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How Does a Dual-Clutch Transmission (DCT) Work?

The Function of a Dual-Clutch Transmission

Market Technology before it’s ready!

A dual-clutch transmission (DCT) is synonymous with high performance. Compared to a traditional automatic transmission, it delivers…

  • Faster, smoother shifts
  • Increased fuel economy
  • Improved performance
  • Surprise breakdowns (well they’ll solve that soon)

Although the DCT transmission dates to the 1930s, it made its first practical appearance decades later in several 1980s-era race cars.

In 2003, the Volkswagen Golf Mk4 R32 was the first production vehicle to feature the technology.

Today you can find a DCT in a variety of cars, from the relatively tame Hyundai Sonata to the brash, sexy Nissan GT-R.

How a DCT transmission works

DCTs are essentially two manual transmissions working in tandem.

One gear shaft contains the even-numbered gears, and the other contains the odd-numbered gears. While you’re accelerating in first gear, for example, the computer selects second gear on the other gear shaft. When it’s time to up-shift, the clutch that controls the even gears disengages and the clutch that controls the odd gears engages.

Compared to a traditional automatic transmission, gears shift much more quickly and smoothly in a DCT transmission – the perfect complement to a powerful, high-performance engine.

While DCTs are capable of seamless shifts, they can suffer from shudder or lurching at slow speeds.

Transmission fluid with specific frictional properties is required to prevent shudder. DCT fluid must also maintain the proper viscosity to provide protection during the high-heat operation native to high-performance sports sedans and supercars.

100% Synthetic Dual-clutch Transmission Fluid (DTC)

Protect the thrill

AMSOIL 100% Synthetic DCT Fluid is specifically engineered for sophisticated dual-clutch transmissions.

Its superior frictional properties protect against shudder and gear clashing to consistently produce fast, smooth shifts. When you are waiting on the light you need a fluid engineered to solve the “constant slip mode” which is occurring to work as if it had a torque converter. Slight engagement while you are on the brakes requires beyond expectations technology you only can expect from AMSOIL.

AMSOIL Synthetic DCT Fluid’s exceptional durability provides stability in stop-and-go traffic and excels under intense, high-heat conditions. Its built-in oxidation resistance helps prevent sludge formation in vital transmission parts.

Available in our 98th St store. Just behind the Marlins at the Tea exit. Exit 73 Sioux Falls.

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Five reasons to use motorcycle oil in your bike

You can use Car Motor Oils in your Bike if you Add Two More Wheels.

You wouldn’t want to buy a used bike if motorcycle oil wasn’t used.

Impressive performance happens when you are using the right oil in the right application.

Len Groom | TECHNICAL PRODUCT MANAGER, POWERSPORTS

The results of a study from lubricant additive manufacturer Infineum caught my eye recently. A survey of 1,000 bikers revealed that fewer than 60 percent are using a motorcycle specific oil in their motorcycles. Interestingly, more than three quarters of respondents think they’re using a motorcycle oil. Clearly there’s confusion in the market that requires clarification.

Let’s start with why you should always use motorcycle oil in a motorcycle engine. I’ll boil it down to five key reasons.

1) Motorcycles run hotter

In general, automotive engines are water-cooled. A typical automotive engine can reach 235ºF (113ºC) during operation, which is plenty hot. Motorcycles, however, run even hotter, particularly big, air-cooled V-twins, like your average Harley Davidson. They rely on air flowing across the engine for cooling, which is inherently less efficient at dissipating heat. This configuration poses additional challenges in stop-and-go traffic when there’s little airflow, particularly on hot summer days. In fact, testing of a 2012 Harley Street Bob in our mechanical lab demonstrated an average cylinder head temp of 383ºF (195ºC).

Heat that intense causes some oils to thin and lose viscosity, which reduces wear protection. High heat also hastens chemical breakdown of the oil (called oxidation), which requires you to change oil more often. In extreme cases, the bike’s temperature sensors can shut down the engine if it gets too hot.

