […]

First Time Heading to Sturgis? We’ve Got Some Tips. Jamie Jarvi|Aug 03, 2016 9:26 AM The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is a true bucket-list destination for any motorcycle enthusiast. Each year thousands upon thousands of riders descend on Sturgis, S.D., and turn this small, sleepy town into a motorcycle mecca. Some travel the road to Sturgis […]

AMSOIL synthetic motor oil helps you breathe easier Oxygen is great in your lungs, but it’s not so great in your motor oil. Matt Erickson | VP, PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT Oxygen comprises about 20% of our atmosphere. It’s the third most common element in the universe. Without it we’d all be doomed. Yet, oxygen can cause […]

How to Maximize Marine Engine Performance and Reliability John Baker|May 02, 2022 10:36 AM   Fishing opener is right around the corner for us Northlanders. It’s essentially a regional holiday, rivaled only by the opener of gun deer season in the fall. Although some boaters and anglers don’t realize it, using a dedicated marine motor […]

Zeroturn Spindle

Best Practices for Your Zero-Turn Mower First, we’ll start with a question. How did we survive before Zero-Turn mowers? What did they do in the 50’s? Did they not cut the grass? Chris Sharon|Sep 07, 2022 8:00 AM Here at AMSOIL, we’re always investigating ways we can help you get the most out of your […]