Register now to get rid of these ads!

Hot Rods High and Low gearing

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by jseery, Jul 3, 2014.

  1. jseery
    Joined: Sep 4, 2013
    Posts: 739

    from Wichita KS

    Ok, now I'm interested enough in this topic to start a new thread. I've seen several post where "high" gearing is referring what I would call "low" gearing and was wondering if it was a regional thing or location thing, time period or what. I have always heard "tall" or "high" gearing referring to low numeral gears such as 2:75, 3:00 or 3:25. And "Low" gearing as high numeral gears, such as a 3:73, 4:11 or 4:56. Have seen several post lately with what appears to be a reverse definition. I have been around Hot Rods and racing (both dirt track and drag racing) sense the 1950s and have never heard "high" gearing refer to what I would call "low" gear ratios. Is this just something very local to my area?
  2. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 13,994


    A high gear is good for top speed, like a 3:00. A low gear is good for burning rubber, like a 4:11.
  3. 41hemi
    Joined: Jul 2, 2007
    Posts: 931


    I have always thought of and heard it refered to your way....high gears are bonneville and low gears are drag racing. I'm from the mid-Atlantic area.
  4. ^^Me too. I think it's not so much regional as misunderstanding and lack of wanting to correct. Not to call it a "youth thing".

    Register now to get rid of these ads!

  5. oldolds
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 2,706


    I agree with you and everyone above. Usually it is a non mechanic that uses it the other way.
  6. jseery
    Joined: Sep 4, 2013
    Posts: 739

    from Wichita KS

    Yep, did a quick internet search and that is all I am seeing. Had several folks on the HAMB state it the other way around and just got me thinking. I work on/rebuild rear ends (automotive type!) and had never heard the high and low terms used any other way. Glad to see I'm not loosing it!
  7. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 42,952


    high ratio? or high speed?
  8. finn
    Joined: Jan 25, 2006
    Posts: 568


    What terminology we use and what is technically correct are sometimes at odds. 5:1 is called a "low ratio colloquially by hot rodders, but is actually (technically) a high numerical ratio.

    Wheel offset is (or used to be) a similar "problem: the oem wheel suppliers / SAE standards and the aftermarket / general consumer definitions of positive and negative offset were different (opposite), at least they were in the 70's when I worked for an oem brake and wheel supplier. I don't know where that one ended up (and I'm too lazy to look up the SAE standards)
  9. 69fury
    Joined: Feb 24, 2009
    Posts: 1,416


    yes, there's confusion between the terms "high ratio" and "high gear" but usually one can figure out the meaning by the context of the whole story.-rick
  10. Here maybe I can help. I will just restate what has already been said, with some different wording. Higher NUMERICAL gearing is a lower RATIO, and the opposite of course is conversely correct. Think of this analogy, a transmission, doesn't matter auto or stick. HIGH or TOP gear is generally 1:1 ratio, low NUMERICALLY, whereas First or LOW gear could be a 2.45:1. Higher NUMERICALY, but a LOWER RATIO. T.R.

    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
  11. stimpy
    Joined: Apr 16, 2006
    Posts: 3,547


    basically what my instructors in College said was tall was High numerically ( 4:56 ), and short.low were (2.41's) and layman terms they were the opposite are here on the SW side of Chicago refeering to how much torque was needed to pull the gear ( as tall was a stiff set like to climb a tall fence ) or actuall teeth height ( crown to root length as a low numeric gear you would need more surface area to safely transfer the pressure of the torque ) , thats why I just use the numbers instead of the words or use" low/high numerically" . I think it comes down to definitions are part of the saying ,"those who teach and those who do "....
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2014
  12. I have seen this also. It's not regional though. There are some people who are not using the correct terminology and with the internet, they can broadcast their ignorance to the whole world and then other people (who don't know any better either) pick up on it and wrong info continues to spread like a virus. You are correct, numerically higher is lower.

    4.56:1 = stump puller (low)
    2.73:1 = freeway flyer (high)
  13. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 9,628

    Atwater Mike

    How about right from the driver's seat? (just so you don't forget)
    Basic 3 speed Stick transmission: Low gear, second, and high. Which is which?
    Automatic trans.: Lo (L) is the 'bottom' gear...

    It was NOT a 'regional' thing, it was one of ignorance. The facts were there, someone ignored them.
    Non-car 'experts have come to my shop, and argued this point. "3.54s are LOWER than 4.56s. Do the arithmetic!" That guy ended up getting physically removed. LOL (Stubborn!)
  14. slowmotion
    Joined: Nov 21, 2011
    Posts: 3,023


    Ya got your airplane gears (high) 3.25 & numerically lower
    Then ya got your stump pullin' gears (low) 4.10 & numerically higher
    The gears in between is just gears.

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!


Copyright © 1995-2020 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.