The Commercial Vehicle Systems Group of Dana Corp. introduced its new SmartRide family of integrated trailer suspension modules and systems last month at a news conference at its plant in Lugoff, SC.

The new suspensions will be marketed by the Roadranger organization, as are other products from Dana and Eaton as well as their business partners.

“SmartRide suspensions are a smart choice for customers looking for the advantages of advanced technology product options and the best combination of material, component, and modular technology on the market,” said Steve Slesinski, director of product planning for Dana Commercial Vehicle Systems.

Slesinski stated that Dana Spicer SmartRide suspension assemblies are designed with Dana proprietary software.

He said this allows highly accurate and rapid analysis of components during the “virtual design” phase, helping Dana engineers achieve maximum weight savings without sacrificing strength.

“The result is durable, lightweight trailer suspensions that use material efficiently to stand up to the most rigorous road conditions,” Slesinski added.

Dana's SmartRide suspension assemblies are available with these features:

  • Dana Spicer Tire Maintenance System (TMS) — a tire inflation system that automatically measures and maintains pressure.

  • Dana Spicer Low Maintenance System (LMS) hubs.

  • Bendix braking systems -including air disc brakes, ESTM brakes and new TABS-6 antilock braking system.

  • Cyclone DuraDrain trailer water separator.

  • System-Guard trailer air dryer — the first designed specifically for trailer air brake systems.

  • Bendix Trailer Roll Stability Program (TRSP) — lowers the tendency for rollover by reducing vehicle speed.



The first members of the new SmartRide family include the RS40 (40,000 lb. capacity) and RS46 (46,000 lb.) lightweight sliders.

Product manager Mark Holley said that using Dana's engineering software enabled shaving 60 lb. off the new slider assembly design. Production of the integrated slider module will begin in 1Q '05.

Holley said features of the RS40 and RS 46 include:

  • Instead of traditional 5-in. tubing, these suspensions have 5-3/4-in. large diameter axle (LDA) tubing to increase strength and bending stiffness while reducing the weight per axle by 30 lb.

  • “Truck-style” brakes allow fleets to reduce fleet parts inventories by up to 40%.

  • Optimized pin location, which is in front of the hanger, provides greater strength and durability over competitive designs.

  • Three box widths are available, including a 54-in. width to accommodate a set of wide-base single tires.

  • Large diameter air springs provide quick “air-up,” lower operating pressures and improve ride quality.

  • Pneumatic pin release system allows one person to reposition the slider box with minimal effort.



Dana also announced three other additions to its suspension and axle lineup.

The SmartRide RS50 slider suspension, rated at 50,000 lb., is designed to handle severe trailer operations, such as those encountered in Mexico.

The SmartRide RF30 fixed suspension, rated at 30,000 lb.) is designed to improve durability and enhance ride quality in such severe-service applications as logging and mining.

The DS22SS self-steering trailer axle allows a tighter turning radius and helps reduce tire scrub and highway wear is aimed at Canadian fleets, which will soon be required to run self-steering axles on trailers.

In addition, chief engineer for advanced chassis controls systems Jim Beverly announced enhancements to the Dana Spicer Tire Maintenance System (TMS) to provide additional reliability and flexibility.

He said an updated electronic control unit (ECU) allows customers to reprogram, or re-flash, the ECU through the serial data-link connector to incorporate new features.

Also, Beverly noted Dana has improved the durability of the ECU's wiring harness with new over-molds that better protect all connection points.
www.roadranger.com.