Are pusher axles a good fit for over-the-road trucks?

Are pusher axles a good fit for over-the-road trucks?

Traditionally, pusher axles have been used primarily in vocational applications to distribute the vehicle weight and ensure the other axles are not overloaded. Tony Sablar, Peterbilt vocational marketing manager, says a pusher’s on-highway use has been considered limited because tractor-trailers typically won’t be overloading the other axles.

However, in recent years, over-the-road applications like linehaul and regional haul have begun experimenting with 6×2 configurations, adding tag and pusher axles in the quest for greater fuel efficiency.

“Specifically, Dana has seen the greatest growth with the Volvo Adaptive-Loading 6×2 system,” says Steve Mastroianni, senior manager of product planning for Dana. “In this arrangement, the Dana Spicer S175 single axle is utilized as the driving axle when the system switches from a 6×2 to a 4×2 for more efficient operation in an empty or nearly-empty run.

“The 6×2 setup includes a non-powered axle in the forward-rear position and a full-powered drive axle, such as the Spicer S175 efficient, lightweight single axle, in the rear-rear position. Since the forward axle does not include gearing, the configuration is much lighter, improving fuel economy,” Mastroianni adds. “Additionally, when the pusher is lifted, rolling resistance is reduced, which can further increase fuel efficiency.”

Another advantage of a 6×2 system is that fleets can experience a reduction in toll costs when legal and approved axle weight allows for the lifting of axles, Mastroianni says. This is especially true in applications such as one-way loaded bulk haulers where the vehicle is fully loaded on its way to a delivery but empty on the return trip. However, he cautions, a pusher axle could also inadvertently increase tolls if it is not a liftable or lifted axle.

RaNae Isaak, powertrain and TCO consultancy leader at Cummins Inc., adds that there are regulations governing weights of vehicles in federal and state laws, as well as individual state and local ordinances, that those over-the-road fleets interested in using pusher axles should know.

“Restrictions can include weight limits on bridges and environmental factors such as frost,” Isaak says. “Single axles are restricted to 20,000 lbs. regardless of location on the chassis, with a total gross weight of 80,000 lbs. as a limitation without requiring additional waivers. Tandems are limited to 34,000 lbs., but still regulated to the total gross weight of 80,000 lbs.”

Wondering why fleets are spec’ing pusher axles? Click here to find out more.

You May Also Like

Davco Technology appoints Tim West as new president

Before joining Davco, West most recently served as VP of seating and structures, Vehicle Solutions Division at Commercial Vehicle Group, Inc.

DAVCO-president-Tim-West

Davco Technology, a developer of fuel filtration and water separation systems for diesel engines and a Clarience Technologies company, has appointed Tim West as its new president.

West joins Davco after nearly 12 years with Commercial Vehicle Group, Inc., where he most recently served as vice president of seating and structures within the Vehicle Solutions Division. His other titles at Commercial Vehicle Group included vice president of customer success, vice president of warehouse automation, senior director and product line manager for global truck seating, director and product line manager for off-road seats, trim, and wipers, and director of product line management for global wire harness. West has also held various program manager and engineering positions with Honeywell, MicroMetl, American Boa, and ArvinMeritor. He holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Purdue University.

PRT launches new strut assemblies for ProMaster, Silverado, and more

These new items cover more than 15 million vehicles and include models such as the 2023 Ram ProMaster 1500, 2023 Chevrolet Silverado, and more.

prt-for-web
East opens Aftermarket Parts Facility in Kent, OH

In addition to East trailer parts, the facility will carry common parts for all makes and models, such as airbags, lights, wheel ends and more.

East-new-facility-larger-photo
Lucas Oil facilities achieve ISO 9001:2015 recertification

The Quality Management Systems certification included both Lucas Oil production facilities in Corydon, IN.

Lucas-Oil-ISO-Certification
DuraBrake gets investment from Tiger Lily

Existing Shroff family ownership group will remain meaningful equity owners and continue to make up the DuraBrake senior leadership team.

Tiger-Lily-Invests-In-Durabrake
Other Posts
What is ‘Trucks-as-a-Service’?

We talk with Volvo Trucks about the service that aims to ease fleets into making the EV transition.

Trucking-Sustainably-truck-as-a-service
NACFE: small depots are ready to scale electrification

Dipping your toes into electrification is one thing, leaping into running 15+ BEVs is another. Though NACFE says for many, the time is right.

NACFE-DEPOT-Scaling-Report-Cover-Run-On-Less-BEV-Electrification-fleet-trucks
Beyond a one-size-fits-all trucking decarbonization strategy

Much of the responsibility now falls on the fleet, but that should be a welcome change.

2024-ACT-After-the-Show-Floor-1400
How fleets are using technology to face unique challenges

Video coaching, dash cam evidence, or a fully removable system – users of Samsara technology share how they use it.