2) High rpm destroys lesser oils

Motorcycles tend to operate at engine speeds significantly higher than automobiles. Your average metric sport bike easily eclipses 10,000 rpm. Some have even pushed 20,000 rpm. Your car or truck’s redline doesn’t even come close. The hydrocarbon chains get ripped to shreds.. You can feel the after-effects through the peg and handle bars.

High rpm places additional stress on engine components, increasing the need for wear protection. It subjects oils to higher loading and shear forces, which can rupture the lubricant film and reduce viscosity, both of which increase wear. High rpm also increases the likelihood of foaming, which can reduce an oil’s load carrying ability, further inviting wear.

3) Increased power density = increased stress

Motorcycle engines produce more horsepower per cubic inch than automobiles. They also tend to operate with higher compression ratios. Increased power density and compression lead to higher engine temperatures and increased stress. This places greater demands on motorcycle oil to fight wear, deposits and chemical breakdown.

4) Must also protect transmission – prevent viscosity loss

Many motorcycles have a common sump supplying oil to both the engine and transmission. In such cases, the oil is required to meet the needs of both the engine and the transmission gears. Transmission gears can shear the oil as it’s squeezed between gear teeth repeatedly at elevated rpm, causing some oils to lose viscosity. Many motorcycles also incorporate a wet clutch within the transmission that uses the same oil. Motorcycle wet clutches require a properly formulated lubricant that meets JASO MA or MA2 frictional requirements.

5) Storage invites corrosion

Whereas automobiles are used almost every day, motorcycle use is usually periodic and, in many cases, seasonal. These extended periods of inactivity place additional stress on motorcycle oils. In these circumstances, rust and acid corrosion protection are of critical concern.

While a good passenger car motor oil (PCMO) hits many of these performance areas, it doesn’t get them all.

PCMOs usually contain friction modifiers to help boost fuel economy. Furthermore, PCMOs don’t meet JASO MA or MA2 requirements. If used in a motorcycle, they can interfere with clutch operation and cause slippage. And no rider wants to deal with a slipping clutch. Likewise, motor oils have no natural rust or corrosion resistance. Instead, corrosion inhibitors must be added to the formulation, and typical motor oils don’t contain them.

AMSOIL Synthetic Motorcycle Oil is designed for the unique demands of motorcycles. It’s formulated without friction modifiers for precise, smooth shifts. It also contains a heavy dose of corrosion inhibitors to protect your engine against rust during storage. And it’s designed to resist viscosity loss due to shear despite intense heat and the mechanical action of gears and chains.

Ensure your customers are using AMSOIL synthetic motorcycle oil in their bikes for the best protection this riding season.

And people who use car oil in their bikes probably use the term “drive” when referring to riding.

Motorcycle Oil, Primary Fluid & Transmission Fluid: What’s The Difference?

The Fool Said I Can Use 20W-50 In All Three. What?

Some V-twin motorcycles, like modern Indian  and Victory  bikes, use a shared sump, meaning they use the same lubricant in the engine, transmission and primary chaincase. Most Harley Davidson motorcycles, however, use a separate sump for each lubricant. This presents Harley (Don’t forget about Davidson) owners with a choice: Use the same lubricant in all three areas of the bike, or use a separate lubricant formulated and labeled for each area. Here, we offer guidance for deciding what’s right

For the record, AMSOIL recommends AMSOIL 20W-50 Synthetic V-Twin Motorcycle Oil (MCV) in the engine, transmission and primary chaincase on most Harleys (consult the Motorcycle Product Guide at amsoil.com for specific recommendations). It offers…

  • Convenience. Riders buy and install one lubricant. This reduces cost and results in fewer half-used bottles of oil lying around the garage.
  • Simplicity. Remembering to buy one lubricant is far easier than remembering three.
  • Great all-around performance in all three areas of the bike.
  • It’s what the upper brass at AMSOIL use in their bikes.

