HotRod_MD

Selecting the Proper Rearend Gear Ratio

What:

RESOURCES:

 

 

Selecting a rearend gear ratio (ring & pinion set) to provide the desired highway cruising speed, 60—65 MPH, for a modern hot rod.

How:

     A number of factors must be considered when selecting a rearend gear ratio (ring & pinion set).  Tire diameter, transmission choice (with or without overdrive) and desired highway cruising speed.
    
Tire diameter is the first consideration because styling and available space within the wheel opening dictate the size of tire / wheel combination that will be chosen for the car.  The choice of a direct-drive (1to1) or overdrive (usually 30%) transmission will determine driveshaft RPM at cruising speed.  A highway cruising speed of 60—65 MPH is considered a good target speed

     Engine RPM at cruising speed should be maintained between 1800 to 2100 RPM.  Lower RPM at cruising speed will produce a vibration that is often mistaken for driveshaft imbalance.  This vibration is actually caused in a typical V8 engine by acceleration of the piston on a downward power stroke that is only cancelled out by other cylinders doing the same in rapid succession.  This only occurs when the engine is revving in excess of 1800 RPM.  This vibration isn’t noticeable when the engine is idling or accelerating through the gears but is often misdiagnosed as a driveshaft out of balance of out of phase.

The proper rearend gear ratio can be selected using the following simple formulas whether using a direct-drive (1to1) or overdrive (usually 30%) transmission.

FIGURING TIRE DIAMETER (Height)
FORMULA: Tire Size 25.4 x Aspect Ratio x 2 + Wheel Diameter = Tire Diameter in Inches (Height)
EXAMPLE (285x70R15): 285 25.4 = 11.22 x .70 = 7.8540 x 2 = 15.70 + 15 = 30.70

FIGURING TIRE CIRCUMFERENCE
FORMULA: Pi (3.14159) x Tire Diameter = Circumference in Inches
EXAMPLE (285x70R15): 3.14159 x 30.70 = 96.446813

CONVERTING TIRE CIRCUMFERENCE TO REVOLUTIONS PER MILE
FORMULA: Tire Circumference in Inches 12 = Tire Circumference in Feet
FORMULA: Number of Feet in a Mile Tire Circumference in Feet = Tire Revolutions Per Mile
EXAMPLE (285x70R15): 96.446813 12 = 8.0372344
EXAMPLE (285x70R15): 5280 Feet 8.0372344 = 656.94239

Below is a simpler formula used to figure tire revolutions per mile with an acceptable variation from the more exacting formula using tire circumference to figure tire revolutions per mile.
FIGURING TIRE REVOLUTIONS PER MILE
FORMULA: 20168 Tire Diameter = Tire Revolutions Per Mile
EXAMPLE (285x70R15): 20168 30.70 = 656.93811

FIGURING REAREND GEAR RATIO (Ring & Pinion)
FORMULA: Engine RPM @ Cruise Tire Revolutions Per Mile = Rearend Gear Ratio
EXAMPLE Without Overdrive: 1800 RPM 656.93811 = 2.73:1
EXAMPLE Without Overdrive: 2000 RPM 656.93811 = 3.04:1

EXAMPLE With Overdrive (30%): 1800 RPM 656.93811 = 2.73:1 x 130 = 3.54:1
EXAMPLE With Overdrive (30%): 2000 RPM 656.93811 = 3.04:1 x 130 = 3.95:1
 

Where:

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