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The L3 gear oil that comes from the factory in modern Ariens auger gearbox is very thin and likely is responsible for leaking seals in the auger gearbox. I removed the L3 and added GL5 rear axle oil 75w-140 synthetic several years ago. No negative issues. My gearbox stays cold enough that snow never melts on it and no ice in the area either. I think older GL5 gear oil oxidized brass gears and fittings only when it got hot, so little chance of that in a snowblower auger gearbox. Ariens have used steel gears for years but may have soft metal bushings.

Modern GL5 gear oil in rear axle cars has a very long maintenance schedule of over 250,000 kilometers (155,000 miles) replacement under normal usage and no water contamination. In a snowblower it should be a lifetime fill unless seals fail.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
I'd far rather use a synth gear oil from an auto-parts store- definitely easier to get and cheaper. But at least for now I'll run OEM lube in there.
 

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The L3 gear oil that comes from the factory in modern Ariens auger gearbox is very thin and likely is responsible for leaking seals in the auger gearbox. I removed the L3 and added GL5 rear axle oil 75w-140 synthetic several years ago. No negative issues. My gearbox stays cold enough that snow never melts on it and no ice in the area either. I think older GL5 gear oil oxidized brass gears and fittings only when it got hot, so little chance of that in a snowblower auger gearbox. Ariens have used steel gears for years but may have soft metal bushings.

Modern GL5 gear oil in rear axle cars has a very long maintenance schedule of over 250,000 kilometers (155,000 miles) replacement under normal usage and no water contamination. In a snowblower it should be a lifetime fill unless seals fail.
75W-140 is thick in the summer, but thin in the winter. I used 75w-90 synthetic and it is pretty much the same thickness as your in the winter. It flowed like engine oil for me.

Walmart has 85W-140 gear oil, but it is not synthetic.

Anyway, the cure for leak is adding AT-205. I added it in and ran the auger for 15 minutes. It stopped the leak right away. You probably know, but for other people: even if you put in new seals, they can go bad after a year, or two years. The key is to make rubber stay flexible as long as possible.

Another reason why I like gear oil is that it helps lubricate the brass bushings. They last forever I think. I rarely saw anyone had to replace them.
 

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I'd far rather use a synth gear oil from an auto-parts store- definitely easier to get and cheaper. But at least for now I'll run OEM lube in there.
OEM products aren't worth it for me a lot of time (especially in a snowblower). If you worry, change the oil once in a while. It should last a very long in there I think.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
OEM products aren't worth it for me a lot of time (especially in a snowblower). If you worry, change the oil once in a while. It should last a very long in there I think.
OEM - was specifically in reference to Ariens L3 gear lube as it sounds like it has an infrequent change interval. Will stick w/ OEM there just to keep it simple for now.
I use a Mobil synth for the engine.
 
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