According to Dana Holding Corp., two new Spicer tag axles will improve fuel efficiency, reduce vehicle weight, and lower OEM installation costs – all while enabling fleet owners to easily convert a 6x2 arrangement into a 6x4 configuration. Along with the axles, Dana introduced new Spicer conversion kits, which can convert an existing 6x4 vehicle into a 6x2. The products were introduced in Tampa this week at the Technology & Maintenance Council’s annual meeting.

The new Spicer tag axles will be offered through the Roadranger marketing alliance between Dana, Eaton Corp., and other partners, which provides a complete line of drivetrain components, systems, lubricants, safety products, and service tools.

“This is a new concept for the North American trucking industry and one that we have been developing for several years based on highly positive feedback from our fleet customers and OEM partners,” said Jay Klinko, senior product manager – heavy-duty drive axles for Dana. “With Spicer axles and conversion kits, owners can easily increase the resale value of their trucks, while being provided with the opportunity to change the application or vocation of their vehicles at any point during the lifecycle of the truck.”

Klinko told FleetOwner that the up to 3% gain in vehicle fuel efficiency from the tag axles result largely from weight reduction and an improved axle drivetrain design that minimizes energy losses. The total weight reduction for these tag axles makes them roughly 400 lbs lighter than a traditional 40,000-lb tandem arrangement, he said.

When specified with either a Spicer S170 or Spicer S190 single drive axle in the forward drive position, Klinko said the new Spicer tag axles also maintain the same 40,000-lb gross axle weight rating of a traditional tandem axle, while maintaining up to a 100,000-lb gross combined weight rating.

The single-axle design requires 14 fewer pints of lubrication, providing additional weight savings and lowering maintenance costs over 6x4 tandem axles. Efficiency improvements are achieved by eliminating energy losses associated with inter-axle drivelines and rear-axle assemblies, noted Klinko.

Klinko said that the issue of traction deficiency historically associated with 6x2 vehicles can be mitigated with the use of a differential lock, a six-channel ABS/TCS system, or the adjustment of air suspension bag pressures. “This temporarily shifts weight to the driven axle at low speed, which results in similar traction of a traditional tandem axle,” he added.

Reduced installation costs are achieved by the elimination of the inter-axle driveshaft, rear axle head unit, rear axle shafts, and rear axle lube. With rear housings on the new tag axles identical to current tandem rear axles, installers can maintain the same brackets, interface points, and geometry.

“The proprietary and unique value-added feature of these new tag axles is that they use a specifically designed bolted cover plate and pressed-in spindle plugs,” Klinko said. “For future vehicle purposes, these components can be removed easily and replaced with a functional Spicer rear drive head unit and axle shafts without having to replace the entire rear tag axle. This patented, cost-effective process allows conversions from a 6x2 to 6x4 and back.” He also noted that with rear housings on the new tag axles identical to current tandem rear axles, installers can maintain the same brackets, interface points, and geometry.

The new Spicer tag axles are available now, with new model numbers S21-060B and S23-070B respectively replacing rear axle model numbers RS404/RS405 and R40-170/R46-170 in this application.

Linehaul warranty coverage is equivalent to Spicer drive axles specified in 6x4 applications, which is up to 5 years or 750,000 miles.

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