Dana debuts new line of Spicer axles for medium-duty fleets, convertible tag axles

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Dana Holding Corp. announced the launch of the Spicer S140 series, a new family of single-drive medium-duty axles; and two new Spicer tag axles.

The Spicer S140 Series is engineered specifically to improve fuel economy, reduce maintenance costs, increase operator comfort and boost overall vehicle performance. Now available on International brand 4300, 4400, 7300 and 7400 vehicle platforms, the Spicer S140 series single-reduction axle was developed specifically for medium-duty vehicles. The new family of axles is available for straight truck chassis up to 19,000-pound GAWR, including delivery vehicles; school buses; mini buses; shuttle buses; motorhomes; and rescue, municipal and utility vehicles. In mid-2010, the S-140 also will be the standard Class-6 axle at another major OEM, the company says.

“Throughout the development of the Spicer S140 Series, we focused our efforts on helping medium-duty fleet managers optimize the productivity of their fleets,” said Steve Slesinski, director of product management for the Dana Commercial Vehicle Systems Group. “With this new series, Dana enhances its reputation as the leader in delivering advanced drive-axle technology and superior value for the medium-duty market.”

With an initial Roadranger lubrication drain at 250,000 miles and 32 percent less lubrication required overall, these axles are easier to maintain and more environmentally friendly than previous Dana and current competitive designs. Optimized to perform in vehicles with drivetrain ratings up to 860 lb-ft of torque and up to 300 hp, Spicer S140 Series axles support GCWR up to 46,000 pounds and typical GVWR up to 31,000 pounds in most vocational applications. Maximum GCWR of 50,000 pounds GVWR of 33,000 pounds are available under specific application approvals.

Spicer S140 Series axles also are available with a number of options for prime operation, including a carrier-integrated parking brake or electromagnetic retarder mount, a wide-track design for maximum stability, a patented axle breather design supplying unrestricted airflow and minimizing the risk of seal leaks due to axle pressurization, and integral welded suspension brackets for increased strength and durability.

The two new Spicer tag axles are designed to improve fuel efficiency, reduce vehicle weight and lower OEM installation costs – all while enabling fleets and owner-operators to easily convert a 6×2 arrangement into a 6×4 configuration. In conjunction with the axle launch, Dana has also introduced new Spicer conversion kits, which provide the option of converting existing 6×4 vehicles into a 6×2 configuration.

“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 added that fuel economy improvements have been estimated to be up to 3 percent, depending on application variables. These improvements were achieved primarily by decreasing mechanical drivetrain loss and through a total weight reduction that is roughly 400 pounds lighter than a traditional 40,000-pound tandem arrangement. That savings also may be used to offset the added weight of emission-related components, auxiliary power units and other products. Alternatively, owners have the option to increase payloads without sacrificing prior fuel-economy levels.

When specified with either a Spicer S170 or Spicer S190 single-drive axle in the forward drive position, the new Spicer tag axles also maintain the same 40,000-pound GAWR of a traditional tandem axle while maintaining up to 100,000-pound GCWR.

The single-axle design requires 14 fewer pints of lubrication, providing additional weight savings and lowering maintenance costs over 6×4 tandem axles. Efficiency improvements are achieved by eliminating energy losses associated with inter-axle drivelines and rear-axle assemblies.

Klinko said that the issue of traction deficiency historically associated with 6×2 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,” Klinko 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 6×2 to 6×4 and back.”

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 6×4 applications, which is up to five years or 750,000 miles.