Heavy-duty truck pusher axle potential benefits

Are pusher axles positioned for a lift in spec’ing popularity?

When I caught up with Joel Morrow, senior driver and vice president of equipment procurement at Ploger Transportation, for a deep-dive into 6×2 axle configurations and downspeeding, he made a surprising axle comment that stood out when it came to address the stigma 6×2 axle configurations face when it comes time for truck resale.

“Resale price takes a hit on 6×2 right now,” he said, “but I would suspect that’s going to change as we get more into the pusher arrangements, and we start to get away from tags; the OEMs start to understand the suspension requirements.”

Why would over-the-road trucks move away from tags, which tend to be the most common 6×2 configuration?

Here’s Morrow:

“Tag axles don’t work well with our kingpin settings on the trailer. Here in the U.S., we have a relatively shallow kingpin setting compared to Europe. You have to have the fifth wheel either sitting right on top of the drive axle or in front of it. In my application with my pusher, I’m actually in front of it. Additionally, I have a liftable pusher.”

It was at this point in the interview when I sat back and listened to the equipment spec’ing master at work.

“What happens when we use a pusher,” Morrow continued, “is this: When you have the weight biasing features, if your fifth wheel is just behind that drive axle—which happens quite often in a tag configuration because the frame rails are going to bump the landing gear on the trailer—when you start to engage weight biasing, you unload the steer axle and then your steering traction is compromised. With a pusher arrangement, you’re loading both the steer axle and the drive axle when you’re biasing weight. So, not only do you have an advantage in terms of drive axle traction, you also get the advantage in steer traction in ice and snow.”

Morrow is a fountain of insightful equipment spec’ing info. For a look at how he’s “taking downspeeding to extreme levels,” click the link below to read that story:

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