Sursulf-treated low carbon steel gears were tested in a back-to-back gear test rig. The failure of the gears is by pitting and the contact stress-pitting life curve has been established. Wear particle analysis of the lubricating oil was carried out to analyse the nature of the failure. The study reveals that Sursulf treatment on low carbon steel gears considerably improves their performance. The cumulative wear particle concentration at the pitting limit has been suggested as a basis for predicting the onset of failure of the gears. © 1987.