Elevating lift axles: An in-depth look at axle options

Elevating lift axles: An in-depth look at axle options

When it comes to applications such as dump trucks, flatbeds and cement mixers, on front and rear discharge mixers, as well as trucks in refuse applications, tank trucks in oil and gas, and trucks in municipal applications, lift axles are a popular option.

“Lift axles are very different from steer and drive suspensions. Unlike drive suspensions, they consist of a non-drive axle. These axles can be round like trailer axles, they can be of the forged I-beam or fabricated style like the front steer,” explained Jason Heath, product manager, NEWAY Truck, Bus and RV Suspensions, SAF-Holland Inc. “Typically, non-steerable lift axles utilize a round trailer style and the steerable lift axles use the fabricated style or the round trailer style. Lift axles also have a unique lifting device that is not present on drive and front steer suspensions.”

SAF-Holland’s NEWAY LSZ Auxiliary Steerable Lift Axle Suspension System, for example, offers a 13.5k capacity and a 17.5-in. package size. It also features a Super Chamber lift that provides a four-second lift speed while the position provides increased protection from road hazards and easier access for servicing.

HendricksonFuel economy benefits are also realized when properly using a lift axle in bulk hauling and other variable-load hauling applications.

“An empty or lightly loaded tractor has the ability to operate as a 4×2, a configuration which eliminates the rolling resistance of the forward drive axle, as well as thrust and tandem scrub,” said Dave McCleave, director of marketing at Hendrickson Truck Commercial Vehicle Systems, which offers a liftable forward tandem axle. The OPTIMAAX system is designed to automatically lift the forward axle in the tandem when loads are light and shift the unsprung weight to the rear drive axle without axle overloading to provide improved traction capability.

“In the lifted position, at minimum, an additional 2% fuel economy improvement is gained, resulting in over a 5% improvement compared to 6×4 configurations,” McCleave explained. “When rolling resistance, thrust and tandem scrub is removed by having the forward tandem axle in the lifted position when the capacity is not required, powertrain components are not working as hard. This plays a part in the overall fuel efficiency gains for the vehicle.

When spec’ing lift axles, it’s important to pay strict attention to the suspension spacing.

“Federal Bridge laws established standardized axle weights and spacing on Interstate highways but they did not standardize axle weights and spacing in off-road and vocational applications,” Heath said. “The fleet manager or end user spec’ing the truck would benefit by asking the local vocational truck dealer. They will know the local weight laws and will be able to optimize the lift axle configuration to achieve the user’s goals.”

Heath went on to explain that local weight laws vary. “In some states, you are allowed to use multiple lift axles to increase your allowable Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GWVR) and increase payloads. In others, there are limitations to the allowable number and spacing,” he continued. “In some states, multiple 8,000-lb. capacity lift axles are allowed on dump trucks. The ‘Super Dump’ is a fairly common spec in some states that optimizes the number of lift axles, axle spacing, capacity and uses the best product model to reduce overall vehicle weight and maximize payload.”

You May Also Like

Scania opens orders for autonomous mining trucks

Scania’s 40-tonne autonomous heavy tipper for mining available to order, and the 50-tonne model to follow shortly afterwards.


Scania announced that it has begun selling autonomous mining trucks, with s 40-tonne autonomous heavy tipper for mining available to order, and the 50-tonne model to follow shortly afterwards.

Sales of Scania autonomous mining solutions will start in Australia, with first deliveries and start of operation scheduled from 2026. Scania believes the next market will likely be Latin America, a region where it has significant market presence in the mining segment. 

Freightliner M2, SD Plus Series launch updates its medium-duty truck offering

Freightliner introduced the new Plus Series–enhanced versions of its M2 and SD models, including the M2 106 Plus, M2 112 Plus, 108SD Plus, and 114SD Plus. The enhanced models provide a major update to the interior and electrical systems of the M2 and SD models. The OEM noted that the Plus Series is designed to

Truck cruise control technology that looks at the road ahead

If you’ve ever visited the Northeast region of the country, you’ve most likely encountered intimidating terrain. The winding roads. The steep hills. The intricate routes that challenge any seasoned driver, and, most recently, advanced cruise control systems that aim to improve fuel efficiency and driver comfort.   Related Articles – Four ways A.I. can help cut

Four ways A.I. can help cut diesel fuel costs

The fluctuation of fuel prices has made it more challenging to operate day-to-day. Drivers get paid by the mile, and, when fuel costs go up, margins shrink, impacting how fleets profit and pay their employees. Intelligent technology can lessen the impact of high prices by improving overall fuel efficiency. Related Articles – New ways to

Peterbilt GM Jason Skoog charts today’s truck support, tomorrow’s truck solutions

Peterbilt made headlines recently when it became the first major North American OEM to open orders for an electric truck, the Peterbilt 220EV. In this exclusive interview, Peterbilt General Manager and PACCAR Vice President Jason Skoog details the technology investments that are keeping fleets productive during this year’s trying pandemic and laying the groundwork for

Peterbilt General Manager PACCAR Technology Electric Truck

Other Posts

FTR: Truck orders exceed recent trends in May; vocational sales stand out

Not only are orders up m/m and y/y, FTR said this level is above recent demand trends and 2% above the average for May over the past decade.

PACCAR MX-13 CARB compliant engine available in Peterbilt 579, 567, 589

The PACCAR MX-13 diesel engine meets the CARB Omnibus Regulation and is available in high performance or efficiency focused ratings.

Cummins, PACCAR, Daimler Truck N.A. complete joint venture formation

The completed joint venture is now known as Amplify Cell Technologies.

FTR sees rise in April trailer orders

With 13,016 units sold, April saw 9% m/m and 45% y/y gains. However, trailer orders were still 20% below the average for the last 12 months.