# Planetary gears on passenger vehicles?

• pnorm91
In summary: Thanks much! I've got just one more question, only slightly related, but I assume anyone looking at this thread would be able to answer with ease; When measuring the radius of a gear, would you measure to the tip of a gear tooth, or just to the edge of the circle that the teeth lay on? or perhaps both depending on what youre measuring for?You would measure to the tip of the gear tooth.
pnorm91
so, I'm a mechanical engineering student, fairly new at it though. I have a really strong real world grasp of mechanical principles, and really enjoy doing things like auto repair (consequently, my schedule is often interrupted by folks that know this fact, and want cheap auto repair) so with that in mind, please bear with me in this post, as with any others I may make in the future, should I use an incorrect term, or have a difficult time articulating my ideas.

now, I was watching the modern marvels episode about monster trucks. They mentioned the fact that they use planetary gears on the each wheel since they are so large. which got me thinking; if this helps drive the wheels easier, why would the same not be true of passenger vehicles? If a planetary gear can be used to make each wheel turn easier, would this not improve the efficiency of the vehicle thus improving the gas mileage? just a thought

You've got to think about the different factors involved. Rather than just give you the answers I'll ask a few leading questionsm, as you'll be able to answer this yourself.

What does the planetary set in the wheel actually do?
Why would this be needed on something with very high torque outputs and high inertia (of the body and wheel)? (Think driveshafts)
Does a passenger car have this requirement?

Also first and foremost passenger cars have to be comfortable and cheap. What would the consequences be of replacing a single final drive with two/four planetary reduction sets in each wheel?

makes perfect sense. Thanks much! I've got just one more question, only slightly related, but I assume anyone looking at this thread would be able to answer with ease; When measuring the radius of a gear, would you measure to the tip of a gear tooth, or just to the edge of the circle that the teeth lay on? or perhaps both depending on what youre measuring for?

pnorm91 said:
makes perfect sense. Thanks much! I've got just one more question, only slightly related, but I assume anyone looking at this thread would be able to answer with ease; When measuring the radius of a gear, would you measure to the tip of a gear tooth, or just to the edge of the circle that the teeth lay on? or perhaps both depending on what youre measuring for?

The important dimention in gears is "pitch diameter", which is the effective diameter of that gear. It cannot be directly measured, however. Just calculated from other parameters.

They mentioned the fact that they use planetary gears on the each wheel since they are so large. which got me thinking; if this helps drive the wheels easier, why would the same not be true of passenger vehicles

It IS also true for passenger cars. That's why they have gearboxes. You pick a lower gear for starting and for going uphill, as it makes the wheels easier to turn. A higher gear for when you want to move fast. But it's not necessarily planetary gears that make turning the wheel easier, just any gears in general. Pulleys and levers also accomplish the same thing.

Although I do believe that automatic cars DO indeed have planetary gears.

Although I do believe that automatic cars DO indeed have planetary gears.

As did the Model T Ford transmission from about 1908 to 1928. It shifted by 'bands' which the driver operated with his foot.

http://www.modeltcentral.com/transmission_animation.html

Lsos said:
It IS also true for passenger cars. That's why they have gearboxes. You pick a lower gear for starting and for going uphill, as it makes the wheels easier to turn. A higher gear for when you want to move fast. But it's not necessarily planetary gears that make turning the wheel easier, just any gears in general. Pulleys and levers also accomplish the same thing.

You've missed the point. Tractors and monster trucks have a single stage planetary gear-set on each wheel as an extra reduction ratio, on top of the rest of the transmission.

It's done because you need the torque at the wheel but can't/don't want to package a transmission and driveline that can take the full torque.

Although I do believe that automatic cars DO indeed have planetary gears.

All automatic gearboxes are based on planetary gear-sets and engagement clutches.
AMT and DCT aren't true autos.

Having a plnetary gearset at the wheel reduces the stress on the axleshafts and transmission through gear reduction- something you need to worry about when you're using 66 inch tires. Most passenger cars don't use them because they're a reduction in total efficiency, "standard" axle shafts can take the torque of a standard engine/transmission combination.

TheFabricator.com said:
The axle housings hold ZF axles. The axle's total reduction is 16.5-to-1; the planetary reduction is 6.3-to-1; and the rear end (also known as the ring and pinion or third member) gear reduction is 2.6-to-1. The huge reduction at the planetaries means that the axles, ring and pinion, drive shafts, and transfer case are under much less stress than before. An example of the benefit of this reduction at the planetary shows up in the axles' size. They are the same size as standard axle shafts used on 1-ton pickup trucks.
http://www.thefabricator.com/article/tubepipefabrication/the-anatomy-of-a-monster-truck

That being said, a very few 4x4 vehicles do have gearsets at the wheels (known as portal axles) to help reduce driveline forces and increase ground clearance to the axle shaft- Hummer H1's and Unimogs for example:

Hummer portal axle cutaway:

Unimog portal axle:

awesome! Thanks for all of the fantastic input everyone! much appreciated.

## 1. What are planetary gears and how do they work?

Planetary gears, also known as epicyclic gears, are a type of gear system commonly used in passenger vehicles. They consist of three main components: a sun gear, planet gears, and a ring gear. The sun gear is located in the center and is surrounded by several planet gears, which are mounted on a carrier. The ring gear, which has internal teeth, surrounds the planet gears. When the sun gear rotates, it causes the planet gears to rotate around it, while also rotating on their own axes. This motion of the planet gears meshes with the ring gear, causing it to rotate as well. This complex movement allows for different gear ratios and torque transmission.

## 2. Why are planetary gears used in passenger vehicles?

Planetary gears are commonly used in passenger vehicles because they are highly efficient and compact. They can achieve a wide range of gear ratios while taking up less space compared to other gear systems. This makes them ideal for use in smaller vehicles where space is limited.

## 3. What are the advantages of using planetary gears in passenger vehicles?

There are several advantages to using planetary gears in passenger vehicles. These include their compact size, high efficiency, and ability to achieve a wide range of gear ratios. Additionally, planetary gears have a high torque capacity and can handle heavy loads, making them suitable for use in vehicles.

## 4. How are planetary gears maintained in passenger vehicles?

Planetary gears in passenger vehicles require regular maintenance to ensure smooth operation and long lifespan. This includes regular lubrication of the gears and periodic checks for wear and tear. If any issues are identified, it is important to address them promptly to prevent further damage and potential safety hazards.

## 5. Can planetary gears be upgraded or replaced in passenger vehicles?

Yes, planetary gears can be upgraded or replaced in passenger vehicles if necessary. However, this is a complex process and should only be done by a trained professional. Upgrading or replacing planetary gears can improve the performance or efficiency of a vehicle, but it is important to consult with a mechanic or manufacturer before making any changes.

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