Driving Force: Axles are at the heart of an electric revolution
TORONTO, Ont. -- We're at the dawn of a new era in the propulsion of heavy trucks. Electric powertrains are opening new packaging and integration possibilities, including driven axles. Traditional transmissions, driveshafts, power dividers or differentials are no longer required.
Deep Trouble: Repairing trucks and trailers after a flood
TORONTO, Ont. -- Water isn't kind to electronics or brakes or air systems or engines. The last thing short of a fire you could want to happen to your truck is to have it submerged in flood. Actually, a fire might be preferable -- the damage is obvious, and you'll get less argument from the insurance company about replacing it.
Dana’s Dual Range Disconnect
First revealed at the Mid-America Trucking Show in March, Dana's Dual Range Disconnect drive axle system offers the fuel savings benefit of a downsped 6x2 drivetrain and the performance benefits of conventional 6x4 setup with a mid-range axle ratio. The key word here is disconnect. While running at speeds up to about 54 mph, the system functions as a 6x4 with torque going to all four wheels for optimum traction. It also runs at a 3.10:1 ratio for better performance and startability. Above 54 mph, the interaxle driveshaft disengages, leaving the driving to only the forward drive axle. Interestingly, the axle ratio of the forward axle is 2.26:1, which lowers engine rpm and in effect creates a downsped drive train. The benefit, of course, is better fuel economy resulting from a 300-400 rpm drop in engine speed.
Got Enough Light?
I've long held that North American headlight standards are inherently dangerous because they don't allow brightness levels to match the speeds we travel. It's just too easy to over-drive your lights, meaning you don't see obstructions like stalled cars or animals or -- may all the gods forbid -- pedestrians in the way until you're past the point of being able to stop in time. Even back in the 1950s when cars and certainly trucks were much slower, this held true. In fact it was worse.