We formulate 20W-50 Synthetic V-Twin Motorcycle Oil to be an excellent all around lubricant. It delivers outstanding engine protection due to its proven ability to fight wear, reduce heat, maintain cleanliness and prevent corrosion during storage.

See why the 50 weight qualifies as a 90 in the transmission. 

Synthetic V-Twin Motorcycle Oil also boasts a shear-stable formulation. It resists viscosity loss despite the intense pressure and churning action of high RPM transmission gears, allowing it to deliver reliable transmission protection. Synthetic V-Twin Motorcycle Oil meets JASO MA/MA2 standards and is wet-clutch compatible for excellent performance in the primary chaincase. Its frictional properties are dialed-in to allow the clutch plates to engage and disengage without loading or slipping for smooth shifts.

Despite these benefits, some riders question the practice of using one lubricant in all three areas of their bikes. They have a difficult time accepting that a motor oil can also protect the transmission and primary chaincase.

I don’t think so. My Mechanic always said you have to use different oils.  – That’s partially true…

If you believe this to not be true we make the separates for you. Debate free oil options! And yes, they are more dialed in.. This is why we offer Synthetic V-Twin Transmission Fluid (MVT) and Synthetic V-Twin Primary Fluid (MVP).

What are the differences?

In essence, Synthetic V-Twin Transmission Fluid and Synthetic V-Twin Primary Fluid are formulated to protect just one area of your bike rather than three. This specificity allows us to engineer each lubricant for its precise application.

Transmission Fluid

Synthetic V-Twin Transmission Fluid has a higher viscosity than 20W-50 Synthetic V-Twin Motorcycle Oil. A higher-viscosity, or “thicker,” lubricant can help quiet noisy transmission gears and enable smooth shifts. The lubricant develops a slightly thicker fluid film on gears, which provides cushion to help diminish loud “thunks” and gear noise.

Again, we realize that’s what people want and in some cases it’s beneficial to the gears but it’s slightly thicker than the OEM specifications or better put – on the high side of the range. The only real downside other than cost is less efficiency in cooler weather and a change in overall MPG.

Primary Fluid

Likewise, AMSOIL Synthetic V-Twin Primary Fluid is designed only to protect primary chaincase components. Its viscosity is similar to an SAE 50 motor oil. Formulating it as a straight-weight lubricant naturally offers an advantage in shear stability over other multi-viscosity lubricants. (AMSOIL 20W-50 Synthetic V-Twin Motorcycle Oil is absolutely shear stable and will not thin out from mechanical activity.) This helps the fluid remain thicker, which helps it cling to the compensator without being “flung off” as easily for maximum protection. In Harleys, the compensator acts as a shock absorber to prevent engine vibration from affecting the transmission. Compensator wear often leads to a knocking or ticking noise.

Synthetic V-Twin Primary Fluid also clings well to the chain for excellent wear protection. And its wet-clutch-compatible formulation meets JASO MA/MA2 requirements.

Many buy this because some bikes have issues shifting back to neutral. AMSOIL Primary Oil makes it much easier for the linkage to catch neutral when you need it.

One oil or three?

So, which is the better route for Harley owners? Either way you can’t go wrong but examine if you identify with the issues requiring the 2nd choices.

For riders who desire the simplicity and convenience of using one lubricant for all three areas, following our primary recommendation of 20W-50 Synthetic V-Twin Motorcycle Oil in all three areas is the best choice.

For riders who prefer lubricants dialed in for each area of their bikes and don’t mind a few extra bottles of oil lying around the garage, steer them toward our full line of V-twin lubricants.

Either way, they can’t go wrong. 

Ordering 605-274-2580

What is a CVT Transmission?

CVT Transmission? How Does It work?

“CVT” stands for continuously variable transmission. A CVT transmission uses a pair of variable-diameter pulleys and a belt or chain to provide unlimited gear ratios.

How does a CVT work?

