Meritor Inc. unveiled March 21 in Louisville, Ky., a 6×2 drive axle system, the FUELite tandem axle, which will be the first in a series of SoloDrive axles of 6×2 design.
Based on the Meritor 160 series drive axle, the FUELite tandem axle is designed for linehaul applications to save weight and increase fuel efficiency. It accomplishes this by using only a larger forward axle to drive the vehicle, thus eliminating the inter-axle differential, second driveshaft, and the rear drive axle gearing, differential and shafts.
The tandem axle weighs 400 pounds less and will reduce fuel consumption approximately 2 percent compared with a traditional 6×4 configuration.
“We engineered the FUELite axle to accommodate all 40,000-pound linehaul suspensions, delivering an optimum solution that is lightweight yet heavy on performance,” said Charlie Allen, general manager of Meritor rear drive axles. “The Meritor SoloDrive Series is designed to provide lightweight axle solutions with greater efficiency by providing one driving axle in a tandem configuration.”
The axle also features a welded connection between the ring gear and differential. This eliminates four bolts and significantly reduces the churning of the lube oil as these parts rotate.
The primary advantage of a 6×4 axle arrangement is traction. The FUELite tandem axle will be capable of removing weight from the tag axle, thus transferring it to the drive axle to deliver the necessary pulling power only while operating on slippery surfaces.
The axle’s warranty for linehaul applications will be five years or 750,000 miles with parts and labor included, the company said. Meritor Advantage Plans will offer extended coverage up to seven years in linehaul applications.
In addition, Meritor introduced the Ride Sentry tandem axle suspension system. The system is designed to offer a superior ride with a “unique parallelogram design.” Additional benefits include elimination of “dock walk” because the trailer will move straight up and down as its cargo is loaded or unloaded.
Meritor also introduced DriveForce, the company’s newly branded field sales and service organization. Drive force is comprised of more than 110 experts trained to support customer needs. Team members are equipped with the Meritor Mobile iPad application. With the new app, members will have nearly 1,000 brochures, documents and service manuals available in seconds to share with customers.