|The Arbotec Ultra Lube||Short Cuts|
I like simple ideas, you know the ones, the kind that seem obvious only after somebody else thinks of them... the kind that work.
Like every other off-roader, I am constantly maintaining my rig. A big part of this is making sure that everyhing is well lubricated and that the lubricant has not been contaminated by water, mud, dust or dirt. This means that at least once every season, and if there has been any big water crossings, often even after a single trip, I have to change the lubricants in just about everything. This includes the manual transmission, transfer case and both the front and rear differentials. That's a lot of gear oil, and it seems like few (well, none) of these parts have convenient fill ports like we have under the hood for engine oil where we can just pop open a quart of lube and stick the bottle neck in.
This usually meant that when I was changing the gear oil, I would have to struggle with one of those cumbersome manual plunger type pumps - typically spending 20-30 minutes trying to pump thick 90 weight gear oil into some 1/2" hole way up on top of my skid plate (and the top of my skid plate is always where half of it seems to end up). Just to make it even worse, any given pump only seems to fit one brand of gear oil bottle. If you buy a different brand, you have to buy a different pump. Changing gear oil has always been kind of a pain in the rear for me and I often found an excuse to put it off.
On the other hand, when if comes to gear lube, professional mechanics have it easy. If you have ever taken a vehicle to a lube shop and watched you see them pull out a hose, stick a nozzle into the fill port, pull the trigger and in a few seconds they have all the gear oil (or other lubricant) injected directly where they want it to go. These professional gear oil pumps cost a few grand and in the past I could only sit back and envy how easy the pro guys had it.
Now Arbotec has created a simple tool that lets me do the same thing in my garage.
The folks at Arbotec have a background in circle track racing, where rear end and gear changes are common at just about every event, and not many racers have the bottomless piggy bank that comes from corporate sponsorship. These guys needed a rugged, portable and affordable tool that lets them get gear oil into their race cars quickly.
The Arbotec "Ultra Lube" is a 2.9 gallon tank that you can fill with up to 2.5 gallons of gear oil or other lubricant. The tank comes with a couple of feet of hose and a nifty nozzle that lets you easily reach remote fill ports and after pressurizing it to about 80 psi through the built in Schrader valve (like the one on your tires) you can fill just about anything (that takes less than 2 gallons of lubricant) in just a few seconds.
I like this tool, it has taken one of my big maintenance headaches and neatly provided a solution for it. The only negative I could find was that the fill port (a 3/4" bung) was kind of small and we had to use a funnel to get the gear oil into the tank. Everything else about this product was of the highest quality, with heavy duty hose, a solid nozzle & valves and a built in pressure gauge. One thing I did like was that the built on Schrader valve would allow us to use almost any air compressor, even one at a gas station or one of those dinky ones that plug into a cigarette lighter, to quickly pressurize the tank.
One use for the Ultra Lube would be carrying it filled and pressurized with you on the trail or at the track for those little unplanned maintenance (repair) sessions that always seem to crop up. I know from experience that as big a pain as manually trying to get three or four quarts of 90 weight gear oil into the tranny or transfer case is when I am in my garage, it is ten times the pain and hassle trying to do it laying on your back in the mud (or scorching sun) on the trail.
I like a tool that does a job well, and like I said, some of the best ideas are simple ones - especially when they are executed as well as this one.
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