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.

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James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 20 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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