Originally Posted by Greybrick
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.