What are Lightning® Series Gears?

by Brittany Foster

If you’ve attended the SEMA show or PRI, you’ve likely seen shiny gears on display – if done well, they look like they’re made of chrome. A few years ago, we started getting many inquiries about polished gears, so we decided to look into it. We’ve found that a lot of professional race teams use superfinished gears for added performance (think NASCAR, IndyCar). Before and after ISF treatment As a high performance gear manufacturer, we wanted to offer the best alternative for our customers, so we decided to add superfinished gears to our product portfolio, under the Lightning® Series name, as an option for all our Street and Pro gears. Our Lightning Series gears undergo an industry-leading process known as Isotropic Superfinishing (ISF®), developed by REM Surface Engineering.

There are many different ways to superfinish gears and other components- all resulting in a lower Roughness Average (Ra) on the surface. The ISF process we embraced utilizes a tumbler with non-hazardous chemical accelerants and thousands of non-abrasive ceramic media to surface treat the gears, which remove impurities and create a smoother surface. As part of the process, we mask the pinion stem to ensure tolerances are not removed from the splines and threads, leaving only the head of the pinion to be superfinished. The end result is a highly-polished (chrome-like) ring and pinion gear, without altering its metallurgical integrity. Check out this short video of our ISF process to see for yourself.

There are many advantages to running superfinished gears in your vehicle. For instance, if you don’t have a lot of time between race events (or just don’t have the patience), you understand the frustration of having to properly break in the ring and pinion before it can be aggressively used out on the race track. With standard, non-superfinished gears, the break-in period is important because the gear can overheat and breakdown the gear oil, which will cause premature gear failure. You can bypass the break in period when you run a Lightning Series gear – saving you major time! The treated smooth surface of a Lightning Series gear minimizes overheating by reducing friction and allows you to install your gear and go!

Lightning series gears features and benefits

Our entire product line of Pro and Street gears are available as Lightning Series, or superfinished – just look for the “ISF” suffix at the end of our part numbers.

Our Street gear sets are available for the following gear types:

Chrysler 8.7” IRS- Getrag H226 for 2010-2014 SRT8 Challenger/ Charger/ Magnum, Chrysler 8.75” (489), Dana 36 for 1984-1996 Corvette, Dana 44 for 1980-1982 Corvette, Dana 60 , Ford 8”, Ford 8.8” Ford Super 8.8” IRS Ford 9” GM 8.4” for 1963-1979 Corvette GM 8.6” for Gen 5 Camaro SS (V8 engine only) GM 10 Bolt and GM 12 Bolt Car 8.875”

Our Competition/Pro gear sets are available for the following gear types:

Dana 60 Pro, Ford 9” Pro (large and small pinion), Ford 9.5” Pro, Ford 10” Pro, and GM 12 Bolt Car Pro 8.875”

To find a distributor near you, please click here, or if you have any questions, please contact us at sales@usgear.com.

Download our 2019 US Gear catalog here.


  • Superchips:

    Aug 02 2019

    Sweet results using Lightning R! Awesome stuff for people who do the restorations.

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