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All About Axle Gears

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Gearing Lingo
Lower gears are higher numerically; they provide more of a mechanical advantage and cause the engine to spin more rpm per mph than higher gears. Higher gears are lower numerically; they provide less mechanical advantage and cause the engine to turn less rpm per mph than lower gears. Hence, 3.50:1 gears are higher than 4.10:1 gears, but lower than 3.08:1 gears.

Once you've got those concepts down, you're ready to sound like you know what you're talking about. Here's some gearing lingo to help you out:

Lower Gears Are Called:
Short gears
Deep gears
Slow-ratio gears
Stoplight gears
More gear
Tight gears

Higher Gears Are Called:
Tall gears
Shallow gears
Fast-ratio gears
Highway gears
Less gear
Loose gears

Geared Up For Speed
Hot Rod did a test of gear ratios and converter sizes (smaller equals higher stall speed) versus engine rpm and quarter-mile times for their June '95 issue. We helped with the testing, so we don't feel too bad about ripping them off and reprinting the numbers here. The car used was a small-block Nova with 26-inch-tall tires. We tried four gear ratios with two TCI converters, and here's what we found:

Axle Ratio Converter Diameter 60- Foot E.T. MPH RPM at Finish RPM at 60 MPH
3.00:1 11-inch 2.10 13.75 101.96 4,200 2,600
3.50:1 11-inch 1.99 13.40 102.59 4,600 2,900
4.11:1 11-inch 1.95 13.18 102.81 5,500 3,300
4.57:1 11-inch 1.90 13.15 102.80 6,000 3,500
3.00:1 10-inch 1.99 13.39 102.19 4,600 2,950
3.50:1 10-inch 1.93 13.23 102.82 5,000 3,100
4.11:1 10-inch 1.85 13.14 102.85 5,500 3,300
4.57:1 10-inch 2.01 13.35 102.50 6,000 3,500

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14 comments
Jaseac
Jaseac

Really wish you offered a "PRINT ENTIRE ARTICLE" option. Can print this thing without doing a print screen function

David Dony
David Dony

Can you imagine !! that 98 to 14 it's like going to 68 to 84 ????

James Salisbury
James Salisbury

3.90s and a 10 inch converter are lousy in Phoenix traffic.

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