31 The necessity for a gearbox

Power from a petrol or diesel reciprocating engine transfers its power in the form of torque and angular speed to the propelling wheels of the vehicle to produce motion. The object of the gearbox is to enable the engine's turning effect and its rotational speed output to be adjusted by choosing a range of under- and overdrive gear ratios so that the vehicle responds to the driver's requirements within the limits of the various road conditions. An insight of the forces opposing vehicle motion and engine performance characteristics which provide the background to the need for a wide range of gearbox designs used for different vehicle applications will now be considered.

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