To illustrate, think of a traditional automatic or manual transmission. They’re built with a defined number of gears, for example first through sixth (plus reverse). The transmission can operate in only one gear at a time. You typically feel a slight surge with each gear change.

CVTs, however, offer unlimited gear ratios.

Take a look at the image. You can see the metal belt connecting the two pulleys. Depending on engine speed and load, the computer automatically varies the pulley sizes to ensure the optimal gear ratio for the driving conditions.

CVTs use variable-diameter pulleys to create unlimited gear ratios.

CVT transmission pros and cons

What good does that do?

Imagine pedaling a bike. As you approach a steep hill, you adjust the shifters so a smaller chainring attached to the pedals is driving a larger sprocket on the rear wheel. This reduces the effort required to move the bike.

When you reach a stretch of flat road, you adjust the gear ratio again so a larger chainring attached to the pedals is driving a smaller sprocket. This helps achieve the perfect balance between energy expended and bicycle speed.

The same principle applies to a CVT, except the computer does all the thinking for you. When starting from a dead stop, it varies the pulley diameters (smaller drive pulley and larger driven pulley) so the engine can move the car as efficiently as possible. As you accelerate, it continuously varies the pulley sizes to keep the engine in its “sweet spot,” which results in improved fuel economy. Plus, you never feel the gear engagements because, in effect, there aren’t any.

CVTs gaining in popularity – but there are negatives

These benefits are why many car makers, including Nissan, Honda and Toyota are introducing more vehicles with CVTs.

There are drawbacks, however, including the “rubber-band effect” (you rev the engine, yet it takes a moment for vehicle speed to catch up) and lack of driver involvement (zero fun). In addition, most CVTs’ relatively diminutive parts can’t handle the power and torque of the truck or SUV you use to tow your boat or camper, which is why you find them mostly on smaller cars. Although there are some exceptions, as the list shows, which shows popular vehicles with a CVT.

What cars have a CVT transmission?

  • Honda Accord
  • Honda HR-V
  • Mercedes-Benz A- and B-Class
  • Nissan Altima
  • Nissan Pathfinder
  • Subaru Forester
  • Subaru Impreza
  • Subaru Legacy
  • Subaru Outback
  • Toyota Camry
  • Toyota Highlander Hybrid
  • Toyota Prius

Slip into something special

One look at the guts of a CVT and you can’t help but wonder how the belt doesn’t just slip wildly over the pulleys.

Believe it or not, the transmission fluid plays a major role in ensuring the belt or chain remains in contact with the pulleys without slipping.

That’s why CVTs require specialized CVT transmissions fluids, and not the traditional automatic or manual transmission fluid you probably have in your garage. CVT transmission fluids must be formulated with the correct frictional requirements to guard against slipping. Using the wrong fluid will reduce performance and potentially wreck your transmission.

Wear protection also important

Solid wear protection is also vital to maximizing CVT performance and life. That’s why we designed AMSOIL Synthetic CVT Fluid to fight wear and help extend transmission life.

To demonstrate, we pitted AMSOIL Synthetic CVT Fluid against Nissan NS-2 CVT Fluid in a field trial. After 100,000 miles, the belt lubricated with AMSOIL Synthetic CVT Fluid demonstrated minimal wear, as you can see in the images. This helps you get the best performance and most life out of your CVT.

The belt lubricated with Nissan NS-2 CVT Fluid demonstrated increased wear.

Buy AMSOIL Synthetic CVT Fluid

While driving purists may initially scoff at the notion of a transmission that requires no driver input, many eventually warm up to CVTs’ increased gas mileage and smooth operability.

If you’re one of them, make sure you protect it with a good CVT transmission fluid.

9 Tips for Safe Trailer Towing

9 Tips for Safe Trailer Towing

Friends of mine in Minneapolis were driving on Highway 35, talking about this and that, minding their own business, when – wham! A trailer carrying a boat slammed into their car.

