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Sherman Tank Differential and Transmission Oil?


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Hi Alan,


Lubrication chart shows 50 H.D. in both the engines and transmission/controlled differential for the A2, and happens to be the same for the Sexton with the R975. Most people I have talked with regarding 2 stroke Detroit's have recommended straight 40 weight in the engine worked best. Shell Rotella T 15W-40 is what the Canadian military has been using for decades in the Detroits.

I would guess that 50 weight gear oil would be best in the trans/differential as opposed to 50 weight engine oil.

Adrian, want to chime in here?



Edited by pkitson
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Hi I do what the manual says for the gear box/dif straight 50 the engines though I use total Rubin cf 2 40 this is a detroit 2 stroke recomended oil other makes of oil also do detroit 2 stroke oil they have a low ash content.if you use 15/40w the engines will use more oil which is fine for the military.is your 6046 twin pack stock or have you changed injectors heads timming? Are they wet or dry sump?

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Having repaired our Sherman we are looking to top up the tranny oil. We have been told that number 50 lubricating oil is specified....but to what? Tranny or Engine?




Alan Duffy


Hi Alan,

The SAE 50 oil in the transmission would be an Engine oil spec., it is not unusual to use engine oil in gearboxes. The Daimler armoured vehicles of WW2 used the same grade in their transfer boxes for example. There is a misconception regarding SAE grade numbers, there are actually two scales, one for engine oils and another for gear oils, as regards viscosity, the numbering does not run parallel. A 50 engine oil is equivalent in viscosity to a 90 gear oil. Hope that explains it.


regards, Richard

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