Toying with Old Recipes

A consultant’s code is similar to a medical doctor’s; e.g. — Rule #1 is to “do no harm.” Sometimes I feel like a real buzz kill while explaining to clients that their world-beating concept violates a number of sound design principles. Some people do not take bad news well and bolt for the door, hoping the next expert will see things differently.

When conducting these “reviews” it helps to reference AGMA, ISO, or other accepted third-party standards. Some very respected reference books “sanction” gear geometry and drive arrangements that were acceptable at the time they were written, but have since fallen out of favor. Would you even consider designing a gasoline motor with valves in the block — aka, a “flathead” in this day of high-revving, multi-valve, direct-injected emission beaters? Obviously not.

Yet some of our go-to reference books were written 60 years ago. Gear Technology is the world leader in publishing state-of-the-art gear information. Our online archives include every article from every issue. Some of the advice from 35 years ago may no longer be valid! As with reference books, the information was correct and peer reviewed at the time. It is not technically “wrong” either. It worked then, it will work now.

It just won’t work as well as other, more modern solutions. If you go to a car show, you will see a few “restored” and period-correct cars. But you will also see cars with an electronic ignition hiding under that authentic-looking distributor cap or an electronic fuel injection system under that numbers-matching air cleaner.

Do not get me wrong — I would be the last person to advocate burning those classic reference books. But conditions have changed and designs have to reflect those changes. Your customers are not entering the parts in a classic car show for judging, they are competing in a “cage match” where the best value wins. Study our technical papers. Stay up on the standards. And if your gear consultant balks at staying true to a 50-year-old recipe, hear him or her out before bolting for the door.


About Charles D. Schultz 644 Articles
Charles D. Schultz is President of Beyta Gear Service and one of Gear Technology's technical editors.

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