The trailer had disconnected from the tow vehicle and darted across the median in a high-velocity trajectory that could have killed my friends had it not been a glancing blow. Though the shattering glass put them in the hospital, it could have been much worse.

It was an accident that shouldn’t have happened.

Safety tips for towing a trailer

One morning while driving to work I was thinking about this very topic and, right in front of me, I saw another towing accident. Someone towing his race car down Mesaba Ave. here in Duluth, Minn., caused a traffic jam when the stock car left the trailer and swept wildly into the midst of rush-hour traffic.

Again, it was an accident that shouldn’t have happened.

Whether it’s a boat, a house trailer or your trash to the dump, safely towing a trailer requires attention to detail.

Here are nine key points for safe trailer towing and long vehicle life

1) Know your weight limits

Make sure your trailer and whatever you’re hauling fall within the towing or hauling capacities of your vehicle. Check the owner’s manual to find the trailer types that your vehicle can haul and the maximum weight it can pull. Use the right trailer hitch and make sure it is hitched correctly.

2) Distribute weight evenly

If your trailer fishtails, back off the gas and see if it stops. If it continues when you accelerate again, check to see how the weight is distributed on the trailer. It may not be distributed evenly from side to side, or else it’s too far back to place sufficient load on the hitch ball.

Pro Tip: Try to carry 5-10 percent of the trailer load on the hitch. Redistribute the load as necessary before continuing.

3) Ensure the trailer lights work

Connect the brake and signal lights. Double check to make sure the trailer’s brakes, turn signals and tail lights are synchronized with the tow vehicle.

4) Properly inflate the tires

People I once knew suffered 17 tire blowouts while pulling a trailer from California to south Texas (true!). You’d think they would have figured out they had too much weight in the trailer.

In addition to staying within weight limits for your rig, be sure the tires are in good condition and properly inflated. Be sure to check your wheel bearings, too. An overheated bearing will sideline your rig as fast as a flat tire. Check out this video on bearing maintenance.

5) Know that your vehicle will handle differently

When towing, you’re operating a vehicle combination that’s longer and heavier than normal. Be sure to adjust your driving practices accordingly.

Backing up is tricky, but it’s a skill you can learn. Until you’re experienced, have someone direct you from outside in those tight spots or places where you have limited visibility.

Avoid sudden turns. I know – sounds obvious. But I was once the first person to an accident where someone decided at the last minute to take the exit instead of going straight. The car ended up upside down because the trailer had other ideas.

When it comes to towing accidents, don’t say, “It can’t happen to me.” Say instead, “It must not happen to me.”

6) Buckle your seat belt

In case your tow vehicle ends up upside down.

7) Trailer towing requires increased stopping distance

It’s a simple matter of physics. When towing, you have more momentum than you would without a trailer. Remember that stopping requires more time and distance. Avoid tailgating and pay attention to what’s happening a little farther down the road than you normally would.

8) Keep your head on a swivel

Maybe you forgot to fasten a chain, secure the hitch or tie down your payload properly. If you’re in a hurry to get home after a long trip, things like that can happen.

Once you’re on the road, frequently check your mirrors to make sure everything looks good back there. I know a boat owner whose yacht fell sideways on the highway halfway between Canada and Duluth, which is the middle of nowhere for those who’ve never been there. It turned out something wasn’t fastened properly.

9) Upgrade your transmission protection

Towing places enormous stress on a transmission. In fact, because of the intense heat, towing is probably the number-one killer of transmissions.

For this reason, the “towing package” on many trucks includes a transmission-oil cooler. It also helps to use a high-end synthetic lubricant. Synthetics reduce friction and provide better resistance to high heat, helping the tranny run cooler, shift confidently and last longer.

Shameless plug time: AMSOIL Signature Series Synthetic ATF handles heat so well, you can confidently double your vehicle manufacturer’s severe-service drain interval in passenger cars and light trucks.

Shop AMSOIL Synthetic Transmission Fluid

Stay safe out there!