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  • Question about vehicle lubricants

    Hi,

    from a vehicle lubrication discussion talking about low friction and cold weather applications, I was wondering if any know what types of oils or lubricants are used in final drives such as differentials or transaxles on snow machines or other exposed machinery used in the Antarctic, or are external heating systems used with differentials to keep normal brand name -50C to -60C cold-weather oils fluid at -80C or more temperatures? I'm assuming that snow machines have transaxle differentials. Thanks.

  • #2
    Re: Question about vehicle lubricants

    Hi Greybrick,

    I don't know about this in details, but from what I do know it's a combination of special lubricants and also external heating. Oils are forulated to keep them fluid at lower temperatures and engines have heaters that are switched on for a while before starting them up. Some bases have a "hot-rail" electrical power-take-offs to do this so the power comes from the base generators.

    That's the engines though, I'm afraid I don't know at all about the differentials, specific oils certainly, but not sure about the heating aspect.

    Perhaps someone else knows more?

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    • #3
      Re: Question about vehicle lubricants

      Greybrick,
      You might try www.antarctica.ac.uk/ which the website of BAS. You may be able to track down a techy person who can answer your question. Be advised though that these folks have a heavy workload in keeping the whole operation in Antarctica running smoothly and may not have time to respond to ad hoc queries, even if they feel inclined to do so. Paul has much more recent experience than I have in matters Antarctic and anyway, I only drove dogs!

      Drummy

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      • #4
        Re: Question about vehicle lubricants

        Thanks Paul and Drummy,

        from the Australian Antarctic Division and BAS websites I see that various types of Foremost/Nodwell and Hagglunds transport units are in operation at those stations. As it's a local company I'll contact Foremost and ask what specialty lubricants or tranmission/transfer case heating systems are being used. A lubricant that would be fluid at -90 to -80C and still have sufficient viscosity to lubricate at probable operating temperatures of +40 to +100C would be interesting. Cheers, from Canada.

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        • #5
          Re: Question about vehicle lubricants

          All the oils used are a fully synthetic oil.If memory serves me correct it is a mobil oil.Can't remember the exact type but i will find out and post when i get the chance.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Question about vehicle lubricants

            Originally posted by Greybrick
            Hi,

            from a vehicle lubrication discussion talking about low friction and cold weather applications, I was wondering if any know what types of oils or lubricants are used in final drives such as differentials or transaxles on snow machines or other exposed machinery used in the Antarctic, or are external heating systems used with differentials to keep normal brand name -50C to -60C cold-weather oils fluid at -80C or more temperatures? I'm assuming that snow machines have transaxle differentials. Thanks.

            You are making the assumption that the vehicles are kept operating at these low temperatures.

            In fact, they are, but their use is very limited. Talking to the mechanics at the South Pole Station, I was informed that they shut down most of the machinery during the winter, and that the vehicles start tearing up if they are operated at temperatures lower than -40. They still use vehicles at lower temperatures, but the colder it gets, the less they use the vehicles. At the Pole, temperatures sometimes drop to around -80 C, but at those temperatures vehicles only go outside for an hour at a time - then it's back to the garage to get warmed up.

            Of course, most of the vehicles have engine block heaters, battery warmers, and all the sorts of things that you would be familiar with in Canada.

            I was also told that as far as the heavy equipment goes, the older vehicles are better because they are simpler. I'm told that the electronics and fuel injection systems don't do well in cold weather, so they prefer tractors and such that were built in the 1960's or early 1970's.

            As I've mentioned in another post, the people actually working down there tend to be concentrated on their tasks and have a hard time keeping up to date on new technologies, so if you find out any pertinent information I'd love to hear it. Maybe I can pass it on.

            Comment

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