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

HERE Technologies offers brand-specific search

This new capability is a further step in enabling HERE customers and partners to deliver differentiated services.

HERE Technologies recently announced a new platform capability available for global businesses to uniquely customize the search outcomes their users receive by using their own places of interest data. Powered by HERE Workspace and HERE Search, customers can add private data into the map and search function, creating brand-specific search outcomes and distinct end-user experiences.

Goodyear, Gatik demonstrate accurate tire-road friction potential estimate

The breakthrough will add more utility to what a tire can deliver by providing critical data that can help enhance vehicle safety.

Auto Value, Bumper to Bumper and All-Pro Truck Parts highlight Alliance Commercial Vehicle and Heavy-duty Program at HDAW

The Alliance looks toward continued growth in the medium- and heavy-duty aftermarket.

Photo Gallery: Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week 2023

A pictorial walk-around of the show floor.

Dayco expands heavy-duty diesel engine belt kit line

Six new SKUs join the 40-plus that Dayco has recently added.


Other Posts

How Decker Truck Line leverages technology to improve operating efficiency

Company ownership remains under the Decker family lineage with Dale Decker’s grandson, Donald, serving as chairman of the board and Donald’s son Dale enlisted as CEO.

Electric trucks are coming: We need training

You don’t have to wait for an EV to get started with training.

Peterbilt of Atlanta announces eighth location

The new location will allow Peterbilt of Atlanta to better serve its customers along the Interstate 16 corridor in Georgia.

Can ELDs reduce operating costs?

The benefits of real-time visibility aids in route planning and allows for managers to better track drivers out on the road.