While in San Diego for the American Trucking Associations conference I had an interesting chat with Mike Schwanzl, senior manager, field sales with Dana. He’s concerned about the increased torque loads the industry-wide trend towards downspeeding is placing on the driveline.

Downspeeding, or running the engine more slowly with faster axle ratios, places about 57% more torque on the driveline. This needs to be taken into account while spec’ing vehicles with a downsped powertrain, but too often fleets are choosing standard drivelines and then suffering damage while on the road.

Mike told me fleets choosing a downsped powertrain should torque-limit the engine through a software recalibration from the engine manufacturer. And they should fortify the driveline by spec’ing components that were designed to survive in a downsped engine environment.

You can check out my report on this issue here.

James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 18 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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