The Allison RV Gearbox

The Allison Company was started in 1909 by James A. Allison, along with three other business partners who had helped to build the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

In 1911 Allison’s new track held the first Indianapolis 500 mile race. James Allison established his own race team in 1915, and soon gained a reputation for his work on race cars and automotive technology.

When World War 1 began as with a lot of companies, Allison started to machine parts for the Liberty airplane engine, which was the main power plant for the American War effort.

In 1919 Allison entered a car in his last Indy 500 race and successfully won, turning awareness and attentions to Aviation Engineering. This was a major factor in the decision made by General Motors to purchase the company, following the death of James Allison in 1928.

During 1929 the company went on to design and work on the 12 cylinder engine, which was to replace the Liberty. The 12 cylinder engine was known as the V1710, which made the Allison engine company a major force in aviation.

Towards the end of World War 2, they formed Allison Transmissions and put their expertise into new fields, such as power transmission of tracked military vehicles, then developing a combined range change for steering and braking systems.

After World War 2 Allison developed the first automotive transmission which was used on heavy duty vehicles like buses, trucks and trains.

The mainstream American Motorhome chassis were front engined until the early 1990s, when Allison introduced the world transmission which was electrically controlled. Before that the DP896Z was used which was cable selected and often had the 210BHP Cummins engine, which was very underpowered. The world transmission went on to be very reliable.

There are not very many common problems with gearboxes, and with the use of Castrol Syntrax, long life synthetic oil, they are able to offer a trouble free life.

One important factor to remember is that when you are climbing steep hills you need to select a gear manually, and then hold the gear so as the engine is not labouring, or over revving. If you let the gearbox do its own work in auto it has a tendency to change up and down frequently, overheating the transmission. By getting the transmission too hot can cause expensive repairs, so the best policy is to take your time and look after your gear box and in turn it will look after you. The transmission does need the oil and filters changing, not only on a miles basis, but time. Consult your hand book as different model gearboxes require different service intervals.

If you require any more information, please do not hesitate to contact me at LAS Motorhomes on 01604 861999